The consideration of mind is a journey, not a concept. There’s nothing theoretical about the degree to which we believe we are ‘in-here’ in our body.
That statement has two parts: the sense of us -the observer, being contained inside something, and the inherent idea of ‘self’ in the status of the observer. To the mind, the observer self-evidently is... The place where she/he is, is the mind. This apparent tautology has a wonderful cause…
Let’s explore the territory in which this self – this ‘me’ – lives and operates. This can prove deeply revealing!
We don’t have an issue with the assumption that we are contained inside something. We feel no sense of restraint, no confinement. Why is this? In a sense there is actually comfort in this. The internal ‘me’ has never been anywhere else. The mind as we know it has grown up here in this space. Its home is here. Its exploration of the world out-there is via the senses. The senses are the experiential nature of the body; hence we associate our self with the body.
And we don’t need to interfere with that in our explorations. This exercise is not about unsettling the mind, far from it… It is about a wider empowerment. But it is important to know that the mind did not precede everything…
But we do want to explore the ‘architecture’ of this core of what it is to be us.
We can think of the mind as simply the brain, but that is like pointing to all the parts of a disassembled car and saying: ‘that’s all there is to driving’. The act of driving brings together the mechanism, purpose and joy of the whole endeavour. Simply put, it gives it life.
This process of synthesis is one of the main pointers to the ‘spiritual’. It shows us an alignment of conditions and intent that add up to ‘more than the sum of the parts’. This is a classic hallmark of the phenomenon of emergence, which is found in all natural systems, such as the flying formation adopted by a flock of migrating birds.
Can we even be aware of our own minds? This is one of the key questions, and it has deep implications. We can watch our own minds at work: following the logic of our lifetime’s nurture and training; some of which is positive; some negative… But we can watch it at work. There is, though, something deeper than the mind, and there lies one of the deepest of surprises…
We can watch the process of choosing pleasure…or not. If, for example, we are dieting for our health, we can see that chocolate eclair and make a willed decision not to have it. Our body might make us feel bad at that point, increasing our sense of hunger, but our will can carry us through. With repetition, such acts of will create a resolute response mechanism, the opposite of a weakness.
This is particularly true with things for which we have strong likes and dislikes. If we look closely, and ahead of the usual ‘programmed’ reaction, we can be witness to our working of preference and prejudice: a powerful tool for our inner journey of reorientation.
Becoming aware of our thinking is instructive. Usually, we think in words – itself a surprise to those studying themselves. Hunger and fears, for example, don’t originate in words, but our minds may have a ‘discussion’ once they are registered.
There are many more examples of the activity of the mind, but to summarise: it is a set of mental and emotional triggers and responses that act as a collective automated response to the challenges, rewards and impulses of our lives. The mind is the vehicle that extends our deepest consciousness into the world.
What that deepest consciousness is, and how much ‘me’ it has in it, we will consider soon.
Core to any work with the mind is to see that such responses need not be automatic, nor even followed at all. This kind of life-system looks for the hidden spaces between stimuli and reaction; then teaches how to enter and use them as a buffer against habitual behaviour. Making things conscious is the heart of inner health.
That process can be the start of a fascinating and deep road (really several roads) leading inwards to show how these responses were formed from things in early life that were not fulfilled. Using this, we can see how what we consider ‘me’ came about. This is not regression. It uses certain archetypes to help us in technique of inner encounters in a specific lanscape.
Psychology confines itself to the restoration of a healthy ego. Schools like the Silent Eye are not so constrained. They use a mixture of traditional and modern methods to build intellectual and emotional ‘bridges and roads’ through the personality and back to the truly spiritual in our natures.
Once the ‘real map’ of the human is seen, the consciousness changes in harmony with that vision. This is not a process of intellect, though the mind plays its part. The intellect cannot conceive of what precedes it.
The mind is brought into being by an inner spiritual process, one native to the human but unseen behind personality. We can change this…
©Stephen Tanham 2022
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.
http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog