Our senses feed into a nervous system that is located within an organism we call the human body.
Our “mind” arises out of a combination of both the awareness of sensory data and in the meanings we apply to that data. The mind is a combination of real data and perception of real data, to access perception we reach into memory. Memories are stories about what happened last time we experienced a pattern of data. Often they are memories of memories of stories and not actually an optimal fit to the situation at hand.
It’s ok, I don’t know what the hell mind is either 🙂 and I will never know how YOU experience it. I respect, both your experiences and your stories about them. I am not here to invalidate you, only to understand myself so that I can act in ways that are more effective and respectful.
The fact that our nerve endings and sensory organs exist in a single body, has the tendency for mind to perceive itself AS that body. Our bodies are aging and will die, as an organism, we compete for energy and the fulfillment of our reproductive instincts.
Yet an organism, (depending on its level of complexity) is a collection of cells, tissues and organs that operate as a community. The community of the organism, operates within a local environment teaming with other communities of life-forms, that local environment exists within the biosphere. None of those parts can exist separate from the whole for very long.
What happens when the mind experiences sensory data from within and without the organism without reaching into memory? The amount of available attention increases, we stop making comparisons. We stop reaching into our memories and we stop imagining the future. Our world fills up with sensory data about what is happening right now. This is what we call “flow state”, in this state we can handle risk and mitigate danger better because we are alert without being inappropriately stressed, tense or flooded with adrenaline.
There is no future so there is no fear of what might happen. Without accessing memories, there is no past, so there is no expectation, no disappointment, no surprise and no opinion. No stories. Without the stories, there is no reactivity, we become free to choose a fresh action based upon real time data. In this state we are totally unpredictable. Perhaps most interestingly though is what happens to our minds.
In the absence of memories and stories of self, the mind stops identifying with the body and begins to identify itself with the flow of real time information. All that data streaming in from the environment, that environment that reaches into infinity in all directions, all that data that is constantly moving and unfolding in patterns of intricate interwoven complexity. All that data that represents both the flow of life out of death and so on. Of mass out of energy, of sound out of silence and light out of darkness and back again. It is vast, changing rapidly and beautiful beyond the telling. That is what the mind identifies with – just reality from the non fixed perspective of life flowing through and around our nervous system. We still benefit from knowledge and past experience, can even still have thoughts, but we do not get lost in them so easily, that is until we find self in them, through either advantage, desire or fear.
The more time we spend in flow states, the less we identify with our stories, our opinions and the memories of pain that they cover up. The more we identify with ourself as a unique expression of life itself, the less fear we have and the more we see our larger self, not only in others but in all things. This is how I currently see the possibility of compassion.
Compassion arises to the degree that we are prepared to feel the world through our senses, without our opinions there to protect us from the risk of pain and rejection. Without attaching ourselves to some concept in the hope that it will make us more valuable. For those choices reinforce the concept of self as a body that needs defending and improving, rather than temporarily residing in a body that is part of the flow of life through the biosphere.
So how is this useful? It’s not useful at all unless, you find a “safe” place to begin putting your awareness back into your body again, back into your senses. Each time a thought comes up, rather than feeding it, re-energizing it, return your most precious asset to your senses. Notice where you are tense, let it go, or just be with it. Your mind will go crazy at first, flooding you with impulses to eat, check Facebook, turn on Netflix, play a game. Even starting an argument or a new business is better than allowing the body to feel those places where we were hurt, where we still feel ashamed or where we feel threatened.
We never know when the body is going to die, the only thing we ever control is the quality of our now, the quality of the attention we give to each other and the tasks we choose to under-take.
That is enough for today.
Thank you so much.