If you wonder why and what it all means, you have a spiritual life.
The language gets sketchy. Is mind thinking? Isn’t thinking just an action? Awareness goes beyond thinking. The mind as we know it comes after, not before. It’s automatic and it’s why people get so tripped up. They are told to control your mind. Free yourself from your mind. Like somehow you can lobotomize yourself and achieve enlightenment. It doesn’t work that way. But the confusion is not that you have a mind or even how that mind works. It’s the idea that you are your mind. It’s every bit as strange as the idea that you are your body.
Thinking can be the product of feeling an observation, but it works whether we experience our feelings or embrace our observations. We tend to cut ourselves off from these things. Physical thought is considered different from spiritual thought and they shouldn’t be. It’s like saying I should walk with my left leg but not my right. What is physical thought? The function of the ego as defined by Freud is physical thought.
We cannot transcend the ego until we actually embrace it. Accept that it is. Love yourself, and know yourself. All of yourself. We’re taught all our lives egos are a bad thing to have. This is a disempowering teaching, and lets people control you with accusations of egotism of not being selfless. As if that is somehow a virtue. It’s like saying I should be bodiless because flesh is bad.
Judging is a learned behaviour and can be unlearned. True observation has no judgement, and discernment is different than judging. It is deep observation, seeing deeply into a thing. When you hear your opinion of things in your head use it as a reminder to just observe. Our opinions are narrow. It’s the essence of an opinion. A lot of our problems are more a matter of opinion than they are the actual event.
As the famous zen story illustrates… I don’t have it memorized, but it’s the story of an old farmer in feudal Japan who supposedly has awful luck. But whenever someone offers him sympathy on his hardship, he reacts to the idea that he suffers hardship with doubt. For every bad thing that happens to him, there is a corresponding good thing that goes with it. It’s said that there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. Whenever someone tells him something bad happened to him, he doesn’t believe them. Doesn’t argue with them either. Just goes on with his life.
Consider a simple event. You stub your toe…k, knee jerk reaction is that is bad. People automatically start complaining of the pain of the stubbed toe usually without going beyond it. It is pain, and pain and pleasure are both observations. But when you say pain is bad and pleasure is good, that is where things get confused.
The chemicals in us just let us experience pain, they don’t make us believe that pain is bad. Feelings are observations. The judgement of good or bad isn’t a feeling.
Well, to go further with the stubbed toe. You can just say that stubbing your toe was bad, but what if it makes you slow down? Pay more attention? If you were spacey and that is why you stubbed your toe, maybe you don’t stub your toe? Maybe you go into your kitchen to prepare dinner and cut or burn yourself? Is a stubbed toe that alerts you not a good thing? Not a relatively minor pain? People, when they get hurt, get caught up in thinking about the pain and often don’t even tend to the injury. They experience symptoms of illness and get caught up in thinking of the feeling rather than minding the illness.
When being aware, observation works on its own. They say that the ideas we show the least respect for are our own. Even those of us who become enamoured of our ideas. We often get so egotistical about what we think that we don’t really embrace and explore the idea. So we claim to know without ever having observed, and observation is readily available. It does go beyond the senses.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.