Time has been very expansive, and consciousness came well before humanity.
What there is on the outside of habit is stress. Stress has two components, but in general the human species avoids both.
There is the positive stress of an accomplishment of novel thought or action. This is called eustress, and can at least for a time break us free of our habit circuits though we do fall back into them.
Then there is distress. Pain and fear strong enough to actually trigger our primal instincts of self preservation, and during that state of mind there is no line of thinking that is powerful enough to convince us everything is ok. Again this doesn’t last very long, and we are back into habit again. Has anyone experienced a middle ground?
Manic depression is a swing between eustress and distress, potentially a rapid swing, and it does disrupt their habit patterns. Most people haven’t experienced many extremes of mental function. This is potentially a good thing, but it can be a mind numbing, stifling thing. People will manufacture drama to overcome this brain death of chronic habit, for the simple reason that people have a genuine need of novelty. Is this not reason enough to find a third way?
Tribal cultures had a different relationship to this issue, because when in peace they would attend to their environment to enjoy its beauty and to feel enlivened. It was their entertainment (for lack of a better term), and when the tribal peoples were distressed, they turned to that same awareness to inform them of what they must do. They didn’t have the artificial split between supposedly normal life and life in crisis. It is all just life and a vibrant life if you can have it. But even if you live in the soul sucking reality of the heavily industrialized parts of the world, you can have that in a way. The potential is in everyone.
When the mind itself is seen as a world, we will realize we have a choice to move within as well as externally. We will come to see our life journeys as one journey having fulfilling depth rather than a mechanistic linear process that keeps us locked into the notion that everything is working as expected. Unfortunately, we are on the verge of having nature teach us the truth the hard way. That the machine we have made for ourselves is a lie, and that even if we throw the machine away we have still betrayed ourselves and have come to do so habitually. We have come to think of ourselves as partial beings, and have lost touch with the process of mind as a whole. We call parts of it either psychosis or delusion and fantasy. But for all the toxins we have invented to help people achieve numb habituation, has mental illness gone away?
We medicate reliably, and it does indeed get worse. Because the mind as machine model is a lie. Even these artificially numbed people continue to do harm. My Mom is so heavily pickled in psycho pharmaceutical products that it is almost as if she’s dead, and for the purpose of my emotional history this happened when I was twelve years old. We don’t just alter one persons mind with drugs, we alter them all. At least in Shamanic cultures, there was a willingness to identify the effect of drugs in an intuitive way. Some were seen as helper and some as dangerous, and the human element was never ignored. What more realistic predictive model of drug and other therapy outcomes can we have than that?
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.