|22 Jul 2010 @ 13:16, by Jeffrey Trenton Crace|
To take this or that turn, to form this relationship or that relationship, to thrust one's body toward the laboratory or the monastery...modifying all of that, are the machinations of the mind.
The mind itself does nothing. The mind is akin to the driver of a carriage. It is truly the horses that cover the distance. The driver can set direction and pace: to stop, to proceed, to turn left, to turn right. The mind--its ideas, conceptions, significances, associations, observations, lines of reasoning, computations--creates direction.
The mind receives information or signals from "out there"; think of the mind in that case as a camera that takes snapshots of the world "out there." From these snapshots, the mind commits its other functions, forms these snapshots into ideas, extrapolates, calculates, associates... But it all begins with snapshots of "out there." These snapshots function as an interface between a person and his or her reality. They are what passes from outside to inside.
It bears noting that a snapshot can never exhaust reality. Reality is much too broad, too deep for that. These snapshots are finite portayals of what is in its essence, infinite. The very word "perceive" means "through a filter." Some things come in, some things stay out.
Is the mind always and inevitably misleading then? By the same token, will the driver of a carriage always lead his passangers off of the edge of a cliff? Certainly not. Not if he is monitored and managed, scrutinized with an air of neutrality and clarity. Not if he is made to serve, rather than being made a master into which we put our most sincerest, and blindest faith.
These snapshots, or representations, or signals, are assumed to represent what is actually there, through passive reception. Gathering these impressions, we attempt to create a perfect reflection of what we see outside of ourselves. We attempt to craft a perfectly correlative model within our personal space of what is outside of our personal space. In short, we try to map the territory. We are the cartographers of no-man's land.
Yet, at some point, the mind no longer remains passive, it becomes active. No longer merely an instrument that receives signals of what's there, it decides what could ever be there. What one sees and does not see, becomes what one can ever see and cannot ever see.
Because from these snapshots, a person will form ideas about what to expect from reality. These ideas become fixed, or permanently held and consistently unchallenged. The person will cling to these fixed ideas about what is "out there."
This creates a feedback loop. A feedback loop is where the results of a process--that's the feedback--are fed back into the process whereby more results are gathered and fed back into the process. In our case, the mind draws in actualities. The contents of that reception, that is the feedback, the results of perception. Those signals are turned into fixed ideas about reality which are projected back upon reality, those projections are re-internalized, and so on.
This is what the Taoists called, "The mind becoming its own teacher." The mind first plays the role of the student, passively consuming information about reality. It then turns around and becomes the teacher of reality, telling itself what it can and cannot see. When the mind becomes both the student and the teacher of reality, much of reality can become...ignored.
Beyond missing out on much of what could truly be out there, there is another consequence that can devastate one's freedom and efficacy. The most dangerous of computations can arise from this error, when the mind becomes its own teacher. It is:
INABILITY = INCAPABILITY
What that means is that what you cannot do now, you can never do. There is another way to render this computation. It is:
WHAT IS NOT ACTUAL IS IMPOSSIBLE
What that means is that what a person has never done, or seen done, is impossible.
Now when applied to certain realms, this computation seems utterly crazy...and other realms, it seems to make perfect sense to people.
For instance, many people can drive a car. Not many people can drive an 18-wheeler. Many people have an inability to drive an 18-wheeler. Yet most of these people would never say that just because they have an inability to drive an 18-wheeler that that means they have an incapability to do so.
One difference apparently is that even if one cannot drive an 18-wheeler oneself, one sees others doing it all over the place. The notion that driving an 18-wheeler is impossible never becomes a fixed idea that people project upon reality. Seems rather silly actually...
In other realms, this computation makes perfect to people...or so it would seem. For instance, when it comes to viewing Time in its entirety, all at once, including all of one's past lives and future rebirths (asavakkhya); when it comes to reading others thoughts (Cetopariya); when it comes to communicating telepathically; when it comes to healing one's body without medication; when it comes to exteriorizing from space-time altogether--all of these are inabilities for most people. Yet, many would say that they are simply incapable of these certain...faculties. They might say that they are impossible. Why? What's the difference between operating an 18-wheeler and using these certain faculties?
First of all, again, people can see others driving 18-wheelers all around them--it is actual. Most people do not ever see others around them displaying these certain faculties of higher awareness--they are not actual. In accordance with that peculiar and inane computation, what is not actual is impossible, therefore they are impossible.
It's simple to understand. A little girl grows up never, ever seeing certain events transpire. Like, she probably never sees an ill person sit down with another person, and during the course of their conversation, the ill person becomes healed. In fact, that little girl grows up to see that the only thing "healing" people are chemicals. At some point, there are decisions made within her mind. This becomes a fixed and dearly held notion. That's the word belief means, "dearly held." She decides that the only means to heal one's body are chemicals.
These are the thought-patterns that people carry around with them, banishing so many possibilities from the realm of acceptable reality. For everyone, there is a line. A line at which inabilities become incapabilities. Yet under the light of honest inquiry, the computation proves to be pure nonsense. Simply because one does not ever observe others in their world committing this action or that action does not mean that that action is impossible.
The crux of the issue is perhaps that driving an 18-wheeler does not conflict with a person's worldview, a person's overriding idea of what shape the world should take. It does not conflict with many people's ideas about who they are, how their beingness as such automatically limits their perception. Those who would irrevocably identify themselves with their bodies may say that their identity as such renders certain abilities impossible; that the body is simply not capable of such awareness. Again, an inability is not an incapability. Merely because one is inside of a body and employs its limited channels for seeing and doing now, in one's current state, does not necessarily mean that that cannot change. It may very well be what-is, i.e. currently one is one's body. And if it is what-is, then it would detrimental and counter-productive to deny it. However, if it is what is, that in and of itself says nothing about what could be.
That truth alone is revolutionary. Actuality is not potentiality. "What is" and "what could be" should be held separate and distinct for they are separate and distinct. What mediates between the two is change. When they become collapsed in on one another, change gets crushed and change gets lost. Once that happens, one will have more and more of what one already has. What can one do to change any of the conditions of life is one's inabilities have been rendered into incapabilities?
Once one beholds and embraces the notion that change is real and at hand, that the conditions of now, be them any limitation or condition need not be inaccessible and never-ending, then one has truly opened one's mind. Once one fully realizes that inability does not equal incapability, that actual does not mean forever actual... Once one illuminates these blind and unconscious computations, these inane beliefs that work their silent doom in the background of our lives, then...change is real.
Then, it becomes not a question of action, of whether one can do or not do. Through the immense power of honest and unbiased inquiry, the clouds of doubt will dissipate revealing a new and exhilirating curiousity. The true seeker does not ask whether it can be done or not. The true seeker asks only , how can it be done.