Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Revisiting the Past

We are all products of our history. Genetics, sure, but how we interact with the world, how we see it is, a product of the events we have survived. We are the result of our triumphs and our losses.

Everything you have been through has culminated in a YOU, pure and perfect. Not flawless, not perfect in the sense of a symmetrical crystal. Perfect in the sense that you are the ultimate you. There are no imitations, no one who will ever out-do you in youness. In this second, you are exactly what you are.

But humans just can't seem to be satisfied with that. It's not enough to survive, remember, grieve, cherish, assimilate and grow. They have the power of memory- fragile and corruptable as it is, more a composite created than a recording. They use the memory, revisiting the past. It's not a bad thing, for most people. Events need to be remembered to be assimilated. They need to be analyzed to discover their lessons. It is important to check your actions and be sure they are in line with what you think are your ethics (the action, not the thought, will always be the truth, but you can will action to thoughts and create a new truth).

But sometimes people revisit pain to little purpose. To learn, to forgive and grow, to understand and to heal are good reasons to revisit pain. To hold onto pain as a shield and an excuse serves nothing but the little chattering conscious mind that wants to hide from its own strength and never risk growth.

The conscious mind is the weakest aspects of our brain. It is merely the words on the computer screen- the actual thinking is much deeper and in a far older and simpler code. What we "remember" is what our conscious mind can dig up and share, and research has shown again and again that more of it is created than actually recalled. The memories have been subtly (or grossly) twisted to fit our present needs.

This is the first danger of introspection. The unexamined life may not be worth living, but often what is being examined isn't the life at all, but an edited and airbrushed child's painting of the life.

Combined with the human mind's need to find patterns and our infinite creativity, excessive introspection brings a second danger. Seekers who continuously strive to go deeper and deeper into their own consciousness at some point are no longer finding insights but creating them, manufacturing not just a psuedo-enlightenment but even entire imaginary problems and life-altering events.

There is a reason why true meditation disciplines are based on silencing the monkey chatter in the mind. That is the conscious part, the weakest part, the part that can't tell an object in your hands from the idea or the word. Because everything is already assimilated... just not in the 'word' part of your mind. And the word part is too small to handle it anyway. But it's there if you can just keep the chattering monkey's hands off it.


Anonymous said...

Making up introspections is why we Jews aren't allowed to study Torah alone--you can lead yourself into error without another human being there, criticizing your thinking.

Integrating gut knowledge and conscious knowledge is one of the hardest things I've ever done, and the most rewarding.

Anonymous said...

And then there's the Universal knowledge - that level of consciousness that connects everything. Some call it God, or Allah, or the Absolute, or Nirvana. A rose by any other name -- . (Interesting how this statement in some venues and lands can get you killed - how fearful is that?). The level that contains all knowledge, all the laws of nature, the level of Universal Consciousness, if you will. A level of all power, possibilities, bliss. Finding this level and living from it is easy, but not usual. Finding it is multi-pathed but takes discipline like anything else. Reading the Torah with others, a good old-time Baptist gathering, deep solo meditation. I think most of our troubles come from fighting the nature of the mind to naturally seek this level.

The Moody Minstrel said...


What "anonymous" is saying sounds eerily similar to Gnosticism. Look how quickly the Roman Catholic church wiped the Gnostics out as soon as it was created. MUCH too intellectual, right? Can't have people searching for the truth when they can be forced to depend on the authorities to find it, right?

I think our "animal" nature can't help but resist our finding that inner connection because doing so requires abandoning one's sense of self. It's literally a self-preservation instinct. If you can overcome that, you can claim to be on the path to enlightenment.

Rory said...

Kai- I've read a bit of Maimonides and it seems that the Jewish philosophers are very careful to point out that just because a conclusion is reasonable or logical doesn't mean it is right. It becomes a thing of guts and brains and being comfortable with uncertainity- it is rewarding.

Kevin- Mac is more gnostic than you know, when he's not being something else. You should meet the next time you're in the area.

Mac- The problem I see most is that people assume the big knowledges even the universal, will be just like the other knowledge that they have of grammar or math or chemistry. They want it to be either words or at least dissectable by words... so if they don't find a truth they can dissect, they create one and call it Truth and spread it. Bastards.

Anonymous said...

Exactly! Living comfortably with ambiguity/uncertainty is a mature behavior.

Kai Jones