The conspiracy of the mind
How the mind creates our world: A yogic perspective
In times of crises the urge to find out the reasons behind the current situation produces an almost frivolous joy in suspecting there must be a form of conspiracy behind it all.
And actually i think that is quite right.
There are many hidden agendas, desires and interests operating behind the scenes on many levels which are not seen on the surface.
This is how the world functions, and this is exactly how the mind functions…in every one of us. Our deep thoughts, motivations, fears, hopes and ambitions remain largely hidden.
From the yogic view the world is a manifestation of our deep convictions, ideas, opinions, values and choices which have their roots in the mind.
The mind here in his collective aspect which creates and upholds manifest reality.
But of course, the collective mind is composed of many individual minds and here we have the opportunity to start the inquiry. Everybody can do that. In ourselves.
And the first point to consider could be:
* Maybe it is of great importance to find out with what ideas we feed our mind
and as a consequence to clearly see what we carry in our minds.
* maybe it is also important to become aware of the effect ideas and theories and outer impressions
create in us.
Maybe that is fundamentally even more important than to find some “truth” in the outward sense.
Although current conspiracy theories can be quite educating, stimulating, enlightening even, and at times entertaining, however, they almost always drag us down and result in propagating and feeding our “lower tendencies”, mostly fear, resentment and an overall strengthening of the egoic self.
The features that conspiracy theories seem to have are:
– they are based on something that sounds reasonable and convincing, as it could be possible.
(and who knows, maybe they are…) and we suddenly see evidence everywhere.
– you can’t really prove them (or disprove for that matter…)
– something or somebody is there to harm us and we are the victim.
– they activate deep inner feelings of suspense, doubt, mistrust and also perhaps resentment.
The working of the mind
The mind in its general setting is not always effective at finding out “how things really are” whilst there is a strong identification and psychological need.
In this condition we tend to use our outer involvement and conviction to strengthen separation and unwholesome mental patterns through the handy projection of our own inner stuff.
We will always stay on very shaky ground if we make the opinions and stories of the conditioned mind to the base from where we operate.
That said, it is also true that some narrative is somehow needed in order to function as human beings, at least to some extent. It seems to be the case that narratives can cause damage to ourselves and others – when born out of a psychological need – while other such patterns may lead us towards clarity, understanding and love.
The latter is only possible if we begin to loosen the grip of the conditioned mind and tap into what the yogis call the “unconditioned mind”.
Primarily uncovering the working and mechanics of the mind is absolutely essential if we want to know ourselves and how the “world” is, because on a fundamental level there is no difference.
One could even say: the world is as you see it…or as your mind is seeing it.
The 3 Minds
The outer mind (called Manas in yogic terms) is the reason the world is always as we see it. Or better, how we have unconsciously at some point chosen to see it. And if we get stuck in that we are bound and restricted.
On the level of Manas, each moment the mind interprets incoming sensory impressions, filters and translates it according to the accumulated storage in the unconscious and presents us with a coherent picture of the “world”, well, at least a ‘special’ version of it based on the already known, so that we feel on safe ground. We never really “know” how the world really is but experience it as a kind of interpretation. Manas works mainly in two categories:
like and dislike or classically stated as attraction and repulsion.
Of course this mechanism is somehow needed on a daily basis. As human beings we deep inside know that we are also very vulnerable and the unknown is always there waiting. And potentially in the unknown is chaos, danger and threat…
And perhaps we have a sense of a certain inevitability that we will have to experience at one point or another in our personal lives:
accidents, sickness, old age, breaking of relationships, ultimately death.
So, an extremely fast reaction is needed to find out if there is a possibility of danger.
The mind one could say functions here as a bastion against possible threat and disaster. On a daily basis mainly through seeking security, comfort and pleasure and avoiding the unpleasant
The Inner mind (Buddhi)
The higher rational function, the higher cognitive abilities of the mind is the intellect which translates the interpretation into abstract categories of judgement, moral values, justifications, strategies, theories, complex opinions and explanations and hierarchies. Buddhi can bind or attach us even more to the story the mind creates or it can function as a means for liberation through its ability to see through and the power of true intelligence e.g. discrimination between the transient and the essence.
Bondage and suffering occur when we are identified with the mind to such an extent that he becomes the ruler of our lives.
Or, to say it differently: there is no space in us. No heart, no participation, no softness and compassion, no surrender, no feeling of togetherness.
We experience ourselves as fundamentally separate from “others” and life in general.
We believe everything we think and feel and have strict opinions of how things are or should be.
This is torture. This is a ruthless dictator in our head which can be projected outwards or to ourselves…
Or to say it again differently: we are so afraid of the unknown that we cling desperately to that what our minds offer: A safe haven of explanations and ideas about us and the world…however strange.
Freedom – the unconditioned mind
Freedom comes into the picture when space occurs, space which is essentially empty and unconditioned as such and which is said to be the nature of the mind.
Sinking back in its own emptiness, vastness and silence the mind becomes an instrument again.
Useful but not the ultimate ruler.
How to do that? Here are just some ideas from Yoga and Ayurveda
1. Activation of the observer through contemplation, introspection and Meditation.
We actually really can observe our thoughts, feelings, opinions, emotions.
This is the way we start to create space within.
We will soon find out that the mind operates fundamentally always and on default as a big conspiracy theory itself.
It is a kind of organic computer who follows certain rules and algorithms.
The same old ideas, feelings, emotions, clouded in the old patterns of belief and assumptions with no real base at all. Just thoughts…
At the same time we see the creative power of the mind: it can create heaven or hell and can potentially believe anything.
2. Developing awareness for sensory input
the mind needs proper digestible intake for a balanced functioning. Positive and
wholesome stimulation on all levels through right food, reading, watching, listening, company and rest is essential. Overall negativ input, too much noise, too much violence through movies and mass media, general overstimulation is best avoided. Intake and reconnection to Nature, fresh air, positive thoughts and uplifting company is promoting balance and joy in life.
3. Coming back to feeling
we begin to give more attention to the underlying emotion, feeling and energetics than the thoughts itself.
4. Learning to live with uncertainty
This means slowly allowing ourselves to rest in the unknown, without the need of “knowing”.
A gradual cultivation of learning to acknowledge and accept ourselves, our fears, feelings of guilt, feelings of not being good enough, our anger… or whatever we carry in us.
this needs of course some honesty, to really see, ok, “this is how I feel, this is how I am!”
6. Nothing is permanent.
Contemplate and begin to accept and realize on an experiential (non-intellectual) level that everything will change and ultimately has to die.
7. Life is one and we are that
We realize that everything is connected and something greater (you can call it Life) than our personality moves us and lives through us, as us.
Ok, dears, this is not meant to deny the need for change or to see the unsustainable outer life and society we created. G5, Monsanto, industrial agriculture, the destructive power of big corporations, the exploitation of nature and the endless greed for more…all that is there.
But one can see that even more clearly when we first reconcile and accept ourselves and the outer world, as one!
If we see that we may become more careful about the choices we make, which products we buy, which values we follow, which life we want to live.
We may get interested in organic farming, Yoga, Ayurveda, vegetarian diet, meeting people who are interested in supporting friendship, tolerance and love, traveling more with the bicycle, creating sustainable business ideas…this is very individual and each one of us has to create his own expression which will inspire and affect friends, people, communities, towns, states, and the world…there is no separation
And some of us may have to uncover the mechanics and workings of the “bad guys” out there. If that is your calling, go ahead. Inform us, open our eyes with the “story behind the story”. If our inner eyes are open this will not distract us or feed our alienation but fuel our determination and desire for freedom and truth – and this is perhaps the best way to care for the earth and one another.
Om Namah Shivaya!
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu!