Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Some time ago I lead a workshop entitled, "identity." I had drawn a neutered figure of a human being on a piece of paper: arms no hands, round face, no hair, nose, eyes, ears, torso, legs no feet, and gave each participant a copy. I instructed them to write down every thing, in a column, that they believed identifies their selves' as "me." A curious thing happened before the participants begin to write their identities down, many of them felt compelled to complete the neutered form by drawing in hair, eyes, nose, ears, lips, hands, and feet, according to their race and gender . It seemed to me that they had a personal need to fill in the blank spaces because they had already identified their selves' with that neuter form. My next instruction was to take those identifying features, and select and place each feature under four categories: physical/material features, psychological/mental features, emotional/sensitivity features, and spiritual/religious features. I advised them that they could change, add on or subtract, any of the identities of the four columns as they wished. My next instruction was to rank each of the four classifications and their specific identifications in terms of their importance to them: either, high, medium, or low, and their accompanying feelings of either, happiness, joy or bliss.
What I was intending to do with all the above classifications is to awaken an awareness within the participants that their identifications make up a defining matrix for their living persona. There are obvious questions that should be asked and answered within this identification process: "What is it about our identifications that allows us so incidentally, to attach them to our selves, and what is the process that makes it possible?" The simple answer to both of these questions is, the processor is our mind. Our minds are an essential piece of the unity of the cosmic technology that make up human beings. Our minds are a highly sophisticated soft-ware implanted within our bodies. Our minds are always on, 24/7, 365. and are subtle and fluid, moving quickly in and out, attaching to our memories-past, present, and projecting memories into would-a, could-a, should-a, stories. The ancient alchemists claimed that the most powerful qualities of mind are: will, imagination, and faith, and also added a qualifier, "desire" as the instigator. Our mind is agile, flitting from one thing to another, seemingly beyond our conscious control, excuse the following pun, our mind seems to have a mind of its own. Our mind is so frenetic because it is seeking, under a unrelenting cosmic urge, to find repose, and not just repose but total repose, total peace, total fulfillment. This cosmic urge is built into the technology of all manifestation.
The mind is not an objective thing, but encompasses many functions, and one of these functions is intelligence. The mind's intelligence is qualified evolutionarily, to the dimension of the physical world. It receives memories and sensations from the senses, and then asserts direction from our lived experiences. This part of our mind we call our intellect, and our intellect is built to dissect, to discriminate one thing from another. Once your intellect identifies with something, you begin to move within the sphere of what has been identified. Whatever you are identified with, all your thoughts and emotions evolve from that identification. It is your identity that determines your intellect. I can hear you saying to yourself, "What!!!!." Our mind is usually considered on an equal par to our brain, however our brain is the physical computer, a desk-top, if you will, of the mind. The mind can bridge the physical dimension, and can exist naturally in the higher cosmic, or if you will, spiritual dimensions.
Our minds are the frenetic, primary culprit for our inability to bring it under our control. The mind operating within the material plane can satisfactorily maneuver, with its quality of rationality, bringing a level of consciousness for survival. However, because of its lack of complete repose brings mostly suffering, stress, and anxiety to our lives. St. Augustine is said to have said, para-phasing, "I can tell my finger to move and it responses, but when I command my mind to do something it has other ideas." Those spiritual seekers who try to discipline their mind tell us "It is like lassoing the wind," Yet, as Yoda might say, "Difficult yes, impossible no."
So, the difficulty with controlling our mind is it's fleeting quality, its magnetic ability to identify itself with objects, ideas, senses, and emotions. You maybe asking yourself, is there a practice or an assortment of practices I can use to control my mind? Let us take an example, you are driving with a friend, and suddenly a car passes you and cuts in front of you, nearly hitting your car. You become enraged, yelling and screaming. Your friend tells you to take several deep breaths. You take the advice and almost magically you calm down, but it takes more time for your emotions to settle. The seekers of mind control tell us that the mind follows the breath. So, you can control your mind by using breathing techniques. Seekers of mental control tell us that using a mantram is another practice to help control the mind. A mantram or Holy Name, is a powerful spiritual formula which has the capacity to transform consciousness when it is repeated silently in the mind. The mantram works to steady the mind, and all those enflaming emotions and anxieties. Select a mantram that appeals to you deeply. My mantram is "Father." Another powerful practice that fits in with our mind control is meditation. Meditation is the most powerful practice for control of your mind. Essentially, you sit quietly with yourself, paying attention to your breath, going in, and going out. Some Zen Masters are known to have sat for fifteen hours or more, and some gurus have sat for days.
Let us bring the discussion back to identity, and tie it into the elements of the above. Our lives dwell within the dominant, evolutionary period of our current material world. We perceive the objectivity of this world as unqualified truth, and fix our intellect and rational around identifying with specific objects that fit in with our perception of ourselves: body, gender, family, qualifications, society, race, creed, community, nation. etc. Our perception originates from our intellect which is rationalized
by dissecting one thing from another, and then making a judgment which is the more valuable. This judgment process brings in a certain amount of prejudice, because it functions from limited data derived from our discrinatory intellect. So, each feature of your identity is a choice made under the auspicious of most value or belief or opinion.
At this point, you are identified with so many labels, and at the same time trying to employ practices for the control of your mind, a task which is too difficult. Make your first goal to disencumber your intellect with your identifications, thus freeing you up to move naturally toward your ultimate nature. It seems that every human being has self hypnotized themselves into their own fixed boundaries, and believe they must live within the limitations of that reality. If you can undo that hypnotism, your life will move from suffering to joy. You will become like a child again.
THE PLAY OF LIFE
As human beings living in our material world we constantly
move through a wave of conditions and circumstances.
Our lives seem to be constantly bombarded by them. They
are the realm and environment in which we navigate. If we
are not prepared to deal with them they bring us suffering,
stress, and anxiety, a triple threat to our stability.
The conditions and circumstances are schools through which
we pass to invoke within us, knowledge which we can process
into a foundation of wisdom. And when our foundation is built
strong and sturdy, no amount of negativity can brake our
stability, we will remain "four square."
Stand forthright, my companions, with integrity and right action
inherit the bounty of your gained wisdom, and then share it with