Q: Roy, I’ve read and re-read your blog and it seems that what you are saying is that the brain is really the culprit. Is that right? If so, what can anyone do to get out of their brain?
A: The principal activity of the brain is to represent the world that is external to it. The principal activity of the mind is to protect the body.
All sense perceptions are filtered through the mind before they become experience. The senses, by their very nature, chase after pleasant sensations. That explains why we want to hear great music, see beautiful sights, eat delicious foods, etc.
Yet, this enjoyment is the snare; it binds us to the sensate world. Involvement of any type binds.
The brain receives these sensations and creates representations, objective forms. As such, the brain is a form generating machine. In sensory deprivation, the brain continues to create forms. We call these hallucinations.
In the pure mind (if one could call it that) of the infant, no interpretation occurs.
Whatever comes and goes is a mental creation only. When one abides behind the mental, all that is permanent shines.
I prefer not to use words like outer and inner. They are only relevant from the point of view of the body. When I say that you live in the house, but you are not the house, this is easily accepted. Yet when I say you live in the body but are not the body, people go nuts because this challenges the very underpinnings of “me”.
Here’s the paradox: The brain cannot know what is beyond the brain, but the brain is known by what is beyond it.
Next, I am extremely wary and skeptical of anyone selling “becoming”. While I’ll concede that “personal development” can be a most profitable business model, the reality is that all movement toward “becoming” ignores the essence that is already present. As such, adding more to the seeming person cannot be the answer. We’ve all tried acquiring more, becoming this or that, countless times. Those who are still seeking speak to the lack of efficacy of this strategy.
Rather, I have found great success placing the focus on what needs removal. When the non-essential is gone, what remains is the essential dimensionless centre of perception, the actualization of the inevitable in now, here, the eternal instant.
In the end, every true guru’s core teaching ultimately is the same: “You wrongly believe that you are this and that; in truth, you are only That”.
Each can have a look for themselves. Inadvertence imprisons whereas attention liberates.
Each of us carries thousands of deeply ingrained response mechanisms in the brain that require no conscious attention as they operate below the threshold of self-consciousness. Riding a bicycle is one example, driving a car is another.
Look at the simple task of opening a door. We extend the hand. It feels the knob where it expects it to be. The knob is the shape and texture the system expects it to be. It turns in the direction and manner that is expected. We grasp, turn, push or pull and the door opens.
It is only when situations or events in the world violate the brain’s expectations that self conscious awareness comes online. In other words, when these systems are conflicted by the task, you become consciously aware of the problem.
Our neurology is a personal set of rules in our genes that provide instructions on how to build the brain, what it comes preloaded with, and the innate biases we have. For example, most of us fear snakes and predators with big sharp teeth. Those innate fears increase the chances of our survival. You don’t want to have to learn these fears because you might not have a second chance.
The function of the brain is to generate behavior that is appropriate to the environmental circumstances to insure its continuity. As I said, there is a lot of software that comes prebundled with the hardware. We arrive in this world with many reactions already in place. The software can be called human nature, not as in a global human nature, but an individual, unique nature.
What we perform consciously is truly a small fragment of our total activity, of which we happen to be aware. When we stop to consider how much of what we do daily is run by systems below the level of our awareness, we must come away asking: “What am I really?”
What you take yourself to be is merely the result of inattention. It is a deficiency disease, the deficiency of attention.
The three main reasons that people avoid investigating their beliefs are that:
It may demand a change in the beliefs. The confirmation bias comes into action when people seek out information that only confirms their beliefs rather than disproves them. Therefore, political conservatives watch Fox News, liberals watch MSNBC, etc.
A change in beliefs may require us to take undesired actions. Revealing those weird symptoms to your doctor may mean you have to undergo painful testing. Sometimes it seems like it’s better not to know.
A change in beliefs may result in unpleasant emotions.
Whether we try to verify the validity of our beliefs or avoid doing so depends on these:
The more we expect disruptive news, the more effort we make to avoid it.
When we feel we have less control over the consequences of receiving new information, we are more strongly motivated to avoid it.
When people feel they’re not equipped to handle distressing information at the moment then they’re more likely to avoid it.
But the truth is that things are as they are, only because you accept them as they are. Imagination is the theatre of the mind; it is that uniquely human ability to create what isn’t. So much appears to be real only because you believe in it. But you cannot deem something real merely because you are engrossed in it.
When you can acknowledge that what you imagine may not be the way things really are, you have taken the first step. What must then ensue to answer all your questions is for you to question all your answers.