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meaning | ˈmēni ng |
what is meant by a word, text, concept, or action
intended to communicate something that is not directly expressed

| ˈmēni ng fəl |
having meaning
• having a serious, important, or useful quality or purpose

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Akram asks, "How do I lose my mind?"

Akram asks, "How do I lose my mind?"

Hi Akram:

By "How do I lose my mind?" I assume you mean how does one step outside of living a mental existence whereby our every action is controlled and governed by the egoic Mind? Most often we identify with our Mind's thoughts via the perpetual voice in our heads, but beyond that internal dialogue, there is this mental part of us that auto-pilots us through life.

And by asking how we can lose this part of us, we're actually stepping into distinguishing "what" we are. In Plato's Allegory of the Cave, he describes people watching shadows projected on a wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them. Like windows unto reality, these viewers believe that the cave shadows are reality. He then explains how someone who is freed from the cave comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not constitutive of reality at all, as they can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows.

The Allegory of the Cave is an important part of this understanding. Can you imagine if some shadows appeared on the cave wall and explained to the viewers that they weren't viewing true reality? The very reality to which they were subscribed would seem incredible in its claim that it was not true. After all, if the shadows weren't real then how could one believe what they have to say?

Such is the problem in asking this question and understanding the answer. The question itself is asked by the logical Mind and the answer will ultimately be considered by the Mind itself. This is akin to asking the warden if a prisoner should be freed. The Mind is not likely to accept any answer which results in it losing control of you.

Understanding this paradox is critical to accepting the answer to your question. And this raises a larger trend in humanity to seek logical answers to life's problems. It is as if we can climb to the top of the mountain to ask the guru the secrets of life and conclude, "Wow, why didn't I think of that?"

The truth of the matter is that the answers you've already come up with on your own represent the extent to which the human Mind can answer this question. The answer exists beyond the logical ways of the Mind. And the egoic, control oriented Mind is not likely to agree with any answer that results in its loss. Thus to accept the answer to your question, you must step outside of the Mind and into the self to which you aspire.

But how does one do that? How does one step into an identify of self that we don't yet understand?

The answer is faith. Despite being commonplace in our society, faith is not logical and not the favored approach of the Mind. I'm not conveying that faith is the answer to your question, but rather that your path to the answer will require faith beyond the logical ways of your Mind.

So as we prepare to address this topic we expect that the Mind will object. You can be assured that your Mind will protest by saying, "That isn't true." Or, "I don't believe that." And like pleading our release to the Warden, we shouldn't be surprised to hear our Mind object.

But wait a second, "Isn't the Warden doing his job?"

Did we not hire the Warden for a reason? Do we really think that firing the Warden will result in a more peaceful society? Will the inmates live in harmony if we fire the Warden? Or is it possible that the Warden serves a purpose but he has assumed too much responsibility?

So as we explore this new identification of self and method for managing our lives, we can have empathy for the Warden. We can assure him that he won't be terminated. He won't have full autonomy to run our lives anymore, but he won't be fired either. Thus we aren't really seeking to lose the Mind but rather to let the Mind play a valuable, but balanced, role in our lives.

But to move the Mind to a healthy co-manager position in our life, we must introduce what we are. If we're not the shadows on the wall, then presumably "we" are what is watching the shadows. And if that isn't the Mind, then what are we?

As you're well aware, you're not just a Mind but you're also a physical Body as well. If you were in a coma, your Body would still function but your Mind would be offline. Thus you are both a Body and a Mind.

But you're more than a Mind and a Body. You also have a Spiritual aspect to your "self." Thus you're not just one of these "parts" but you're actually the combination of the Body, Spirit and Mind.

And this is where consciousness enters the equation. Your consciousness comes from more than just the logical thoughts of your Mind. Your sensations and feelings contribute to your overall consciousness too. Thus what "you" are is the collective consciousness of your Body, Spirit and Mind in this lifetime.

The time aspect of this understanding is important because your physical Body and your Mind will not survive your physical death. Your Spirit will remain and so, in one sense, you are pure Spirit. But in this lifetime, you are the collective consciousness of all three. And since it is in this lifetime that you're managing your life, it is in this collective consciousness that you must emerge.

As you can see, our goal is not to be "not-Mind" or to be "pure Spirit" but rather to achieve harmony and balance amongst our Body, Spirit and Mind. We want the three to work together as a team. Just like on the playground, we're asking the three parts of us to play nice.

Hold on a second, you're not evaluating this with the logical ways of your Mind are you? If so, you're already starting to mount the objections as to why this isn't true. That's OK, but recognize that your Mind is doing this because it is on the defensive. As much as we can find balance in this collective consciousness, this is new territory for the Mind and it is skeptical.

So how do we move into this harmonious existence without letting our Mind taint our experience? The answer is to enliven the Body and Spirit in order to bring them into the conversation.

If you've read my book or followed me online, you're well aware of the check-in I advise for the end of each day:

What have I done today to nurture my Body?
What have I done today to nurture my Spirit?
What have I done today to nurture my Mind?

By energizing our Body, Spirit and Mind (yes, the Mind too) we bring the three parts of us into one. And by engaging each part of us on a daily basis, we bring our lives into balance.

It is true that this practice won't silence the voice in our heads. But that is not our goal. Our hope is to bring the Spirit and Body into the conversation. By learning their languages and appreciating their input, we find that the way we navigate through life becomes less egoic, less hateful, less divisive and more expansive. And thus the opposite is true too that our lives become more "we" than "I," more loving, more uniting and in harmony with God.

Start small by growing and calming the Body, Spirit and Mind. In this the connective bonds between them will become stronger and your Mind will release its dominant control of your life. It is possible but you must have faith.


Darwin Stephenson

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