04 October 2010
Rewiring Neural Pathways for Higher Awareness
Those who study truth as taught by those who have become enlightened see the limitations of conventional psychology quite clearly. Studying the works of Freud is one thing, but a Zen master is on an entirely different level and can solve many more problems, and generally with greater ease because their understanding of the mind and reality is much deeper. Freud was still identified with being the mind, while the enlightened are identified with the Awareness that is able to silently watch the mind from an outside perspective. The first one thinks about what the truth might be, while the other is the Truth (with a capital "T"), and therefore truly knows the Truth. True knowing involves being that which is to be known, otherwise it's nothing more than mere speculation and intellection. This article is for those who are ready to go beyond the intellect.
The brain is basically a computer that automatically plays the programs (society's beliefs) that are put into it. The neural pathways, thought processes, and mental associations of the brain become ingrained and habitual, thus perpetuating the same behaviors and thought processes over and over again. Just as a drop of water will continuously and repetitively flow down the same pathway after the first drop originates the way, the energy flowing through the brain's neural network will do the same.
The good news however, is that we can change those neural pathways; first, by realizing that we can, second, by wanting to change the brain's thought processes, and third, by choosing to adopt different (more positive ) ways of perceiving "reality". The only way to change those repetitive thought processes, and to create new neural pathways, is to let go of the mental concepts that one currently thinks are "true". In doing so, energy starts flowing throughout the brain in different directions to different parts of the brain, thus contributing to new neural pathways and new ways of thinking and perceiving. The more we purposefully think in a different manner, the easier it becomes, and eventually that becomes the brain's new way of automatically thinking. With this understanding it becomes quite apparent why Buddha said "What we think, we become".
When we focus on the negative, we perpetuate the negative. When we focus on the positive, we perpetuate the positive.
When a person says "that's just the way I am" or "I can't help it, I am what I am", that's not quite true. They are who they are because of what they are currently aware of, and because of the way they choose to think and perceive. Absolutely everything is a choice, but people don't realize it. The problem is that they simply aren't aware that they can change the mind's way of thinking, and that's because they identify those thoughts as being "me" or "important", when they're not.
The heart pumps blood all by itself without you doing it, the lungs breath air all by themselves without you doing it, and the brain associates concepts with other concepts all by itself. The mind is thinking completely on its own. It has nothing to do with "you". If you look inside even for a brief minute you'll see that words, thoughts and thinking are completely automatic. The brain works all by itself, which means that you are not the doer of deeds, nor the thinker of thoughts.
The body is a collective community of individually living cells that are all co-operating together to make a larger whole. The brain's neural network, and its thoughts and thinking are just another part of that overall cellular functioning. So if the mind and body are working all by themselves as a result of cells doing work, why do we identify the mind's thoughts and the body's actions as being "me"? Are we the mind and body, or are we the Energy/Life/Consciousness/Awareness within the body that is simply aware of itself as existing? Are we the mind and body, or are we the Awareness that is watching the body/mind's automatic functioning? Are we the physical doer and thinker, or are we the formless Silent Observer?
Out of being identified with the body/mind, we are being controlled by it. We are enslaved by it because we falsely identify it as being "me". But this is just a part of the evolution of consciousness that we all go through. The ultimate goal of life, and really the only one worth pursuing, is to set oneself free from this false identification that creates suffering.
You are the silent formless Awareness that is aware of the mind, its random babblings, and its irrelevant thinking. That thinking is irrelevant because Silence is all-knowing, which explains perfectly why people experience sudden epiphanies, insights, and intuition in moments of inner quietude. Epiphanies happen in the Silence of the mind, not because of the mind, but the mind likes to mistakenly take credit for those brilliant ideas that come out of seemingly nowhere. The mind thinks it "knows", but only Silence actually does.
As long as one thinks their current physical sense and brain perceptions of "reality" are "the truth", one will never come to realize otherwise.
Words, concepts, and perceptions have nothing to do with reality because they are only based on the interpretations of human anatomy. Every different species of animal on the planet perceives their reality differently because their physical senses and brain work differently. A dog's sense of smell will give it a completely different sense of "reality" than that of any other species on the planet, an elephant's sense of hearing will give it a completely different sense of reality than that of any other kind of animal, and a fly's sense of vision will be entirely different than that of any other type of animal. Every different dog or human will also sense and perceive things differently than every other dog and human as well.
To think that a human's perception, or your individual mind's perception, of "reality" is "the truth" would mean that every other living thing on the planet that has a different perception of reality is "false". That simply cannot be true. If it's all relative, all subject to change, and is only based on one's level of current awareness, then it's all irrelevant.
To think that the mental concepts in one's own brain are "the truth" is nothing more than the mind's egoic wishful thinking. The ego has a superiority complex. It likes to be "right", and it will try to perpetuate that notion in whatever way it can. Individual perceptions, opinions, concepts, and thoughts are not at all important, but the ego/mind/brain/intellect likes to think that they are, and it often sees this kind of information as a threat even though it's the solution to one's problems. There comes a time when we eventually realize that thinking is the original underlying source of all conflict, hardship, and suffering, and at that point we choose to start letting the thinking process dissipate as it arises, or before it arises.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder because of the mind's perceptions of, and beliefs about, so-called "reality". Things are only seductive, attractive, and tempting out of an automatic result of biology, anatomy, and unawareness of higher levels of truth. Without the mind interfering, everything just IS; nothing more, nothing less, and there's nothing wrong with that. Existence is perfect exactly as it is and it doesn't need the opinions of a faulty neural network running on autopilot to tell it that it is or isn't.
The brain/mind is faulty in that it can't decipher truth from falsehood, but at the same time it's perfect because it is what it wants to be. People think what they do because that's what they want to be "the truth". Everybody can believe what they want to believe, even if it means their own suffering.
"There is nothing either good or bad, but only thinking makes it so." - William Shakespeare, Hamlet
The only Absolute Reality is that Awareness Is, and as soon as the mind tries to conceptualize that "Is" into a thought form, it's already falling into error. All words and concepts beside "Is" are a mental distortion of Reality based on fantasy, fiction, and the wishful thinking of the mind. Actually, even "Is" is a concept that is best to be let go of in order to realize the ultimate in peace of mind. Why? Because silence of mind means peace of mind.
So "what is enlightenment?" you might be asking at this point. Well, it's the permanent cessation of all concepts, thoughts, and perceptions of the ego/mind/brain/intellect, and it's the full-blown realization that one's true identity is actually formless, shapeless, timeless, non-local, all-encompassing, all-knowing pure Awareness. And don't even think about trying to imagine that with the mind!
By: Jarett Sabirsh