#74 May ’15

The Conditioned Mind

The conditioned mind will continue to find reasons to deny any other possible reality. By its very nature, the conditioned mind can only accept that which it has become comfortable with, the familiar.

It will not put up barriers to learning new ways, new ways will simply not be within the realm of possibility. The conditioned mind will be incapable of viewing the world in any way other than that which it has become accustomed to. So it will endeavour to rationalise any new information from within the confines of its own experience.

It is this fundamental issue that prevents ‘us’ from realising the true nature of mind, the unlimited potential that is who we are. ‘We’ cannot realise this true nature of mind while we continue to run questions through the same paradigm that prevents us from simply being in another state. We cannot even begin to comprehend what the true nature of mind is, for those caught in the conditioned mind this ‘true nature of mind’ remains some vague concept, not accessible, or knowable.

We have been conditioned to look outside of ourselves for answers, for goals and objectives, to always seek to create, or manifest based upon the desires of the conditioned mind. Invariably the conditioned mind is polarised, being brought up in a world of separation, of judgements and blame, continually externalising. In such a polarised state there will be a constant need to question, to sort through various options in order to select the best path. We will be caught in a never ending story, looking for a way out but looking in all the wrong places.

The reason we keep looking outside of the self for answers, the reason we try harder to achieve more is the constant association with an ‘i.’  We have become so conditioned to associate phenomena, thoughts, emotions, feelings, to truly believe that they are ‘our’ thoughts, emotions, feelings, that we spend our lives trying to satisfy the perceived needs of this ‘i.’

For someone who has glimpsed this true nature of mind it is no longer possible to seek answers outside of the self, indeed, there is no self that needs to seek. And herein of course, lies the biggest challenge that we face along any perceived journey. The fact that there is no ‘i.’ There is no one to seek, no where to go, no thing to do, no journey, no goals.

The Buddha was reported to have said that the hardest part of the ‘journey’ was the last part, the letting go completely of any sense of the ‘i’ and ‘i’ that doesn’t exist, has never existed and will never exist. We can see how all ‘problems’ on the world can be brought back to this attachment to the ‘i.’ It is also easy to see why it is so difficult to let go of any attachment to the ‘i’ in part because the rest of the world seems to be taking ‘it’self very seriously indeed, a hard one to break free from and our ‘own’ conditioning that is trapped in a world of justifications.

The letting go of the ‘i’ could be the ultimate non attachment. While we still believe that the ‘i’ is who we are, we continue to believe that ‘we’ are on a journey. That there is some where to go, something to achieve, something that is going to make us feel valued, something that will take us to a place where we are free from the everyday worries of life. This belief is the very thing that we need to move beyond and is also the very thing that blocks us from realising that which ‘we’ seek is not ‘out there.’

It may be that a sudden realisation that there is no ‘i’ could be quite traumatic as the body has a conditioned way of seeing life. Remove that conditioning and the body is easily lost in trying to anchor itself to something that makes sense. This need to understand may well pull us back into the body and the ‘i’, in fact, it is quite possible that we are truly living in the true nature of mind most of the time, it is only when we stop to question the manifesting reality that we step back into the ‘i.’

This happens without our realising it, for if there is no subject / object, no witness to our thoughts words and actions, then there can be no comparison. If there is no one observing, no one comparing,  no one questioning, then there remains the true nature of mind. It is only when we return to comparing, blaming, judging and identifying consciously with the phenomena that we return to the subject / object, witness based perceptions, back into the world of duality.

Whilst we believe there to be an ‘i’ on a journey then the least we can do is to prepare the mind / body for the moment the ‘i’ drops away. Prepare so that we are more easily able to accept the lack of the ‘i’ and not go into a state of shock or denial.

So, we practice non attachment to possessions. We see ourselves more as caretakers rather than owners, whilst we have something, we take care of it, but we do not get attached to the objects. Becoming attached to the physical world is a trap causing you to be more concerned with losing your possessions than simply enjoying them.

Next we practice non attachment to the emotions that arise in our awareness. We recognise that emotions are simply the chemical product of a conditioned way of thinking. The emotions are no more ours than the music coming from a radio belongs to the radio. The body, we realise, is simply a device, a magnificent device, but a device nonetheless that is interpreting what it perceives to be external signals that it picks up into chemicals. The emotions are the product of this interaction the body has with is ‘external’ environment.

And when we are ready we practice non attachment to the thoughts that arise. Because the thoughts are directly related to the world we manifest we realise that by continuing to identify with and thus energise old thoughts we are simply recreating the old world. When we can notice a thought and let it go, we allow a new thought to arise, practice letting that new thought go as well, until there is a still-ness replacing the busy-ness.

Don’t fall back into the creative ‘i’, simply rest in the moment and observe what arises.

You might be pleasantly surprised.

The moment you become aware is the moment of choice.
— Eric Dowsett