Being in the Present a Myth

joejo's picture

Average: 5 (1 vote)

I want to wade into hot waters but I hope readers will give me a little indulgence. I want to break this myth of the popular stuff that says that we must live in the Present.

Whom do we address this advice to ; to the mind. Now it is well known that mind is a bundle of thoughts. Thoughts arise from memory. We know that memory is always in the past. Hence whatever thought may project, the beautiful image of the future or the staying in the present its going to be its own creation.

Let us view it from another point of view. Tradition has it that we are capable of being in three states. They are sleep, waking and I consciousness. Mark you I said capable but that does not mean that we live in these three states. In fact we know nothing about I consciousness. So I take it that we all belong the the larger humanity that is either waking or asleep. But this waking is not what we imagine it to be. The waking is a continuation of sleep state.

That is why Advaita states that mind is Maya and we live in a dream world. How can the Dreamer ever be able to live in the present. So all these sophistry has no meaning at all.

All a person can be aware of is his sleep. That's it Period.
However the compassionate sages realised another entity that was the focal or center of mind and that is I. So they wanted this dreaming mind to merge in this I and subsequently this I to merge into the Ultimate Ground.

I will just add another example. We are all terribly hurt and want to avoid it at all costs. Now there are various theories that go around i.e take it as will of God, concentrate on breath etc etc. But the hurt itself was because of the nature of mind that gives importance to concepts and self-image. Now whatever the mind does or the various escapes that it tries out, the problem cannot be solved unless we dissolve this structure of mind. The pills(modern theories) that we take to escape the hurt are at best a temporary relief and at worst the strengthening of illusion which will keep us bound for ever.

Gilana's picture

The Mind

Here is my understanding. Let's see it if makes sense.

The mind should not be dissolved. If the mind dissolves, our ability to think and reason goes away. That skill is important, but is not ALL important.

Western humanity has given the tool of thinking, reasoning, memorization way too much status. As if it is the only tool in the toolbox.

Example: If you want to apply a certain technique, say of focusing on the breath, it is important to have a mind in order to understand the technique. Then the mind should be put away, and the experience should take over. The heart (not emotions, but wisdom, recognition) should take prescedence. Can you do that? Then the mind has been put in it's rightful place.

You are right--the mind can never recognize the Dream state. But that is not the right's the heart that has to recognize and refocus to something Beyond the Mind.

You can see the word through a magnifying glass, which will only allow you to see close up and personal, and distort the real size of issues, or you can step back and look with open eyes at the whole of God's creation and see where you really fit in the picture.

You can see your hurt and as a papercut, and realize that in the whole picture it doesn't really amount to much, or you can go ahead and keep your eyes focused there and let it be the center of your life.

Last analogy: I live in California and I bodysurf. I use my mind to gauge where to swim to in order to catch the wave, when to start swimming, if there is anyone in front of me. But once I catch the wave, my mind is useless (and burdensome) I'm busy squeeling with delight, heart pounding, flying. I forgot about the papercut.

And most importantly, even when I go back into the ocean for another wave, and use my mind again, my being and body and experience is still singing with the thrill of it all. That's worship.

Gilana | Thu, 02/11/2010 - 03:14
joejo's picture

Three Minds

Hi Gilana

What you say is very interesting and covers a very important point. I plan to discuss this theme in detail by proposing that we have not one but three minds each with specific function and capabilities. This is not a theory of mine but discovery of sages and in borne out by observation if we care to look deeply.

The first is thought or the thinking mind. This has been responsible for all the technological advances and the modern sciences. This is well known, but it is the slowest of the three that we are going to discuss.

The second mind in its raw state is the mind of feelings and emotions. The thinking mind has to be quiet if this Mind of emotions is to be observed. Schools of Buddhist Vippasana tell about the need to quieten down to observe this. This in the raw state gives us hunches or so called intuitions which get mixed up with our imaginations but nevertheless provide us insights. Purification of this Center is very important and then it takes us to the very Heart. This is also called the Center of higher emotions. One important difference between these higher emotions and normal emotions is that they have no opposite. Which means that here Love cannot turn to hate whereas our normal emotional state is full of opposites. Example joy to sorrow, pleasure to pain and love to hate. Higher emotional center or Heart is very subtle and many times quicker than the normal thinking mind. It is in this center or we can say that when heart is open that we get flashes of illumination.

Now the third Center or Higher Mind is ever subtler and the domain of sages or Prophets. All objective truths are perceived by or through this Higher Mind.

To show the slowness of our thinking mind I would take a couple of examples. When we try to learn typing or drive a car we use this conscious or thinking mind first but we become proficient only when these function become automatic. If a surgeon was to perform an operation and his emotional mind was to interfere it would only create chaos.It is for this reason that they do not operate on their own relations or a physician does not prescribe to his own family. So apart from slowness or speed there is an appropriate mind that needs to be used for each occasion.

Two Centers other than the Three mentioned in the subject are our Mechanical center which stores our skills of movement and things learnt which can later be performed by little or no participation of our thinking mind and the instinctive Center (function) which controls our heart beat etc.

joejo | Thu, 02/11/2010 - 04:20