The mind is dead

Omkaradatta's picture

Average: 3.2 (9 votes)

For purposes of this discussion, let's talk about the brain (although the brain is actually an image in the mind). It's an analog 'device' based on memory, which is the main difference between it and computers (which are digital devices). The brain is perceiving an analog reality, and storing memories of it in an analog fashion.

Let's say we're visiting our parent's house, which we (believe to have) visited many times before. Yet, have we? In order to store an exact analog representation of the house, the brain would have to have as many atoms as the house, would have to be as big as the house. In fact, it would have to *be* the house! So what we really have is a rough representation stored in memory.

In truth, we have never visited our parent's house before. Each time is for the first time, with a rough 'blueprint' under our arm.

Everything you perceive is quite literally for the first time. You feel you've heard a certain song before? You have not -- there's only a rough blueprint of this analog data stored in memory. When you hear it next, it will be for the first time, ever. This is the simple truth.

The mind is a dead thing. If we're always expecting, anticipating, planning, 'thinking about', we are literally the walking dead. Reality is ever new, fresh and surprising. It is the unexpected, the unanticipated, the unknown. We have only our blueprints, and words are just as dead as visual, auditory and olfactory mental images.

If we're entirely present to the moment, we are experiencing reality as it is. If not, we are dreaming. If we get sick of a song, we're really sick of our memory of it, not the song itself. There is no 'song itself' in existence, unless/until we hear it. We cannot actually repeat anything, or 'go back' anywhere (does time go backwards? Are we really returning to something, or are we just now experiencing it afresh?).

Let go of the mind. Forget 'thinking about' things. You're replaying a memory track, and the 'thing' stored in your head does not exist. Even if we could store an exact representation, it would have changed (probably dramatically) by the time we think about it. There is not even a world, or a universe -- we can only postulate it, based on memory. All we have is this moment, our own Being. Realize this and be free of the mind.

SriSriYogiBaba's picture

The mind is dead. Long live

The mind is dead.
Long live the mind.

SriSriYogiBaba | Mon, 09/08/2008 - 08:12
Omkaradatta's picture


The shorter the better, I'd say ;-).

Omkaradatta | Mon, 09/08/2008 - 08:17
george's picture

The mind and the computer

BTW, I think the mind is more digital than analog (though the representations it handles are not binary). The mind cannot truly conceive continuity (a derivative of its incapability to conceive the infinite), it actually dissects patterns it recognizes into discrete qualities and then stores them in memory.

Secondly, the mind does not perceive the house but the input image it gets from the senses after it was digitized, processed, filtered, underwent pattern recognition and noise reduction. It is like the vectorization of a rasterized image in computational graphics. The mind does not sense the world firsthand.

Lastly, actually whatever you perceive must be not for the first time, it is just a reminder of something already in memory. Youcan not perceive a pattern you haven't known before. There is this story included in the movie "The Blip" of the first imperialistic ships coming to South America, the natives have never seen ships so they didn't actually see the ships approaching. Only their chief could see them and then warned them. Being able to perceive only things we already known (and maybe forgot) includes also wisdom we hear from a guru.

george | Mon, 09/08/2008 - 22:44
Omkaradatta's picture

The first time...

"Lastly, actually whatever you perceive must be not for the first time..."

Actually it IS for the first time, but I can't explain it any more clearly than above. Consider what "done this before" really means: That you have a blueprint. You do not have the experience itself. Thus, 'next time' really means for the first time.

Omkaradatta | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 04:46
george's picture

That is true

That is true

george | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 05:44
Omkaradatta's picture

And to add...

... it's usually a very 'outdated' blueprint, too ;-). Next time you visit your parent's house, things will have been moved around, different people will be there, different sounds, different smells, maybe the house itself was repainted, etc. Maybe it was even demolished, and they moved ;-). So is there a 'thing' there called your parent's house?

Omkaradatta | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 06:12
george's picture

as the Buddhists ask: is

As the Buddhists put it: is there a river or is it just different waters flowing in the same pattern?

This is part of what tries to convey (beautifully, if i may say so).

so important, so vital to remember.

george | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 06:25
Omkaradatta's picture

If you remember it...

"so important, so vital to remember."

If you remember, you will be remembering yet another blueprint. Rather, it has to 'sink in', while you orient ever more toward here/now instead of thinking about the past and future. One's own Being is (so to speak) the background against which perception happens, so becoming anchored in that instead of in the mind's beliefs is a good first step.

Nisargadatta - "Changes are inevitable in the changeful, but you are not subject to them. You are the changeless background, against which changes are perceived."

"The outer world neither can help nor hinder. No system, no pattern of action will take you to your goal. Give up all working for a future, concentrate totally on the now, be concerned only with your response to every movement of life as it happens."

Omkaradatta | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 06:43
lilian's picture

How can it be dead if it

How can it be dead if it never was?

lilian | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 05:47
Omkaradatta's picture

By the mind, what I mean...

By the mind, I mean the tendency or addiction to 'think about' things. Sure, there's really only thoughts arising in the moment, no object called a mind.

Omkaradatta | Tue, 09/09/2008 - 06:15
avi's picture

mind exists not less than any other form

I'm not sure at all. This "mind is dead" is very spiritually-polite, most do not bother to look more deeply at it.

Mind exists not less that any other form. You can say the same argument that you say about mind, about any form and you do not do it or maybe do it but forget about it immediately and return to your daily life and eats (food does not exist) and talk to people (which in the same way do not exist).

Denying something that we perceive as an entity leads nowhere.

avi | Mon, 02/22/2010 - 23:29