Jan 19 2009
An idea that has helped me is to remember that judgment and discrimination are self-fulfilling prophecies. If we choose to judge something or someone as being such and such, our egos will build a case that proves it true. For instance, let us pretend I decide that my brother is selfish. Now every time I encounter my brother my mind will work very hard to prove that right. I become prejudiced against my brother. Imagine that he in turn decides that I am overly critical. His ego will then interpret events in a way that proves him right. Everything we think internally we manifest externally.
For instance, let us assume I decide that woman cannot drive well. The next day I am driving and a person cuts me off. I call him an arsehole and move on. The world is OK except for that driver who is an arsehole. Soon after a woman driver stops short on the road for what I decide is no good reason. Not only is she an ass, but all woman drivers suck. I have selected the man as an example of one bad apple. Yet the woman driver I have used as proof in my thesis that woman cannot drive. It is selective reasoning.
Recent studies have shown that 90% of our current perception is created by past events. If I look at my brother, I will categorize that experience based on old neurological patterns that are predetermined. 90% of my brain neurons are acting in a pattern that has nothing to do with the present moment. Only 10% of my brain is available for reacting to new inputs from the interaction with my sibling. Now these studies are done assuming everyone’s brain works in the same way. However, I wonder if you studied the mind of an experienced Zen monk. What of percent of their mind could be available? What percent would be conditioned?
“When you are fully and intensely in the moment, your essential being can be felt, but can never be completely understood mentally. The single most vital step of the journey is to dis-indentify from the mind. To become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence is to regain awareness of your true Being. The measure of your success is the degree of peace that you feel within” - (The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle)
I think so much of our suffering is exaggerated because of the labels we put on it. We judge it and categorize it, and then our mind works to prove it true. We then see doctors and therapists who confirm our diagnosis that something is wrong with us and prove us right. Now obviously I believe in the value of a therapist. Only if the therapist can cut through the delusion and witness to the patient how healthy and strong they truly are.
Now life is about balance. I am not saying it is not important to become aware of darker sides. It is important to express and understand our suffering as a method of releasing. Too many times, we are stuck in our heads about it. If I decide, I am a confused person my brain will work hard to prove just how confused I am. If instead I choose to allow whatever confusion I may feel and just experience it without identifying it with myself, it will eventually pass.
Therefore, we are all experiencing varying amounts of emotions and negativity, but we can still stay empty about it. Perhaps see yourself as an empty canvas. What colors, shapes, and textures would you create?