(For another look at the use of the mind, go to: eThoughts: The Mind and the Evolution of Evaluation.)
The brain and movement–at least beings becoming ambulatory–probably evolved in tandem. Apparently a central nervous system is largely characteristic of beings that possess locomotion. After all, if one can move around in their environment, one needs to be able to define, determine, and predict the location of other beings relative to oneself–does one need to eat, mate, nose around, attack, or run away?
The mind may have developed as a means to evaluate how the brain was doing. If one needs to locate and determine what to do with other beings, then one also needs a way to evaluate how they’re doing in the prediction, definition, and determination department.
Once the primitive mind got underway, it became difficult to turn it off–the evaluation function seems to work like a perpetual motion machine since there is always something to evaluate, even previous evaluations.
At this point in our evolutionary development, we could consider that our minds have evolved three functions.
One function of the mind, the perpetual motion machine, just churns out useless garbage, rambling hither and thither (I like to think the previous chapter was not such an example). This aspect is clearly an energy diffuser, creating nothing more than the splintering of energy. While it may be important in acting like a pressure relief valve, to keep us from exploding with the build-up of random, unfocused energy, it’s tough to form any kind of intent, attention, or focus without some cohesive energy.
As this idea gets pursued, it is important to remember that energy is boundless, even if it can be temporally bound. We all have the ability to tap into the cornucopia of energy, it is not an esoteric capability given only to a few. And all of us possess the ability to reallocate our energy. That few even grasp the concept or that few are actually doing it efficiently, does not mean it is under the purview of a few. So when we speak of allocating energy or creating specific forms of energy, we must keep in mind we are talking about the way we utilize energy, not that there is only so much to go around.
The second use of the mind is to play, to be a storyteller, to entertain, and to form conditional learning. This aspect can both amuse and teach us, which gives us some momentary relief, yet it still can fragment a lot of our energy. It also presents some clear problems when we interpret the stories as our reality. It is here that humans can make fundamental mistakes in the alchemy from interpretations to facts. Furthermore, while the writer/director/producer/actor part of the brain can be for entertainment and conditioned learning, when it is not done deliberately, there is no real power in it. Being entertained is entertaining, but how much does one need to sit in the theater of oneself and watch the cognitive cinema? And conditioned learning is certainly one facet of learning, but how much do we want to live life as a stimulus-response or response-stimulus pattern?
The third use of the mind is to create, to transmute, to see (as Carlos Castaneda’s don Juan would say). This is not the storyteller mind, it is the place without illusion, it is the source of insight learning.
To be in the third mind one must allocate the energy being used by the first two minds, to shift the energy to the present moment. All of that attention (and that singularity is a powerful force) is focused on being in the present. Since things change anyway, being in the present is not necessarily boring, though if one is located on a mountain top away from the centers of greater metabolic activity, change can be a bit slow.
But in the state of being fully in the present moment, how does one create a different now, as opposed to just experiencing fully what comes along (which is no easy task itself)?
When one, by the power of intent, converges the mind’s energy into a non-illusory singularity, there is a greater likelihood of illuminating our true wants and beliefs. From this insight comes the ability to check our real, rather than our supposed, navigational heading. It is in this non-illusory mind that we find the energy to create what we want, not just the ability to sit, anchored to the present moment, taking it as it comes. This does not make this creative force an inherently ethical position, it is just a way to increase the probability of creating what we focus upon. Obviously, one must be careful where one turns their energy.
As I already alluded to, this convergence of energy is not an act of faith, it has always been ours to do, we have just been tapping out our life force by allowing our energy to dissipate like ice cream on a hot sidewalk. We have not much practiced allocating our energy into the singularity of the third mind that would make us more cohesive beings (not that one has to stay only in the third mind).
This process is so basic, yet so obscured by the reality of the first two facets of mind, that the ability to even remember the reality of the third facet of mind is difficult, much less to actually allocate any energy to that area.
Interestingly, the second mind can sometimes lead to the third mind in a roundabout way (as in we get tired of the theater or television in our minds). Okay–here comes some more of the second mind, ensconced in a look at wants and beliefs.
Clearly defining wants and beliefs (even if they may not turn out to be good) requires energy and intent. Even then, after all of that work, those wants and those beliefs may have to be walked away from.
Furthermore, trying to not focus on what we don’t want, isn’t exactly what we’re used to doing–at least I’m not. There is the issue of cybernetics, learning by negative feedback. Let’s face it, we often learn by making mistakes.
Because I am often a worst-case-scenario person, running scenarios in my mind to discover potential problems, I’ve been tagged as negative. However, I argued, by attending to potential obstacles, I improved my chances of getting things right–measure twice, cut once (many of us measure once and cut twice, all the while muttering to ourselves–then we call it learning when we figure out where we went wrong so the next time we repeat our mistakes, we can see it coming).
In any case, my attention is often focused on what to avoid. Not that pothole vigilance is without merit, but I wonder about my being a big square box moving at freeway speeds–not too aerodynamic, even if one can get to their destination.
So, after entertaining myself and wondering if I’d learned anything, I went for my walk and noticed how much I wanted to avoid some issues as opposed to focusing on how much I wanted to create some things.
And I went to my meetings today and noticed how a lot of negative issues are surrounding us.
And I started running the various mental modalities, except the quiet one, until I realized what I was doing.
Then I tried focusing on being still, even while moving.
Then I felt better. All of me.
When one is used to dancing with the first two minds, the third mind is a difficult state.
The greatest human addiction may be our first two minds. An alcoholic can stop drinking for a day or a week, but we have trouble stopping the chatter for a minute or two. Familiarity is an incredibly powerful magnet.
Sometimes it’s not easy to discern the difference between feeling good and feeling familiar. Like all new exercise programs, one should proceed cautiously