The human mind — what a concept!



One of my favorite sayings: “When a pickpocket sees the saint the only thing he notices are the pockets.”

It means, among things, that a person can only see the things that match their level of awareness. I often notice that with how some people react to my Facebook posts. What they choose to notice about me often says more about them than about me.

You wanna learn how to “read” people? Its really simple. Just pay attention to what they happen to notice. There’s an infinite spectrum of stuff happening at any given moment. We block out most of this stimuli. And just focus on the small band that we consider significant. And that reveals who we are.

The human mind basically acts as a filter or a dam. It blocks out most of the stimuli and only takes notice of the small spectrum that it deems important. Things we want, and things we fear, being primary things we notice. There’s a functional aspect to this damming mechanism. For it allows us to focus on the practical details while blocking out the background noise. But it also gives us a highly limited perception of reality.
For example, stage magicians are able to conger their illusions because of this. They trick us by manipulating what we happen to notice and by preventing us from noticing other things. Propaganda also makes use of this concept.
People are often overwhelmed by psychedelic drugs because they can open up the floodgates of the dam. Your mind is bombarded with perceptions that normal consciousness usually blocks out. Which is why the psychedelic state is often compared to schizophrenia. You lose control of your normal mental filter. Most people assume their minds are simply taking in reality. It doesn’t occur to them the extent that their minds are also creating that reality.

The mind works like with Rorschach Ink Blots. The mind projects its own patterns onto the world.

There’s this great Hindu story, “The Wishing Tree,” that illustrates how out minds create our reality. One day this guy sat down by this magic tree, the Wishing Tree, where all your wishes come true. “I wish I had a beautiful wife,” he thought. And instantly a beautiful wife appeared. “Wow this is great!” he said “I wish I had a million dollars.” And a million dollars appeared. “And i wish I had a big mansion.” And that too appeared. But then he started to freak out. “This is weird. This must be some kind of black magic. This must be the work of the Devil.” And then the Devil appeared. “Oh no!” he cried. “Its the Devil and he’s going to kill me!” And then the Devil killed him.
Our minds create our reality. But its up to us to learn how to control our minds.

Usually our minds — the “monkey mind” as its called in Hinduism — flits around haphazardly, usually being jerked around by our desires and our fears. One of the functions of yoga meditation is to train our minds to focus on the more exalted and sublime aspects of reality.

You’ve probably known some “fault-finder” types. The ones who instantly notice all your flaws and shortcomings (and they’re often eager to share their insights with you). These types usually aren’t much fun to be around. Then there are the more evolved types who have the ability to notice and appreciate your more sterling traits. You usually feel at your best around these types and are able to flourish.
“The world is as you see it,” as the Hindu saying goes. Meaning, whatever feeling is within you is the feeling you project onto the world.




One thought on “The human mind — what a concept!

  1. Fuck. I didn’t know Hindus believed in the Devil. Needless to say “The map is not the terrain.” is a given. And imagination does create reality.

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