Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Taking Care of our Minds"

For many of us, at some point in our lives, we became aware of being something, and found ourselves here in this world. We don't have a clue why we're here or what's really happening in our relationship with ourselves and the outside world.

And since we don't pay particular attention to the development of our minds, there's no need for us to spend time wondering about why we're spending our life hours doing the things we do.

Some of us are alive, but we're not living. We take our minds for granted. We treat our minds similar to our waking up in the morning. We woke up. That's all there is to it. There's no need to spend time wondering why it happened.

We find it socially acceptable to express platitudes for being "blessed" to wake-up. Yet, for many of us, being alive is synonymous with complacency. We are alive, but we haven't discovered the passion for living. We're just going through the motions. Playing a character someone created for us.

For us to become truly alive, with our minds aroused enough to create nontoxic space, we must be willing to challenge the toxic beliefs distorting our perception of ourselves and the outside world. This is the path to an enlightened mind.

Our path to an enlightened mind requires us to embark on a lonely, inner-mind journey filled with beliefs and values that make us who we are now. It's a difficult path: an arduous endeavor to strip our minds of the things that define us.

Nevertheless, to discover what's beneath the toxicity in our minds, our minds must become naked, vulnerable for all to see. It's the freedom of knowing that we are already adequate and complete. So the work we're doing is removing the beliefs and values concealing our essence.

When we begin the inward journey, we frequently become bogged down in philosophical gymnastics by discussing the opinions of others who claim to have found the answers to how our minds relate to the outside world. This exercise becomes our excuse for not doing the work to understand our own minds. 

As we cultivate our confidence in ourselves, we can readily perceive our beliefs and values are the real culprits responsible for the toxic distortions expressing themselves as illusions. While unknown to us, the beliefs and values that we were taught by others have now become our illusions. And it's from these illusions that we have created in our minds the world we live in.

Similarly, when we do delve deeper into self-discover, we fight to rationalize what happened to us as children by blaming others or praising them for filling our minds with their toxic teachings. And the further we go into the mind discovery process, the more difficult it becomes for us to maintain our lifelong beliefs and values.

As we work to extricate ourselves from our toxic teachings, we experience a little clarity in our minds. Unfortunately, the clarity allows the illusions to reassert their power in our lives. We allow this to happen because our illusions receive their powers from our minds.

Moreover, until we have embodied the clarity as our new perspective of relating to the outside, we continue to empower our illusions with greater power. And the more power we give to the illusions, the greater our dependency on them. However, the more we depend on them, the greater their deception become on our ability to see the world as it really is.

After awhile, we are fighting with the illusions as if they exist outside of our minds. We can't remember having created them with the beliefs and values taught to us by others.

The illusions that frighten us come from our minds. In other words, we're afraid of ourselves. And the more illusions we create, the more frightened we become of engaging in self-discovery. As we struggle to make sense out of the outside world, the illusions trick us into believing they actually exit separate of our minds in time and space.

Most of our time is spent searching for answers within the illusions, who cloaked themselves in our beliefs and values and express themselves as images that are acceptable to us. Most of the time, they express themselves as  gurus with special powers. These gurus or self-proclaimed liberators purport to us that they have been endowed with special powers to help us manage the illusions.

When our pain becomes unbearable, and the illusions become all-powerful, we seek solace in the promises of others to guide us beyond the suffering we have created in our minds. And regardless of the number of times we try to find ourselves in the murky, yet clever eloquence, of these self-appointed gurus promising us peace and prosperity, we find, after awhile, that it's just another false promise.

Fortunately, regardless of our fruitless searches outside of ourselves, we always return to our minds, which are the source of all of our suffering. And when we realize that it's our minds, or the toxic beliefs and values in our minds, causing us to deceive ourselves into believing we are less than who we really are, we will have opened the mind to enlightenment.

The desire to know the development of our ego (self) becomes overpowering when our minds are stimulated with inquisitiveness. Our desires to know more than what we have been taught by others is all the power we need to create enough space in our minds to discover the origins of our toxic beliefs. And when we know how they were created, we no longer have to depend on them to express our existence.

Meanwhile, the journey of self-discovery is a daunting one. Whenever we clear some space in our minds to clearly see our beliefs and values, we become overwhelmed with the work required for us to overcome our toxic beliefs, And even those of us who feel really committed to doing the necessary work, find the working to be daunting.

During our foray into our minds, we become high on egoism and psychological pot, and forget that we are using toxic lens to guide us in our search. This enables us to hold on to certain toxic beliefs by judging them to be good or bad, based on what we have been taught by others about good and bad.

In moments of great stress, we cling to our definite opinions (beliefs and values)  about the way things are or should be in the world. We believe we have acquired the clarity of mind to judge things in the world, and to decide what's good or bad, beautiful or ugly, and so on.

Our beliefs and values, the source of our illusions, are what we use to guide us on our unknown journeys to our unknown destinations. We believe we're headed somewhere in life. Even those of us mired deeply in dead-end jobs, hobbled by educational deficiencies, victimized by layoffs, poor health, and overcome with deep anger about how we're living, we still believe that we're somehow making meaningful contributions to our society.

When we reach the point in our lives where we recognize our confused illusory minds as being  products of toxic beliefs, we will have arrived at the point of self-discovery: the point where we begin taking care of our minds.

This is the point where we are willing to listen and do the work of enlightening our minds.
Unfortunately, most of us never reach this point of self-discovery, because we believe our minds are already healthy. We believe our minds are healthy because we believe the information we received from our guides made them so. 

Nevertheless, the source of our confusion in believing in illusions comes from the various college degrees and prestigious positions that are coveted by our society. Even though we desire to know ourselves, we do so by holding on to the beliefs responsible for our illusions.

Some of us, even after working to enlighten our minds, continue to play the deleterious mind-games of illusions and realities. We convince ourselves that it's not our responsibility to take care of our minds.

In other words, we continue waiting, hoping that  someone will tell us how to free our minds of the toxic beliefs and values causing us to believe we're powerless to go beyond our teachings.

Yet, the search for enlightenment is in our own individual minds. And it doesn't matter how confused or dysfunctional we believe our minds are, we can begin our journeys from where we are now.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Unconditioned Mind

All life begins and ends with our minds. And whether we like it or not, we have definite opinions about the way things are or should be. This information is the bases for our beliefs and values.

Some of the earlier Westerner philosophers postulated that we were born with a "tabula rasa" or blank mind. And that our teachers or guides filled our minds with accepted societal beliefs and values, which we claimed as our own.

For our purposes in enlightening our minds, we are using the blank mind as our starting point in this world; with the understanding that we are aware of the arguments about innate ideas, divine endowment, and so forth.

Unfortunately, most of us are only aware of life as it began with our own caregivers and the unintentional toxic beliefs they imparted to us.

Similarly, some of us believe we just awaken from some deep sleep to find ourselves here in a powerless, half-awake state of existence. And from this half-awake state of consciousness, we begin to develop our minds to understand all the information we were receiving from our parents, society, and our own life experiences.

From our childhood, while in a powerless, half-awake state of consciousness, devoid of past time and existence, we soak up all the toxic beliefs and values that we can to assist us with making sense of our existence and the world we live in.

During different times in the development of our minds, our ego-self, we want to know why we are here; who created us and this world, and what is our connection to this Creator?

Furthermore, in our pursuit of this knowledge, we are prone to listen to others who claim to have it. And after many years of fruitless searches, we always return back to our individual minds for guidance. We want to know if there is some great, unknown power hidden there. And if so, how do we find it?

Some of us search for knowledge in the great books and universities. We cling to our professors words as if they represent the knowledge we need to understand the origins of our own individual minds.

Some of us, after acquiring knowledge about the origins of humankind, Western psychological enlightenment, and various philosophical arguments on cosmology, empiricism, language, and so forth,  we feel equipped to discover the power hidden in our minds.

Unfortunately, our unconditioned consciousness or intuitive mind remains hidden beneath the toxic distortions expressing themselves as knowledge.

Our unconditioned mind, or an awareness that's free of toxic distortions, is the source of our existence and the clarity we need to fully live in this world. It holds the answers to all of our questions.

Meanwhile, it's very difficult for us to believe that the knowledge we seek about who we are, is within our minds. It's mind boggling. Yet, it is our only connection to who we are without our toxic distortions.

Nevertheless, and unknown to most of us, the enlightenment we seek is something we already have. We were born from an absolute perfect conception, and endowed with all the power we need to express this conception in our lives.  So this makes us whole, perfect, and complete as conceived by our Creator.

Unfortunately, we have filled our minds with so many toxic beliefs and values that teach us otherwise. So we must stop searching outside of ourselves for ourselves.

Regardless of how we try to deny we are powerful, we cannot deny that the search for enlightenment is something that we already have. And it's our unawareness that keeps us searching for it outside of our minds.

The truth we seek can only be discovered in our minds. Our work is to remove the toxic distortions preventing us from discovering this treasure. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Are we Blessed?

Most of us feel blessed whenever we have good fortune in our lives. Unfortunately, we don't feel the same way when things don't go the way we want them to. So being blessed, at least for some of us, is confusing.

Let's begin by saying that we're all blessed by our Creator. It's a blanket blessing without limitations or restrictions, except those we place on ourselves. And if we can accept this for the sake of our inquiry, then we are able to move to the next level of mind awareness.

Most of the things we consider as blessings from the Creator are nothing more than illusions. The illusions are so powerful that we believe they come from some phenomena that's outside of our beliefs and values.

Some of our illusory interpretations of blessings and non-blessings:

"How are you doing?"

"I'm blessed because I just bought a new house. My daughter is going to Stanford, and my son is headed to CAL. Life is good."

"How are you doing?"

"I'm blessed because I'm alive."

"What are you going to do now?"

"I don't know. I mean, I'm just happy I didn't die last night. I haven't given much thought about living today, except I'm going to get cleaned-up and hang out with my boys (girls). I don't have a job, but I know the Lord is going to bless me with one soon. Until then, I'll keep on looking for something."

"How are you doing?"

"I feel blessed because I have my health. I got a woman (man) who loves me, my kids love me, too. I don't have any ailments. So, I feel blessed."

"What do you do everyday to have such good health?"

"Well, I don't do much, you know. It's basically the same things. I'm thankful I can eat anything I want. I don't have any physical ailments. So that's something I'm blessed with. I mean, I don't do much exercise and stuff like that, because it's never been my thing. I mean, I drink like everybody else, smoke a little dope here and there. It's nothing heavy. I mean, it's not like I'm an alcoholic or drug addict."

The converse of this type of thinking is when our lives are not responding the way we want:

"How are you doing?"

"Oh, I'm not doing too well. You know, I lost my job about 6 months ago and I haven't been able to find anything since. My wife (husband) and kids are suffering right now. I don't know what I'm gonna do. I mean, it seems like everything is going wrong in my life."

"What do you believe is causing all this misfortune in your life?

"I don't really know. I think it's just bad luck. I mean, I try to live a good life. I go to church on most Sundays, you know. I could blame it on the economy or the way the rich people are holding on to all the money, while the politicians are playing games with our minds. It's really hard for me to figure out. It's just bad luck."

"How are you doing?"

"Not too good right now. My son is in jail, my daughter is running the streets doing all sorts of things, while my wife is blaming me for them acting this way."

"How are you doing?"

"Not too good right now. I lost my mother a few weeks ago. Then, I lost my grandmother. My brother got killed standing outside his house. My wife's cheating on me, and I love her so much. So, right now, my life is all messed-up."

"Do you feel blessed?"

"Naw, I don't, at least not right now. I'm praying that my luck will change soon. I don't know, maybe this is the way life is supposed to be. I don't know."

We can continue ad infinitium with stories about people believing they're either blessed or cursed with misfortune. And the more stories we hear, the clearer it becomes that people believe what they have been taught to believe about life.

Meanwhile, when we abdicate personal responsibility for our beliefs about success and failure, some of us believe it's because of some unknown force intervening in our lives. Yet, if we take a closer,  look into our minds,  we will discover our success and failure are illusory beliefs and values we acquired from others.

In other words, we have definite opinions about the way things are, or the way they should be.  This causes us to project our opinions (beliefs and values) into what we perceive happening outside of us.

Similarly, we interpret our lives according to our beliefs and values, and not according to what's actually happening in the world. For example, for us to awaken everyday is a part of what happens to all of us. And when we don't awaken, that too is a part of what happens to all of us.

So, at the deeper intuitive-consciousness level, awakening or not awakening is a natural part of the life process. The crucial point here is what we do after we wake up?  The daily living is what produces the results  we call blessings and failures.

Our blessings come from our beliefs and values. We use them to interpret what's happening in the world. And, based on how our minds were developed, we interpret some things as blessings, while interpreting others as misfortune or not being blessed.

The real truth about what's happening in our lives is in our intuitive or unconditioned consciousness that exists beneath the illusions we have embodied as our realities. This is the enlightenment we were born with.