UnlearningAug 20, 2020
This should really be called unminding. As I have become overly dependent on the mind, it runs rampant. I was taught from a very young age, as far back as memory serves, to utilize and cultivate the mind. I was even rewarded for showing an aptitude toward using it, toward learning. Gold stars, ribbons, A+, honor roll, the presidential award.
Becoming head of the class, getting the praise and adulations of the grown-ups but not so much from my peers for some reason. Being able to use the mind didn't impress them and actually made them quite cynical towards me.
"You are like this cup; you are full of ideas. You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full; I can't put anything in. Before I can teach you, you'll have to empty your cup" – Zen Master Ryutan
I'm acutely aware now that no one told me how to cultivate and utilize the emotions, the heart, or even the spirit. When studying education, we love to use testing of the individual student because it is a tangible thing and easy for machines to grade.
You see, if someone fills out multiple-choice tests, you can simply see if they answered correctly or not. What year was the civil war is an easy question for the teacher to grade. But why did we have the war, why did we feel the need to kill our brothers and sisters, to burn our own land, and to desolate the hearts of all Americans?
These are not easy questions to answer, and they are even harder to grade. Therefore we don't ask questions like these in the interest of time and urgency. As if memorization of dates will help us understand the meaning of existence and live a happier life.
The game is competition, and to know who is winning and losing, there must be a method of comparison.
Take money for instance, which is really just a method of organization and exchange of value. As most things do in the human world, it becomes a method of competition. The more you have, the more successful you are. Which assumes the happier you are.
This is where the fundamental problem lies, or one of the many problems. When you associate a tangible object like money with an intangible object like happiness, then by association, the two must work in the normal way that tangible objects do.
The more the better. The higher the grade, the smarter the student. The longer the penis, the better the man is at delivering sexual pleasure. The more money, the easier and happier and more joyous life will be.
Under any kind of rational questioning and focus, all of those examples crumble. The higher the grade does not necessarily mean the smarter the student because, as was said, we grade on memorization not the utilization of information. Which is what we really want for a student and a mind- to be able to solve the problems of the world and to think clearly, creatively, and constructively.
No one said a large penis would make the man wielding it care about the pleasure of their sexual partner. And for money well, there are plenty of rich people who are fighting depression because they have become aware of the folly of the money translating into happiness, of tangible affecting intangible.
We think of monetarily rich people as safe, healthy, joyful, and free. Free from the worries of money. Free from the limitations of travel. Free from constant struggle for more. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Unlearning is to unravel the game of tangibles and to see that the intangibles like unconditional love, joy, happiness, and freedom come from within, not from without. Meaning the things we really want do not come from the world of form. Trying to get love through achievement is hollow and fleeting.
Even if we know this deep down, there is a fine line that a great achiever must tow to show humility. They must present all their gifts and accolades as gifts from God. Because if they praise themselves for their accomplishments saying things like, "yep, I'm the best, I am a badass" then we label them as arrogant and egotistical. Why?
We can praise them for winning the big game, but they can't praise themselves. How silly. In this way, we make sure no one can ever really win.
There must be a balance between heart or spirit or soul and mind. In my experience, when the heart does the leading, we find joy. When the mind and ego lead, our life never measures up to the fantasy world we constantly imagine, and our achievements turn to ash. Then we simply make a new goal when we get to the one we just accomplished—never resting.
What if the heart shining through you was to create the beauty of color. Like in the movie theater, when the beam is projected and what we see is the picture on the screen.
The problem is we think the color, the prism, and the movie are real. We identify with those things saying, "What an amazing picture you've created, prism. You are wonderful." Completely ignoring the beam. The beam, you see, is the intangible, the consciousness underneath it all.
The breath of God, the animation, the ocean beneath the wave. Who really gave you that desire in the first place? How did you know what to create? Did you really have the desire, or did the consciousness that animates you?
What if the more we listen to that part of us, the less suffering we have? Have you ever seen a plant struggle to grow? An animal in nature removed from humans, struggling for nourishment? Can you look past the prism, let go of the mind, and see through the eyes of source energy?
Fate and Free Will
Let me put it another way. What if your life is being done as you and the Universe designed it? Some people rebel against the idea of fate like a teenager rebels against unnecessary rules, and they cling to the idea of free will. But always my question to this is, how would you really know you had free will? How do you know the decisions you made were really yours or if they were right or wrong?
If ALL decisions were designed, and the outcome predetermined, how would you know? You can't make both choices.
Let's come at this idea in a different way. What if it didn't matter what choices you made, what if all paths led to the same place? As in, the destination was predetermined, but how you arrived there was up to you.
What if our only real freedom is how we perceive this life and the "challenges" we face. You can have a 10-year-old child on a roller coaster who is terrified beyond belief, and their older sibling just a few years their senior in the seat right next to them in ecstasy on the ride. In love with every drop, turn, loop, and gut-wrenching corkscrew. Why is this?
Well, because the older one knows they are not going to die from the ride, and eventually, they will come back to the station safe and sound. The younger one doesn't know this or, at the very least, has the smallest bit of doubt, which creates the panic.
That is the mind's real job: to make you think this is all for real. This is a dream, and the mind with the ego can make you believe it is all for real. And even if you have the smallest level of doubt that you are not eternal, it will captivate you and make you fear the next drop. But we can't be mad at it because that is how it was designed. To protect you from danger even when there is no real danger.
Only when you make happiness your goal, if that is what you truly want, will you begin to see how little you actually need anything else.
Life is not a game to win; it is a journey to enjoy. No matter how you choose to ride this ride or which path to go down, you will always end up at the same place. The place you were supposed to be.
Unlearn the lesson that you need to DO anything. There is nothing to do because you are being done. The only question is how you will use the only real free will you have, which is how you perceive the journey. From moment to moment, is it a nightmare with a fright around every corner, or an exciting adventure with elation about not knowing what will come next?
Will you choose to feel anxious and terrified, believe it is all for real, and that you are in a hostile universe? Or will you choose a loving world of growth, peace, and excitement?
That is your choice; the door to heaven or the door to hell, and each must be chosen not once but constantly, with every thought that enters your mind. There is no right or wrong choice; it is just your choice. Some people love horror movies, after all. Just know that no matter what you chose, we will all leave the theater perfectly safe at the end of the movie.
"Your entire life is Virtual Reality because you are seeing it only the way it happens in your mind" -Sadhguru