Friday, 9 December 2016

Introspection - 3 : Mind and World


We will attempt to experience the creation of duality or plurality out of oneness.


Same as those for introspection - 1. I will now skip directly to the questions. The state you need to be in is described in detail in previous introspections.

Question - what is experienced? 

Start with the neutral state of awareness of everything with no unneeded mental activity. Once you are steady ask this question - what is experienced?

You will find that the mind starts instantly like an engine and begins presenting things one by one. Your attention will now be on patterns. You will encounter Contents. These are the usual objects, people, sense perceptions, thoughts, memories, feelings etc. The one has become many in response to that question. It is now expressing itself as our old friend - the Mind. Mind is a process that creates divisions, provides an illusion of multiplicity. This is the familiar experience of waking consciousness, the Self being conscious of Contents.

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You can switch back to the Self with multiplicity still in the view, and now you can see that all of that variety exists on the screen of Self. It is Self. It only takes a blink of the eye to make the switch. The attention widens or becomes fuzzy while the awareness of everything now includes a distinct awareness of the Self. Nothing really changes, only that this perspective clearly shows that the contents are in the Self and in fact they are Self. If you assign the identity to the Self and call it “I”, you will reach the classic state of “I’m everything”.

You will find that the mind brings back the separation again in a blink of the eye. Especially when something moves, or you hear a sound. Do it a number of times to make it more concrete. Closing the eyes helps to observe that the sounds are also happening on the screen of the Self. It is more obvious in case of sounds, the vision is somewhat more distracting. Use a bell or a bowl and stick to intentionally produce a sound [1]. Once you master seeing sounds as yourself, move to stationary things and then to moving things.

We can descend down further and ask - what are those contents? and thus begins the process of naming and classification, pattern recognition etc. We arrive at the usual experience of names and forms - welcome to the World. Note that everything is still one, only that the Mind is presenting an experience as many. These are the traditional ten thousand things.

The mind goes further and relates the contents. So you will find that a car, a movement and a road get organized into a structure - "a car in moving on the road". An object gets recognized as a shirt and the colour blue and that object gets structured into - "a blue shirt". The mind shifts to a person now and adds more to the structure - "a man wearing a blue shirt". This is committed to memory with creation of time - "I saw a man wearing a blue shirt today evening". This is an example of creation of knowledge. An experience has been converted into knowledge.

Analysis and conclusion 

We find that the experience of a separate world is created by mental processes. It is possible to see it while the processes operate by shifting back to the Self. Mind is a term that represents the collection of mental processes that organize the contents. The processes were discussed in detail in previous articles. These include, perception, recognition, memory formation, recall, association, identification, time and space, logic and conceptualization. In addition there are automated processes of the Egoic or lower mind - emotions and tendencies.

We find that the same processes create an identity, a separate person, who is watching the world. The person is placed inside the body. Shifting back to the Self reveals that the whole separation and creation of a person takes place on the screen of the Self itself.

The Mind classifies and separates and finds relations among the contents. This organizes the contents. Organized contents or structures are Knowledge. Knowledge is founded on direct experience.

It should be possible to repeat this introspection with mental contents. Thoughts, images, memories, emotions and feelings etc. It is fairly easy to see them as happenings in the Self. You will also notice that if you choose, you can easily detach them as objects happening “outside” the Self. This is the mind dividing and naming the non-physical contents. So in this way it is possible to un-identify with mental contents just like physical ones and to see them as objects instead. This ability is useful for detaching from thoughts that create suffering or negativity, and pollute the mental landscape.

So what creates the contents? We saw in previous introspection that the contents are structures created by the agency of change. The metaphysical process that creates everything is the Fundamental Process. The Mind itself is a creation of this process. There is actually no difference between the non-physical contents of the mind and the physical contents of the world. Collectively both can be called Mind (with a capital M). The Mind organizes the contents, which is just the Fundamental Process in action in the form of mental processes. In this sense the Mind is also a creator, an organizer, but not separate from the Fundamental Process.


[1] If needed, ask an assistant to do it or use some app such as Zazen.

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