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July 16, 2022


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[“In the Enneads, Plotinus points us toward the only way of unmasking the deepest mysteries of life: become the mystery you wish to unmask and be nothing else.”]

This could well apply to ‘mind’ and ‘self’, concepts that I feel mask much of what frustrates any enquiry into ‘self’ (or truth!). The concept ‘mind’ includes thoughts, memories, emotions, knowledge etc – the whole range of mental phenomenon. In fact, in using the concept so habitually it obscures what the mind actually is – the storehouse of information that has been amassed in the brain since birth. On investigating the mind, what is found is its contents, experienced as thought and memory – and of course, my ‘self’.

As for the notion of the mind being who we are, well, in a sense that is true seeing as all our accrued information represents my ‘self’, the ‘me’, ‘who I am’ etc. Yet it is possible to lose this information (disease, accident, etc.) and still retain the sense of ‘me’ – which is logical as even without all the accrued information, the whole-body organism persists as the real biological me. Even a simple celled creature has the sense of its own existence.

There is an awful lot of hype regarding the mind. Much of it stems from the wish to make the mind something more ethereal than it is. And also, as the mind is its contents and some of these contents give rise to the sense of a ‘me’, the ‘self’, then of course it feels it is imperative to maintain this illusory mind/self structure.

Sam Harris seems to have homed in to the crux of the matter. [“Look at something. Be aware of that perception. Then briefly look for an entity that is doing the looking which is separate from the perception. In the moment where you don't find such an entity, that not-finding is what you're looking for.”] Which is fine, but perhaps not complete until the mind/self is seen for what it is.

Peace of mind is realized only when you no longer hide behind one of the many masks you’ve been wearing all of your life.

Discovering authenticity within the conditioned personality is not easy.

We are trained from birth to please, not offend and to say and do what our society and time period declare is right.

We do this so that others will like us and admire us.
Thus, the potential for conflict is reduced.

Because this approach to life is based on inauthenticity it may ease tension on the surface in our dealings with others, but subconsciously, it causes worry in the event we are discovered to be faking it.

Being liked, loved or well thought of may well be an inherent survival mechanism.

However, the hidden cost is that the mind can never be at peace with itself, others and the world around it, because it has to remain on guard to prevent one from being accused of being a fraud.

The authentic self is discovered in solitude where such pretense can be dispensed with.
But that is just the first phase.

The second phase is accepting who you actually are, without fear of being criticized.

The third phase is living within the integrity of that authenticity without worrying what others think.

The fourth and final phase is the realization that there is not even an authentic self to worry about.

Roger. A fair description of the confusion of the mind myth.

Thanks Ron E.

I liked,

" ....... mind actually is – the storehouse of information that has been amassed in the brain since birth. On investigating the mind, what is found is its contents, experienced as thought and memory – and of course, my ‘self’."

"Thus, the potential for conflict is reduced."

I read an interesting passage once in one of the fragments of Heraclitus' remaining works. He mentions at some length that he welcomes conflict, because conflict is the motivator of change, of evolution, of progress, if I recall. The logical follow-on to that would be as we are pulling in our horns and doing our level best to avoid conflict, we are blunting our ability to make meaningful changes in our life, and in the world. We have homogenized ourselves.

We should, of course, not seek conflict for its own sake. But recognizing the value of constructive conflict may be a counterintuitive path to better things. After all, a sage of timeless wisdom once told us, "Without deviation, progress is not possible." Of course, I'm speaking of St. Frank Zappa.

With Peace of Mind, one can have open mindedness and critical thinking.

" ....... to avoid conflict, we are blunting our ability to make meaningful changes in our life, ....."

Yes, this has value, but it is relative to what the change is. My conflict may produce some harmful change, that I think is meaningful.

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