by Frank M. Wanderer Ph.D, contributor
Being in the captivity of the Mind means that we are either the prisoners of our past, or we live under the spell of an imaginary future. If in the majority of our waking hours our thoughts are engaged by the past of the future, in most of the cases we will not be able to act when it is necessary in the opportunities of the present.
The Nature of the Mind
The most important thing we need to about our Mind is that it is not something that exists separately, individually, like some inanimate object. The Mind is not an object–it is a process. The process of constantly streaming thoughts. This stream of the thoughts is what we perceive as the Mind. When these thoughts disappear, the Mind disappears with them, as the two are only able to exist together. The very basic nature of thoughts is that they are in a constant move, and this motion, almost automatically, creates the Mind.
A characteristic feature of our Mind is that it keeps roaming, wandering; it operates in something like an automatic mode. Thoughts come and go all the time. If we attempt to suppress them, it is only possible with considerable efforts, and even then to a short time only. In most of our waking time, our Mind wanders either in the past or in the future, in our thoughts we deal with our experience of the past, offences we suffered in the past, or with our future plans, goals and fears.
Another characteristic of our Mind is that it constantly evaluates things. It means that we do not simply live through our experiences, but we also categorize them as good or bad. We judge everything that happens to us and everybody we meet in our lives. This permanent categorization may easily lead to a distorted perception of the world, as we evaluate our new experiences in these categories. If we find an experience negative, we will tend to keep–and reinforce–that category for similar experiences in the future. Our perception will therefore be selective, and we will only accept the stimuli that reinforces our categorization, and we tend to ignore those that fall outside our usual categories.
The third important characteristic of the Mind is that it permanently produces stories. These stories often have a disastrous end. For instance, I suddenly try to remember whether I locked the door of my home or not. The Mind immediately fabricates a whole story around the idea: I did leave it open, a burglar came, my valuables have been stolen, and the police, instead of chasing the thief, will harass me with their questions. We often experience the ends and emotional consequences of these stories. Another type of stories deals with us, who are we, what are we like, what we should do or should have done. The entirety of these stories comprises our personal histories.
In-Depth Programming of the Mind
The society and culture in which we have grown up programmed those fixed patterns of the mind into us, and our identities of who we are and what our jobs are in this world, is based upon those patterns.
These systematic patterns of thoughts, programmed into us by our parents and teachers are deeply embedded into our minds and subconscious’ by the psychological mechanisms of identification, and they automatically surface every now and then.
Whether we like it or not, these thoughts come and go, our minds are in constant motion. These patterns strive to be self-sustaining, and they generate the work of mind. The result is the cobweb of thoughts with which we identify and that is how we live our lives.
The fixed patterns of our minds are individual, since they reflect the expectations of the particular environment in which we have been brought up. The expectations usually influence us unconsciously, almost like automatic deep programs of the mind.
As these in-depth conditionings have become a part of our minds in the course of our upbringings, a particular situation or person immediately activates them. We automatically put on the mask appropriate for the particular situation, tailored to the expectations of the situation or person.
A characteristic feature of these conditioned mind patterns–no matter how different they might be in different cultures–is that they reproduce themselves. They therefore produce human replicas that meet the expectations and norms of the society they are born into. They adjust to, and keep the rules of their respective society, and they become effective members of that society. They think, behave and feel as expected from good citizens. In the meanhwile, they preserve the illusion of free choice, since the conditioned mind patterns are, to a certain extent, flexible.
Then we identify with the conditioned mind patterns and begin to believe that we know the answer to the question regarding our identity, our goals in life.
In the Captivity of the Mind
In most cases, our Mind is locked up in the prison of the past by an event the outcome of which is unpleasant to us. Our thoughts turn toward that event in the past, we would like do change the course of the events, or we worry what others might think of us because of our improper behavior in that past moment.
Another way of becoming prisoners is when our Mind puts the spell of an imaginary future, or the image of a desired, idyllic state upon us. Then we mobilize all our energies to make those images come true, and we tend to pass by the opportunities offered by the present almost blindly.
Yet another way the Mind uses to chain us to our future is our constant worry about what is going to happen to us in the future. We are afraid of, or even fear, the future, our Mind constantly produces scenarios the outcome of which are disastrous for us. We lose our job, we fall ill, our partner leaves us, etc.
A characteristic dimension of the captivity of the Mind is that the Mind is usually rejective, or even hostile, to the present moment. We often think that this or that should not happen that way, I should be somewhere else now, in some much better place. Why do such things only happen to me all the time? Our mind is thus in a constant struggle with the present, and that very struggle is what keeps us in captivity.
Living in the prison of the Mind, we are not in control of our lives, we just drift among the illusions generated by the Mind, and in most cases we are unable to act in the present moment.
Escaping from the Captivity of the Mind
In order to escape from the captivity of the mind, we first need to recognize our fixed mental patterns! If we see and recognize these mind patterns, we can shut those doors one by one, which lead us back to our minds’ old functioning.
It does not mean that we need to shut the doors ourselves. The fixed operational methods of the mind cannot be defeated by the works of the mind itself, that is, by effort, practice or our willpower.
When a fixed mental pattern appears, all we need to do is watch how it works, what expectation activates it. But we do not need to fight it, we do not need to make any effort to neutralize it.
There is only one remedy against them, and that is Sight, nourished by the deeper dimensions of Alertness, and the Sight will bring recognition to us. The power of Sight is that it reduces our identification with our minds, and places us back into our original states of existence, that is, Alertness.
When we see and recognize how our fixed mental patterns work, the energy supply they receive gradually dries up, since the energy that formerly supplied these patterns now supply the emergence of the deeper dimensions of Alertness in us. In this way, conditioned mental patterns gradually lose their power and they vanish. As a result, the work of the mind that might have appeared chaotic to us before become increasingly transparent.
In this way, Consciousness and Presence will increasingly dominate our minds, and they will be manifested in longer and longer periods of silence. That is how the mind regains its original mission, and it will become a means by which Consciousness is able to express itself in the world of forms and shapes.
About the author:
Frank M. Wanderer Ph.D is a professor of psychology, a consciousness researcher and writer. Frank is the author of the books „The Revolution of Consciousness: Deconditioning the Programmed Mind”, “The Flames of Alertness: Discover the Power of Consciousness!“, “The Biggest Obstacle to Enlightenment: How to Escape from the Prison of Mind Games?” and several books on consciousness. With a lifelong interest in the mystery of human existence, Frank’s work is to help others wake up from identification with our personal history and the illusory world of the forms and shapes, and to find our identity in what he calls “the Miracle”, the mystery of the Consciousness.
Connect with Frank at http://www.frankmwanderer.com/
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