What is mind in the context of how we view the world?
Is meditation about a clearer window?
The mind is like a storybook we see and hear, taste, smell, and feel, but we take all those connections with our life experience and then, automatically without much consideration, we make a story. Stories can be happy, sad serious, well-meaning, or follow our intentions towards goals, even the tragic stories we tell again and again. So, is it the story that controls our feelings?
I know storytelling gives me the satisfaction of some kind or is it just the telling? Telling a story needs an audience. Sometimes we just keep telling ourselves the same story over and over. Like as if one day the perfect ear will appear and we will have the perfect audience. The telling to ourselves has developed the story to perfection, perhaps, it could even get through to the most skeptical listener. We want others to follow our dream if only to give ourselves confidence and also to feel the feeling of empathy that is so important in the sharing process.
Stories develop a life of their own with the listeners’ comments and observations helping us to evolve our thought process into reasons, meaning and purpose of every aspect. So much so that, the original story suddenly becomes a reflection of truth or fiction. The life of a story wanes until it is no longer relevant. Its purpose seems to be a lesson in life or a time capsule for milestones that we want to remember. Later, we might recall some of these stories and relate them to our present experience. In this process, the emotions that we felt in the original story appear to be revisited as a mirror reflecting our evolution over time, or, a lack of it.
The present is constantly accessing these old stories and feelings on a subtle level, barely noticeable, to our constant chattering thoughts… Really, the stories never seem to end, even if we try to deny thinking about them. Persistent stories can drive us crazy because they constantly pop-up out of the blue. Now, we are thinking about what we are doing in one moment, then next a song pops into our mind – a song we played last week, perhaps.
We get really bored with this phenomenon and try all kinds of tricks to distract ourselves from these relentless repeating thoughts. Even if we practice meditation, sitting still, watching our breath, the feeling of air rushing in and out of our nostrils. All of a sudden last week’s song appears again or some conversation we had with someone etc. and so on.
The mind has a language of its own that takes in everything we experience, processes it in many ways and catalogs it all so it can be reassessed and recalled for further thought, feeling and action. Dreams and illusions are also absorbed into this treasury and archive; the language of the mind is not discriminatory on content. Happiness and suffering are all a part of the story. Some stories we develop attachment and desire to others we abhor and want to forget but irrespective of our feelings they are there cataloged waiting to be recalled. Luckily though, the mind’s language has a way of managing itself so we have the subtle mind experience and we also have the more explicit experience that is cognitive thinking.
The cognitive experience is basically thinking; it’s what we are most aware of when we talk about the mind. This experience seems to drive us, gets us excited about some things and reluctant about others. Really though, the subtle experience, the underlying stories are the real drivers. So basically, we are for the most part content with assuming that our cognitive thinking is our primary driver of activity and so it follows that we can blame our thoughts for getting ourselves into all sorts of predicaments. This is why meditation is so important. We really need to get in touch with our hidden stories and meditation is really the only method there is.
Meditation has two themes, the first is the various practices that help us calm the mind so that we can get in touch with subtle story-lines that are behind every thought. The other is the explanation of how we deal with our everyday thinking. The tricks and distractions our normal thought process uses to control the outcomes of our actions. What I am saying here amounts to us having a hidden agenda, a hidden story-line even to ourselves. The second kind of meditation deals with this hidden agenda, with a system of antidotes in the form of analytical thinking. This analytical process is learned separately from the first meditation yoga – there are many books on this topic. However, unless the first type of meditation is properly performed, the cognitive mind will never become still enough to be able to sense our hidden story-lines, on which we need to apply the analysis. This analysis we learn from any of the appropriate knowledgeable sources.
In conclusion, I would like to say that to be happy or experience unfortunate moments in suffering eventually we will find they are all rooted in the language that preserves our hidden story-lines. The story of the mind, and how we view the world interacts in interwoven layers of experience that has evolved into many subtle stories that feed into our conscious thoughts. To unravel the complexities of our life we must surely take a look at meditation, the only way to find those persistent stories that influence us the way they do.