Habits. Programming. Behavior patterns. Cycles of activity. These are all ways of describing what I've been recently calling my “Conditioned Mind”. Some people personalize this aspect of themselves, calling it the “Maximizer”, “Task Master”, “Automatic Self”, or even “Possessed Self”.
My Conditioned Mind has been hard at work for years determining course of action based on environmental rewards and punishments. It can be very useful for task completion, but not so useful for self-engagement, authenticity, or awareness.
I have discovered that my Conditioned Mind seems to feel quite anxious most of the time. There is a sense of “must”, “have to”, and “need to” that comes from a place of scarcity. It has felt odd, but liberating, to check in with this anxious feeling and let it pass instead of indulging it's orders with activity.
What is the emotional tone of your Conditioned Mind?
Body, Mind, and Heart
Evolutionary biology, neurology, and even simple anatomy all make it quite clear that our human brain has elements that make us more cognitively advanced than other animals. Yet we still share great similarity with other animals in our organic and physical functions.
Thus it could be said that the mind was built on the body. There is a certain sequence of order and complexity inherent in this relationship.
Thus it is no surprise that the body reacts powerfully with emotions, while the mind calculates and maps with language and thoughts.
Put another way: The body has ancient emotions. The mind has new knowledge.
What of the heart? I believe the heart has wisdom. Could it be possible that the transcendence of both body and mind lie within the wisdom of the heart?
Abundance and Impermanence
I used to believe that abundance was quantifiable. That I could somehow define it, achieve it, carry it with me.
I have recently realized that a field of grass is as abundant as any amount of money or resources. The infinite complexity of nature that surrounds us provides more abundance than any mind can map, measure, or understand.
Abundance awareness acknowledges that there is no end to the availability of beauty and resource. Scarcity is a story and an illusion, perhaps born out of fear of death. Yet death in the form of impermanence weaves poetically and symbiotically with abundance through time and space.
Abundance and impermanence somehow depend on one another. There can only be abundance if reality flows between coming and going; life and death. For without some sense of life and death there would be no sense of more than enough. And there can only be impermanence if there is abundance. Without abundance, impermanence would make quick work of this world. If there were not more than enough, then there would have nothing left long ago.
How could embracing both abundance and impermanence bring wisdom to your life?
I am not my thoughts.
I am not my feelings.
I am not the container through which thoughts and feelings pass.
I am the indescribable wonderstuff that holds it all together as me.
Being one and being connected
“I think therefore I am.” For that to be true my thoughts must be my own. I must be separate from others.
Yet we live intertwined with other humans, flora and fauna alike. Our body depends on breathing air that we all breathe. I remember once hearing that the water that makes up our body used to be dinosaur pee.
Could it be possible that I am fully me and we are fully connected all at once? Perhaps that is the mystery of life itself.
Life and Entropy and Acceptance
Since entropy is the movement of matter toward disorganization and life requires organization of energy and matter, I once decided that the purpose of life was to combat entropy.
But if life is consciousness, couldn't the opposite be true? Perhaps the purpose of life is to embrace entropy. To take in all the creation in balance with all the chaos and accept it all.
Abundance and Perfection
Abundance is all around us, but perfection is rare.
In my life I have often focused on pursuit of perfection, which has left me out of relationship with the abundance around me. Today I feel revitalized in my efforts to start with the abundance of creation and build from there.
Where are you seeking perfection when abundance is already available?
What would it be like to live a sacred life?
I don't mean robes and priesthood. I am speaking about the constant awareness of the miracles we can find in each smile, each word, and each breath.
I struggle to stay in a mindfully sacred space of abundance, gratitude, and joy. Often I am distracted by old habits, social pressures, and personal mythology.
What's keeping you from living a sacred life?
Leading from stillness
I have long associated peace and stillness with inaction.
Central to my illusion is the separation of doing and being. I have often thought of them as binary to one another, but they are most certainly not.
I've been reading a book about how stillness creates energy and vitality. Yesterday I was challenged by a trusted mentor to lead from my stillness. Feels like I'm headed in a direction of more truth, more being and more doing.
Where might you lead from stillness?
“Be at peace.”
“HURRY UP AND DO!”
I remain still.
“FINE. DO NOTHING.”
“What a beautiful vision of what may come.”
“AHA! FOCUS ON THAT VISION AND DO NOTHING. YOU CAN'T LOSE!”
I remain still, but I will rise into mindful action before long.