Changing conditioned beliefs
The disciple asked: “Master since you said that you will not change my beliefs, how those will change in me?”
The master couldn’t help but laugh and then said: “ Is that “me” something fixed in time? Remember when you were a kid? Sure you do. However, is there anything there which has remained unchanged in you? ”
The master waited for the response of his disciple.
“Well,” said the disciple: “My name is the same. Everything else has changed including my beliefs and life outlook.”
The master said: “What you just said required awareness. Most believe that there is an unchanging “I” or “me.” Their memories make up their lives which are in the past and never “now.” Yes, your name is the same and that is why, when you become a new person centered in your heart rather than the mind; you will have a new spiritual name which you will use instead.”
Then the master continued: “ Look, there wasn’t a time when you were the same. Change is unavoidable but when your life is anchored in the mind, only the past matters and that creates illusions of a future, but in truth; in that future you will not be.”
The disciple looked at his master with a lost gaze and said: “You mean that Life itself will change my beliefs?”
The master said: “ The most important practice for you is to observe your mind, your thoughts and everything that comes out of that. Be quiet for a moment and do as told.” After sometime in silence, the master interrupted and said: “What did you observe?”
The disciple was hesitant to answer but after getting some courage said: “ It is insane, but I observed that my thoughts merely appear in my mind. I did not willingly fabricated them.” The master said: “That is a fantastic observation. That for sure will change some of your beliefs. Now, let me add this: Can you think without language? Don’t answer me yet. Try it.”
After a few minutes, the disciple said: “ Master, I am afraid I cannot. I need some sort of language in my head to relate things and come up with something, it is like an internal voice without sound.” The master then said: “Now you have discovered the influence of language in your mind. Most see the world only as their language allows them, that is conditioning. For instance, there are languages without the use of gender for nouns, while other languages give a gender to every object. That creates the idea that there are feminine things and masculine things. A separatist mind. Now, observe without language in your mind.”
After a few minutes the disciple said: “It is a weird state of attentiveness which I cannot hold for too long.” The master then smiled and replied: “ Some may call that state no-mind. Others, may call that a silent mind, and yet others may call that a peaceful mind. Do not get caught up with labels, for that is mind. Go deeper in that experience.”
Then the master said something apparently unrelated: “Many try to solve problems in the world through that separatist mind. There is always a division:Rich and poor, black and white, national and foreigner, my neighborhood and out of town, etc. The mind only divides, separates. That non-inclusive, egotistical mind cannot see the whole, the common good no matter what system it uses to try to solve problems. Conditioned humans are not aware that the root cause of human suffering is not their economy, political system, or distinct beliefs but their identification with their own unchecked, egotistical ever divisive mind.“
Question: What is mind? What is no-mind? How to get to no-mind?
“What is MIND? Can you explain through words what is MIND? How to move from MIND to NO-MIND? No-mind is also called pure space, emptiness, what does this mean? I personally feel the mind is total illusion (Correct me please if I am wrong). And if the mind is illusion, how illusion can be associated with purity and impurity? You know they refer it as “Pure Mind” and “Impure Mind”.”
Thank you for your question.
A description will set limits. This may work for tangible items; but when we are referring to intangible such as the “Mind,” is not that easy.
For example, let us take a look at a dictionary definition of MIND: “The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.”
From my experience, that definition is quite inaccurate; but yet because it is a “dictionary definition” most will believe in that. Of course, if there was AWARENESS we could know the answer, but yet we want words to make intellectual sense of something that is readily observable.
Consciousness is AWARENESS. The MIND is accumulation of experiences and conditioning which shapes our perspective of Life. We use the filter of the mind to make sense of the world. The mind is the one knowing “what is right or wrong” according to society’s teachings. It is the internal voice speaking which brings our conditioning forward.
For example: “masturbation is sinful.” That is conditioning. That is stored in our mind. That becomes our guiding “truth.” Thoughts will appear to support that core belief. Once those thoughts have drilled down in us and we believe them despite our inner conflict; then feelings will settle and those will create emotions, that is; the body will be affected. Then we may play the “dishonest” game of defending that “truth” verbally, while still DOING it. This will increase our sense of guilt and from there, it is only a step into emotional and mental disturbances.
If you want to understand, do not try to make sense of my words. Just use those as guiding symbols. OBSERVATION, AWARENESS is what will allow you to know.
If you go deeper into this, you may be able to recognize that the MIND is not YOU, but conditioning that have shaped YOU into something. It has given you a “form.”
For example, you are clay; but the mind will present that clay into the form of a little house made with clay. The mind will defend that “form” at all costs for it thrives in identity, which will create the ego-mind. Ego is mind.
You said “The mind is total illusion.” I ask you to confirm that through your own observable experience, after reading this.
Is the house made of clay an “illusion”? Yes and No.
However, what is important is to see clay in every “form.”
That is deconditioning. It is not to negate by saying that everything is an “illusion,” but by OBSERVING that clay will present itself in different forms. Every form is a perspective, the way we look at Life.
“Reality” presents itself through different “forms.” All of them are “real,” but illusions at the same time. It all depends on the one observing. His conditioning. His perspective.
This is the reason why the “I” is real for most, it presents itself with a marvelous form… but it is an illusion at the same time.
When there is no-conditioning, what is there then? An Empty mind. That is space, emptiness. Many labels to refer to “no-mind.”
My friend Mathias, one day explained that “emptiness allows for decoration of a room.” If the room has already stuff in it, there are limits as to how we could decorate. For most individuals, the mind is full of stuff, full of furniture, there is no space for anything “new.”
The terms “purity and impurity” are mental abstractions. A duality created by the mind. Concepts to play with.
“Purity” is not to DO some things and to avoid others.
“Impurity” is not to DO things which are not “pure.” Observe the trap. We must define what is “pure.” That definition entails a particular perspective, a particular reality. For example, some religions believe that sex is “impure.” Thus, their definition of “purity” is no-sex, celibacy.
It is not that sex is pure or impure, but it has been defined in a certain way. There is a particular perspective in such statement.
Since the mind is more less a “computer hard drive” full of experiences and conditioning influencing the output of our actions, there cannot be such a thing as “pure or impure” mind, but rather pure and impure experiences, which can’t be. Experiences are only that, experiences.
No-Mind is not the negation of mind, but to empty the conditioning of it, the “furniture” in the room. That is how it is said: “A pure mind is an empty mind.”
The next question will be: How do I empty my mind?
“You” don’t DO it. Once AWARENESS sets in, it happens while at the same time, emotional disturbances may need to be dissolved; but that is part of someone’s particular path. There are no “recipes.”
You want to DO something? OBSERVE yourself, BE AWARE of your thoughts, emotions, reactions, movements. Learn from yourself. “Know thyself.”
Beyond the trap of purity and impurity, there is AWARENESS and lack of it.
AWARENESS is like breathing. We are so used to “automatic pilot” that we need to read what the “expert” says about “how to breathe.” That is the conditioning of the mind: Believe the “experts” if you want to know.
Once we read the opinion of the “authority,” thoughts will arrive saying that “I know what breathing is.” To de-condition means to open to the possibility that “I don’t know anything, despite reading about it” and go through the breathing experience ourselves.
The mind will try to make “my” findings about breathing into a “best-seller.” That is conditioning. Got to make money! Get ahead!
My moral values will tell me that “I shouldn’t make a profit through spiritual teachings.” That is conditioning as well. That conflict will come from the mind.
An empty mind, is empty of that sort of conflict, for BEING knows the direction in Life. There is no need to make a choice, for that is mind.
To listen to that message without distortions, means to discover no-mind.
Going into “No-I”
“Spirituality” as it has been taught for many years, targets an infantile consciousness. It is the popular “Monkey sees, Monkey does.”
It is understood that we learn by imitation like a 5-year-old child. That is the need for “role models.”
Have you seen a 50-year-old with the consciousness of a 5-year-old?
They may know a lot about the “office world.” They know how to “make money,” how to be “ahead.” They know that “I” is different than “you” and different than Life. They know how to look out for #1.
Life is for ME to make what “I” want of it. Life is for ME, I and MYSELF.
What a dingy bird!
What type of spirituality will be “good” for that? Do this. Don’t Do that. If you do it, you will get punished; but if you follow the instructions, if you copy the “role models,” then you will be “good.” “God” will have a special place for you when you die while a monument will be built on Earth after you. You will be eternal.
That is all about the “I.”
With that kind of spirituality, “I” have to become something better, “I” have to achieve something special, “I” have to show others my value, my capacity… “I” will continue on even when “I” am no longer here. “I” need to achieve heaven and join the political party of angels and saints…
“I” need insurance for the afterlife.
That type of consciousness is not ready yet for “No-I.” That is the other half of your 24-hour day…
Although we may be awake, we are asleep trapped in the routine of “another day at the office.”
When “I” sleep sound and deep, who am “I”? Where am “I”?
When thoughts come into “my” mind, who sent them? Wasn’t it “me”? Why can’t “I” stop them?
The “problem” is that I call that experience “MY” mind.
“I” have not been trained to OBSERVE the mind as when a bird passes flying on the sky. Do I say “my” bird is flying now? 🙂
What are those things that build “ME”? …. “MY” body.
Definitely, but can I observe that IT is getting older without “MY” permission? Nevertheless, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, conditionings have me wrapped up in MY identification of ME.
Enjoy your body! Only know that it is not yours or you… unless your consciousness is still there with that song… Then, embrace that. Acknowledge it … You are not ready for “NO-I” yet, otherwise it will be a dull belief, another “reason” to be dishonest with yourself. …but it doesn’t mean that “No-I” is nonsense. It just means that “I Am” not there yet.
Emotions, thoughts, beliefs, conditionings are shaping ME, for through them, through that filter, “I” perceive the world and “Myself.”
Take those away, who am I?
Wait a minute, that is not easy! I cannot take those away as “I” take my coat off.
No problem. Life DOES IT. 5 years from now, “I” will not be the same.
All it links ME to the idea of ME, are labels: My name. All the rest will have changed at different percentages which “I” cannot control.
Who am “I” then? 🙂
“No-I” and “I” are 2 sides of the coin. “I” can BE and at the same time, “I” cannot BE. Thus, when “I” need to BE… I AM. When I don’t… I AM NOT.
Who am I? 🙂
What I AM NOT and what I AM. Senseless, illogical, irrational stuff. Perhaps the “truth.” 🙂
Everyone needs a different medicine
One of the greatest conditioners, is the idea that “one solution/method fits everyone.”
Methods, books, teachings, religions support the “one size fits all” approach.
Certainly, here is where the belief of “truth” comes in.
The “truth” is your experience, but at the same time, it is only yours. This “concept” of “truth” is difficult to understand, if we take the “Office world” as our reference.
In the “Office world,” things are labeled neatly. Concepts are placed in “good” or “bad” containers. Judgments are based on our perception of where actions, ideas, ideals fit. However, we do not realize that our judgement is conditioned with the ideals that we have been taught to be “true.”
Common agreement with an upgraded label: ”Truth.”
A seeker may need to realize the above to be at peace with the World, and to open up to Life.
How this will work practically? The more definitions we use to identify ourselves with, then our freedom to BE and change, will be obstructed.
The “office world” is great on those labels!
“I am a catholic democrat from Nigeria. My soccer team is the Real Madrid.” Those labels are necessary in the “Office world” where identity is important; but in Life, those labels only separate, which in turn brings self-righteousness and opposition.
We BELIEVE in those labels beyond their place in the “office world.” The identity that those labels provide will give us the comfort that we are SOMEONE.
“Oh, I get… you are saying that we shouldn’t join any religions or be part of particular teams, for that brings separation, right?”
Observe your answer. Your mind is separating again. Ahnanda is not sharing these things so someone could make a commandment through these words, or some other religious BELIEF.
Ahnanda is sharing these realizations so we could perceive how our conditioning from the “Office World” affects our perception of Life. That is all.
“Once you die, you could go to heaven, hell or purgatory.”
Do we see how “One size fits all” is used?
What is the standard for that selection knowing that everyone has a different consciousness, different experiences and somewhat the same conditioning?
Death becomes a problem, even though we have not lived Life to the fullest, for we are stuck with our definitions, our “should be,” our “righteous” beliefs, our doubled-edge morality, etc.
In the path of self-realization, all of that will need to be left behind. It is not an ideal to pursue as: “From now on, I will not believe in a religion or join a political party.”
That is childish. That is rejection to what the “Office world” offers.
Just BE AWARE of the game. There is no need to make selections or to put our Life goals in a paragraph so everyone could read it and say: “This guy is something. How pure are his intentions!”
Some still need the medicine of “commandments and laws” to keep out of trouble in the “office world,” but this does not mean that in other “spiritual” dimensions, things are the same. Nevertheless, religions copy that procedure. After all, the collective consciousness, the masses, are already conditioned to follow that and consider that as “truth.”
For others, the medicine for a different consciousness is to be AWARE of how things operate without verbalizing it, and running the risk of putting their realization into a “black or white” commandment to be followed by others.
Have you seen the definition of “mindfulness”?
1. The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
2. A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
That makes intellectual sense, right?
Intellectually, we want to practice that. We want to “achieve” that. As a matter of fact, some are making money by “teaching” that.
That dictionary definition can only describe “mindfulness,” as when we describe the Ocean to someone who has never seen it and experienced. Therefore, what are we going to “practice”? What are we going to “achieve”? An ideal.
Mindfulness is no-mind. Thus, it is not a “mental state.” It is not a purposely, willingly focus on something. Can we understand no-mind when our society has used the word “mind” to describe ourselves? Can we go beyond the conditioning?
What is the mind and no-mind?
When we become aware of our inner state, we start understanding “what makes it tick.” If we want to communicate those findings to another, then a particular language is invented to describe the experiences.
Those listening or reading the explanations but without the experience, will be caught up with just the words.
For instance, if a religion talks about “being soul conscious,” immediately there is a misunderstanding from those without the experience. Then, those individuals want to “achieve soul consciousness,” they want to “work on it,” etc. That only shows their conditioning.
If Ahnanda mentions “No-I,” it is the same as the Buddhist “emptiness,” and the same as “soul conscious.”
Readers caught up with words but unable to look at their inner experience, will try to intellectually understand what “no-I” is.
You cannot. For “I” am denying that which you think you are.
Thus, another word that may convey a similar experience is “no-mind.”
However, the question now becomes: “What is the mind?”
Here some “definitions:”
1) The mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, and memory.
2) The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.
3) In common parlance, ‘the mind’ most often refers to the seat of human consciousness, the thinking-feeling ‘I’ that seems to be an agentic causal force that is somehow related but is also seemingly separable from the body.
Those definitions are only pointers to know that we are talking about a “table” and not an “apple.” Unless you look at your own table, you will not know ‘table.’
Your emotions, your conditioning, your traumas, your expectations, your taboos, your beliefs all of that is the mind.
All of that will give you a unique identity which is different than anyone else.
Therefore, unlearning, healing, dissolving, surrendering that mind… all of those “spiritual key words,” mean the same thing, or rather: It “is pointing to the same experience.”
When we use the mind, we are caught up with dictionary definitions, concepts, methods, analysis. We wish to understand our mind by using those things. That will not happen.
As the mind surrenders, there is “no-mind.” As there is openness, there is integration with all that is.
Call that soul consciousness, call that emptiness, call that no-mind, no-I, call that oneness, call that God…
Labels and more labels.
Some readers love a particular label used by a Spiritual Guru. If another uses a different label, then that becomes “false” for them. The mind entertains in those debates, meaningless “theory.”
You will know that the mind is going away, when enjoyment of Life arrives, you become relax, you will “go with the flow”… until then, relentless pursue your dreams, stress yourself out, strive to make “a difference,” be “number 1,” experience the accomplishments taking you nowhere, experience the “hamster wheel” of the mind…
Once the mind is tired, frustrated, it gives up… then you can finally sit down and observe… You will understand without trying to. 🙂
The “office world” does not teach that.
Letting go of fear – Reader comments
“I have been asking myself questions and it helped me to come out of some fixed opinions / beliefs that i had in the past. Initially, the fear of what people would say was there, and then I told myself that i can handle the situation. 🙂
What i remembered from your writings was – to let go off the beliefs and traditions when they are not suitable/ logical any more. i did not want to hurt people around me simply because i believed in a particular system and did not want to go against that.
Regarding ‘not accepting’ and checking whether we have ‘not rejected’ something…. They (the psychologists) say that one should give only a positive command and not a negative one. If we tell the mind ‘not to reject’, it will try to ‘reject’ the idea as for some reason, the “no, not” etc. do not get registered in the mind…”
Thank you for your comments.
You have identified 3 key things in your comments, that may help many readers to identify and face their own fears.
1) Any fixed opinion or belief will define us. That definition is a picture that we hold onto. Life is a movie.
Most individuals may hold onto a picture of you. That is what the mind likes to do. If you change, that will be uncomfortable for them to identify you, label you, classify you. Fear arrives when we have greater value of what others think than what we feel about ourselves.
2) To let go off beliefs and traditions is to “un-define” yourself. There are times when to follow a belief or a tradition will be desirable. Other times, it may not be. Those beliefs could be detrimental to our well being. It is important to acknowledge our change, what we feel and at the same time, to observe timing and circumstances. We are not alone, but if what we “think” we are/should be, is not allowing us to feel happy, then allow yourself the freedom to change. Let go off your own definition. Our fear is to change but to remain a victim, a “martyr” is to embrace self-pain. We may need to ask ourselves if we are masochists or if we believe that being a “martyr” will get us some desirable status, prize, reward “in the future,” in the “after life.” The later, is definitely a way to pamper our “I.”
3)Who is giving the command to the mind? Isn’t that the “I”? Isn’t the “I”… mind?
That is the trick to observe.
When the mind knows about the “idea” of acceptance or not rejecting; that idea is practiced. That is fake acceptance.
You could tell yourself to accept, force yourself to DO it… that is fake acceptance.
Merely observe what is going on in you. If acceptance is not natural, there are many emotions that may need to be healed. Acknowledge that, for that is who you truly are in that moment, the “now.” Then, your job is to allow for healing to occur.
True acceptance is not of the mind. Your whole being is acceptance. This does not happen through the practice of ideals, but through the observation, the awareness and integration of “you” with Life.
Psychologists may know about the mind. I am referring to “no-mind.”
The “I” is mind. Joy is “no-mind.”
The mind has taken over
Mike was riding his bicycle. He had the “green light,” in the intersection so he started to go across. Suddenly, a car coming from nowhere cut off Mike’s pedaling. In a second, Mike had to rely on his brakes to stop before hitting the car!
The driver of the car was a young guy wearing his baseball hat backwards.
Mike was able to go across the intersection without further issues.
Bottom line: Everyone was alright. That is the “now.”
The above are the facts. However, what is going on in each protagonist’s mind is the drama to be aware of.
“What is the matter with that kid! I have green light! I am right! That starts things off. Then the ego uses that opportunity to grow in size thanks to using some “big” words learned through several sessions on conditioning: “ What the F… you SOB!” An angry face, a little shouting, giving the finger… Isn’t that the “right” way to show how “right” you are?
“That should teach him a lesson to be careful!” Mike thought.
Amazing how the expression of our anger could teach a lesson to another on being careful. Part of the conditioning. No doubt.
Mike was hiding his fear through the “tough” look, topped off with some self-righteousness. But… “He could have gotten killed!” The mind defended the “I.”
… But the fact is that it didn’t happen. The “now.” 🙂
The ego has a great story to keep the momentum of growth! Mike told his wife about the incident, then his kids, some close relatives, his friends. Every time he related the story, the juicy details increased. Mike became such a story teller! but the “moral,” of the story every time was: “I am right. How he dared to mess with me.”
The kid driving the car forgot about the incident 5 minutes later, as soon as he arrived to the beach bar that he was heading to.
If Mike was aware of how his mind created that moment of ego boost, if he was aware of the illusion of having complete control of Life, he would surely have reacted in a different way. But the fact is that he wasn’t aware, and the consequence is that this incident supported his conditioning, his learned behavior. The importance of the “I.” Later in his Life, he may want to “conquer his ego” and his mind will allow him to think that this is “right.” 🙂
Ego is mind. If we recognize how the mind analyzes, dissects, separates, make distinctions based on sets of beliefs stored as past experiences; we could observe how the mind is never present in the “now.” It cannot be, for the mind interferes with the experience of the “now,” which is no-mind.
Have you ever watched the same movie several times?
The mind knows what is going to happen in that movie. Why that isn’t boring? If you are aware, you will notice that when you are into it, into a particular scene of the movie; there is no thinking. You are in the “now.” The moment the mind takes over, by going into the past or the future, rewinding or fast forwarding the movie in our minds, while watching the movie, boredom appears. Suddenly, it is the same old thing.
Why a kid does not mind if the same bed story is told to him night after night? Just like a dog will fetch the frisbee many times even though it is thrown to the same place to be picked up. The activity will be enjoyed until physical tiredness sets in. Those activities bring joy, and they could be repeated as long as there is no mind.
Is the mind “bad”? No! It is necessary to remember things, faces, facts. It is necessary to make “educated guesses” also known as ” carefully thought out decisions.” The issue is that the mind has taken over our being… and we don’t even “know” about it.