Warning: This is probably the most philosophical of anything I’ve ever written and it’s not something that is easy to digest or even understand. It will probably not be interesting to most of you since it’s very complicated to the point of “why am I even reading this” yet I write about it anyways in the hopes of putting into words what I believe is the true role of our minds/consciousness in the life we live.
You can already see from that last statement how keeping up with this article is going to require you to look at the world uber-existentially and if you’re not interested in that sort of thing, I don’t blame you. A lot of us have jobs, children and other more real problems to worry about. But if you ever reach a breaking point, can’t sleep or just have to know more about the true nature of the mind and why it’s so annoying a lot of the time, maybe you can give this article a solid look through.
One of the biggest issues most people have is to deal with the pressure of the mind. Almost everything about how we live is dictated through what the mind believes is correct for us, yet everything we find meaningful—love, wellbeing, emotions, working hard, identity, the way we communicate—none of these require the mind to exist.
Our mind doesn’t have a place when it comes to expressing these things. When we want to experience love from someone else, we don’t want them to think about loving us, we want it to arise out of someplace deeper, someplace authentic.
So then why do we all believe that the mind can help us solve these things? Why is it that when we feel like we’re lacking in the love department do we look for better ways to think about it, why is it that when we don’t feel good, we rush toward self-help and try all sorts of things like morning routines, better nutrition, maybe even therapy, gratitude, all of these attempts that arise out of the mind?
Perhaps considering the mind’s place in our lives is something that you would deem insignificant, like why am I even concerning myself with this at all?
But perhaps that’s exactly the point. We perceive each other out of our base consciousness (the self-aware part of the mind). That means what we think we are and what we can consciously understand arises out of the mind. Yet we all agree that there is a subconscious and an unconscious aspect of ourselves.
So when we’re talking about the birthplace of love and feelings, all of these things arise out of the unconscious realm, or at least we find authentic feelings arise out of the unconscious realm, watching someone blush for example, scream out of excitement or perhaps even shed a tear out of pure sadness. All of these examples are behaviors of something we treasure in life, it shows us the beauty of the human race and that includes us.
So what is the point of the conscious mind? At what point did we start believing that this conscious aspect of ourselves could take over what the unconscious provides us in our lives. At what point did we start letting our consciousness dictate what these unconscious behaviors even mean?
I know this might seem a little too philosophical but it’s interesting to consider the fact that we believe our conscious minds are capable of reaching a point at which it can take over for the human qualities that the unconscious is responsible for. Things like love, fear, feelings, these aren’t supposed to be conscious qualities of ours, yet so many of us suffer daily by trying to comprehend it anyways.
Why do our parents treat us this way and do stupid things? Why is my spouse cheating on me or not loving me the way I desire or being ignorant? Why am I so scared of doing anything when I know that fear is a normal part of survival yet going out of my comfort zone is something I feel like I will never overcome?
Do you see where I’m going with this? We spend so much time trying to find conscious solutions to unconscious problems, problems that aren’t really problems, just experiences of life. We take things like fear and love and stop the normal flow in order to consciously understand them so that we can never have problems, yet to do something like this is out of the grasp of what our minds are here to do in the first place.
What are our minds here to do? Have you ever thought about it? I’m sure most of you haven’t. Why would you? Only philosophical freaks like me would ever reach a point at which they consider what the purpose of the mind in this life is.
Yet not concerning ourselves with something so fundamental, the aspect of ourselves that all of us recognize as ourselves, is absolutely weird. When I’m talking to you, I’m talking out of my consciousness, when I write I’m writing out of my consciousness, when you read and listen, you’re doing those things out of your consciousness. But when you live your life, when you laugh, when you eat, when you hug, when you love, when you get scared, when you feel pressured, when you get excited, when you’re curious, none of these things are born out of our consciousness.
So to answer the question of this article, what is the mind’s place in our world? Why is it here?
And the answer is simple, although you might not like it, and perhaps not even agree with me, but the mind is here to do one thing: it’s here to see.
It’s here to see the world. It’s here to see other people. It’s here to provide us with a perspective that the unconscious life can not provide. The power of emotions, fear and all the other sub-mental qualities of life are powerful and profoundly important for our health, yet what our minds do is offer something completely different, almost like a feature of sorts. It let’s you look at the world from an outside perspective. It lets you see what is happening and what people are doing without needing to worry about it. The mind isn’t here to solve our problems of love and hunger, fear and everything else.
It can’t. It’s not designed to be able to do something like that. But is it fucking interested in trying? Oh, yes, bring it on. Challenge accepted.
And this is the lesson of the mind. Realizing it’s place in our lives and making sure that even though all the mind wants to do is understand and concern itselves (or as you might think, ourselves) with the world around it, it isn’t here to actually take our power away from us.
Thinking and conceptualizing can be a wonderful thing, it can allow us to look at the world from a position that we shouldn’t be allowed to see things from, but just because we can see doesn’t mean that this sight can turn itself into what it isn’t.
For example, consider our ability to feel, let’s turn this into a physical object like a hammer. If our emotions were a hammer that provides us with useful experiences in our life, then our consciousness would be like a manual that comes with the hammer. It’s like a manual that we constantly fill out as we live and observe the hammer doing its work in the world. This manual can be very useful to the hammer, but you can not decide that just because the manual is so interested in the hammer that it can be used as a hammer, does that make sense?
Recognizing the potential of our minds can do so much for us. It can free us from the suffering we place on ourselves because we stop trying to use our minds as a placeholder for something else. Instead we let go and just observe. Our minds can be useful when it amasses experience over time, but it’s the amassed wisdom that can help us, not the mind which does the amassing.
When we realize this difference is when we can start living to our strengths, it’s when the mind does what it needs to do and stops trying to control the parts of us that are designed to help us live correctly and keep us satisfied in the world.
I’m sure though that if you read this far, you can already see how difficult doing something like this can actually be. Understanding the true nature of our lives is not easy and definitely not simple (or at least I’m not yet capable of making it simple enough to be an effective learning principle).
Yet I believe it is profoundly important and can be useful to so many of us since all of us live in a world that is run by the mind and what the mind wants. So even though we all have access to our unconscious wisdom, even though we can all live satisfying lives in which all the love and wellbeing we desire will automatically find it’s way towards us, instead we are all taught to try to understand why the world is the way it is which only stops our true natures from living in the way that it should be allowed to live in.
And if everyone believes that the only way they can be happy is if they find the impossible solution they’re looking for, the next drug, the next self-help book, the next person in their lives, more money, whatever it is, then when you do expect any of us to truly enjoy the lives we’ve been given the honor of living. It looks like most of humanity would rather spend it’s time pretending to know more about life instead of living their lives instead.
The mind which should be used as a feature to enhance our perception of life is being used to suppress it. Not cool. Not cool.