Friday, November 17, 2017

THE OFFICE OF THE MIND

I have an office. The table is full of files. Communications come from many sources. One by one I deal with them. Some are immediately attended to. Some are noted for a higher office authority or authority. Some are kept pending.

My mind's office is the same.

Communications come from different sources:

  1. By the things one sees, one hears; through letters and telephone calls - but all ultimately through one or the other of the senses.
  2. Memories of places, persons, things, and times.
  3. Thoughts of persons, things, places and times.
  4. Feelings about this or that.
  5. Sensations.

Now all these individual routes bring something to awareness: and each one of them provokes responses in the others zones; and an end result may or may not appear in action through muscles etc. A sensation of heat might provoke memories of certain places; a depressive thought may provoke a depressive feeling; and a depressive feeling might call in depressive thoughts; by chance word heard in the market leads to some chain of thought and so on. Thus the office of the mind is cluttered with this ceaseless input of information almost chaotic in its complexity. Somewhere all this jumble of input currents may result in an action for which our reasoning supplies a justification, or none, or starts contradictory impulses of action. Since the instrument has not been trained for some method of dealing with this vast input, and the machine has been designed to receive such fast inputs from different sources, lot of inner friction and inertia develops and leads to considerable ineffectiveness, as also wear and tear.

It is obvious that I have little control over the inputs. I seem to have some sort of control over the action or output; and I can pay attention to things I can somewhat control.

It seems to me that ultimately action is back by some strength of feeling. I also observe that negative emotions like anger and disgust etc. contribute quite a lot to the resulting action. Anyway, I must adopt some simple and effective method of dealing with information that is pouring into my awareness.

Knowing that information is neither good nor bad excepting by the significances induced into us by our environment, I shall protect my instrument from damage of conflict, by taking a firm decision to meet each item of information with positive good well and as much joy as my body can show.

If this is difficult apply the master-switch; The master of all action to whom all matters must be referred and wait a while.

Do not wish you the things that come to your mind; they do not go away, for they come to your address and seek your attention.

Submit them to positive goodwill - the persons; places, things, times, whatever they maybe; backup your goodwill by a positive creative imagination. If the thought of the health of someone dear to you, and who is at a distance, comes to you, you look at the person in your mind and see him in your mind getting better and better and getting the necessary attention. Change the negative imagery into a positive one. Do not forget that your negative forebodings play a part in precipitating the very things you fear. Also when you have no accurate knowledge of the future, why do you allow your mind to predict negative results only and suffer the consequences of such thoughts first of all in your body?

Where the clamour is from information from sources that provoke negative emotions detrimental to your own behavior and health, submit them to the master or love comma, and meantime control all impulsive action in retort, at whatever point you can control it, thought, speech or action.

Do not encourage disturbance in your office by increasing disorderly elements by supplying them with lawyers and goondas. Someone writes you an angry and insulting letter. You remember him with anger. This spreads - then you recall the number of good things you have done to him, and his present ingratitude; you fill yourself with hatred and your day is ruined. Then you spread this disturbance by talking about this to family and friends. You write back an angry letter and reinforce the vicious circle. Surely you have succeeded in harming yourself more than the mere verbal content of that man’s letter; and you yourself are supplying the energy for the evil intent of your opponent.

But if you spent a few minutes on the good the other person might have done you, and feel a little of the pain that might justly or unjustly be at the basis of the other person’s letter, and you simply kept quiet tell you have dissolved your own hate and anger, at least you would have protected your own system; and quite possibly helped in changing the other man’s attitude. You will learn by practice that this silent goodwill is much more powerful than pages of explanatory letters, each word of which leads to further bundle of emotion.

When in doubt SHUT UP!


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Saturday, November 04, 2017

IMAGINATION

All through I have been in one way or another drawing attention on the mind and its role in behaviour. The Buddha spoke of the mind as the primary organ - all the good or bad has its origin in the mind. Without going into the question of what is the nature of mind some practical points can considered.

By Unknown. via Wikimedia Commons
Is then everything in mind? Is there no objective reality? I can only ask the poser of question to experiment with his own behaviour and its relation to his mind or mental content, with reference to any particular time and action.

Past experience creates basis for present imagination, and this imagination acts as the blueprint for present action. In a passive way this past pattern of behaviour and its memory projected as imagination lays the foundation for the perpetuation of recurring patterns of behaviour. It is as if one is helplessly going round and round like a bullock yoked to a mill stone.

I meet someone today. This person is apparently angry with me and refuses my request. I come home with this sequence in mind. Already my imagination has worked out the drama of my next possible encounter with the man: his possible arrogance, my ready retorts and so on. The next time when I meet him the scene has been set for a recurrence of the drama on a more elaborate but similar pattern. Stereotype is the most economical form of behaviour and also the least creative. Effort is necessary to break out of the shackles of past experience. And in this the role of imagination is supreme.

With some effort I can reorganise my memory of yesterday and recast my imagination for the next act. I can soon see that the whole central point in our meetings is being overshadowed by emotional reactions. I can also see that my perception is distorted or exaggerated. The reasons for the other person's anger may be many more than what I think them to be in reference to my very small self. The other person is as helplessly driven. Since I intend to be in control of my own behaviour I shall try to avoid verbal or gestural behaviour that tends to hurt. I shall politely seek to clarify points concerning the topic in hand. At least it will not complicate matters further.

Imagination is the bridge between will and action. Imagination sets the pattern for action and often it sabotages the will: often determines the will. Only effort can make imagination a good servant of the will.

Similar is the case with the perpetuation of chronic disease: 'Each winter I get asthma; I'm like a barometer! I am an extraordinary fellow, when I have migraine I lose my temper.’ Over a period of years a carefully nursed drama of total behaviour is inducted into the body and the whole richness of possible behaviour is made as an offering to the idol of illness with a disease label in Latin attached to it. There is nothing written as an unalterable law of nature that you should scowl if you have a headache. Most chronic disease is stereotype of behaviour systematised into channels of popularly and ‘scientifically’ cut patterns of uncreative behaviour.

Past experience, through the medium of imagination creates the mill of recurring history called human fate or destiny. The so-called past experiences is merely a selective memory or imagination of a situation with a million facets of which a few pieces satisfying the stultifying ego needs are nursed and treasured. If this highly selective memory forms the basis for my operational imagination I should be careful to become the master of my memories rather than their victim.

Today’s memories are the manure for tomorrow’s yield. Just as a good gardener carefully sifts the fallen leaves of yesterday from the stones in order to prepare the manure, so should I sift my memories. If I collect stones and thorns I should not wonder at the results for the morrow. Careful nurturing of pleasant memories is the most important foundation for making tomorrow pleasant and more creative than today.

Imagination and memory are faculties even like muscles; they need cultivation.

Whether imagination and memory are real or unreal does not concern the aspirant, who seeks to gain greater and greater control in his own behaviour. He will spend some time in careful experiment with the faculties of imagination and memory as they come to his awareness.

Monday, October 23, 2017

BOREDOM

This is the commonest complaint, and the mother of all mischief. I am bored, because nothing interests me. But that is not true. Only a few things interest me, and a thousand things do not interest me.

My interests are narrow,  and the world and its plenitude exist for me only to the extent they pander to my excitements.

It is the result of utter parasitic selfishness or ego-centricism.  This recognises no reciprocal obligation to the world. When you feel bored it is a sign that the devil is in the driving seat, and the devil's other names are - disuse, decay, disease and death. Next time I find I am bored and complain that I have nothing to do - I can easily look around and see that there are a hundred interesting and useful things to be done; to be interesting to me, helpful to others, and to repay a debt of gratitude to the world that supports me. There is a room to tidy;  listen to someone talking about his difficulties; to merely look at the grandeur of the sky above you; to watch a squirrel or bird; or just polish your own shoes.

The word ‘bored’ has acquired a flavour sophistication and is very popular with the pampered and utterly self-centered youth from so-called well to do families, who easily feel bored this place, this city, this country, with the school, the family and ultimately with their disgusting selves. This is a physiological truth to be personally experimented with and experienced:

YOUR BRAIN AND THE WORLD AROUND IT REFLECT AND REINFORCE EACH OTHER’S STATE OF ORGANISATION OR DISORGANISATION. YOUR IMMEDIATE PERSONAL ENVIRONMENT IS BOTH THE CAUSE AND THE REFLECTION OF YOUR OWN DISORGANISED BRAIN.

BOREDOM IS THE FIRST GENTLE SIGN OF ITS DISORGANISATION. BOREDOM IS NOT A SIGN OF SOPHISTICATION  BUT STUPIDITY.

AT THE FIRST SIGN OF BOREDOM IMMEDIATELY TRY TO DO SOMETHING TO SET YOUR ENVIRONMENT IN ORDER, TIDY A ROOM; ARRANGE OR REPAIR YOUR BOOKS AND AFTER SOME PRACTICE YOU WILL SEE FOR YOURSELF THE RESULT.

IF OF COURSE YOU HAVE NO DESIRE TO LIFT A LITTLE FINGER FOR YOURSELF, YOU OR THE SOCIETY WILL PROVIDE PSYCHIATRISTS AND TRANQUILISERS TO HELP YOU CONTINUE IN YOUR PRIVATE AND PURPOSEFULLY CULTIVATED SLUM, CALLED YOUR BRAIN:
For the self-realisation aspirant it is a matter pride to try and take control of his own body, and he will try.


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Saturday, October 21, 2017

EFFECTIVE ENERGY AND PERSONALITY (Further note on food and energy and behaviour)

EFFECTIVE ENERGY AND PERSONALITY
(Further note on food and energy and behaviour)

Food is said to be the basis and in reality the only source of energy for the body. Much work has been done regarding food, and its constituents, calories, and its relation to the work performed.

Empirical observations point to the variety of experiences that need to be considered when one considers the question of effective energy available to a man. We have already seen something of the relation of food-intake to hunger etc., however, to summarise:

The number of persons complaining of lassitude, fatigue and weakness despite the fact of their consuming adequate diets is considerable - good food-intake with good digestion and absorption.

There is the example of the fewer members who have performed amazing feats of endurance against a background of starvation coupled with disabling infections like malaria, dysentery etc.

A starving person may prefer to die rather than eat prohibited food or forgo a principle. A person who had just had a full meal may be not averse to eat a tasty morsel offered by a loving friend.

Lassitude felt by a starving man  may be overcome in the company of a great leader, sharing the starvation with him.

Pleasant sights and sounds can make up for the lack of food for quite sometime.

The drive of a powerful aim or goal of life can call forth energy resources and mechanisms for their indent and use, which would look absurd or miraculous seen against the norms of the presently determined tables of human physiology.

The Hindu scriptures and the Buddha speak of the various inputs coming into the body through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, mind etc. as different kinds of food. Food is important. But to speak of it or raise it up as the central issue in human physiology and belittle all inquiry into the whole question of effective energy mechanisms available to man is not justified by the totality of human experience.

A man is a physical system open to the influence of the whole range of energies surrounding him. To a few of these he is said to be open to the extent of awareness - light, sound etc. That is to say that he can communicate these inputs to others and himself in language and patterns established within him. A large number of other influences that fall on him constantly are only felt as palpable consequences to which he assigns reasons in terms of what is social inducted into him. This habit of explaining, or what is more correctly, explaining away experiences or even the very fact of the experiences because they do not fit into the vocabulary of the most fashionable science of the day, stops any or all inquiry.

Man is in reality not only the psychological or behaviour personality etc. He is also a personality in terms of the visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory determinants observable by other men. Being undoubtedly a physical system he is also a mechanical personality with such and such mechanical properties, a magnetic personality with such and such magnetic fields, an electrical personality with its own fields etc. These and their resultant fields also contribute greatly to the vagaries of his behaviour. He is not normally aware of influence of the ionic content of the air and the effects it has on him he explains in terms of the happenings he is aware of. This is not to preach superstition but only to facilitate openness of mind.

But it is difficult to convince a person who believes that a six valve radio is a miracle of science fallen from heaven, and who at the same time is quite sceptical of the possibility of his own brain endowed with billions of cells being capable of sending or receiving thoughts.

The functions of one’s brain and one's personality can best be approached directly by the empirical experience of the person fully using his own body and its resources in the solution of his own problems.

The man is always bigger than the science he reveals. Science, then, perpetually dogs behind putting scientific limits, an ever advancing shackle dragging behind the man walking in front, seeing whether he is still a man and literally saying - “Ah, you have climbed so high without oxygen, now we will tell you how much more you can climb or not by studying more chimpanzee or specially trained subjects. The shackles and inquisitions of science and religion become increasingly more sophisticated.

Man, like all his preceding species will walk into his future, and the seeker of personal autonomy will not be against this or that science or ism but will make use of each and every information to impress his ascendency over himself.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

FOOD - ENERGY - HABITS

This is about lunch time. I have not had my breakfast. I feel weak. If something delays my lunch I shall be weaker, tired and angry, and not fit for much work or even for polite conversation.

I hear such talk from persons who have had to miss one meal, and who are in no real financial or other reasons for worrying about their next meal.

This relation between need for food, hunger and, behavioural efficiency requires close examination.

There is evidence to show that persons have fasted for a day to months and longer before they died.

Then there are examples of persons like Sri Aurobindo, explorers like Scott. Some fasted voluntarily or were forced to go without food. During this period some were even without adequate water, others riddled with infections, suffering with fevers and exposure to extremes of heat and cold. Many of them displayed not merely physical endurance but also exceedingly noble qualities of human behaviour. On the other hand, there are records of civilized persons who ate the flesh of their dead friends, and were even prepared to kill a fellow man for food, declaring that hunger an make a man behave like a beast - a sort of certificate for elevating the crudest average animal behaviour possible into a law for all. During famines, I have noticed that while hunger can reduce behaviour to a beastly degree in the majority of persons, it can bring out unparalleled examples of restraint and self sacrifice to the fore in the few.

R. F. Scott, 1911, in polar gear, by Herbert Ponting (1870-1935) [Public domain]

Professors of human physiology declared that about 3,000 calories per day are required by a stone cutter, and about 1,500 calories for the sedentary professor. If this were true, then it should be clear that by now the stonecutters and the professor should have been dead, seeing that in Indian conditions the reverse is the actual calorie intake in real life.

Taking life as it is lived, it does not appear that there is any exact relationship between hunger and a particular person’s intake of food. A man is starving, and yet might refuse food because he is fasting for a cause, or just because he is sulking. Another man has just eaten a meal but the invitation to a dainty dish by a dear friend finds extra space in the stomach.

If the relationship between being hungry and taking food is variable like this, the relation between being hungry, taking food and the actual effective energy output of the body is also highly variable. There are numerous persons who feel hungry, eat well, and are extremely indolent. I have already given examples of persons who voluntary or necessitously had to go without food for long periods and were extremely energetic.

These lines been written, not to prove that food is necessary or unnecessary, nor is it to support any point of view, nor to enter into arguments with social and medical statisticians often styled as social and medical scientists. Statistics arose out of the needs of gambling dens. Utterly failing to answer the needs of these dens excepting as a front to lure poor saps who trust square-roots and cubes, statistics has been taken over by governments and administrations - gambling with the lives of millions lured into paying taxes for lottery tickets for their future benefits on the basis of mathematical illusions.

My point is to show that for the human being there is no natural law connecting the state of his nutrition with the level of his behaviour, and this varies within very wide limits, if there are any. The ancestors of the present Americans could not have created the America we know, if they believed strictly in sterile water, adequate vitamin intake and four protein meals a day. I also wish to draw attention to the question of what constitutes good health and who is a healthy person: Is it the maintenance of the best average carcass with no past and future, or has it anything to do with what the carcass is supposed to do for maintaining and perpetuating itself unrelated to any purpose?

The relation between hunger-food-energy output and level of behaviour maybe examined from another angle. Though hunger, food-intake, energy outputs are at some point undoubtedly related, it can be seen that each of these items tends to form a habit pattern of its own resulting in widely varying behaviour.

We are conditioned to have breakfast at 7 a.m., lunch at 1 p.m. with a coffee break at 11 a.m. and supper at 8 p.m., with snacks at 11 p.m. to prevent night starvation, and bed tea at 6 a.m. lest hypoglycemia should supervene without warning. If a man were to miss one or two of these customary offerings, he tends to feel weak, irritable, tired and angry not because his food reserves are depleted or because his liver has gone on strike, but because of the great annoyance caused to the great Mogul, the basic conditioned reflex called the EGO, which has been thwarted in its assumed omnipotence to arrange the world around its little finger.

A delicious dish attracts hungary-reactions. If denied, it provokes anger, sulking or hyperacidity. Being offered food can be a mark of respect or affection, and its denial an inference of insult or neglect. Your accepting or rejecting the food offered might indicate your affection or disgust for the person offering the food. So, the food which is supposed to meet the energy requirements of your body becomes a means of expressing one’s emotions and attitudes and becomes an independent habit.

We have already seen that food intake is not directly related to the energy requirements by the examples cited. Under nearly similar circumstances of food intake, especially at very critical levels of lack of food some persons have shown the capacity to draw upon sources of energy not yet elucidated by the professors of human physiology, and all humanity must first await their pronouncements before they lift their little fingers. It does appear that such resources seem to become operative in the presence of intense aspiration towards a goal. One has to experiment with one's own body to experience these statements. The role of the so-called sciences of human physiology in the maintenance of humanity in its present state requires a fuller appraisal.

Meanwhile, it can be noted that lack of food (or lack of any other so-called average man's supposed needs - lack of electricity, of money, lack of opportunities to boss over others) leads to a lower level of behaviour.

“Oh, I am so irritable. Just now, excuse me. I still have not had my lunch!” In actual fact, this great hero saying this is likely to become irritable under many other circumstances also whenever something he expects does not happen. But now he gives the delay in food intake as the reason: He is proud of that and will go on to say, “Oh, what to do! Servants are lazy, and I don’t get a minute to eat my lunch. What will any normal man do! It is my body’s needs. I am not a sadhu! A minute’s examination will show the hollowness of this claim that it is the body’s need, or at least the great exacerbation of this claim. The habit of making the body the scapegoat of one’s stupidities is the most difficult to eradicate, supported as the habit is by a whole edifice of religion calling attention to the evils of the flesh, and a whole swarm of medical scientists declaring the averages of behaviour they measure as the acme to which one should rise or rather sink to.

It can be seen that the word, ‘I’ is merely a signature for a bundle of habits; and these habits once formed seek their own satisfaction and perpetuation; and that something called, ‘I’ or personal ego merely uses the body for its own satisfaction, and the most entrenched habit is for the ‘ego’ to treat the body as if it and the body are identical, that their needs and purposes are identical; and when pressed for argument, the ‘ego’ always speaks of the body’s needs for its alibi.

The personal ego is a parasitic excrescence of the body seen in its true perspective.

This false foundation has to be repeatedly looked into by a man who is interested in his own health, undeterred by the so-called normal behaviour possibilities postulated by the so-called human-sciences. First, we are brainwashed systematically to acquire some habits consistent with the present barbarous ideal average behaviour of the average man’s society, and these habits are then elevated to being the laws of human nature, providing additional support to the perpetuation of the very habits they deplore.

As with food, sex also can be seen to be largely a conditioned habit, a series of chain-reflexes which can be formed and dissolved. Similar is the case with other requirements including air and water within differing possibilities, though still undetermined and which will become exposed by some adventurous man untied to the textbook of human physiology, 1984 edition as the God-given foundation for his behaviour.

At a certain point of deprivation of these elements large number of human beings can be shown to die. All we can say is that it is generally the case. The point, however, is that under similar conditions of deprivation, while the response pattern of animals is fairly limited, in man the range is quite wide, and always awaits further widening.

Behaviour, then can be seen to be a set of habits, habitual patterns of response to situations, reinforced by prolonged brainwashing by powerful agencies with heavy investments in keeping human behaviour at its lowest and cleverest biological level. These habit patterns can be made and unmade and remade, and are certainly not unalterable laws of nature. These habits, once formed, tend to acquire a seeming autonomy and seem to exist for their own purpose irrespective of the realities of the moment.

The word, ‘I’ is the label, the tag, the conditioned habit, the foundation for other conditioned-habits that are acquired around it. This ‘I’, this ‘EGO’ is in reality, the frontal image, the sales-representative for the present man and his profit-oriented and backward-looking attitudes, the preserver of the past, the preserver of man as he is, with no future. The first pretence and deception practiced by the ego is to pretend that its interests are identical with the body needs. A few minutes serious consideration will show that almost all its so-called pleasures are highly destructive to the body - and some bearded professor comes up with the idea that there is a basic instant called, ‘Death Instinct or Thanatos’. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_drive Philosophies researches and arts I didn't proliferated, and propagated to maintain this death-oriented delusion.

However, the person aware of himself as the owner of the body, will begin to feel the presence of this other spurious ‘I’ the ‘EGO’ that has come up within him, begins to examine things for himself, begins to set his bodily resources to recast the habit-patterns  that fetter his body, and will do all he can to liberate his body into patterns of behaviour chosen by himself, to a more harmonious relationship with the world around himself.

When you are extremely hungry you can eat your friend and say that it is but natural since man is proved to be descended from animals and some animals are known to eat one another. If you are hungry and dying, you may give the last morsel you have to save your friend and say that it is your ideal of what a man should do. You have the right to make a choice. Only do not talk twaddle about laws of human behaviour. The moment you say ‘I’, you are responsible for saying so, and not a glossy bundle of bound books and philosophies, sciences, and religions.

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