One Finger from the Fishbowl

'O Thou Divine Sankara,
Thou art the Subject,
That has Knowledge
Of Subject and object.
Let the subject in me be destroyed
as subject and object.
For thus in my mind arises
The Light as the Single Siva.'
-Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi

How strange that many people spend an entire lifetime contemplating which t.v. actor is dating which movie star and which phone has Bluetooth (whatever that is), or which pair of jeans make them look fat, but spend not a second on questions such as, "What happens between material cause and material effect" or "Where is my mind?" I asked a bilingual co-worker, half-joking, if she sneezed in Spanish or English. Realizing that a thing as simple as a sneeze lies outside of the Subject-Object mind of language, it can actually be the first taste of what lies beyond the curtains we have put over our true minds, a taste of the ineffable. From where do thoughts arise? An easy way to see how the mind fools us is with the movement of the finger. We all know that the impulse to move the finger comes from the mind.
Being that simple, use your mind to bend your finger.... Sounds simple enough. I don't ask you to simply bend your finger. That impulse appears to occur within the finger itself. I ask you to use a thought and make your finger move. It is, after all, YOUR finger. When you are thinking words and thoughts to yourself, you will find that the thinking seems to come from the inside the skull, and that is where the thought to move the finger should originate. It is your mind, and noone else's. If you can't control your finger, what can you control?
There is a very good reason why the thought to move the finger does not originate with a conscious thought such as "Hey, finger... get moving!" Imagine that we rest our hand on a red-hot stovetop burner. If the hand must wait for the conscious thought- "This burner is quite hot. I must remove my hand now," -to move, we would all walk around with toasted hands. Nature has decided that it is best for us not to control everything consciously, but let some things run from the more primitive, mammalian, instinctive brain- a brain that might just save your life with quick instinct and reaction.
The problem is that this "routing" that takes place for the finger and that simplifies things is that it also has a large effect on our cognitive mind, therefore on how we see the world and frame our reality. [I hope to gradually introduce more cognitive science as a way to understand the difficulties of the spiritual path from the Western perspective]
We all have formed a very silly view of the world, with a "reality" far from anything close to true logic. We always run the chance that the cognitive brain will "misfire" when we trust in it. Logic can be seen as the fish in the fishbowl, declaring that the earth is round and only holds about 2 gallons of water. When the mind is defiled, any sight or sound, cognized thought or theory, will also be defiled. Our skull is a fishbowl.
The method of cognition is what we must restructure to break this fishbowl, one neural network at a time. Do not be concerned with the mechanism or processes too greatly for this only serves to further bind the mind to the illusions of form, feeling, and mental volitions that have been secured. The path out of this maze was found long ago.
What is truly amazing is that the ascetics of many of the world's traditions understood the illusory nature of conventional reality and found a way to awaken the mind to the ultimate nature without understanding the quantum world or neuroscience. Even today, where science remains in the field of the observer, the ascetic stands alone. As an observer, duality is always present and theory can never unify with being. The scientist himself can be the great new discovery as man learns how to explore newfound knowledge within the power of the mind. While I enjoy reading papers by Einstein, Schrodinger, and Heisenberg, there was another man who spoke of the relativity of time that I prefer to spend more time with, who can not only speak of theory, but help to "crack the bowl." His name: Nagarjuna (no Nobel Prize)


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