In my article on meditation, I spoke up about how you can cease to think though thoughts still exist. In other words, there’s an ‘I’ that exists outside of the thought process. In fact, we are not our minds, our minds are a tool, though often times we are identified with our minds. If we bring reality back into the conversation, what is truly real, and say it cannot be conceptualized, what does that mean? And if it cannot be conceptualized, then how can we know it?
Well, our mind is constructed of concepts. That is what the mind does, it does not have feeling, instead, it relies on rationalizing, conceptualizing, articulating…I think of it as line energy. Moving from point A to B. It defines. Alan Watts points out that if he says “the sound of a gong” over and over again, the words will fail to capture the actual sound of a gong. So our mind can understand, calculate, the words “sound of a gong”, we can conceptually understand what that means, imagine it even, but it will never, ever accurately represent the reality of the sound, the reverberation, the feeling, a gong makes. It’s also like the idea that you can try to describe an apple to someone who has never tasted an apple before, but it can only point to the apple, which isn’t even close to the experience of an apple.
So let’s see what we have here:
The mind is made up of concepts.
A concept is an idea about reality.
An idea about reality is not reality.
Okay, so what is reality? Well, you may have answered it for yourself already. Reality is experience. Reality is alive. Reality is wild. Reality has texture, movement, vitality, sensation. Reality is the gong sounding, reverberating, continuing until it fades AND it being experienced. Reality is what is real, not what is conceptualized.
Why is this important, you ask? This is the basis for understanding illusion. When we are identified with the mind, when we act as the mind’s servant, when thoughts control our life, we are living through a picture of life, we are living through a movie. We are experiencing a projection, not what is actually real. All of our thoughts and beliefs are projected onto the screen that we think is our life, but it is not real life. This information can feel both confusing and liberating, all depending on how you look at it. Take an incredible sunset, as an example. Standing in front of the sunset in awe, taking it all in, awareness being aware, so much space in our hearts as we open to this experience. And then, the next moment, we start to discuss it, say, “Wow, how incredible.” And suddenly, the openness doesn’t feel as open. The sunset becomes conceptualized, turned into an object, something to mull over. In the first moment of awe, it is incomprehensible, the beauty unable to be defined. The same is done for people or situations in our lives, we define and then store the definition of our experience in our files so that we know for next time, which inherently cuts off the air of this alive existence.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying thinking is in any way wrong. Thinking is an incredible tool for us as humans. We create through thoughts, no doubt. But if we live through our minds, if we fail to realize it is just a tool, then we mistake our thoughts for life, which turns the beautiful, spiral nature of life into lines. This topic is again something to take to your mat. Meditate and you will find presence. Meditate and you will find moments where thinking ceases, where you will find blissful fullness. Participate in moments of life that bring awe – nature is one of my favorites for that. Notice what happens if the next time you’re in a conversation, you give full attention to the person in front of you. Or during the next time you make love, breath by breath you sink into presence, into feeling, just like the awe of the sunset. That, my dear friend, is reality, that is what our soul seeks, the realness of it all.