Saturday 13 February 2016

Making up your mind, breaking up your mind

The two things we take most for granted in my opinion are health and mind. The first is tangible enough, and when it works well, we don't pay that much attention until something goes wrong, and we experience pain, fear of death, and usually, we are prepared to go for help to relieve these.

The second, mind, is a lot more tricky because it's very slippery, and has to be made solid on purpose, usually for the sake of others, and not for oneself. Once it's solid to the limited extent that this is possible, we accept the solid stuff as the sense of reality. I have worked really hard to make my own mind solid enough to deal with the slipperiness of life, and was very surprised when I learnt that I had to decide to break down a lot of what I had built because it wasn't fruitful.

Once I took that decicion, breaking down happened quite rapidly. Being intellectually strong does not necessarily mean being fruitfully intelligent. Emotional sensitiviy does not necessarily result in emotionally intelligent action.

There's more than enough mind-bashing that we encounter as we make our way through life and resilience is required to conquer bullies, fools and enemies. External antagonism can be expected. I'm referring more to internal constructions of habits or even loyalties that are fruitless, unnecessary and self-destructive. And no-on is going to break them down except oneself. I don't think there are gentle ways of doing this: you take the decision, and once you do, a kind of auto-pilot kicks in and you begin to recognise the false perceptions and deregister them.

Here are a few examples of era-related perceptions that don't work:

The priest knopws more about God than you do.

What's on the cell-phone/tablet screen is more worthy of your attention than the person you're with.

The doctor knows more about your body than you do.

You're so very special that you don't ever deserve to be punished.

The better the feeling, the more the love.

The law is there for our good.

Education is the backbone of civilisation.

Never judge anyone.

Whites are superior to blacks.

Blacks have been abused by whites. 

Death is the end.

Death is the beginning.

Love is the most important thing in the universe.

I am a man/woman/gay.

Once emotions are locked into a perception that works against fruitful action, there's going to be a tug of war until something gives. That seldom feels like a joke. Families splt, marriages fail, nations battle against themselves and each other, and individuals die needlessly.

Breaking down bad habits of intellect, emotion and decision are as requisite as building habits of fruitfulness, and it's confusing and dismaying to realize that the relationship between these can be indistinct unless you have an extremely sharp and humble sense of clarity.

The real needs of the day are usually right in front of our noses. They are the ones requiring insightful thoughts, integrated emotions and clear decisions resulting in fruitful action.

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