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Who Am I?


Sep 25

Written by: Miami
9/25/2009 4:11 PM

"Go within" is a directive we hear ad infinitum, and so is "look inside". But what does it take in our development (if development is a valid term) to get to a place where we can actively do so?

How many thousands of times have I heard or have I been told directly to "just watch it" with regard to psychological phenomena that disturb me (I'll admit to most of the 7 deadly sins) - but have not really known how to do so actively?

Archimedes said that with a proper fulcrum he could move the world. Where is the fulcrum (point of reference) that makes it possible to actively watch the mind? I'd venture that one or more of the following is required ...

1) Stroke of luck (intuitive observation under the right conditions).
2) Maturity - whatever that means.
3) Some degree of freedom acquired after a long struggle in general against psychological processes.
4) The right words from the right person at the right time - showing the way.
5) Being in the presence of a realized person, learning via induction.
6) Something not in the above list that continues to escape me.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a good place to begin any study of psychological processes. In studying the mind with the mind we gradually come to realize that there are many psychological places within ourselves. This system (a few thousand years old) seems too abstract or "intellectual" for many people, but it leads to an interesting set of possibilities.

The human machine (to begin an analogy) has many mechanical systems that plug into our consciousness (or unconsciousness, if we don't know about them): Keeping one's balance while standing, staying in the proper lane while driving, finding our way about a city, etc. - call these moving-center orientation-systems. Also we have more subtle (learned) comprehension-systems for color-coordinating a wardrobe, knowing where we fit in a social hierarchy, keeping track of a mathematical or legal argument, remembering a sequence of events in the story-line of our life, or charting our "progress" in our spiritual path.

It is that latter adventure that brings about an interesting paradox. Suppose I'm listening to or reading about abstract philosophical matters - interesting, complex but clear explanations - and then, based on what I know to be true personally plus what I accept logically, the discussion really begins to make sense.


It's a vision. It's a description. It's a map, an orientation, a product of the mind.

Here I'm able to remember things once told me that now suddenly make sense: "There is more truth in silence than in the words of the teacher." Things that sound illogical to the mind but suddenly take on meaning in a propitious moment.

The "fulcrum" in this case is a moment or place of freedom where I'm able to compare 1) a world of psychological comprehension, vs. 2) a world free of comprehension.

For now I'll skip the logical but paradoxical question of whether this comparison represents a "new" comprehension (and therefore is simply more imagination).

Most of us - no offense intended if your situation is different - suffer more from psychological problems than from abstract philosophical misunderstandings. But it seems for now that such an observation of mental process - a triangulation of different mental states, as it were - provides a hint in dealing with self-understanding and freedom on all levels.

In my own perplexing question of whether a spiritual path is more a philosophical or a psychological process - sometimes the words lose meaning - this triangulation provides a very satisfying energy and a sense of freedom, showing that to find a place of "unknowing" is actually possible and at the same time represents a very good avenue of therapy.

(You can see I'm still struggling. Comments welcome.)


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