The human mind usually does a good job of resolving chaos of the environment into order. It perceives the chaos as situations existing in the environment. It then arrives at solutions in the form of the order to be implemented back in the environment.
The human mind proceeds first by breaking the environmental perceptions down into patterns of fine perceptual elements. The finer are the perceptual elements the more sophisticated are the relationships among them. From this sophistication we can get a detailed and far reaching solution. This factor alone determines the intelligence of the individual.
The human mind then assimilates these fine patterns into a perceptual matrix. The perceptual matrix is continuous, harmonious and consistent throughout. The incoming patterns are freely associated into this matrix while maintaining the attributes of continuity, harmony and consistency. This automatically results in a rational solution. The faster is the free association, the more agile is the mind in arriving at the solution. This factor alone determines the dynamism of the individual.
But there is a limit to the mind’s ability to handle situations. Errors are introduced when the mind cannot break down the perception and assimilate it. This error gets lodged into the mind such that, from then on, even a remotely similar perception is treated by the mind in the same erroneous fashion.
For example, a person as a child fell into the pool and almost drowned. He was extremely shaken up with that painful experience. Now he avoids going near pools and other bodies of water. He gets nauseated at the smell of chlorine that is similar to smell which was present when he almost drowned.
In this example the painful experience of drowning exists in that person’s mind as an unassimilated node. Therefore, the pain and extreme dread that he felt during near drowning immediately gets activated at the sight of a pool and the smell of chlorine.
A painful experience gets lodged in the mental matrix as an unassimilated node, which then generates irrational reactions.
We may say that an irrational reaction occurs whenever perceptions in the environment approximate those contained in an unassimilated experiences. An unassimilated experience thus short-circuits an otherwise well-functioning mind.
Like rest of the mental matrix these unassimilated nodes are also hard-wired into the body. The short-circuited Impulses generated by them are not integrated with rest of the impulses on which the body is running. So the reactive impulses of unassimilated nodes may also create havoc with the systems of the body leading to psychosomatic illnesses. Though, more often, these reactive impulses appear as “desires” that lead to aberrated behavior on part of the person.
The psychosomatic illnesses may appear to be stress-related or even auto-immune. Aberrated behavior may show up as eccentric, irrational or even bizarre conduct, which adversely affects the individual and also the environment. Such aberrations have always existed in human societies. There cause can always be traced back to some unassimilated experience in the mind.
The unassimilated node may also be created when there is an intense emotional experience, such as, the loss of a loved one. Minor experiences of unassimilated node come from misunderstood words and phrases, which are subsequently misinterpreted by the person creating embarrassing moments.
We may categorize the unassimilated nodes as follows.
By eliminating all painful experiences, losses, and misunderstandings from the mind, it is possible to restore the mind back to a near perfect condition. We may summarize the rational capabilities of the mind as follows.
Rationality of the mind depends on its ability to break perceptions down and associate them freely into an orderly matrix; and, upon a failure to do so, to go back and correct the error.
The model of the mind described in this essay provides a basis from which to clarify the “mindfulness” approach for handling the mind. With this approach a person can potentially resolve many of his unwanted conditions, and restore himself back to health both physically and mentally.
This mindfulness approach for resolving the errors of the mind is taken up in the next essay.
The human mind is not physical but it exists within a physical environment. The mind is actually a reflection of the physical environment. We may say that the mind is made up of perceptions as explained below.
The environment is best represented as a matrix type structure. A matrix is made up of nodes where each node is in some relationship with every other node. The environment is made up of objects where each object is related to every other object in some way. These objects are the nodes of the matrix of environment.
The perception of environment is expressed as the mind. The matrix structure of the environment is reflected as a mental matrix in which nodes are made up of the perception of objects. These perceptual nodes may be related in an animal mind very simply by what is good to eat and what is not.
In the human mind, however, the perceptual nodes may be defined further by attributes and qualities of an object. Thus, perceptions get refined rapidly in terms of patterns of perceptual elements. The perceptual elements acting as nodes are related to each other in an amazingly intricate manner. This makes the matrix of the human mind extremely refined and complex.
The chaos in the environment is also reflected in the perceptual matrix of the mind. The nature of the mind, however, is to maintain continuity, harmony and consistency throughout its perceptual matrix. The mind then converts the chaos from the environment into order by assimilating it into its orderly matrix.
The mind continually converts chaos into order by assimilating it into its orderly perceptual matrix.
The mind is hard-wired to the body through the brain and the nervous system. The refined adjustments in the perceptual matrix continually generate impulses in the body that bring appropriate responses from the endocrine, respiratory, muscular and other systems of the body. These impulses influence the health of the body internally and actions of the organism externally. The external actions then bring changes to the environment.
In short, the chaos in the environment is impressed upon the mind. The mind converts that chaos into order, which brings about actions of the body that implement order in the environment. Thus we have continual conversion of chaos into order going on in the environment through the mind-body system of an organism.
The whole purpose of organisms is to speed up the evolution of the universe.
The basic animal mind can be observed to operate entirely on free association. The refined and complex human mind adds the powerful ability of thought on top of it. Human thought, operating in sync with free association, then brings deeply complex and far ranging order to the environment.
The human mind acts as a powerful catalyst for evolution in nature.
The human mind is always observing the environment and following the ancient urge to bring greater order within it. However , conditions beyond the control of the mind can make it malfunction. The errors introduced into the mind are then reflected through sickness in the body and aberrations in the conduct of the organism.
How errors are introduced in the mind is taken up in the next essay.
A Grounding Instruction is the instruction one keeps at the back of one’s mind during meditation. The idea is to maintain awareness of the grounding instruction the same way as one maintains awareness of breathing. To accomplish that one keeps coming back to the grounding instruction intermittently during the meditation session.
For example, the grounding instruction could be “Remember something”. One keeps this instruction at the back of one’s mind. This is an instruction for the mind. During meditation, the mind reconstructs the memories by free association as it sees fit and brings it up to consciousness. One acknowledges each memory as it comes up and continues with meditation.
Before starting the meditation one makes sure that one is fully familiar with the The 3 Rules of Mindfulness. These rules define the mindfulness meditation.
One should also make oneself fully familiar with the necessity of letting the memory come up naturally by practicing the two exercises provided in Triggering of Memory.
One then starts the meditation session with deep breathing as explained in the document Mindfulness Meditation. One settles down in meditation according to this document.
One then places the grounding instruction at the back of one’s mind and lets the mind associate freely.
Grounding instruction provides a new dimension to the mindfulness meditation. It should be used carefully together with the instructions outlined above.
The fundamental principle of the universe is that there is precipitation of order from chaos. This order is continually being added to the universe. In fact, this universe is the manifestation of the cumulative order. If that were not so, there wouldn’t be a universe.
Maybe this order is also converting back to chaos; but there is more order precipitating from chaos than order converting back to chaos. Thus there is a direction of increasing order, which is irreversible. This direction seems to provide the idea of time.
This fundamental principle drives the whole creation. We don’t know where it comes from. So, this is where science comes closest to acknowledging God.
This work does not question whether God exists or not. It leaves the origins of chaos open. The ancient texts of the East hint that this universe is forming and dispersing cyclically; but that is also considered beyond the scope of this work. The purpose of this work is to look at the human evolution in the context of the present universe.
The order precipitates from chaos as a pattern. This pattern then evolves into more complex patterns. Thus there is a sequence to precipitation of order. We see a very early rendition of this sequence in the Bible as “six days of creation”. It starts with light on the first day and ends with mankind on the sixth. The whole sequence is as follows.
The above sequence ends here because “God rested on the seventh day”. So the evolution rests here per the writers of the Bible. Coming forward to the modern scientific era, we, however, think that evolution is continuing after having gone through the following stages.
These stages are studied by the various subjects as follows..
The fundamental principle of “chaos to order” never rests. Presently, thought is evolving toward some goal. Complete awareness of earlier stages is needed to understand that goal. For this purpose we need to see things for what they are with full awareness of all assumptions. This is the basic intention underlying the idea of mindfulness that was developed by Buddha 2600 years ago.
According to the fundamental principle, if we let the mind freely associate all thoughts without suppression then some order is bound to precipitate. Realization of order helps us resolve confusions. Resolution of confusion brings clarity to thoughts. This is how the thoughts evolve.
When we look at Stage 1, we find that the electromagnetic spectrum is flanked by space on one side and matter on the other. This is obvious when we look at the structure of the atom, which extends from nucleus out into space. Thus, there is continuity from matter to space through an electromagnetic field.
When we look at Stage 2, we find that animation comes about with the evolution of RNA and DNA molecules. These complex molecules have enough electrons to form programmable circuits. There is a whole range of motion among atoms and molecules of matter, and there is harmony from the smallest to the largest atomic and molecular structure.
When we look at Stage 3, we find that life begins with naturally programmed motion at the level of cell. It is able to reproduce itself with continuity and harmony. It is able to grow into infinite and complex varieties of organisms. Furthermore, in spite of that complexity, life manages to remain consistent throughout. We see that in all ecosystems nurtured in nature.
When we look at these first three stages of evolution we find that this universe is continuous, harmonious and consistent at a fundamental level. These, then, are the characteristics of order.
Matter provides a structure that lends itself to animation. The animation provides life organisms, which lend themselves to programming. The ability of programming evolves into the formation of the mind within the organism. The mind perceives the environment and responds to it by directing the activity of the organism to bring more order to it. The order extends beyond the individual organism to a whole ecosystem of life .
There is disorder at higher levels visible as discontinuity, disharmony and inconsistency. Such disorder is there around us and within us. We are trying to sort it out every moment of our lives. It is as if the universe is trying to evolve toward higher levels of order through us. This is the activity going on at stage 4.
Thought is the self-directed effort of life to bring order at higher levels in the universe.
Thus, thought is on a mission to resolve chaos, disorder, misalignments etc., wherever it finds them. When the mind is resolving disorder, the fundamental principle of “chaos to order” manifests itself in the form of free association. This is the natural thinking of evolution.
Free association may be observed readily in the simple minds of animals. It also occurs naturally in the complex human mind when it is simply observing without consciously thinking. Conscious human thinking is most efficient when it is consistent with natural free association.
The free association operates in an unbounded, universal context when nothing is suppressed. This is the “thinking” in animals, which allows them to become part of a natural ecosystem with other life organisms.
Free association is objective in nature because of its universal context.
The human mind is capable of highly complex thinking. This thinking is totally objective when it is in sync with free association in a universal context. However, the flaw of human mind is that it can get overloaded with chaos. When that happens; then parts of the mind get suppressed and thinking occurs in narrow, bounded contexts.
When thought is not allowed to associate freely in a universal context it becomes subjective.
This is an outline of the evolution up to the current level of thought. In the subsequent essays we look closely at the human mind, which forms the seat of thought.
[Revised January 21, 2017 by Vinaire]
Many a time we suffer from pains caused by old forgotten injuries. Many arthritic pains are due to such injuries. In such cases, a recall of the circumstance, in which such injury occurred, can be very therapeutic. This is especially true when the buried memories can be recovered and replayed with all original sensations.
In most cases such memories are suppressed because the recall is painful. Memories bubble up naturally when such suppression and other clutter are removed. Use of force to access memory is found to be more harmful than beneficial. It disturbs the mind in various ways and leads to unwanted conditioning.
In mindfulness we do not dive into the mind to forcefully look for memories because it is unnatural. A memory that is available can be accessed easily by simply putting attention on it. A memory that is not available requires unburdening of the clutter that lies on top of the memory. We just have to let the mind do it for us.
The following exercises are designed to bring about a better understanding of how to safely recover a painful memory that is buried deep.
PURPOSE: To recognize how effortless it is to access old memories when they are available.
PURPOSE: To recognize that patience is required to safely access unavailable memories.
NOTE: Subsequent exercises shall focus on cleaning up the suppression and clutter. Normally it may take days, weeks, months, or even years to unburden the mind enough to recover a deeply buried painful memory.
[Revised January 19, 2017 by Vinaire]