Category Archives: Mindfulness

VIEWPOINT & OBJECTIVITY

Most people misunderstand the word VIEWPOINT. They give it a mathematical definition by quibbling about the meaning of “view” and “point”. The fact is that if you are aware at all you have a “view”. Awareness is not limited to visual perception alone, so the “view” in viewpoint refers to perception through all five physical senses, and also through the mental sense.

The “point” in viewpoint refers to a particular value on the scale of awareness. This is similar to a point on the temperature scale, which specifies a particular temperature. Therefore, a viewpoint refers to a particular state or level of awareness. Different viewpoints have different interpretations of what is actually there. The viewpoint goes deep into subjectivity when it is speculating. But it rises up into objectivity when it is viewing things as they are.

In the context of viewpoint, the word OBJECTIVITY is used in the sense of “seeing things as they are,” and not merely in the sense of “external reality.” Whether the reality is external or internal, it is objective if it is “appreciated for what it is” because there are no filters. Objectivity reduces to subjectivity to the degree a person is using filters (fixed ideas, prejudices and beliefs) to look at things.

Whether it is a tree or a forest, you must perceive it objectively first before you can consider or analyze it. In computer lingo, you say, “garbage in = garbage out”. In other words, if your data is faulty, then your conclusions are going to be faulty too. Objectivity means correctness of input, whether it is external or internal, top-down or bottom-up.

In a precise sense, a view is objective to the degree there are no unresolved anomalies (inconsistencies, disharmonies and discontinuities) in it. This depends on the context in which one is viewing, because, as the context broadens, more anomalies may become visible. The most objective view, therefore, has no anomalies in the universal context.

To summarize, a viewpoint is the very expression of our beingness at any moment. It lies on a scale of awareness that varies from deep subjectivity to complete objectivity.

Our viewpoint provides us with perspectives on situations that concern us.

.

DUALISM AND NON-DUALISM

Dualism and non-dualism can both be fixations in their own turn. Dualism is a fixation on dualities like Good-Evil, Right-Wrong, True-False, I am-I am not, etc. Non-dualism fixates on some kind of oneness in a quantitative sense.

My understanding is that duality is never black and white as it is treated by non-dualism. Duality is a reference to the two ends of a gradient scale that extends to infinity at both ends.

When we look at the duality of HOT-COLD, it is best viewed as a temperature scale which refers to temperature changing in infinitesimal gradients. At one end of this scale the temperature may be viewed as gradually getting hotter. At the other end of the same scale the temperature may be viewed as gradually getting cooler.

The mathematical duality is infinite-zero applied to something-nothing. On this mathematical scale of numbers, the integers may appear to be discrete, but between two integers we have fractions, and between two fractions we have irrational numbers. So, the mathematical scale of numbers is really a continuum without any gaps even at infinitesimal level.

Any duality like Good-Evil, Right-Wrong, True-False, I am-I am not, in reality, is a continuum of infinitesimally varying values with no gaps in between anywhere. There is nothing wrong with the ideas of duality and non-duality, but fixations on duality and non-duality, alike, are the result of subjective and narrow viewpoints.

So in reality there is a single scale with two ends that extend to infinity on either side. This realization settles the confusion between dualism and non-dualism.

In Christianity, the Church and many Christians have fixation on the duality of CREATOR-CREATION. This is expressed more concretely in their view of God and the world with human kind.

In New Age religions and among many Hindus there is fixation on non-dualism of “SAT-CHIT-ANAND (TRUTH-CONSCIOUSNESS-BLISS)”. This is an abstraction, which is expressed as this world being a dream state (illusion).

Out of these fixations on Dualism and Non-dualism come inconsistencies such as the following:

(1) CHRISTIANITY – “We are saved not by perfect works, but by belief in Jesus.” This makes everything mental and subjective. There is no balance between subjective thinking and objective doingness.

(2) HINDUISM – Brahma (ultimate reality) is a singularity and the only awake state. Everything else is a “dream state” (illusion). There is no balance between subjective and objective viewpoints.

(3) PHILOSOPHY – Everything is subjective. You can never be objective. This is another way of stating (2) above.

These inconsistencies have affected the education of many. The common denominator of these inconsistencies is black and white thinking.

.

The Reality of Mind

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

When the mind operates from the viewpoint of emptiness, it sees things as they are. This is the objective reality. We perceive objective reality directly through our physical perceptions of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. The mind then assimilates these perceptions ensuring consistency, harmony and continuity. The enduring aspects of this assimilation, based on generations of experience, become wisdom or common sense.

The degree of mental assimilation depends on consistency, harmony and continuity.

.

Objectivity

The objectivity depends on seeing things as they are. The word objective is derived from object that has the sense of “something perceived”. Objective reality is not only made tangible through the physical perceptions, but also made logically consistent by the mental perception. The objective reality is that which has been tested and verified and cannot be argued with. It is the same for all people when all known inconsistencies have been resolved.

The subjectivity is different for different people and it may be argued with. The word subjective is derived from subject that has the sense of “open to inspection”. Subjective reality depends on individual viewpoint. It is characterized by inconsistencies among viewpoints that still need to be resolved. As inconsistencies are resolved the subjective reality becomes increasingly objective.

There is, however, a misconception that all perceptions processed through the mind are subjective. The fact is that perceptions are assimilated to different degrees in the mind. Completely assimilated perceptions are objective. As the degree of assimilation reduces, so does the objectivity. The conclusion then become increasingly subjective.

Objectivity depends on the assimilation of perceptions in the mind. To the degree perceptions are not assimilated there is subjectivity.

.

The Basis of Mind

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

The mind deals with phenomena. A phenomenon is anything that you become aware of.  A phenomenon can be physical, mental, spiritual, real or imaginary. To assess the nature of a phenomenon completely you must view it from a point beyond phenomena.

.

Emptiness

That viewpoint which is beyond all phenomena is the viewpoint of emptiness. The Heart Sutra in Buddhism defines EMPTINESS as no Birth no Death, no Being no Non-being, no Defilement no Purity, no Increasing no Decreasing.  

The viewpoint of emptiness is just that. It is totally fresh. It is completely clean. There are no preconceived notions, no fixed ideas, and no bias. In short, the concept of emptiness is not viewed through any filters. It is simply what it is.

From a scientific viewpoint, emptiness is like the zero of a scale on which all phenomena may be plotted. Emptiness itself is not a phenomenon, just like zero is not a value. Thus, emptiness provides a reference point from which it is possible to give an objective meaning to any phenomena.

The purpose of a reference point is to align everything that follows. In the absence of a reference point things devolve into confusion. It is common to assume an arbitrary reference point just to avoid the immediate confusion, even when it can’t resolve everything.

GOD is such a reference point. It is there to resolve the confusion of physical reality. But it cannot resolve the reality of itself. To understand the reality of GOD a more basic reference point is needed.

Emptiness is that basic reference point. It has the property of being inherently understood because it denotes the absence of all phenomena. No other reference point is required to understand emptiness.

The basis of mind is emptiness. To see things as they are, the mind must view them from the reference point of emptiness.

.

The Structure of Mind

Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

Looking at the long history of the universe we observe that there is a continual evolution in terms of increasing order. Underlying this evolution is a power. This same power underlies the mind.

The purpose of the mind, therefore, is to evolve the organism and the environment toward greater order. The primary function of the mind is to coordinate the activities of the body and the environment so they evolve. When there are anomalies, the mind resolves them so there is greater order in terms of consistency, harmony and continuity.

.

The Mental Matrix

Mind is not the same thing as brain. The brain is part of the body’s hardware; mind is the body’s software. To understand the structure of the mind we need to first understand how it operates.

The mind operates by drawing on experience. This experience is derived from the perceptions received continually by the mind. In a normal functioning mind, the perceptions are received through the senses of touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. These perceptions break down into fine data elements, which are then arranged in a matrix type structure.

A matrix is made up of nodes where each node is in some relationship with every other node. In the mental matrix the nodes are made up of data elements that are related to each other by the properties perceived. For example, in an animal mind, these data elements may be related by the properties of how safe and edible the things perceived are.

The human mind is more complex than the animal mind. The perceptions from the environment get refined rapidly as patterns of data elements. For example, the property “red” may be expressed as part of the color scale. This makes the matrix of the human mind extremely refined and complex. Errors creep in only when perceptions do not get refined and assimilated into this mental matrix.

The mind is a matrix made up of elements derived from the perception of the environment.

.

Earlier Models

The present work proposes this “matrix” model for the mind. Looking at earlier models, we find Freud’s model of conscious and unconscious mind proposed in 1890s, and Hubbard’s model of analytical and reactive mind proposed later in 1950s.

In the matrix model, the greater is the refinement of the data elements and the relationships among them, the higher is the consciousness. Thus human consciousness is much higher than the consciousness in animals. When perceptions from the environment are not refined into patterns of data elements they are just lodged into the mental matrix as “unassimilated nodes”. The person is not conscious of such unassimilated experiences. This describes the concept of “unconscious mind” proposed by Freud.

The “unconscious mind” of Freud is made up of “unassimilated nodes” in the mental matrix.

In the matrix model, thinking occurs as the data elements associate with each other such that continuity, harmony and consistency are maintained at all times throughout the mental matrix. This forms the faculty of the mind to imagine and make projections in an analytical manner. In a refined and well-assimilated matrix the thinking is rational, or analytical. However, as more “unassimilated nodes” are activated in the mental matrix the thinking becomes irrational and reactive. This describes the concept of “reactive mind” proposed by Hubbard.

The “reactive mind” of Hubbard is also made up of “unassimilated nodes” in the mental matrix.

.

Memory

The models of Freud and Hubbard imply that perceptions are stored “as-is” in the mind. However, the “matrix” model describes the storage of perceptions as patterns of data elements well-assimilated within the mental matrix. Since same data elements may be utilized many times in different patterns, the “matrix” model provides a more efficient way of storing perceptions in the mind. A “memory” is a pattern of data elements that is activated by attention. Memory is clear and precise when its pattern is made up of refined and well-assimilated elements. It would be difficult to recall a memory if it contains “unassimilated nodes”.

A “memory” is a pattern of data elements that is activated by attention.

.

Summary

The matrix arrangement ensures that the data elements can be combined in infinity of unique ways to represent all possible experience. These combinations could be the formation of past memories upon recall. Or, they can be the formation of new visualizations needed to sort out anomalies created by “unassimilated nodes”.

The matrix arrangement provides a very efficient organization and storage of experience to support the activities of the mind.

.