We spend a large section of our early life going to school to develop the mind. We learn to function appropriately within society, to acquire useful skills for future employment, to become self-sufficient and self-motivated. Yes, the mind is a wonderful tool, but at what point does the mind become a hindrance? When is the mind a barrier to truth and knowledge?
We begin our journey with the mind as an infant. From the moment you exit the womb, you begin gathering sensory data about yourself and the world around you. Your brain at first perceives the world as a kaleidoscope of movement, color, and indiscernible forms. Soon you are able to isolate differences in your environment into shapes, sounds, and objects. Neurons connect in your nervous system to create neural pathways. As a child develops, more and more “free” neurons are committed to electrical pathways until, by the age of six, the main circuitry is already established. Further learning proceeds as an unfolding of pathways already formed.
You learn experientially. Knowledge falls into two categories, knowledge by acquaintance, or knowledge by description. By acquaintance includes what you learn that can’t be explained, like the color red, a sunrise, or how to ride a bike. Knowledge by description is everything you know, and can communicate. This includes the facts and concepts you generally refer to as knowledge. As your accumulation of data increases, you form a hierarchy of information, which forms the basis for your extension of knowledge.
The brain, that marvelous instrument, filters through vast amounts of sensory data, searching for patterns with which it is familiar. Information is filtered out if it doesn’t fit into established patterns of prior knowledge. Your subconscious, or unconscious mind records what your senses perceive, but most of it never surfaces. Instruments, including the microscope and telescope have extended our natural senses, but have only slightly expanded our “window”. You still only see what you are looking for. It is like being in a box of mirrors, you continually see your own self reflected back wherever you look.
Over time, the role of the mind shifts from assessing and organizing sensory data to becoming the gate keeper and arbitrator of thoughts. Thoughts and concepts that do not neatly fit into pre-existing accepted patterns are either rejected or relegated to the “needs confirmation” file. When we think we know something our mind shuts that door and growth in that direction ceases, unless the mind judges the new concept to be evidenced strongly enough to overrule its previous decision.
In most cases, the mind bases its assessment of knowledge on logic and experience. If logic and experience are at odds, then logic will generally prevail. Experience is considered very subjective, while logic is…well, logical. Exceptions to this are in the areas of faith and superstition. Both of those areas are not logical, but may still be integrated into your view of reality.
Science addresses the logical side of knowledge. To pass the strict constraints of science, information must pass through a gauntlet of review and repetition before it is considered acceptable. Variations from the norm are disregarded as long as they are within acceptable parameters and the finished product is what scientists consider fact. What results is a body of knowledge that is vetted and sanitized. This knowledge becomes the mirror which reflects the world back at us. To a logical person, all beliefs are measured against this body of knowledge. If it is not verifiable then it isn’t real!
How do you verify love, or God, or hope or faith? Where is the yardstick to measure consciousness? Most of us believe these things exist, but are they quantifiable? In the strict sense of Science, the answer is no. Attempts are made to understand these concepts by assigning values within a range of possibilities, such as Hawkins’ “Map of Consciousness” (Power vs. Force), or in my own charting and clearing of energetic blockages within the energy body (Energetic Awakening), but they really only provide an arbitrary indicator of relative change within a system. But isn’t that what all measuring tools do?
The gatekeeper to your mind is the Ego. It is the judge and jury of what is real and what is illusion. The stronger the Ego, the more it dominates your perception. It is a jealous gatekeeper and views everything outside of its accepted reality with doubt and skepticism. It keeps your mind closed. A well-heeled Ego allows controversial concepts to be considered and integrated into your body of thought. We call it “having an open mind”. I realize now that I know nothing at all. It is time to expand beyond the limitations of the mind. It is there that reality exists!