Reality & Realization – 7. Tuning the Instrument

No one told you the trouble you were in, letting your mind run wild. That’s because those around you are creatures of their own minds, in thrall to their emotions and thoughts.

To be a slave to the mind is to be imprisoned in ignorance. Do you want freedom? Real freedom. Not the fantasy idea of living out some dream you have, which may never come true – and even if it does, only brings seconds of satisfaction after much fuss.

Real freedom comes with realizing that you are living an illusion. Your life is a dream – well, more like a slow-motion nightmare, because in the end you die, after much suffering and needless fear and worry. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Your mind is your instrument for living. That instrument is an intangible organ, like your muscles are an instrument for biomechanical movement.

Like muscles, the mind must be properly exercised to maintain optimal health. In the instance of the mind, mental health.

You’ve seen people with serious mental disability. Their deranged minds have viciously taken control, reducing them to animals mumbling nonsense.

To let your mind run the show called “life” is itself mental illness. It’s more than a matter of degrees. If your mind is not quiet so that you can fully concentrate, if you worry, then you are mentally ill. The only question is, are you sick enough of being badgered by your own mind?

Honestly, most people are too stupid or too ill-disciplined to get mentally well or stay physically fit. These forlorn folks, bless their hearts, are doomed to languish in ignorance as part of the herd called the Collective. Their moments of satisfaction will be shadowed by doubt, their displays of confidence a cover for deep-ridden insecurity. Their minds will prey upon them in well-known ways; fodder for the snake oil peddled by oblivious psychologists who regal in their smug ignorance of the mind’s true nature.

There is only one cure for mental illness: self-realization. To fully appreciate what is really going on you must attain clarity, the ultimate skill.

Skill is not abstract. It is practicable. Knowledge is a skill. You don’t know something until you make use of it. Concepts which are not applicable to living are only good for entertainment.

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To leave ignorance behind, you must master your mind. It can be done; has been done innumerable times. Such people are enlightened. Enlightenment is but a first step toward a state of consciousness called “realization” or “unity consciousness.”

Let me be clear. The heart of my spiritual teachings, whether by podcast or written text, is not a perspective, not a worldview, not a religion. I teach an efficacious way to achieve realization, the highest state of consciousness – a state of being unlike the existence you experience now.

I too often read of dime store gurus who blather feel-good nonsense or are just plain posers who hustle sham salvation. The epitome of spirituality is practicality. Reject all belief systems, and any spiritual teachings which do not account for the way the mind actually works.

Though the words are my own, my offering to you is nothing original. This same state of unity consciousness was discovered by Buddha, Lao Tzu, Muhammad, and many others who never graced pages in history books or religious texts. The skill is singular. A state of consciousness has nothing to do with what you think, but everything to do with how your mind works.

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If you have not attained enlightenment effortlessly, as some lucky souls have, you are likely to find that reaching this state of consciousness takes unrelenting discipline. That you must persevere cannot be overstated.

The good news is that spiritual practice is done quietly, without anyone else knowing, that you only have to do it in the moment, and that quieting the mind gets easier with practice. The willful elevation of consciousness is the supreme skill, and it is doable.

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The goal is to subdue the mind – to train the mind to work subconsciously, rather than interrupting you with nagging nonsense that has nothing to do with you are trying to do at the present moment.

You probably already know that the mind works well subconsciously. You’ve gone to bed with problems before, only to wake up in the morning with a solution, or at least a fresh perspective.

What you may not fully appreciate is that your conscious mind is practically useless. Your subconscious has already made that decision you’re mulling over; you just don’t know it yet. You can rationalize all you want, but it’s only going to end up where your subconscious wants.

So much of your life transpires without you even being aware of it; what is called “autonomic functioning,” such as breathing, not to mention constant perception of your environment, to a degree far beyond what your conscious attention is capable of.

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Mental training practice is simply stated: keep the mind quiet. If a thought or emotion comes to mind, dismiss it. Focus on your task, your environment, your own breathing. Keep your awareness on the present moment.

Easier said than done, yes. But, with diligent practice, the mind quiets, and quieting the mind gets easier.

The practice of meditation facilitates quieting the mind while you are awake. The practice of keeping the mind quiet while awake facilitates transcending when meditating.

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Another aspect of truly taking control of your life is improving your intellectual acumen. Your mind is naturally lazy: making too many assumptions and relying upon heuristics – mental shortcuts. You can sharpen your mental pencil by not believing anything, and by being more skeptical of what your mind presents to you.

If, after chewing on problems subconsciously, your mind isn’t giving you actionable analysis or workable solutions, demand that it try again. Likewise, if your mind isn’t entertaining you with insights when it pops out an opinion, tell it to try a fresh perspective. Dissatisfaction with your mind will improve its performance. Discipline your mind.

Statistical studies show that optimists live longer but that pessimists make better decisions. An enlightened person can enjoy the best of both vantages, in abandoning attachments under the influence of natural bliss and having a well-heeled concept processor.

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Lifestyle has much to do with the prospect of becoming enlightened. If you are socially busy, your prospects for enlightenment dim. The hubbub of social intercourse feeds the mind. Feeding the mind is what the mind likes. What the mind likes is running your life, which it has done so far.

Quiet surroundings provide the most conducive environment for mental mellowing, and for the necessary practice of subduing nattermind. Willfully attaining enlightenment is a discipline, not a hobby.

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Training the mind is also tuning the mind. As your mind quiets you become more aware. Your existence becomes more nuanced – less black-and-white and more shades of gray. You begin to appreciate subtleties that you missed before. But something even more profound happens. Your state of consciousness abidingly elevates. It is a subtle, visceral, experience.

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Next, an exploration of existence as an entertainment platform.