The Red Pill (6) Mastering The Matrix

Mastering The Matrix

“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness.” ~ ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle

Your mind is your tool for experiencing the world. Your instrument of living. Playing your instrument well requires self-discipline.

Letting your instrument play you is lazy mindedness. Lack of self-control. Such is the life of iğnorance in which the Collective partake – and suffer for.

Mastering The Matrix is mastering your mind. Tuning your inner instrument to its highest utility.

Mastery over your mind is not teaching it new tricks. It is instead stopping your mind from its old tricks.

The cause of mental illness has been known to sages throughout the ages. That knowledge has not been lost so much as ignored. So it sadly remains today, worldwide.

Though they may pretend false knowledge, someone in iğnorance has no real idea of what mental health is. Such is the state of the Collective.

You cannot know what you do not experience. Mental health is not a story to be heard secondhand. It’s a lifestyle one lives.

Religions offer only dogma and solace, not solution. For there is no concept that leads to enlightenment. Only silence.

Mental health is a paradigm shift. But not one achieved by changing the way you think. Instead, mental health is a cessation of thought. A practical paradigm shift from noise to quiet.

Mental illness is monkey-mind running amok. Mental health is a calm mind. It is that simple. And that difficult.

Mastering The Matrix is taming nattermind, thereby attaining quietude. This is the only path to enlightenment, the only route to mental well-being.

You cannot think your way to mental health. Thought is the problem. To be lost in thought is to drown awareness.

“Though appearing to be intelligent, thought is unable to comprehend anything really.” ~ ancient Indian guru Vasistha

Attaining Quietude

“For a seeker of reality there is only one meditation: the rigorous refusal to harbor thoughts. To be free from thoughts is itself meditation.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Enlightenment is attained by practicing transcendence until it becomes the norm. Inner silence rather than nattermind squawking. Abiding quietude.

Any habit that quiets the mind is a good one. Among the possibilities, let’s begin with meditation.

Restful Meditation

Meditation is an easy way to transcend. The meditation technique described here is effortless and effective. The classic practice, known since antiquity.

◊ ◊ ◊

To ease the mind to transcendence, a mantra is traditionally used during meditation.

A mantra is a pacifier for monkey-mind. A vehicle for inner calm via mentally whispered repetition.

A suggested mantra is “soo-maa” (sōmā). There is no meaning to this mantra. It is simply a soothing, breath-like drone.

You may meditate without a mantra, using your breath as a seat of attention. Or simply intend to transcend. This latter technique works for those with quiet minds.

◊ ◊ ◊

Here is how to meditate.

Sit in a comfortable chair. Or prop yourself up in bed with cushions.

The room should be quiet. Preferably dimly lit.

Spend a few moments calming yourself. Relax.

Focus on your breath. If possible, breathe through your nose, not your mouth.

Begin meditating. Intend inner silence. A will to transcend.

When thoughts arise, dismiss them. Thought is the enemy. Vanquish it.

Calmly repeat your mantra as if breathing it. Make your mantra the mental focus. Gently. Intending inner quiet.

Do not concentrate on the mantra. The aim is to clear the mind and relax, not hold the mind captive.

A mantra mesmerizes monkey-mind. A signal for silence. A mantra is a lilting lullaby for the mind.

◊ ◊ ◊

Meditate 20 minutes, time permitting. Even a short session is helpful. A meditation of mere moments may prove soothing.

Transcending or falling asleep for a longer period than planned is natural. Your mind-body takes whatever rest it needs when it can.

Some meditation sessions may feel busy. Others serene. Regardless of their seeming quality, meditation is always beneficial.

If your monkey-mind is prattling and meditation is frustrating, relax for a few minutes and get on with your day.

At the end of a meditation session, lay down or slump in your chair. Spend 3 to 5 minutes relaxing with your eyes closed. Let yourself ease back to the waking state.

You do not want to abruptly end meditation. That may give you a dull headache.

Do not meditate on a full stomach. Being a form of rest, meditation slows metabolism, and so can degrade digestion.

Do not exercise after meditating. Let the calm settle in.

Recommended daily practice: meditate in the morning after awakening and again in the late afternoon. You may meditate whenever circumstance permits.

If you have trouble falling asleep, a short meditation may help.

◊ ◊ ◊

The goal is not good meditations. The aim is abiding quietude: freeing yourself from being monkey-mind’s toy.

Physical Meditation

Mental health is sustained transcendence during everyday living. Effortlessly staying focused. Calm.

Physical meditations are a healthsome habit.

Yoga is a bodily meditation which originated in ancient India. Yoga aims at transcendence through physical postures.

Tai chi is the Chinese variant of yoga. Whereas yoga employs poses, tai chi uses movements.

A mantra in meditation is incidental. So too particular yoga poses or tai chi movements. The aim is the same: transcendence.

Another apt practice for abiding in transcendence is walking in Nature. Be aware of every step, of your body in motion, your breathing, and the environment around you.

Maintain focal awareness on the present. Let not thoughts intrude.

Will

“Self-conquest is the greatest of victories.” ~ ancient Greek philosopher Plato

The most significant sign of success in life can be seen in a 3-year-old child. That sign is self-control.

Will is exercising self-control to achieve a goal. Will is soul power.

Perhaps you know how gripping a fear or anxiety can be. How stubborn nagging thoughts. Such is the will of monkey-mind.

The will of your soul is greater than that of your monkey-mind. If that were not so, mental health would not be possible.

Attaining quietude is easy to say but hard to attain. You must persist. Enlightenment is the ultimate skill, a triumph of soul power.

With diligence you can master your monkey-mind. Maintain your attention on what is happening now.

Conscious thought only detracts from being present in the present. Mental health is calm witnessing.

Do not just meditate. Live in meditation.

Desire

“Contentment is natural wealth. Luxury is artificial poverty.” ~ ancient Greek philosopher Socrates

Life consists of swimming in an endless river of desires of your own making. Constant want. After one desire is gratified or thwarted, the next arises. Desire drives you.

The problem with desire is not in having it. Living is a continual peddling on the cycle of desire.

The problem with desire is attachment. Not letting go. Desire as baggage.

Attachment is a consequence of iğnorance. Someone enlightened simply doesn’t care that much about anything. Things come and go. Nothing to be done about it.

Meaning

Nothing has meaning until you give it. Meaning is a subjective label of significance.

Meaning is the gate to memory. You only remember what has meaning to you. The mundane lacks meaning. The ordinary readily slips from recall.

Your mind makes a memory of the mundane only as a category of events. By contrast, meaningful events are unique. Highlights of your life’s adventure.

Meaningful slides towards the mundane with repetition.

At root, meaning is an esteem of a symbolic construct. Meaning attaches an attraction or avoidance to an abstraction.

Meaning and value are synonyms. You only value what has meaning to you. What lacks meaning has no value.

Information is wrapped in meaning. Lacking meaning, information slips from potential knowledge into oblivion. What may be relevant slips into irrelevance if its meaning evaporates. Something becomes nothing without meaning.

Meaning and desire intertwine. What brings satisfaction has meaning. What does not loses meaning.

Desires are regulated by what they might mean in satisfaction. You do this all the time subconsciously.

Desire is the train which propels you. The tracks on which the train runs are made of meaning. You derail desires when you take away their meaning.

Your mind is constantly keening for meaning. Attachment to desires – giving them great meaning – yields control of your soul to your mind. This is iğnorance.

Deriving meaning is a major occupation of the mind. Another constant practice is problem-solving. Both work toward meeting desire.

Problem-Solving

“People readily jump to conclusions based on limited knowledge, and are biased by motives, emotions, and perceptions.” ~ American psychologist Philip Zimbardo

Desires are problems to be solved. As desire defines living, problem-solving is the mind’s most meaningful occupation.

The level of satisfaction you feel in gaining a goal often depends on how well you maneuver your way. Luck is not as satisfying as skill. Method measures in felt result.

Understanding something is like constructing a puzzle: you have to put all the pieces in their proper place.

Understanding a process adds the skill of putting the pieces down in the right sequence. This temporal dimension of processes is difficult because of an inherent weakness in your mind, which is object (versus process) oriented.

A common failure in trying to solve complex problems is an inapt reference frame: strategic blunder by dint of improper perspective. How you look at a problem is half of the solution. The myths of matterist science offer an ample compendium of folly by false paradigm.

Time

“Time and space are in the mind only. Cause and effect is also a way of thinking. In reality all is here and now. And all is one.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

The trouble is time. Not now, which is all that ever is. Those other times.

The past may haunt. Memory as a malignancy. You can’t change the past. What happened happened. End of story. Just let it go.

The future sprouts worry. All unease grows from the soil of memory, watered by the imagination. Nothing can trouble you but your imagination.

If there were no future, there would be nothing to fear. No basis for worry.

The only pulse the future has is imagined. The future is as dead as the past. There is nothing to fear. You have no future. You only have the present to deal with. Always.

◊ ◊ ◊

The only practical aspect of the future is planning. That is where imagination pays off.

Planning is best done prudently. Focus on the big picture. Don’t sweat the small stuff. After all, planning is pretending that accomplishment can be solid when events are always fluid.

You can’t control the future because it doesn’t exist. All you can do is fiddle in the present, with intention of what’s next.

Hope is the lazy version of planning: as useless as worry, only shinier.

Anticipation, expectation, fear, worry, and hope are the debris of the imagination – nonsense from monkey-mind. All are a setup for relief or grief: a 2-sided coin of the worthless currency called emotion.

Emotions

“The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions.” ~ Tibetan Buddhist monk Dalai Lama

Feelings offer indications, insights, and intuitions. Good stuff.

Emotions are a different beast. Nattermind amplifies felt negativity to create an overwhelming experience. Emotions are the inner addictive drug that drags you down.

Your monkey-mind enslaves you via emotion. Iğnorance is an emotional experience. A craving for thrills is a symptom of iğnorance.

Indulging negative emotions is the worst behavior. There is never a justification for negativity.

The proper response to negativity is to dismiss it and bring yourself back to what is happening now. If a spark of negativity is present, pay attention to what provoked it. Silence is the proper response. Iğnorance in others is a mountain which cannot be moved.

Avoid situations or people which provoke negativity. If that is not possible, work the problem toward a positive, constructive action if silent nonaction does not work.

Psychologists consider repressing emotions a bad thing. These misguided mind gamers mistakenly view emotions as valuable rather than obstructive. Educated only in iğnorance, they do not understand the nature of the mind, and thereby cannot guide you to mental health.

Positive emotions take care of themselves. Love, which is rightly admiration, is its own reward.

Bliss

“When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” ~ Buddha

You will know when your destination of quietude is near. The natural biofeedback in approaching enlightenment is bliss. This is Nature’s way of applauding your persistence in attaining quietude.

Bliss is natural joy in being alive. It is visibly evident in every infant that is well cared for.

Bliss comes from living in harmony with Ĉonsciousness. Bliss fortifies mental health by acting as a calmative.

Too much may be made of bliss. Bliss is a symptom, not a goal.

To indulge bliss by letting it distract you from awareness of now is a mistake. Stay present.

Belief

“Truth only reveals itself when one gives up all preconceived ideas.” ~ Japanese Zen Buddhist monk Gido Shoseki

A belief is the conviction that an abstraction is real. A belief is faith in selective facts: information which the mind has chosen as credible and attached significance. Belief is a self-deception through simplification. Belief has a reference frame, a way of looking at things.

The mind naturally categorizes as a way to identify objects and their utility. Categorization is a belief technique. A useful one. The foundation of skill.

But convenience does not make something exist. Such is the case with categories. Everything is unique.

To think you know anything for certain is a belief. Knowledge is always an abstraction. A generalization. A categorization.

There is a dark undercoat to classification: it impedes discovery and weakens creativity.

Creativity depends on making new associations. Discoveries and inventions are made through new reference frames. Paradigm shifts. Taking a fresh look.

Beliefs rely on keeping current associations intact. Beliefs oppose a fresh look.

All beliefs are foolish assumptions of surety. Uncertainty unsettles monkey-mind. Belief covers it up. Monkey-mind uses belief like an infant uses a pacifier: for comfort.

Because a belief biases how new information is perceived, beliefs are self-reinforcing. Once tucked in, a belief is hard to dislodge.

Your monkey-mind does not like to be questioned. It urges you to believe. Fools follow with faith.

Belief is the weave of the spider web in The Matrix. You are prey to your nattermind spider. People in the Collective believe what they want to, regardless of actuality. Gullibility – easy believing – is a hallmark of iğnorance.

Beyond their utility for skill, beliefs are unnecessary.

Live a life of constant discovery. Believe nothing. Be skeptical of everything. Especially be wary of assumptions.

Psychospace

“Psychospace is the subjective experience that something is close or far away from the self, here, and now.” ~ Israeli psychologists Yaacov Trope & Nira Liberman

Every perception is a fabrication, every experience a construal. In your mind’s eye, you consider objects, people, acts, and events as near or far, regardless of how close they are in space or time.

This construal occurs in psychospace. Psychospace is the active map of your inner world: how close/proximal/concrete or far/distal/abstract things seem to be.

The more distant you construe something to be, the more abstractly you consider it. Something that happened yesterday can be old news. Distal.

And vice versa. An event years ago can impress upon you like it just happened. Loved ones are kept close even when they are far away. Proximal.

High-level construal is abstract. Getting the gist. Looking at the big picture, with details a haze. Conversely, low-level construal is concrete, focused on detail.

Whatever you are focused on is a concrete experience. The here and now is a concrete as it gets.

There are 4 psychospatial dimensions: space (spatial), time (temporal), social (interpersonal), and hypothetical (imagining the likelihood of an event). For instance, the more likely something seems, the more concrete your mind takes it to be. A similar feeling applies to time, space, and people or social events.

Nattermind dwells on negativity. Upcoming positive events, such as vacation, feel distant, and their duration short. Time flies when you are having fun. By contrast, events approached with dread seem more concrete, with their projected end at an insufferable distance.

Emotional intensity occurs in psychospace. Frustration is a concrete experience you can diminish by psychologically distancing yourself.

You can lessen emotional impact and make challenging tasks easier by looking at them as abstractions. High-level construal softens the glare of negativity.

◊ ◊ ◊

You were one with the world when you were an infant. Everything was concrete.

A child mentally develops by enlarging psychospace. Leaning to plan for a more distant future. To see possibilities not apparent. To consider the perspective of people who don’t think the same way.

Maturing to proper perspective is the process of getting better at psychospace management. To fluidly be focused and then instantly attain high-level, abstract construal. To transcend desire and self.

Construal in Realization

For the Collective, perception is a concrete experience. Physicality feels real.

Dissociation is a conscious awareness of a separateness from everything, including your own being. A witnessing by consciousness. A subtle disengagement.

Realization is the highest level of consciousness. In realization, dissociation is the normal mental state when not focused on something. You observe being alive.

Dissociation affords a natural high-level construal. You witness rather than being glued to the mind-body.

A distinction between actuality and reality is not just conceptual in unity consciousness. It is experienced.

By contrast, in quietude, your work gets your full attention. Total focus. No distraction from nattermind.

The best of both worlds is had in unity consciousness: an easy dissociation along with a fine focus for getting work done. Awareness fluidly moves between proximal and distal perspectives. Frustration instantly evaporates.

The spiritual maturation of unity consciousness is the fruition of the process that a child undergoes in mentally taking steps to higher-context construal. In realization you rule your psychospace. This cannot otherwise be attained.

Theory of Mind

Everyone has their own desires, values, intentions, viewpoints, and way of thinking. This subjectivism is the beating heart of showtivity.

Theory of mind is the understanding that others have minds of their own. You appreciate that everyone has their own unique inner perspective by theory of mind.

Children begin to develop theory of mind around age 4, as nattermind stirs into strength. Within the next year, children begin to appreciate that other minds are different than their own. This ability sharpens to distinguish between actuality and what only comes to mind.

Once children gain theory of mind, they begin to lie more often, and more effectively. Seeing how others see things is a crucial social skill. So too deception. Little white lies can be a greasy social grace.

Theory of mind culminates in mentalizing: imagining what others are thinking. Mentalizing is also called mind perception.

Mature mind perception respects that what comes to one’s own mind about what someone else may be thinking is only a possibility. Then again, perceptive mentalizing can almost be mind-reading, especially when you are empathic and know someone well.

Empathy

Empathy is emotive mind perception. Mentalizing someone else’s emotional state of mind.

Because the Collective are driven by their emotions, empathy can be a powerful tool.

Empathy does not imply affinity or approval. Just identification.

Empathy has 2 aspects: emotional and rational.

Emotional empathy is picking up on someone else’s emotional expression. 2-year-olds can do this. As social creatures, our capacity for emotional empathy is innate.

Rational empathy is suspecting someone else’s intentions and motivations. Rational empathy requires mind perception.

Rational empathy is a tremendous skill. The ability to spy into someone else’s mind is an invaluable navigation guide through the social world.

Stories about people expose how they feel and think about their world. You can sharpen your mind perception and rational empathy by reading novels.

○○○

Your psychospace is how you construe the world. Accepting the world as it is, at a remove, unconcerned, is part of good psychospace management.

The world will never be as you want. That would be a robbery of entertainment potential.

Iğnorance is laughable: like a pratfall, only sillier.

Social Relations

“The world is full of contradictions. Hence your search for harmony and peace. These you cannot find in the world. For the world is the child of chaos.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

As enlightenment dawns, you are likely to increasingly find the noise of iğnorance disagreeable. Quiet and solitude become more appealing.

To pursue mental health is to leave the Collective behind. To refuse to wallow in iğnorance any longer. It is a pursuit few appreciate and even fewer have the will to pursue.

“Truth is the cry of all, but the game of the few.” ~ Irish philosopher George Berkeley

The ignorant are ignorant of their iğnorance. Do not judge them harshly for their pathetic condition.

You cannot clue the clueless. Do not contend.

The Collective are a fickle lot when it comes to wisdom: far less interested in learning than in preserving their social standing and fragile self-esteem.

Meet your acknowledged obligations but feel no further duty. Do not accept false responsibilities.

Be as graceful as you can. Living, after all, is the dance of your soul.

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” ~ ancient Turkish philosopher Epictetus

Health

In the vigor of youth, it may be hard to imagine how age weakens you. It does. Most assuredly. The lesson: you pay in the back half of your life for your earlier sins of indulgence. Self-discipline becomes its own reward.

The mind-body is an integrated gyre: an instrument which must be maintained to enjoy living to its fullest. In short: keep your body and mind fit.

Eat as little as you can and still stay vigorous. Fat is a tax on health.

Eat mostly fresh fruit and vegetables. Milk and meat are bad for you. Most the stuff in supermarkets sold as food is not food. It’s slow-motion poison.

Regular exercise is critical to good health. Walking is good exercise both physically and mentally.

Reading is among the best mental exercises. Adventuring into new places by learning is essential to keeping your mind fit. Puzzles and games are a playful mental challenge.

Sleep as much as your mind-body wants. One of the grim sins of the modern lifestyle is insufficient sleep.

Taking mind-altering substances is a popular pastime among the Collective. Alcohol is a perennial favorite. Many other drugs that muddle the mind are also too readily available. They are all like eating stupidity. Anything that dims awareness is dumb.

Going to school might give you the idea that being graded is good. Like graded meat. But you are not a piece of meat. So don’t compete. Just do your best at whatever you do.

Do not feed your monkey-mind. Leave the thrills behind.

Feed your soul. Productively enjoy yourself.

Summary

“The real is experienced in silence.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

Mastering The Matrix is as simple as embracing inner quietude. It changes your world. Utterly.

To live in meditation is to live with full attention to the present. Which is all that exists. Everything else is merely imagined.

Living through the fantasies your monkey-mind spins for you is mental illness. Being here and now is mental health.