Blog: Mental Arts

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The Workings of the Mind


Lily said,” The mind is defined as the sum total of all the programs and the metaprograms of a given human computer, whether or not they are immediately elicitable, detectable, and visibly operational to the self or to others.”

This is an idea we have to consider very carefully when we work in a tank office. First, the statement suggests that we may not see or, therefore, understand what is actually operational in our own minds. We are all susceptible to all manner of evasions. We can easily hide years of events from ourselves. An example of this kind of evasion can be found with women who have been molested by their fathers or other authority figures during their childhood years. Memories of those events are often suppressed for years. But the memories are still part of the mind and are also part of the thinking processes for those women even though the molestation cannot be accessed.

Molestation is an extreme case, perhaps, but many people experience a type of evasion even concerning events that are easily recalled. It is often the case that early childhood memories are key to beliefs in real which give rise to behaviors which are still operational in fully grown adults. Such behaviors as rebellion, or sexual orientation denial, or fantasy fabrications to support other behaviors can often be traced back to specific events which took place in the formative years of a young life.

The belief in real such an event forms in the mind of an individual may not be “visibly operational” to an individual, but the belief formed is still part of the mind. For example, a recent report notes that many women are leaving tech jobs because there seems to be a prejudice against them. The women interviewed do not cite a single event that causes them to leave the tech world but rather an attitude of superiority from the men who inhabit that world. While such a claim is hard to verify the lack of solid evidence does not mean that such a mind set does not exist in the predominately male work force of that industry. If male computer programmers, for example, grew up in an environment where women were considered to be less than males in technical prowess would those men even realize that such a discriminating belief about reality could even exist in their minds? In the Zen teachings of the Sixth Patriarch’s Platform Sutra it is stated, “the eye cannot see itself.”  Can we ever know what is in our mind (what we look with) unless we consider what the mind does?

written by John Worthington, author of “The Office of Shaman”

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