Tag Archives: mind

Animal Superiority-1Are we really top dog in a life process that’s millions of years older than we are? Do we really think that we’re smarter? Wiser? More aware? What sets us apart? Why do we believe that something does? Why do we feel that we are different? As long as we can remember thinking…thinking? Is that it?

I do believe that we are different but not necessarily better or superior. As a species, we have a dimension giving us a specific distinction in the animal kingdom, to which we most certainly do belong, but with what we consider additional survival skills. The added dimension is not thinking or thought. Thinking and thought are a function of the additional dimension. That dimension is an awareness of the passage of time. I do believe that other mammals, maybe other genera also, have recognition of the passage of time but because they don’t have language skills that are as specifically separative or discriminatory as Homo sapiens, their perception is perhaps more rudimentary than ours. Granted, a newborn Homo sapien may not have the survival skills as broadly developed at birth as other mammals might, however, I do believe that as we begin our life our ability to sense physically and psychically is comparable to other mammals. Please note that when I say psychically, I’m merely referring to the ability to sense difference in the movement of energy. As we become “humanized,” those abilities slowly become trained out of us, pushed into the background of our awareness and eventually regress into what we call our unconscious. We do have senses that are inherent in the rest of the animal kingdom; it’s just that they are currently dormant. Let’s look at what gives us our ability to perceive time.

Salvador Dali TimeAt the risk of trying to define time, let’s just say that it is our perception of movement through space. We do know that when we are totally involved in what we’re doing, we don’t notice the passage of time. If we think about a time when we’re so involved in a project and when we came to check the time, we’re very often surprised how time seems to have passed so quickly. Conversely, when we’re anticipating or waiting for an event or occurrence, time feels as if it slows down to the point where it feels like it’s almost standing still. To wit, when we’re children, we’re always anticipating something. We feel like we’re doing nothing but waiting. Time “moves” slowly. When we’re older, we’re no longer anticipating as many things as we were when we were children and time seems to fly by. So, I think that you can see that how quickly time moves is a function of our perception and where we put our attention. The more we anticipate, the slower it appears to move. The more engrossed we become in what we’re doing, the faster it moves.

Now let’s look at how we perceive the passage of time. Its root lies in our ability to develop language and discriminatory or separative skills. Our mind is effective through its ability to be able to separate the timing of our experiences from each other. When we first learn to separate we give birth to the mind through the distinction between what feels good and what does not. How do we do this? As we develop language, we attach different learned words to experiences that feel good and pleasurable and others to those that don’t. We then we hold them attached to those specific experiences, in our mind in what we call our memory. Each stored experience becomes a combined snapshot of the experience, the feeling that arose with it and our pleasure assessment. The order of storage tells us what came before and what came after. This establishes our first recognition of the passage of time; our perception of the past.

Linear timeBecause our mind can use our learned language to tell the difference between what came before and what came after, we are able to use this same ability to create a linear construct of events that project into the future for a possible order of events to be anticipated or waited for. This eventually becomes combined with what we want or don’t want. This establishes our second recognition of the passage of time; our perception of a possible future.

When events are in the process of occurring and before they are compared to what has already occurred or to what projection might occur and we are having the experience, we perceive the present. This establishes our third recognition of the passage of time: our perception of the present or being in the moment.

Back to the animal kingdom and the potential for Homo sapiens to possess a mind and the ability to separate past, present and future. Now, it is assumed that the rest of the animal kingdom supposedly, may have a mind but not the refined ability to develop as sophisticated a language and thought process as humans, we believe that this leaves them unable to create a more perceivable distinction in the passage of time.

Mysterious tunnel to the lightInitially, we may see this as an advantage over other mammals in that it implies that our ability to think through our defensive and survival capabilities may appear to be a lot more sophisticated and effective. But in the same way that we have the ability to perceive the passage of time, we also have the potential to get lost or locked in the different dimensions of time. That is, unlike other mammals, we can get “stuck” in the past or the future to the detriment of our present and future well-being and enjoyment. Since other mammals have virtually no,or limited,perception of past or future, their attention remains primarily in the moment. Not necessarily so for Homo sapiens. What appears to be the mammalian kingdom’s ability to “remember” experiences is primarily a function of conditioning, not necessarily memory. Memory requires a mental structure of comparison in order to exist and progress. Even if other mammals do possess a rudimentary capacity, it is nowhere nearly developed as well as Homo sapiens. Due to this, most humans suffer from severe personification when it comes to perceiving what animals might exhibit in their behavior, especially, our pets.

Hit by a busLet’s look a little more closely at Homo sapien's potential for getting lost or locked into the past or the future. Because the human mind can construct and project an anticipated future, our attention doesn’t always remain in the moment. If we’re crossing the street while our attention is focused on fantasizing about desired or fearful circumstances occurring in our home or careers, we might not be paying attention to the bus careening down the street aimed in our direction. In this, our focus on the future can have lethal consequences. If we’re on a date with someone whom we find extremely attractive while thinking about how we were cheated on in a past relationship, we may miss a wonderful opportunity to create a new future and a much more rewarding experience through obsessing over our past.

Let’s take a look at another possible misconceptions we may have about ourselves and other mammals; fear. A human’s fear is almost entirely wrapped up in the potential of “what if” or what might occur and is future oriented. Our imagination is our most influential component in the way we perceive and deal with fear. Why? Because with our ability to perceive and create a charged imagination about the future and its possible outcomes, we often paralyze ourselves with fear over making the “wrong” move or taking the “wrong” action through imagining the hawk & rabbitdevastating scenarios that might occur. But if other mammals don’t have the same potential to fabricate a possible future, how does fear register with them? Since they exist mostly in the moment, we believe that fear is essentially a function of instinct and conditioning. It’s not fear as we would define it. They don’t define it. They have no language to separate it out from other feelings. They simply feel it. A rabbit’s tendency to remain motionless or move like a bullet is not the result of their looking for or expecting the hawk to swoop down and attack. It is simply an innate instinctual vigilance that has been conditioned and inbred into their genetic makeup over thousands of generations of repeated experience and evolution. They live in the moment. It has become an integral part of their perceptual and instinctual repertoire. It seems that Homo sapiens have essentially lost access to the awareness of those abilities through being conditioned to mentally focus on only the past and the future. Yet, it still remains buried under Animal sensestons of mentally judged memories and experiences. We know this because as we consciously make an effort to re-tune ourselves to nature and our natural surroundings, some of those “senses” slowly begin to reemerge.

But there is another ability that many of us humans agree is innate within our makeup; intuition. Since what our culture generally accepts as being true is that which has the potential to be physically verified (agreed upon by others), only a portion of our population actually accepts the validity of its existence. Since most of western humanity is in agreement with being or feeling superior to the animal kingdom, I believe that it is very unlikely that there are many people that even consider that animals may also possess intuition and that it is not merely a function of repeated and evolutionary physical experience and conditioning that eventually translates into becoming a genetic progeny in their DNA.

For the majority of us who believe that we are more than just our physical existence we can easily consider that we must exist in a somewhat different state of being before we either acquire, enter or construct the current physical bodies we reside in now. It is my belief that our mode of movement before we incarnated existed within the fields of feelings and intuition, NonLinear timeneither of which requires mental functioning or time to operate. This is also why they are so difficult to explain or describe to another. They are also the fields in which our deepest dreams occur. To wit, how many times have you attempted to explain a dream in earthly language only to get lost in the confusing time and overlay of events and people? The more “awake” you become, the more elusive the dream becomes. Feelings and intuition do not follow a linear path. They are simply innate, timeless and occur involuntarily. It’s also important to note that we retain them both through our incarnation. These fields are where empathy originates from. Yet, our “civilized” training has had the effect of eclipsing them with linearity and the time constraints of our mental functioning within the physical world. We know animals have feelings. Who’s to say they don’t also have intuition? What may even seem more curious to consider is that they also dream. Have you watched your dog’s feet and REM (rapid eye movement) when they’re sleeping? This would explain many of our experiences with them that we’ve been puzzled by in trying to explain while having been unable to trace the “answers” through physical instincts and genetics.

animal masterySo, back to our original question. Are we really superior to animals? I think not since we generally possess the same characteristics, especially, as with mammals. But we have and added dimension, time, which brings with it its tool to track and record it…our mind and the development of thought and language. This inclusion is usually what most people, claiming to be superior, use to set themselves above animals. However, there are many things that we appear to be unable to do based on the submerging of our instincts, feelings and intuition in deference to our use of the intellect. But our use of the intellect presents its own problems in that we more often than not allow ourselves to become trapped in our future “what ifs” and in our regrets or obsessions over our past “performance” and the resulting judgments by our peer group, families and authorities. We often miss being in the moment when it counts. So, who’s to say who is superior? I think that determination depends on what kind of standard we’re using to compare. I think that once we evolve enough to maintain a balance between past, present and future and eliminate enough of our fear of loss of control to allow our feelings and intuition to re-emerge and integrate with our eventually to be refined mental faculties, perhaps then we might be able to state that we have an added skill and dimension that adds a wholeness or unity to the pairing of our energetic and our physical existence. But to be superior? I think not. That’s a judgmental compensation applied by someone who feels himself to be “less than” man's best friendothers of his own species. Right now animals, especially mammals, might be “one up” on us in that they are not saddled with getting caught in the past or future and seem to be very content operating in the here and now. In that, they bring us tremendous peace with our tuning into being in the moment with them.

 

Who-am-I-3This may seem like a very simple question. It’s something that we as a race have asked ourselves as far back as we have been able to remember. But when most of us ask this question we go no further back than our own memory. That can include our memory of what we learned in history, what we’ve read, what we’ve been told by others, what we have personally experienced and what input we have processed on our time on this earth. The key word that provides us the best clue to how we identify ourselves is input.

With all of the technology that we’ve experienced we naturally hear the word input and think of computers, recorders, cameras, microphones, telephones; all of the gadgets that create a record or memory of what we or someone else has experienced. But all these gadgets simply imitate a capacity that we all share. That capacity is the use of our senses. Our senses depend on input. Our senses depend on stimulus (new information) that we can compare to what we already know, what we’ve committed to memory, what is different from what we already know or feel at the moment. We depend on input to define ourselves.

Selfie-Mona LisaWhen we are asked, “Who are you?” our answers are based on input we have received about ourselves from our surrounding world. We define ourselves by how the world sees us and how we see ourselves as participating in that world. To begin with we say our name. Did you choose your own name? No. Your parents gave that to you based on the input they perceived about you. Are you your job? No. You define yourself based on input that you and others perceive about what you do. Are you your family? No. Who you are is based on the input that you and others perceive about the people you live with and, most likely, work at supporting. The point I’m making is that sense input produces what is accepted as being true about you or not through your senses and those of others. It’s a compilation of and comparison to what you are and aren’t as compared to your surrounding world. So, what would happen to how you perceive who you are if we slowly removed those senses on by one? How, then, would you define yourself to yourself and others? Let’s see…

Smell-orangutansSince smell and taste are very closely related, let’s remove those together. Do you like a good steak? How would you know if all you could sense about it was the texture or what it feels like as you put it into your mouth? There would probably be very little difference between that and chicken, or turkey. Do you like ice cream? Yogurt? The texture of both are very similar. The only difference you’d recognize would be the color and that ice cream would feel much colder. What about flowers? You no longer can smell them. The only difference would be how they looked and how they felt (fragile, strong, thorny, tall short, etc.) With no smell and no taste, your ability to see food and flowers and feel their texture and temperature would be the only way that you could tell them apart. You, then, would have to lean much more heavily into the input available from your other senses of sight, tactile feeling and hearing. To wit, it is said that when someone goes blind the acuity of their remaining senses multiplies. Let’s remove another sensual input.

The kiss-RodanLet’s remove your tactile input. How would sex feel if you had no sense of touch? No taste? No smell? You might become aroused by what you could see or hear, but, then how could you feel the tactile pleasure of caressing? Warmth? Texture? Friction? Let’s go one further. How would you now identify your sexual experience? In pictures? In sounds? Your only input is your sight, hearing and of course your memory of what you’ve experienced before. With the loss of touch, taste and smell what has happened to the intensity of your experience? What has happened to the depth of your experience? How will you now describe it and your participation to others? How do you now define yourself in terms of sex and your experience with it? Your loss of three senses has monumentally diminished your experience with sex, food, texture, warmth, cold. What now remains to commit to memory? Let’s remove one more sense.

Hearing-Dog-1Sound has now left your repertoire. Can you hear music? Birds chirping, wind rustling leaves, the sighs of your lover during sex? What is now left to commit to memory to compare with what you’re already experienced? Only what you can see.

I’ve left the most impactful sense for last; sight. In today’s world we receive the largest volume of our sensual input through our sight. We learn things creating input watching television, our computer. We move about finding our direction through our house, the supermarket. We recognize people. We recognize ourselves in the mirror. We recognize the difference between night and day. We write Eye-heart-2down shopping lists of things to remember. We know when to stop filling a glass. We know when we come too close to the edge of a cliff. We see the steps we must traverse to go up or down in our houses. We can see when it’s safe to cross the street in traffic. Our last sense input is gone. How now can we experience the world? What have we left to identify ourselves with? Only our memory.

exhaustion-childBut, for most people, when the external input is turned off and we are so exhausted from following the convolutions and gymnastics of our conscious mind, it is our cue to sleep. When this occurs, most of us simply vacate bodily awareness and withdraw from our worldly participation. Removing any attention we may have on our body allows it the time and the space to disengage from all the resistances and polarities our conscious mind has constructed in dealing with daily events and the resulting stress it had deposited in our muscles and nervous system. In letting go of our body and mind it allows us to return to that unified non-polarized place we lived in before we were born in order to integrate our newest day’s activities into our “larger self” and clarify any changes in direction needed to further enhance our experience when we return to Larger self-1our physical world. When we are fully recharged and begin to reconnect with our body and mind it is then that we begin to dream. This is where the antics of our mind begin to negotiate with the timeless unified state we were just visiting and produce, sometimes, enlightening insights and sometimes, confusing timing and irrational scenarios that puzzle the conscious mind. When we have fully awakened, our unified awareness has totally shifted into our polarized perspective ready to participate in the physical world making choices and creating new resistance. This process repeats itself every night. If we are deprived of our REM sleep, that is, our opportunity to negotiate what we’ve integrated about being between “here” and “there” with our newest experiences, we eventually lose our mental thread and perceptual grounding: we lose our connection to “reality.” We all know that sleep deprivation makes most of us “loopy.”

SucubusHowever, the momentum of our conscious mind is sometimes so strongly connected to where we’ve been, or what we are going through, that we are unable to totally let go of our connection to our bodies resulting in the type of insomnia where we’re half in sleep and half out and dreaming. So now, with no external input the mind goes crazy dredging up enough material from our memory of past experiences to fill our awareness and “solve” what it is that we are distressed and tense about. When we finally awaken we are only partially recharged and working on only five cylinders for the rest of the day.

The point I’m making here is that the mind itself can be considered a sense. Because it contains the total memory of our past experiences and conjurations of possible outcomes in the future, it too is part of the polarization process controlling the “on” or “off” states (e.g., taste or don’t taste) of what we sense. Our senses and mind must both be released in order that we are able Energized-1to fully discharge enough of the resistance we have built and accumulated daily that we may be able to let go and vacate back into our unified essence to regroup. We can compare our regrouping to a computer that we would reboot clearing its memory and cache in order to have enough RAM to perform new tasks when turned back on again.

Desensitization tank-1It’s also worthy to note that back in the 60s the rage in colleges was to climb into desensitization tanks that would “deaden” the senses enough so that all that remained was our conscious mind. Some people loved the experience. Others became terrified at being “alone” with themselves. There is very little difference between this and the substances we currently use to either heighten or deaden our senses today like the difference between what alcohol does and what barbiturates do. Some want to escape the senses. Others want to be overwhelmed by them so they feel nothing else. Either way, it’s an escape from facing ourselves and what we feel.

So where does this leave us in terms of who we are? We know that when the senses are gone or turned off our mind replaces them with the memory of what we’ve already sensed or anticipated sensing. In recognizing this we know that we aren’t our senses. We also can say that when the physical senses are turned off, the mind goes into overdrive attempting to fill the perceptual gap. As the mind increases in speed, there eventually comes appoint where our Catch the trainability to make sense of it can no longer keep up with the speed and we are thrown free like a child from an accelerating merry go round and end up in the sidelines watching it spin. This tells us that we also aren’t our minds either, yet, we do have a mind just like we have senses. This means that when we physically die, what we can recognize, our senses and mind, are NOT all there is.

So what’s left to define? Feelings and intuition? These are continuous and involuntary types of energy that arise within us. They were present within us before we came here. But even they occur within us. So who or what are they within? So who or what is us? You? I? Without being separate from what we are attempting to define or discriminate, we can’t answer the question. It’s our belief in separation that creates the question. If there is no separation, there is no question. So now we must ask, “Who or what is it that we are asking this of?”