The Mind Reacts; It’s Programmed That Way
Liberation is being aware of what is happening when our mind is calculating and reacting. We need to be aware when a reaction is about to start, and also when a reaction is full blown. Reactions take time – mili-moments – and so they are observable. They don’t just happen, but to be aware of this, we need an uncluttered essence.
Only an advanced meditation practitioner’s mind will remain silent because they are practised, and therefore well aware of this process, so we shouldn’t be alarmed if our mind still reacts. We are town yogis after all, and have things to do, but we can remain balanced and less overwhelmed. This, of course, does not mean we do nothing, but now we work from wisdom and insight … hopefully!
The mind reacts because it holds on to memories, and therefore holds on to judgements. It is a calculating machine. The solution is to acknowledge the reaction and be loose and then at ease with it. By letting it be, this releases us from the overwhelming power of the emotions.
Even though we may have ‘practised’ spirituality for years, we still react – or rather, the mind still reacts. We may be very knowledgeable about spiritual matters, and have attended long retreats, but those likes and dislikes still show themselves.
As town dwellers, this is to be expected, but there comes a time when we genuinely want to end the contagious effects of samsara: the fixated attachments that bind us, driving us mad with ideas :D.
The mind reacts, but that does not mean consciousness then has to act it out. That reaction comes from the old brain network – the programme (and the programmers!). Once we stop acting out, karma starts emptying, which means purification is taking place. The programme is no longer running us.
There are two approaches to this enlightened attitude:
Once empty essence is acknowledged, a feeling is experienced before the reaction takes place. It’s a sort of unidentified, uncomfortable or pleasant feeling that hasn’t yet taken form, and it’s believed to occurs within the subtle body. It’s a residue from the past. The Buddha in the mud acknowledges.
In the other approach – when we’ve missed that first feeling – we are suddenly aware that a full blown emotion has taken place, and we have a choice whether to act on it, or let it be. The shock of the emotion, in the very first instant, reveals clarity. The emotion and wisdom are, at this point, simultaneous. The Buddha in the mud acknowledges.
In the first case, the emotion is about to happen. In the second, it has already arisen.
When we look around, we can see the programme that drives most of us: this, if recognised, will be an inspiration, and is a major factor in our wish to engage in recognition, experience and realisation.