Thursday, December 18, 2014

There is no consciousness in brain activity



The brain is a magical thing and consciousness is extra magic on top. Now, it turns out that consciousness is not a thing at all - it is an artifact, a ghost in the machine. One way to get to grips with this is to look at brain activity. Brain activity is a crazy rush of jumbled up lights - you can get an idea of the lights by relaxing your mind and having someone clap in your ears, or have someone punch you in the face, or have a spinal tap and have the nurse jolt one of the electrodes running down your spine. In these cases, you will get a blinding flash of light. There is no consciousness in these lights, they are just there, but they are most certainly your lights. Consciousness is formed after, in some other way.

Now, the next thing to look for is consciousness forming from the brain activity, like a shadow emerging from a sparkling mist of pure twinkliness. Then you might ask yourself, what am I? 

(I made a picture to represent what a flash of light might look like in case you didn't fancy trying out one of my other examples.)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why do we do anything we do?

The answer to this is:

to feel good

You might like to think about that the next time you do something. Then the next question is:

did I know I was doing it to feel good?

The answer is probably not. You probably layered a thousand other explanations on top of your actions, but ultimately we are slaves to feeling good.

The final question is:

did the good feeling last?

Usually, not for very long. Which is a bummer.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Dealing with struggle




I have much to say about struggle but I decided to do a picture instead. 

Struggle is necessary in some ways, but pointless in others. Rehabilitation requires struggle but we also have to know our limits. It's a balancing act between two extremes - doing and not doing. Action and inaction. Being and not being. We test ourselves and we live in the consequences ...





Thursday, November 13, 2014

Think amazing thoughts

Surprisingly a lot of our thoughts are given to us by the world we live in. I'm not judging the world but when I look at TV and movies and the media, it's not surprising that many of us are reaching for the citalopram.

Luckily we can clean up our mind and think amazing thoughts instead. What does an amazing thought look like (in case you have never had one)? Here's a few:

- I'm OK
- life's not so bad
- there's something deep inside me that is so amazing that it blows the concept of happiness clean off the planet and onto that comet they've landed on

It's all in there. Waiting for you to think it. Clean, spacious, amazing.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The same thing over and over again

I realise that I am writing the same thing over and over again, gradually getting more abstract as time goes by.

This is essentially what I am trying to say:

1. Learn to relax
2. See the workings of the mind
3. Keep repeating this process

It turns out to be quite a remarkable thing to do.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The mind wants to believe anything it encounters

This can be a good thing or a bad thing.

It makes us highly susceptible to suggestions - I could say anything and you would have a tendency to believe it, even if you thought it was not true. It also means we are at the mercy of our thoughts and thought patterns - and these are generally negatively biased in order to protect ourselves from hurt. We have an alarming habit of believing what we think and what we think can be a little dark at times.

That's the bummer. The good news is that if we give it positive messages and we prime it with wholesome things, the entire atmosphere of the mind will change. This is quite a challenge but one worth pursuing. You could start by eating brown rice and some salad, then move into neurolinguistuc reprogramming, followed by some bliss enhancing visualisations, and rounded off with some practical wisdom and teachings. Rinse with mantras and body therapy and then have a nice bath. 


Friday, October 17, 2014

A sea lion will do anything for a fish

We like to think we have free choice but this is kind of an illusion. We only have freedom to choose when we act from awareness and wisdom. Most of the time we are not very wise or aware, we are reacting to circumstances with the faulty set of reasoning that life has bestowed upon us.

Now, the secret mechanism that underpins our reaction is pleasure or a reward. A sea lion will do anything for a fish and we are constantly acting in ways that will release pleasure into our system - probably in the form of dopamine, but let's not get technical. We are constantly driven by this pleasure seeking - we get rewards for thinking the right thoughts, for behaving in a certain way, for eating biscuits, for going shopping - there is a constant action / reward cycle. There's also the opposite - avoiding unpleasantness - but I'm tired so let's leave that for now.

You might think we are more complex than this, and we are tremendously complex in the way we behave and think, but this simple pleasure / unpleasant dynamic is underneath it all. Our emergent behaviour is different to the mechanics that underpin it.