Tradition, culture, environment, education and habits condition the human mind. The same old beliefs, customs, rituals and herd mentality make the mind function in a set pattern, in a groove. Knowledge handed down from one generation to the next, slightly added or modified and imparted through the present form of educational system, shapes a person into following a predictable, conventional, convenient, tried and tested method of living.
The limitation of conditioning is that it never gives us a holistic perception of our existence. It fragments life and puts it into compartments; each fragment opposed to the rest. This triggers opposing emotions and thoughts. Therefore, our decisions too oscillate between extremes.
We either fight or we succumb to the push and pulls of life but most of us do not try to understand them. It is only understanding that dissolves confusion and brings clarity. In turn it is clarity that helps us discern right from wrong. And it is discernment that gives us freedom amidst a life of duties, responsibilities, troubles and challenges.
A life without freedom is not a life worth living and it is this very freedom that eludes a conditioned mind.
However much we decorate the cage we live in, it is still a cage, a psychological prison.
To observe or experience something mysterious, the mind must not be in a state of planning, forecasting, calculating and preparing. Of course we are not talking here about matters concerning our daily mechanical living. Here, some amount of conditioning is useful. We know what happens if we jump the traffic signal or insert the finger into the candle flame, so we stay away from obvious dangers. Needless to mention, we eat everyday, wear clothes and stay under a shelter to protect us against heat and cold. One is not questioning conditioning in this physical realm.
For a spiritual experience, one’s mind should be in a state of “I don’t know what to do next”. That is when the mystery, wonder and the conundrum of the universe will unfold to us. But we prevent that from happening because our mind is stuffed and overflowing with facts, figures, data, information, explanations and concepts.
The puzzle of life isn’t that complex, as it is made out to be. It is actually quite simple. But human beings adore complexity and have developed the uncanny knack of making everything difficult or impossible. Or else, we fall into the trap of a repetitive mode, a routine. Both create a tunnel vision and we carry on living like a horse with blinkers.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper