“To begin with, a few questions that I’ll come back to later on: Do you consider yourself to have an open mind? Do you hold a fascination with how your mind works? And, what would you consider the cause of the increase in Alzheimer’s disease?”
On a personal level, from a very early age I can remember being captivated with understanding how things worked. I’m sure, to some degree, the adults around me during that time, found it quite frustrating to find me playing with toys – or whatever – for a short time, only to destroy them later on, by taking them apart in order to understand how they worked. Once I understood how something worked, I’d generally lose interest, and quickly move on.
As for moving on – once I’ve understood how something works – this has proved to be a habit, that’s pretty much stayed with me all my life, all bar one exception that is: The human mind. Humans, and their minds, continue to puzzle and fascinate me, in equal measure. What curious creatures we all are.
Why, you might ask, have I stayed interested in our minds? Ultimately the answer to that lies in a selfishly rooted motivation: I’ve wanted to understand and improve or change my own frustrations, confusion, moods, habits, behaviours and thoughts.
“Of course the motivation to do anything must be a partly selfish one; we must want something for ourselves, in order for us to then give this to others. Once shared we better understand.”
Consider a musician, does the musician learn to play an instrument for himself or for the enjoyment of others? Is the ultimate goal all about performing, feeding a hungry ego and potentially filling empty pockets? Or is the process and challenge, of learning to play an instrument, the motivation? No doubt a mixture of all these things is the recipe for success.
And so understanding the mind, and then helping others with this quest, must start with understanding our own. In terms of moving on, some find it sufficient to simply find one, or a few basic understandings, for why they’ve been experiencing difficulties in a particular area, and they then look no further. The thing to be aware of here though, is we can only take others as far as we’ve been ourselves. The farther we’ve moved our own minds on, the better able we are, to help others achieve their goals.
For me, in regard to the human mind, I feel we’ll never reach a point when it’s time to stop looking. For the more we search – for the answers to the conundrum of human consciousness, and understand the workings of our minds – the larger and more capable we all become.
Back to my opening questions. If we consider ourselves to have an open mind, we will in fact, be deluding ourselves. Unless we’ve been given the opportunity to question (and continue to question) the origins to the root of our thoughts and consciousness, our minds will never be truly open.
You may believe you’ve an open mind, yet belief alone is simply insufficient. We must be able to question the root of this belief, and that of all other beliefs, before we’re able to gain a truly open mind. For this process to begin, you will most definitely need to hold a fascination, for how your mind works.
For those of us who’re able to delve deep enough, be prepared for some interesting developments. Be prepared for the control you gain over your thoughts and experiences. Our thoughts and experiences of life, believe it or not, are all under our control. As such, it follows that once you have knowledge of your beliefs: how they influence you and your life and how you must question them in order to change them at a deeper level, you’ll gain immense control over your destiny.
Be prepared for some surprises, the biggest surprise for me is how my motivation, to do the things I do in life, has shifted. I feel no shame in disclosing, that many of the things I’ve done or achieved (and then failed at) in life, have been through fear: Fear of loss, fear of being disliked, fear of adulthood (the unknown), responsibility, commitment etc. If many more of us had clear thoughts, we’d also be able to own up to this kind of motivation: avoidance rather than pursuit.
And what about the pursuit of love? The pursuit of love-life is also something that has occupied much of my time. When I use the term ‘love-life’ what I mean here is the love of life. What must we do in order to truly fall in love with life? Is the love of life to spend most of it sitting in cars, or watching others live out their lives on television, through the drama of film or the news or whatever? No, we must reach in for the richness of love, and then outward for improved experiences and attitudes toward life.
The pursuit of pleasure is a much clearer goal now and the things that give us pleasure must no longer be based on self-centered, childish, beliefs. As adults, when we seek the pleasure gained from giving of ourselves: our knowledge and understandings; our ability to play the instrument of a finely tuned mind, we’re all in a win-win situation, falling deeper in love with life.
In answer to the third question at the top of the page, when we stop using our minds, through losing our curiosity and enthusiasm for life, we’re pretty much done. Better understanding our minds, through a modern conglomeration of concepts, is key to staving off the disease of stagnation. Use it or lose it.