Looking for Problems is a Function of the Mind

Our minds have many functions, and it is important to know and understand these functions so that we can know how this machine works.   And more importantly, if we know how it works, and we can view it as mechanical; then we will not mistake it for ourself.    If we were simply machines, then we would be robots.    Be we are not robots.    Your mind may seem to be real; that’s what its’ job is, to create a sense of identity.    The key word is a "sense" of identity.    Our minds play thoughts on our screen of awareness very much like a film projector plays images on a movie screen.    We have been staring at this screen so long that we take it to be real.    In fact most of us have a projector that is running out of control.    It is very difficult and perhaps impossible to stop the projector, so if we are going to be free, then we must decide to leave the theatre.

When I visited with Adyashanti, I was asking him about how the mind is always recreating itself again and again.    He told me to direct my attention to what is “here all the time.”     One might think that the thinking mind is here all the time.    But actually there are often times when it is not.     So if we begin to put our attention on the space that is here all the time, we might begin to find something quite surprising.    We might find that there is a quiet that is here all the time; and our thoughts and emotions rise out of this quiet.     We might notice this incredible silence here always.    We might notice that there is always spaciousness here.    And that we can rest in this spaciousness.   If we rest here long enough, we might realize that we are actually this quiet, wonderful spaciousness.    And that thinking just happens out of this openness.    How would that change your life, if you were able to realize this mysterious presence to be yourself; instead of the random thoughts that go through the mind?    This work has to do with changing our identity, from being the mind to being whatever it is that the mind takes place in.

The Buddhist call this realization emptiness.     But most people struggle with the concept of emptiness.      Try to think of emptiness as empty of; it is being empty of all the games of the mind, empty of all the personal stories, empty of selfishness, empty of want or desire.     Imagine a mind that is empty of these things.     That is freedom.       Even after we awaken to emptiness to be our self; the thinking mind often, will still go on and on.     It is just that we are no longer paying attention to the movie of our mind.    It would be silly to think that once we wake up out of our minds that they (the mind) stop working.   How would we function in the world.    Through millions and millions of years, evolution worked to create a mind that would be conscious of itself.    That is the mind that we inherited.   And when we fully become conscious of our minds, we realize that we are not these thinking machines, we are the thing that the thinking takes place in.    If we were not, we would not be able to view our own minds.     We would not be aware or have the capacity for awareness or any self reflection.

When we reflect on the mind, we being to see that the mind has certain functions.     It has many functions, one of these functions is to look for problems; constantly.     This is a great function, it keeps us safe.   It is very important to have if, you are in a fight or being chased, in a war zone or a very challenging situation.    The mind will be vigilant searching for problems.     The problem with this type of functioning is that often, in this day and age, it is not needed.     Most of us do not live in a war zone.     So when we are simply sitting in our room, our mind might, out of habit, begin to find problems with the room.    “I wish I had a bigger room, a warmer room, lived in a bigger house, I need new windows, this room would look better if it were green” etc.    It is amazing how our minds can find problems so quickly with everything, imagine a person comes in the room, and watch all the thoughts you have about this person.    Our minds might start with quick judgments, such as “she’s too small, wow look at her nose, he needs to shave,” and move on to judgments, such as “I wouldn’t trust him,” to even unconscious judgments that we don’t even see happening, such as this person reminds me of my father, so I am going to view him through a projection.     As you can see we can get into trouble very quickly by not understanding that our minds automatically look for problems in everything.     About 95% of the world believes in their minds to know the truth, and blindly let these judgments, create their reality.   And it is important to understand that judgments are simply problems that the mind has automatically created.      We can choose to see that our mind is just a machine and that in its’ functioning looks for problems.     When we know this, we realize that our mind has a program running that is not necessarily useful in most environments.    We can then see it for what it is and not for the truth of the situation. It is like realizing that if we hang out with a person who is negative all the time then we are probably going to be unhappy.    As we decide to take a step away from this, we take a step into the quiet that is already here.   We step into ourselves and see the world through the lens of quiet and spaciousness.    And this is a much different way of seeing the world.

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