Posts Tagged ‘mind’

the presence of thinking

January 8, 2011

A little miracle occurred in my head this past week. I don’t have to think anything about anything ever at all. I can choose to be thoughtless — which is not the same thing as being inconsiderate, unconscious or unaware. It simply means I can choose to think or not think about anything.

A person who often comments on my blogs introduced me to Jan Frazier. (See the discourse at the presence of obligation.)

Frazier says that “the thinker produces the thoughts. But what is not so obvious is that the thinker is really just another one of the thoughts, basically. An elaborate thought, maybe, but invented just as sure as the thoughts are invented. You think yourself up and then the self you thought up thinks thoughts.”

I am a product of my own imagination. You would think I could have been more creative with that product or at least given myself a metabolism that could easily handle a quart of ice cream a day.

Frazier goes on to say “What’s important in all of this is to realize that there is something within a person, an intelligent knower that is not the same as the thinker. That is actually of an order of reality different from the one the thinker and the thought occupy. When you wake up, you realize that this other something is what you really are.”

What is this presence, this “knower” in me that allows me to observe my own thinking? Some might say that it is the mind. Frazier acknowledges it is a different “order of reality.” For me, it is the eternal presence I have always been. I wonder if I (the eternal presence) created me with certain characteristics and specifications because I (the eternal presence) knows what I need to learn to evolve. I purposefully gave me the obstacles I perceive in myself to challenge me enough to develop the spiritual muscle required to take me to the next level.

My new challenge is to not think any particular thing about anything: any situation, person, idea, object, animal, insect, or even a thought. When my mind begins the whirring and spinning that elicits some kind of response, I think “I don’t have to think anything about this.” The hundred gears that make me process life don’t grind to a complete halt, but they sure slow down a lot and some of them get a little creaky. A new game begins. I purposefully think different things about whatever is before me. I waltz with various positions, flip perspectives, and pause to consider the feelings that result from each of those thoughts.

When I actually get a chance to find my mind silent, an open channel to connect with my eternal presence opens up. There isn’t anything to say or think. There is just being. Thought stops.

I know all of you are crying out in angst wondering what the heck I am going to write about here on Eternal Presence if I don’t have any thoughts to write down.

Fear not. We are hardwired by our creation to think something. It helps keep us alive. I will still be here shooting my fingers off from the keyboard, except I will be more who I truly am.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

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The presence of voices

December 5, 2010

When I was very young, I became aware of the voices in my head . . . and not all of them get along with each other. They like to argue. At the age of five, one of them actually convinced me against the advice of another voice that if pepper made food hot and spicy, then salt would make food cool and mellow. Five glasses of water later, my parents asked me why I was drinking so much and I admitted to what the salt voice told me to do.

They found it highly amusing, but I realized at that point I could not trust the salt voice. Its intent at the time was to lead me astray. (The pepper voice said “I told you so!”) Eventually, I learned to befriend the salt voice because it can also come up with amusing and funny ways to be in life. It likes to ignore the perfect voice in me that absolutely requires I never do anything wrong. The perfect voice is just as important because it has impeccable judgment. It knows what to do when the perfect action is required, for instance, when I am driving a vehicle or caring for a child. Whatever action successfully navigates me and everyone else through those encounters intact is perfect.

What reminded me of my voices was Laurie’s post at Speaking from the Heart on perspective. I must hear from at least five different perspectives in me on any particular matter throughout my days and nights. You can just imagine what they are doing with my family dilemma at this moment (see post “the presence of burden.”)

Well, you probably can’t unless you hear voices, too.

If you do, we will just keep it between us. Okay? I’ve found that admitting to hearing voices in public brings a little more scrutiny from people than I care to deal with. From now on, we will just call them “perspectives” when in the company of others.

I started out this blog to discuss the mind-body “problem” – which I don’t think is really a problem. Essentially, the mind-body argument wants us to decide if the brain and mind are “one” or separate from each other or connected. So, there we have three voices . . . um . . . perspectives on an idea that I would like to explore.

But I’ve spent all this time and virtual space just introducing how my intellectual processing works so I will take up the discussion tomorrow.

(“No, let’s do it now.”)

(“Yeah. You are always waiting for the right time, which never comes by the way.”)

(“You guys leave her alone. She will write it when the words are ready to be written.”)

(“Oh, prefect, you always take her side!”)

(“That’s p-e-r-f-e-c-t, noodle brain, not prefect.”)

(“Whatever!”)

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

the perfection of presence

November 17, 2010

I witness the capacity of some people (really very few) who can be fully present with another person. Most people I encounter, including myself, are busy thinking about what their response is going to be (in other words, thinking about themselves) rather than being present for the other person. In order to fully hear another person, we need to remain silently present, absorbing all of the information that person is offering with their speech, their bodies, and their emotions.

I read my mantra – How will I bring my presence to life today? – every time I flip open my laptop. It is my screen background. But it does not matter. Many days, it gets mentally filed behind a dozen or so seemingly more pressing issues. Being the habitual human that I am, I forget to be present for others to my fullest capacity. I wander through my days so full of my past and securing my future that I live in limbo between this past moment and the next.

Limbo, by the way, comes from the Latin word “limbus” meaning boundary, border, or edge. In ancient Roman Catholic theology, it is also the place where souls who are not considered worthy of living in either heaven or hell spend their eternity.

It is an eternity of waiting to go nowhere. If I live in limbo, I am never going to be fully present, which means I will never accurately hear what another person is saying. I will miss a lot of their message because my mind will be preoccupied with me.

Our bodies are always in the present moment even though our minds might take our thoughts and energies elsewhere. To be fully present, my thoughts must remain with my body, with the presence of who I am being in this immediate now. I must bring my energies close to me and use their gifts.

Perfecting my presence is a challenge when my mind is squawking like a goose at anything that wanders within my attention. Our minds are egocentric – they were created to help us survive. They are constantly scanning our environment and, when someone comes to interact, the mind’s job is to scrutinize all possible responses and select the one that it thinks takes the best care of us. I believe, though, that there is a way to be fully present for myself and the other person.

Over the next seven days, I am going to conduct a self-experiment. At each encounter I have with another person, I am going to respectfully ask my mind to remain present with that person and trust that I will still be able to take care of me appropriately.

It should be interesting.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

Thinking purposefully

March 29, 2010

Everything humans have made on this earth was first a thought – I mean EVERYTHING: money, cars, bridges, roads, Spam, hotdogs, medicine, landfills, hulahoops, styrofoam, computers, governments . . . think of one thing that was NOT first a thought. Yesterday, I wrote about how my word creates my world. My words could not exist if it were not for the thoughts my mind crafts with instantaneous precision.

 The mind is programmed to function continuously and relentlessly, and our thoughts form the words we say and the actions we perform. Thinking itself might be involuntary and many times thoughts are there bursting uncontrollably in our brains. Incredibly, though, we have the ability to monitor our thoughts, to change our thoughts, and to think purposefully.

 I believe it is our eternal presence who is always aware and nudges us to pay attention to what we are thinking before we speak or act. My presence exists only in this present moment and by connecting with the present, I connect with my presence, and can be aware to watch my thoughts, create my thoughts, and ask my mind to come up with a different thought. We all use our minds purposefully. How many times have you asked yourself to find a solution for a problem and you managed to think of one? How many times have you decided that you wanted to do something and found a way to do it? You used the power of your mind and your ability to manage your thinking process. It is an incredible power that we don’t use as effectively as we might.

 With our thoughts, we created a system of survival on this earth that is failing us. In order to create a system that will sustain us, we need to transcend the consciousness that created our current systems. More on this tomorrow.  

 ©2010 by Barbara L. Kass