Wisdom Living

Perceptions, memory and emotions

I decided to present below a video of the author while resting his mind. You may skip it, but I suggest accompanying me. It may invoke your critical intelligence so can decide what you agree or disagree with.

Introduction

Until now, we discussed the subject of dealing with thoughts in general, without looking at their source and level of energy. Though the practice of MR fundamentally is always the same, it is important to know about the mechanism and intensity of thoughts. 

It helps us to understand why specific thoughts tend to reoccur and carry more energy than others. Knowing that aids in noticing the experiences after they dissolve. Also, it prevents being disappointed and discouraged if we they persevere.

Perceptions 

Before we discuss the thoughts, it is important to look at their prime source the perceptions, which is one of the most fundamental qualities of all life forms. They are necessary to communicate with the environment and with their own bodies. Even such simple organisms like one cellular bacteria can receive and “understand” chemical, thermal and mechanical signals. The definition of perception presented here goes beyond the conventional one, which limits its scope to signal received via sensory organs like eyes, ears, etc. It embraces all forms of communication of an organism with the outside world and within its body. 

The amount of data processing produced by perceptions that happen continuously in our body is truly colossal. We perceive all the time, but we are aware of just a minuscule fraction of it. We only pay attention to those perceptions which are relevant to our physical survival and well-being, or to those, which we already have learned to notice. 

During MR practice, our perceptions do not disappear; to the contrary, they become more vivid and apparent. We feel our heartbeat, notice blinking of our eyes, our breathing, the pressure of our body to the surface of the chair on which we are sitting, and so on. 

That may lead to a false conclusion that while experiencing perceptions, our mind does not rest. On the contrary, we are able to notice more of them because we are less distracted and more restful and aware. As a result, we realize the presence of energies in our mind and body and their dynamic character. 

However, the perception has a critical side effect – they very often provoke a thought process, in which we try to conceptualize its source. For example, when we hear a sound, we try to identify its origin. If we have listened before to a sound similar to the barking of a dog, we immediately conclude that its source is a dog. Now, depending on the situation, we may begin to think about all sorts of potential consequences of the presence of this dog: is it barking because he sensed a stranger, is it angry, to whom it belongs, can it be dangerous to us, etc. However, (rather unlikely), if we never heard a barking dog, we may get intrigued or afraid and usually both of unknown sounds. All of that instigate the thinking process in which we imagine the potential consequences.

That exemplifies what we very often do with our perceptions. First, we try to identify a phenomenon that is its source; then, we assess the possible consequences of its hypothetical presence, put a value judgment on them and think about the implications, and finally, we contemplate what should we do about it. It provides a more detailed description of the already mentioned earlier conclusion that perceptions are one of the primary sources from which thinking originated.

When we become more accustomed to the MR training, we find that being aware of perceptions do not necessarily instigate the thinking process but makes the practice more interesting and lively. The more we become accustomed to noticing perceptions, the less distracting they become and gradually become an integral part of the practice.

However, in the beginning, since we train in a relatively simple and protected environment, the variety of perceptions are limited to noises from the street or some home machine and, of course, from our body. 

However, if perceptions become too intense like a sharp pain, then the practice becomes very challenging. So, if the beginner feels that it is too much, there is no point in forcing oneself to continue the practice and instead stop and attend to the pain.

Memory

Another equally important component of the mind is a memory. It is present in all evolutionary, more developed life forms, obviously including humans. It fulfills many vital roles in our life. Without memory, we would not be able to learn and accumulate believes, concepts and opinions. It is also another source of arising of thoughts. Why? If we look sufficiently closely at what happens in our minds, we undoubtedly discover that often we are beginning to think about something seemingly wholly unrelated to what we were thinking before.

Furthermore, there was no perception that could provoke this new train of thought. Consequently, the only source for it arising has to be related to our memory. It appears to happen without any particular reason somewhat spontaneously, but it could also be instigated by another, the unnoticed thinking process that reached memory for some information. 

 We present this short section about memory to show that it is the underlying platform for storing concepts and instigating thoughts. These subjects are for some reason avoided in the presentation of many approaches to mind training that make them complicated comprehend intellectually

We also emphasize that as far as MR is concerned, we do not attempt to deal with our memory directly. Instead, we work on its manifestations: thoughts, concepts, opinions, emotions, fear, etc.

Beliefs, Concepts and Opinions 

As we talked earlier, concepts are disguised beliefs and are fundamentally the same. The only difference is that beliefs are considered less reliable than concepts and often are associated with spirituality and religions. A similar approach applies to opinions that could be viewed as concepts containing a value judgment like: good or bad, right or wrong, just or unjust, and so on. The difference is in their more subjective character. We also mentioned that concepts are inseparable from thinking: without thinking, they could not be created while without concepts, thinking would lack objects on which to focus. 

However, the real difference lies elsewhere – in the degree of intensity in our attachment to them. This intensity ranges from passing fancy to fanaticism bordering insanity. Stronger is the attachment to a belief or opinion more the holders identify themselves with it and are willing to protect it at all costs. 

 Particularly vicious are attachments to the “ownership” of ideologies and religious beliefs. Ideology is a set of beliefs concerning the world, society, political system or lifestyle. Often ideologies invoke a desire to impose a particular point of view upon others. When this desire reaches a high degree of intensity, it becomes the culprit of colossal human disasters manifesting as wars, persecution and violence. Genghis Khan and his successors obsessed by their ambition to dominate were instrumental to the destruction of nations, cultures and death of approximately 40 million people. Religions can be defined as a specific kind of ideology based on some divine principle. The crimes and cruelty of the Catholic Inquisition or recent Islamic fundamentalists are well known, but the mass murder reaching a few million, committed by the Catholic Church during “converting” pagans to Christianity is well covered up.

As we already mentioned, MR training does not directly work on concepts; instead, it limits the supply of energy which they need to persist. This happens at any time when a thought related to a belief becomes noticed and, at that point, instead of reinforcing it dissolves. As a result, the attachment to this belief deprived of “nourishment” gradually weakens and eventually may disappear.

It provides a kind of natural selection among concepts because useful ones do not require attachment because we needed them in our life, while those to which we are attached without practical necessity weakens. As a rule, they have roots in two poisons: the desire to own and to dominate. 

Emotions

The attachment to concepts and particularly to beliefs and opinions is instrumental for creating emotions. Emotion is a thought endowed with intense energy and power. They emerge when the topic of a thought process encounters a concept, belief or opinion with which it agrees or disagrees. In the first case, we become satisfied, but in the latter, the reaction is adverse: anger, jalousie, desire etc.

The energy of this reaction depends on the intensity of our attachment to the met concept and the degree of agreement or disagreement between it and the topic of the thought. Such reaction varies from internal feelings satisfaction or dissatisfaction to rage (see Donald Trump).  

As far as MR practice when an emotional thought arises, and we become aware of it, then we treat it as other thoughts; that is, we permit it to dissolve, and we return to the state of rest. However, often it is much easier said than done. For reasons which are beyond rationality, it is not easy to let go of thoughts heavily loaded with emotions. 

However, even if we realize what is going on and allow emotional thoughts to dissolve, they tend to return like a boomerang. The intellectual knowledge that emotions are just more energetic thoughts is helpful, but in spite of that, dealing with them is difficult. The reason why it is so is due to our strong habituation. Since our earliest childhood, we continually are subjected to opinions, concepts and beliefs coming upon us from the outside. Initially, it is our family and, later on, society at large: our childhood friends, the atmosphere of the school, social acquaintances, media, workplace, and so on. 

As a result, we learn to be possessive of our toys and jealous of those belonging to other children. We learn to become angry if things do go the way we want and, most of all, to obey the “higher” authority of parents, teachers, bosses, media and experts, spiritual gurus, etc. 

Therefore, we must not be surprised that emotions after have dissolved, quickly return and it will keep happening again and again. However, it is essential not to try to suppress the emerging emotions, If we do it, we just avoid the issue and similar thoughts would soon emerge. In other words, there is no other way than to let them arise again and again.

To conclude, knowing the omnipresence of concepts and the depth of our attachment to them, it is critical not to be discouraged and continue to face them again and again. 

Closing remarks

This chapter does not fully embrace all forms of thinking, which are challenging during our life and MR practice. There are others that cannot be categorized, strictly speaking, as emotions, namely fear and depression. Those are discussed in the following chapter.

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