04 May 8. Don’t Conclude (it stops what’s happening)
This is number 8 of my series of 10 commandments. To view the full list please click here.
For as long as I can remember I have been good at concluding. I guess we are taught that way at home, and I know we are taught that way in school. Very early I knew how to look at some pieces of information and make a conclusion based on them. In a way this is a great tool. I have got good use for it in the world, getting high grades in school and making money. From the perspective of the world there is nothing wrong in this.
It is a bit worse with all the unconscious conclusions I have been carrying, which did not come from my own observations of the world. Man, there have been so many of them – and I am not free of it yet. Opinions about politics, whether the west coast is better than the east coast, if women should wear tight clothes, what is a moral thing to do and what is immoral, if global warming is important or not – and so on and so on. How did I manage to put up with myself, such Mr Know it All – when most opinions anyway come from the outside?
As you may have noticed it is much harder to change your mind about something you have concluded, compared to conclude about something new. I have heard that most people make up their mind about politics and other areas when they are around 18, and then use the rest of their life to defend their stand point. What is the actual truth is less important, compared to convincing others about what I think and have said. I know I was just like this from the age of 18 and kept on for at least 10 years before I got in to the depression where I started to question my life. It would be quite fun to have a discussion about politics with myself as a 20-year-old, but I only think I would put up with him for a couple of hours…
The mind wants to conclude, it gives it a feeling of control. Philosophers of all times have established that the only thing one can say for sure is that one is in some sense existing, since we are experiencing. The rest could very well be an illusion, and this is also what enlightened people have reported. That the world as we know it is an illusion. My God how lost aren’t we then debating and arguing about small matters as if it was a matter of life and death? Concluding is also this idea to know what is going to happen. Of course we do not know what is going to happen, but the mind pretends to know and is fixated with planning and controlling. Then we are fixated instead of open, perhaps we won’t even see the smile from the waitress because “we know all waitresses are rude”.
Here are a few lines that my Guru has wrote about the subject, don’t worry if you don’t understand everything. I am doing my best to follow myself:
Based on one’s constant reactions to the facts (what happens around us), one creates a deep sense of knowing which is the seed of the self (ego). That which reacts and which creates a reality is the knower. Thus, the knower is part of the facts and reality is part of the reaction of the facts.
The knower is creating a constant fact for it to remain known (the form/self to be preserved) because it does not know the unknown. The fixation and the insistence to keep the knower is because it is the first sense that one has of oneself. When the knower is not there, one feels that one is dead. Thus, knowing is a self- preservation mechanism.
The knowing is oneself and as long as the knowing is there, it has to create evidence to keep the knowing intact. The knower goes on creating facts to keep the knower alive and the knower goes on reacting to keep the reality alive. The reality is based on facts and the facts have to be there to match the knower. Knowing is a conclusion. People are living out a conclusion and finding evidence to support it.
[…] We place values by labeling things as ”good” and ”bad”. Our vocabulary is what is clashing. There is a great segregation in regards to what we perceive as good and bad. This is value placement and it triggers the ego to come into action.
I have seen in satori, with no mind present, that after a big opening there comes some new insight. It could be a vision, some new link or possibility I have never seen before. Then the mind kicks in and goes crazy, trying to incorporate this that was actually beyond words into its own system. It wants to conclude what it was and what it means, since the mind cannot tolerate not knowing. This stops life, it stops what is happening – and turns everything into a false knowing. Once again the filter of “how things are” covers my eyes, so I am not looking curiously to understand what is really going on around me. Of course I see the person dancing on the beach and I hear her voice singing, but my focus is on my own interpretation of the situation. Subtly the mind is labeling with her name, her age, if she is fit or not, if she is dancing like a pro or like an amateur, if she is singing the right words and how this would be if the weather was better… Thinking – concluding, thinking – concluding. That is the focus, absorbing at least 90% of the attention without me knowing it. It becomes a barrier not only between me and her, but between me and the whole existence. Do I even feel my body while sitting there and concluding? Probably not.
What is more fun, to be like a child just open and curious or to be “the one who knows”? To the child life is happening as an exploration, to the latter one only the out-dated mind is concluding and then trying to prove and defend those conclusions. Perhaps the most damaging conclusion of all is the one about who I am (what my Guru is talking about above). If I think I can summarize who I am on a piece of paper, then that CV of conclusion is what is relating to everyone and everything. Sounds more like a computer program than a being living his life out. I am doing my best to not listen to my mind concluding about stuff, and to not act it out in trying to prove, convince or defend any opinion. Life simply becomes more delightful that way, and it is no loss of intelligence. My experience is that not concluding rather opens for a much vaster intelligence than the mind.
Can I be here totally without pretending to know? Can I feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, listen to the birds singing and see the boats passing by without labeling. Curiously studying without knowing, being here and awake. Can I?