Is intellect enough?

I keep coming to the thought and feeling that it’s all been said.

How many more ways do we have to reword, simplify, or complicate the serious issues before us.

“We need more studies!” shout the scientists.

“There is not enough conclusive evidence!” shouts the intellectual mind.

“I am comfortable here and wont budge until the system my predecessors have constructed intrinsically fails on its own terms!”

Unfortunately, systemic failure of the current magnitude might not be one this planetary system can survive.

If we are to hedge our bets and conduct a 7 day, 30 day and 365 day experiment, we may survive systemic failure and even produce a better system.

I challenge everyone reading this to sit quietly and observe their own mind once or twice a day as many minutes as they are old. Do this for a minimum of 7 days and a maximum of 365 days. If you are 18 years old you have to sit quietly with no distraction for 18 minutes. If you are 40, 40 minutes.

Sit quietly and comfortably either cross legged or on the edge of a chair with you back straight and eyes closed. Observe your breath entering and exiting the nostrils. At the same time observe your mental chatter and don’t react to any of it with any labels, judgements or further intellectual chatter.

If you find it hard to calm yourself you can also count the breath as it enters the nostrils and count as it leaves the nostrils making conscious effort to make each exhalation longer than the inhalation. This will shift your nervous system from fight/flight to rest/repair.

Do this for seven days minimum and see how you feel after the 7 days.

It is best done before sunrise in the morning or before you start your day; anytime is acceptable and beneficial.

You will have a better understanding of your mind and your habitual behavior after 7 days.

If you feel/sense any benefit for you or society with this practice, i recommend an intensive course at the end of this article.

Premise 1: the intellectual mind is only a fraction of the morphogenetic capacity of the human mind.

Of course we are using the intellectual mind to understand this premise.

The intellectual mind needs a term or concept to understand what is beyond the intellect, if there is anything.

Premise 2: There is an experiential mind that exists beyond the intellect.

See the intellectual mind as the doorway, or the portal to the rest of the minds ability to access and interpret the natural laws that have so far been unsustainable by our individual and collective behavior.

The intellectual mind has got us this far. It is now becoming self-absorbed and self-destructive.

We now need to go further into the experiential mind to raise and answer more difficult questions.

There will be new techniques arising to accept this challenge.

For now we have only current techniques to work with.

Here is one that is about 2500 years old.

I have found it very powerful in stimulating change within myself at both personal levels (my ego/self-centeredness and emotions of anger and frustration) and levels that affect the collective global system (my habits of consumption and greed/desire for comfort).

Premise 3: We are social organisms and a self-absorbed/rabid intellect creates anti-social behavior.

Are we social organisms? Yes

If we are social organisms then we have to learn to live together and then live together.

This suggests a moral or ethical set of rules from which we live.

Premise 4: No social organism wants to suffer.

Does anyone want to suffer?

The amount of intellectual activity and innovation to create a comfortable world on top of this natural world suggests that no one wants to suffer very much.

First rule social organisms should agree upon. Don’t cause anyone else to suffer by your behavior. Reduce the amount of suffering you cause. In short, don’t kill, don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t cheat.

For example: Are my/your consumption habits killing the planets water systems (acidifying the oceans etc.)? Is my/your psychological denial of my consumption habits and need for external material comforts amounting to a lie that is causing untold suffering in the form of child labor, sweat shops and poisoned ecosystems? Am i/are you stealing opportunity from future generations by my/your greed for external material comforts that are affordable/cheap. Does this consumer behavior amount to cheating?

It is important to meditate/contemplate/observe daily on the suffering i/you might be causing in my/your pursuit of happiness.

This simple foundation of social organization can only be understood with a mind that is somewhat under control by its organism. That is also to say that if the organism (person) has very little control of their mind and is basically following it and basic “animal” instincts, then this person will find every excuse to not to agree upon a moral basis for social organization. This is also known as ego mania or extreme self-centeredness or rabid individuality or predatory capitalism; common mindsets of todays post-modern, imperialistic, nihilistic, neo-classical human.

Therefore, there can only be a moral foundation to society if the majority of society has control of their individual minds.

Therefore everyone is responsible for the control of their own minds.

This means everyone needs to practice a discipline that controls the mind.

Even better, if there is a practice that purifies the mind once a certain level of control is maintained.

I don’t know of a better way than to sit each day and observe my own mind.

When i start to sit quietly with my mind i start to notice patterns.

Some are desirable, some are not.

Some of the desirable ones reveal patterns of craving.

Some undesirable ones reveal patterns of aversion.

Only if i slow down enough each day to observe my mind, do i see these patterns emerge.

Up until then i was completely unconscious of these patterns that not only caused me suffering, but cause suffering in my family and greater community.

Observing my mind and not reacting to any of the thought patterns is the beginning of this experiential mind experience.

It has actually greatly benefitted my intellectual mind.

The experiential mind starts to purge, filter and clean the intellectual mind of its impurities.

Impurities that cause me to suffer unnecessarily and because i’m a social organism, cause my society to suffer unnecessarily.

The technique i am describing here is called Vipassana. It is an Asian word that means insight into the depths of the mind.

It cannot be understood by these mere words. It has to be experienced by the mind.

100 years ago, for the past 2400 years, the technique was only taught to monks and nuns in Asia who could afford to take 40 days of training.

100 years ago the monks and nuns of the time recognized that the householder could greatly benefit from this technique if only it could be taught in less time.

They discovered that most intellectual minds could get a glimpse of this technique within 10 days, any less and the intellectual mind could not be reached effectively.

There are now centers all around the world that teach this technique of observing the experiential mind. There are three in my province of British Columbia. They run 10 day courses year round and are free of charge. They operate solely on the donations of past students.

If anyone reading this feels a prisoner of their intellectual mind at times or is strong in mind but recognizes a need for deep and profound change in this world, then i highly recommend taking a 10 day course and becoming part of the change that you wish to see in this beautiful world.

Many blessings to all social organisms 🙂

May all be good (moral), be strong (gain control of the mind), and be happy (have a pure mind)….

photo taken by Angelina HollihnImage

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