thoughts

The Force is with You

 The mind is fallible. More and more this is being proven by science. Biases and cognitions which enable the mind to think quickly also disable the mind from thinking logically, rationally, and with accuracy. This is not all the time, but probably, most of the time.

            Many spiritual teachings speak to the fallibility of the mind. This is fascinating in many ways as most spiritual schools have been around for centuries and these scientific discoveries that prove the value of their teachings have only come about in recent decades. For example;

Yoga Sutra 1:8 Viparyayo Mithyananam Atadrupa Pratistham

Misconception occurs when knowledge of something is not based upon its true form.

            A simple explanation of this Sutra is to consider a time when you saw a figure in the dark that looked like a person looming creepily in the shadows. In fear perhaps you recoiled, asked someone else to awake and go look at it, grabbed something to protect yourself with, and then hid. I have done this. Then perhaps you or the someone whom you awoke turned on a light only to find it was a coat hanging just the right way with a hat and shadows dancing to create the illusion of danger. This is an exaggerated example but I think you get the picture.

            In the world of psychology and behavioral economics cognitive biases are the realms of thought that lead to deviations from good and rational judgement, i.e. lead to misconceptions. The list of currently known and confirmed cognitive biases is too long to include here, but is easy enough to research on your own if you are interested. What is interesting about this research is the evidence that it is a part of the neural wiring of the brain to make jumps that lead to error. Even more interesting is the capacity of the brain to become aware of error and reset its course to clarity.

            This is where yoga or any mindfulness practice comes in. A consistent and committed pursuit toward more mindfulness and therefore away from failures or missteps of cognition can and will lead to less misconceptions. Patanjali's sutras recommend eight steps toward this goal.

  1. Yama :  Ways of being with community
  2. Niyama :  Ways of being with self
  3. Hatha Yoga :  Asana
  4. Pranayama :  Breathing exercises, and control of prana
  5. Pratyahara :  Control or withdrawal of the senses
  6. Dharana :  Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
  7. Dhyana :  Devotion, Meditation
  8. Samadhi :  Union with the Divine/ Ultimate Liberation

            The pursuit of step eight as well as the course set by all eight steps aw a journey away from misconception and disabling cognitive biases is a life long, or even multi-lifelong journey. How many successes you achieve, or how many times you misstep along the way are easy distractions, yet not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to know yourself. To know you are human and therefore fallible and imperfect, and to also know that in the company of your imperfections you are also Divine and perfect. To live in this world of paradox, misconception, and unanswered questions, and to find peace in the midst of torrent that is life. This is the ultimate aim as well as the gift of the work. 

With Love, always, in all ways, for giving, in joy!

Genevieve

Ideas Worth Sharing

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"On resiste a l'invasion des armees; on ne resiste pas a l'invasion des idees," "One resists the invasion of armies, but not the invasion of ideas." (History of a Crime,1877) Victor Hugo

Human beings are impressionable. From youth to old age we are susceptible to believing the truths of others, and in turn can become rigid in the way we view the world. In fact, this is perhaps one of the biggest detriments of our nature. Even more frightening is the way we can become convinced of untruths and false stories about what is, and how it is, so much so, that it creates a lens through which we see the world that is completely distorted.

This is what makes Victor Hugo’s sentiment about the invasion of ideas so powerful.

There is an element of conspiracy theory behind the view that those in positions of great power have used this knowledge to keep those with little power in subservient states. Perhaps this is true perhaps it is not? I have little desire to travel down the rabbit hole of conspiracies and power struggle. However, it does not take being in a position of great power to see how feasible a truth like this may actually be. History too and most notably the French Revolution add credibility to such sentiment. Thoughts and ideas generate power and become the passion that drives great transformation. In the end we are only limited to what we believe.

A mantra is a vibration that is repeated over and over again. Sometimes mantras take the form of a single syllable word in Sanskrit, other times they take the forms of sentences and long stories in our native languages. “I can’t” is a mantra just as powerful as “I am”.

To truly wield our power in this world we must first recognize that we posses it. We must be curious and investigative; we must not take everything for face value. In exercising our unique and magnificent faculties of mind that allow us to compare, contrast, and know a difference, we can become more than mindless automatons and wield, with great skill our discerning thoughts into actions.

The world we live in today makes us incredibly powerful in as far as the availability and accessibility of information of all types, and how we choose to use it. It is therefore our great responsibility to use it to our advantage. If the world you look at appears to you as a world you do not want to see, there is great opportunity to evaluate why you see it the way you do, and determine if you are looking through a skewed lens.

Powerful ideas arise from the muck of skewed vision, just as a lotus rises from the scum at the bottom of the pond. Powerful ideas are what propel each and every one of us into the realization of our dreams, into the deep knowing of our resilience, into the greater expanded shapes of our freedom. Powerful ideas become the mantras that fuel our open courageous hearts. Powerful ideas change human kind and cannot be stopped by armies, governments, or those with dictatorial power, no matter the circumstances, they always find their way through, like light into the darkness.

May the ideas we share be a brilliant as our highest nature, full of courage, full of life empowering goodness, full of forgiveness, compassion, generosity, and love.

May our mantras convey to the world that we are the change we wish to see, and that change benefits everyone.

Love Always, in All Ways, For Giving, In joy,

Genevieve