Here I’m examining the subject of delusion. How it hinders us and how it causes us suffering. You might like to think “well I’m not delusional”. Actually, you are, we all are. Here I’m not talking about some formal condition that a psychotherapist might describe. Here I am simply talking about the challenge that our own mind doesn’t display to us the way the world is. It reveals to us an image based on all its own bias’s, judgements, preconceptions, religions, prejudices etc. This history of our lives and our thinking processes all come in to play to present a distorted image of the world.
If we take an analogy of a journey. These days we drive around, led by our GPS systems in our cars. How after do these stories come through the media of someone who ends up stuck in a field of cows or stranded in a river because they have blindly followed their GPS! GPS is phenomenal technology but it isn’t always an accurate portrayal of the true nature of the roads.
Our own awareness is very much like this. It doesn’t necessarily tell us the truth because of the way our minds work. Our usual mode of conscious awareness colours the direct experience with embellishments from our own minds. Mental habit, prejudices, deeply held religious beliefs, attitudes, all come in to play. We are usually not consciously aware of this process. We don’t see the way the mind overlays everything, we utterly ‘believe’ the stories it is telling us. Just as we believe and trust our GPS.
Our mind is able to operate in two states.
Being aware – Using the 5 senses to understand what is happening around us and within us, and creating – where thinking, worrying, fantasizing & imagining come from
Actually, the trouble starts when we do both of these at once and we don’t realise. Our creating ability embellishes what is actually happening, we don’t notice this behaviour and we blindly follow it. This is called delusion. The GPS syndrome if you like.
So the task of mindfulness is to clear up this cognitive field. To see the embellishments we are overlaying and brush them to the side. We can’t just stop the process of the mind and the way it works. That’s its job after all. So we have to start to practice in a way that sees this process going on and looks behind it to see the experience directly.