Chuck’s Place: A Divided Mind

A divided mind is food for thought. The choice? Feed the entities or dip into a pot of serenity? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
A divided mind is food for thought. The choice? Feed the entities or dip into a pot of serenity?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico were definitive in their designation of the mind as an outside entity that has become a permanent member of the human being. In modern biological terms we might view the mind as a symbiotic partner that both preys upon and contributes to our human experience.

The parasitic quality of the mind is most evident in the experience of worry. The Shamans of Ancient Mexico observed how the mind generates empty concerns that are fueled by the fires of obsessive worry. This fiery fury excites the central nervous system and generates an energetic intensity that actually serves as the food for the parasitic entity.

Earlier this week Jan’s dream of the loud knocks on the door reminded me of living on West 86th Street in New York City in my early twenties. I’d lie in bed at night and toss and turn, terrified that someone was going to attempt to break in. We lived in a very secure 24-hour doorman building, yet my fears culminated in my getting up and barricading the double-locked and chained front door with several chairs.

In the light of day those nightly terrors would easily be forgotten or dismissed, but the residue agitation in the central nervous system could lead to attaching to many daytime concerns. The truth is, however, that worry is a product of the mind. Its conjurings impact the body’s central nervous system to generate an excited energy for its own consumption. This action by the mind is similar to a cancer cell that seeks to enter and feed off the energy of the cells around it with little concern for the well being of the host it is destroying.

Interestingly, another function of the mind, rationality, actually provides the necessary tool to counter and overcome the deleterious impact of worry. From an existential here and now place, the rational mind can take responsibility for where we place our attention. In the face of the extraordinary pull to fixate on the conjuring creation, the rational mind is free to decide to shift its attention, i.e.: “I can choose where I put my attention.”

I can sit and gaze at the clouds... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
I can sit and gaze at the clouds…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

I can choose to place my attention on my breath. I can choose to place my attention on a chakra, to tune into the state of sensation in my heart. I am free to breathe into and expand my heart center, my solar plexus, my throat, my head. I am free to say the words of a prayer. I am free to repeat a mantra. No one and nothing can take away my right to place my attention where I want it. And with that I can effect a shift in my central nervous system. I can restore the calm that the predator seeks to disrupt. This may take continuous effort, but if I am persevering the predator gives up.

And so, like most challenges that we encounter, there is a valuable polarity to our divided mind that offers excellent and immediate opportunity for evolutionary advancement. The predator instigates trouble through its worrisome conjuring, yet simultaneously it offers us the awareness of freedom of choice through the rational mind. If we use this tool of choice to subdue the predator we reclaim our power of attention, and a calm central nervous system to boot. Longterm results are increased consciousness and control. With this powerful mindset firmly in place we are prepared for deeper journeys into the ever unfolding mysteries of life, and beyond.

With mind set on infinity,

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