Authenticity and a Proper Relationship to the Mind

“Whenever the internal dialogues stops, the world collapses, and extraordinary facets of ourselves surface, as though they had been kept heavily guarded by our words.”

~ Carlos Castenada (1925-1998),
Peruvian-born American anthropologist and author,
in Tales of Power


We take for granted when we go to sleep at night, that we will awaken in the morning, the sun will have risen, and we will be the same persons we were before sleeping. Yet, I hope not.

Nevertheless when I first become conscious in the morning, eyes closed, mind empty, a trickle of thought starts. Perhaps I remember something I must do this day. Or maybe I recall the remnants of an unfinished conversation with my wife of the night before. Gradually this and that thought turn into a torrent which reconstitutes my ego, and situates me in my Michael-Nagel-ness. Ah yes, again I am me.

Or am I? Who was I, when before my morning’s first thought appeared, I simply lay awake experiencing awareness? Then, just being experiencing awareness, I was naked of any thought which might place me the name, self-image, roles, personal history, values, knowledge, points of view, to do list,etc. by which others might recognize me. I was simply awareness itself.

How does this relate to personal authenticity? Well, which is the Self which seeks authentic expression as you and I? Is it the ego (whom we typically identify ourselves as being) which is constructed of thought, and identified with name, roles, personal history, etc.? Or is the Self something deeper?

If you pay close attention to your experience as you go through your daily life, you will discover that your never-ending subvocal internal dialogue throughout the day actually sustains your identity as the person you think you are, and it upholds your conception of the world. Cease your thinking, and you as John/Jane Doe disappear. As Castaneda notes, without internal dialogue, the world as you know it collapses.

Without thought, although you as John/Jane Doe disappears, You as experiencing awareness remains. There remains what has ever been present, though veiled by thought: nameless Being, awareness experiencing “I Am”, ceaselessly revealing itself through the instant-by-instant unfolding experience which is your distinct life.

We take far too much for granted our capacity to think, never questioning our relationship to our thinking faculty. Of course, thought is has its place. After all, I need to know where on this planet my home is. Yet, we need not be identified with our thinking faculty, always relying upon it as the primary way of engaging our lives.

Can we instead learn more and more to take our place resting in the immediacy of experiencing awareness, and use the brilliance of thought only when needed? That, I believe, would be a establishing a proper relationship to the mind.


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