Touching on Concepts of Consciousness, Mindfulness, Meditation & Existence
There is an entirely limitless world existing within our minds that offers more wisdom and insight than we can imagine.
By Alex Sliwecki
As a baby, you are simply aware. If asked “who are you?” you are simply aware. Awareness is You. You, over time, develop a consciousness. Consciousness is then exposed to experience— experiences form thoughts and become memories. In turn, thoughts and memories can transform into fears, anxieties, or alternatively, hopes and joy. This occurs when the conscious identifies with these memories—instead of identifying with you—the original, fundamental awareness. All told, experiences are just experiences garnered from external information, at the base level. The original and aware you is able to witness, observe, and use experience as knowledge, if they are called upon. Sometimes, however, the conscious mistakenly perceives experience as the ultimate reality or the true “self.”
Experiences may also create hypothetical thoughts and become projected into hypothetical futures, plans, as non-existing, and non-present illusions of control. These thoughts are created in mind space, which is an alternative internal reality. Mind space filters through the physical unbiased reality external to us; in doing so, it creates an illusion of control over that external reality. Because experiences outside of mind space are difficult and naturally uncontrollable, the conscious creates an internal reality filled with extra verbal and, critically, biased descriptions of external reality. The conscious performs this task in order to better cope even if it generates worse feelings (which do not aid in coping or providing relief).
However, recall that you are just awareness originally. And, as awareness, you are still a witness, and an entity living within your mind space. You have the ultimate choice: whether or not to allow the mind space reality to influence your life in external reality. Over time, the volume of external information (experience) increases and primary focus shifts to simulated versions of reality that are biasedly narrated within your mind space. Instead of focusing on unbiased external reality, our mind space interferes with our abilities and we become distracted easily or dissociated. The effect of all of this influences your daily state of mind, which should be used primarily used for living in the external reality. Why? Because unmitigated external reality is not a function of our own creation, nor a fantasy to pour over obsessively, but it is in fact the actual reality which we contend with—whether we like it or not.
Information is absorbed constantly into your consciousness, sometimes weaving itself into your perception of the world permanently and in perpetuity. Different types of information can be “external influencers.” Examples of external influencers include: people, music, technology, social media content, past memories, past thoughts that only exist in mind space, future hypothetical plans that do not exist, dreams, desires, addictions, conversations, social norms, geography, politics, parents, pain, television, movies, or books. This list is infinite. Today, the external influencer market is especially saturated. Most importantly, many external influencers can be perceived in a way that invokes negative behavior instead of positive behavior.
Without learning how to utilize external influencers to our advantage at an early age, external influencers will increase in negative affect over time. This process occurs, for example, when you lose the awareness that you are a witness to your mind space as who you are is just awareness. Recall that you are not external information, nor do you belong to external influencers. The ability to ruminate, plan, and use the imagination intensifies over years of exposure to external influencers. If external influencers are not utilized in a positive way, the probability of generating mostly negative and anxiety provoking reactions to stress in life increases. By repeating the process of perceiving external influencers negatively, it becomes easy to lose yourself and identify with all external information instead of your natural, pure, un-biased and simple awareness you started with.
When we identify wholly with external influences, the original true awareness and strength of connection to existence is out of balance. In this state of self identification, the relatively new (on a cosmic timeline) developed consciousness is shifted, which requires us to take steps to maintain. Existence has existed since the beginning of existence; moreover, existence is the only reality that is unbiased and the unmitigated truth. Over a lifetime, it is very likely to lose one’s real identity within the truth landscape of existence and instead identify wholly with external influencers and perceived experiences. At this point, external influencers are afforded a strong bargaining position in the negotiation between awareness and the mind space. Sometimes, throughout entire lifetimes, people allow external influencers to solely and completely influence the development of their consciousness, identity and perceptions of external reality.
When a lost identity is afloat in a sea of external influencers, we instead identify with their emotions, their hypothetical futures, their memories, their idea of how life “should currently be” and their immediate subconscious triggers. All of these influences, however, only exist within the mind space and do not belong to the reality that the original you is witnessing. They identify with their social norms, their habits, their environments, their friends, their parents, their country, and their President, for example. The ability to identify with external information (including the voices in mind space that are not the fundamental aware you) is encouraged and supported by today’s western globalized society. In fact, much of what this society claims as “successful” directly is associated with an ability to generate the most persuasive and compelling external influencers. These external influencers continue and combine with the natural and unlimited pumping of information and experiences in a lifetime. If the fundamental aware mind is not re-introduced, fortified, and strengthened, this will continue into perpetuity.
Humans are able to absorb an unlimited flow of information, like a machine. The human machine-being possesses an artificial intelligence-like (AI, a/k/a ‘consciousness’) system that intakes all experience. The AI develops the imagination—thoughts, plans, emotions (feelings), and perceptions (often biased ways of viewing reality)—all of which are endemic and exist only within mind space. The imagination exists for the human to have a high quality existence outside of the mind space (or ‘present unbiased reality’). People tend to ‘live’ more in their simulated and imaginative mind space realities, rather than in the unbiased physical reality space. The unbiased physical reality, however, is actually what represents real occurrences and objective situations. The mind gravitates towards subjective interpretations of external reality because there is an imbalance in the ability to shift the focus and awareness from external influence (absorbed into the internal mind space) to the original unbiased self-awareness of existence. The imbalance can be considered an injury or trauma caused by external influence, in need of a targeted rehabilitation—letting go.
Just as humans have a strong ability to absorb information, we also have an equal strong ability to ‘let go’ of external influences. The ability to let go of the power that external influences have over emotions, perceptions, and external behaviors must be developed and honed. The development is ultimately coequal to the ability that allowed external influencers to have power over time in the first place. This skill is developed by understanding and accepting that external influences are not fundamentally you. Fundamentally, the premise we must accept is that “you” are just existence—that is the ultimate truth. Existence is the unbiased reality every living and even non-living entity in the universe shares. Existence is one true reality in the present moment.
The “you” that we identify with naturally contains all the information that the actual “you” has been witnessing, experiencing, and listening to. For example, when one reads a book, they have experiences and feelings, although, they do not become the book; rather, they are the one reading it. Just as a reader reads, you, the observer of life, is viewing experience. You can not only be your experiences, thoughts and external information that you are listening to, seeing, or experiencing. Another example, when one is watching an emotional television show or experience virtual reality, there are many physical sensations that occur from the experience. However, there is a natural understanding that the perceived reality being witnessed is not the true self’s experiences because an identity of the observer is established. Once understanding this logic and applying it to your own life, you are able to start practicing letting go of external influences, because all you really know, is that you exist, and you have the ability to perceive everything however you want to, just like how you watch a television show or read a book.
Existence also carries a perception. Experience’s perception is an unbiased perception, which we are all born with. Awareness of existing is what we all share yet do not develop due to the plethora of information that comes into our immediate awareness we practice using on a daily basis. Consequently, we develop our consciousness alongside the information, which clouds our awareness. By practicing mindfulness, the brain is able to reconnect slowly with its fundamental, unbiased, true awareness of just existing. Mindfulness rightfully externalizes all external influences of the consciousness that occur both outside us and within our simulated mind space reality.
Mindfulness is a state of mind where unbiased and passive perception occurs. It is a state of being that is has greater connection with existence’s perception of the present moment. Existence, which is not influenced by external influences, is just present. Therefore, being mindful is just being. Being mindful is also connecting on a deeper level with understanding, and perceiving the un-emotional, un-thought-provoking present moment, by moment . . . one moment to the next, to this moment and this moment—with each moment before ceasing to existing within an unbiased mind space reality. The only reality that exists is this moment—not the moment you just read—but this moment only. Practicing mindfulness allows you to exist in this state of being and state of perception where every single external moment is experienced without being influenced by external influencers (within mind space).
Mindfulness also allows you to practice how to exist without being attached to constructs of the consciousness. It allows you to just be fully engaged with your fundamental awareness—that existence created for you. Mindfulness is an understanding of the realer, wiser flow of reality and instills a deep feeling of connection with existing. Existing with the choice to use any lens of perception you wish. Being mindful, however, does not mean that you are void of emotions, negative thoughts and external influencers that exist in mind space. Practicing mindfulness allows you to live as your original unbiased self alongside information you have absorbed over time. The voices and ‘emotional roommates’ that live within your mind space are still there. But being mindful allows you to accept all of which you have experienced and shows you how to use everything that you have learned in a positive, gentle way that only benefits the real you (again, simple awareness).
Being mindful teaches you how to exist appropriately within the external reality—instead of living and listening only to your biased mind space reality. It allows you to become your authentic, vulnerable self without escaping behind self-defense mechanisms, egos, and hiding away from the external reality. External reality is meant for you to thrive in. There are many different methods for becoming more mindful. One of the most effective methods, is through meditation. And there are many different types of meditation.
Meditation is practiced by many different types of people with many different theories, customs, historical contexts, beliefs, and terms. However, meditation is fundamentally a technique and practice that guides your state of being towards one that is closer to the existence's state of being. Meditation is a mental process that guides a quality of consciousness to a truer, unbiased, fundamentally wiser, original state of perception and understanding. Meditation is a practice that helps integrate one's perception with a perception of existence and present moment. Some meditations allow for more relaxation. Alternatively, some meditations infer a connection with Gods or cosmic higher powers. However, whether they be called Gods, higher powers, the universe, oneness, the self, consciousness, or awareness, it all is translated into connecting with a truth of unbiased existence.
Zen/Zazen Meditation is a type of meditation that focuses on form, technique, conscious experimentation, passive observation of the breath, focused awareness and establishing deeper connections with fundamental states of being. Zen Meditation, however, is not meant to be a quick tool to bring an emotional state of mind to a more grounded state of mind. It is not meant to be a cure-all method for shifting gears of consciousness or leaving a typical daily consciousness or connecting to wisdom per se. Rather, Zen Mediation is a process that can train the mind and instill a stronger ability to attain mindfulness. Moreover, Zen Meditation is a way to develop a relationship with a fundamentally unbiased truer perception of reality that promotes your brain’s ability to sustain a mindful state of consciousness and being on a daily basis.
Meditation accrues many benefits to one who practices regularly. When engaged within the process of meditating, all the thoughts that you allow to influence your perception and behavior in the external reality become very present. External influencers that live within the mind space become obstacles that are sometimes overcome and sometimes not. More often than not, subconscious external influencers reveal themselves; those are influencers that you may have never been consciously aware of. This can shake your internal and external reality. Meditation helps also reveal traumas, memories, fears, and the intersection with the many different forms of external influences effecting one’s consciousness. During meditation, mental doors are opened and reveal more closed doors behind them. By facing more and more obstacles, you train your brain to accept obstacles for what they are: obstacles. You train your brain to understand that these obstacles do not have to produce powerful emotional responses that negatively affect your quality of existence in the external reality. The interpretation of the obstacle only exists in your simulated reality created within your mind space.
When you meditate, you are learning. When you meditate you are learning that you don’t know who ‘you’ really are. You learn that you were never really a “you,” but instead were made of constituent parts: a series of external influences that your consciousness processed to create an internal reality (to better cope with the oft-traumatic external reality). You learn that all the external influencers which you identified with (e.g. thoughts, fears, hypothetical futures, memories, perceptions, limiting opinions to name a few) are just: external illusions of control, attempts to create structure, boundaries, rules and guides to avoid the authentically chaotic reality. You can learn that entropy is the deep truth of existence, and that all other interpretations of reality are constructs design to make sense of chaos in a more structured way to increase the probability of utility. These external illusions project a “perfect” model for you to live your life in. You learn and you change. Over time, if you practice meditation consistently and effectively, you can take lessons you learn while sitting with your true self behind your mind and bring them to your daily state of mind (your typical day-to-day consciousness).
Over time, through the slow but trusted process of meditation, you integrate your deep meditative state of mind with your daily day-to-day state of consciousness. Slowly and permanently you become one with your own original existence. Through meditation, you re-wire your brain and become re-acquainted with the original awareness you were born with. Re-wiring that allows you to interpret reality in a wiser, unbiased way, which is closer to existence's perception of reality and this world. This unbiased perception—where external influences are external (not you)—have no control over the pure you and your intentions. Within everyone exists a perception that is fully saturated by love, un-influenced by external information, unbiased sense of existence, authentic compassion, inexplicable honesty and authenticity, unspoken, un-thought provoking wisdom and intuition and original first forms of fundamental knowledge pertaining to nothing.
Nothing except the present moment.