One of my favourite sayings is “you can’t get there from here.” You won’t really get anywhere special in life without being able to rise above your thinking. Most people today are intellectual and highly educated; even if they don’t seem to act that way! Regardless, they are unable to solve most of life’s problems that come their way. Stress in career and relationships , making decisions and healing themselves from beating the burden of our mental and emotional anguish all eventually prove too much for most. The subject of how one can or must rise above the machine of the mind is not something most people will ever even think about in their life times!
The greatest and most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown.Carl Gustav Jung
Some are startled awake at 3:00 am with a racing mind that tries to solve these problems, albeit unsuccessfully most of the time. A sharp intellect in the end serves only to cut us to pieces. Perhaps this is why Salvador Dali said that “intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings.” It is just not enough to get us there – to the places, recesses and depths that life calls us to go to. You can’t get to solve many ‘life problems’ with the mind, psychologically speaking. The age-old conundrums of who am I and why is this happening and what do I do, and then why do or not do, baffle even the smartest among us. These deep questions need deep answers, answers that don’t reside in the naive and shallow mind. If you allow this mind to lead you, you will become like a computer that believes it is artificially intelligent and running the show without realising you’re actually pulling all the strings.
Our heart and that inner and divine part of ourselves we seem to access only through stillness and quiet contemplation allow us to somehow go beyond, or in fact transcend thinking. To solve our bigger life-problems we must access mind, heart and soul together. This union of deeper self we have learned about from the enlightened greats before us we call our Contemplative mind or Sacred self. It’s from this risky and certainly more uncertain position of rising ‘above’ your thinking with all your faculties activated together that you can break the bonds of the minds limitations and experience the boundless freedom that comes along with it.
It is not easy for any human being to navigate this incredible life. There are so many twists and turns along our way that we end up getting lost on the roller coaster rides. Survival mind is already most of who we are and what we think about all day long. Food, sex, recreation and how to gain peace and pleasure for ourselves. Yet, in the abyss of all of our souls lies an emptiness and a yearning for more. We crave depth and breadth just as the expanding universe we live in seems to do as well. The yearning of the soul has driven many of us to madness. Others to dare greatly and courageously, and others till to bliss and nirvana. Yet little happens when we cannot rise above the machine of the mind other than be imprisoned by the mind. It is only when this happens, this transcendental rise from within, that we are able to go far, far beyond the tiny scope of our thoughts.
“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration (contemplation), but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. ”― Martin Luther King Jr.
Rise above the machine of the mind
I too am guilty of such cognitive confines. I have noticed how the solving of certain problems, or the rising above them, generally takes time. They unfold like a stream slowly edging its way to the sea. The unfolding of reality and the answers we seek tend to slowly emerge rather than explode instantly into our waking consciousness. So this is why we need to move with the pace of life and remember the story of the rabbit and the hare. Steady and consistent trumps lightening speed; and trees that grow slowly tend to bear the best fruits. It is not that we have to move slowly at all. We just have to focus and move and then rest and contemplate. Without both sides of the coin you will not be able to rise above your thinking and thus you will be bound to its severe limitations. Finally remember this. History proves to us that the future of science, religion and medicine will be all be focused on getting us to rise above your thinking. Meta thinking is what separates one person from the next; one tyrant, villain or nihilist from a world-changing super-hero. The person who will succeed most in this modern world is the one who escapes the confines of their thoughts, perceptions, feelings, rationalisations and judgments and shatters the illusions that the limited mind offers us that results in anxiety, depression, racism, war and other acts of mindlessness. This is our goal as contemplative, meta-thinkers to rise above the machine of the mind.