Using mind and consciousness in freedom
Blog 20150812 by George Coyne
To properly comprehend what this article is referring to it is necessary to read it without any motive to benefit from it.
In this essay the word mind refers to the unique neuronal network that exists in every human brain. Although the brain exists as organic matter, the mind does not have an actual existence. The mind is not an entity within the brain, but simply the pattern that has formed and continues to develop from the connections between brain cells. Many of these are already present at birth, having become part of the inherited hard wiring of the brain. The rest come about as a result of interactions between the organism and the environment. What is known as “personality” is part of this structure as is the “ego” “I” and “self image” The way the brain interacts with the world is determined by the mind. Every encounter with the external environment, including other people, affects the way the brain structures this mind which in turn influences the way it meets with and interprets the world. This is a continual process in which the brain is constantly making changes to this wired mind which in turn influences future encounters with the environment.
When the neurons that comprise this network are firing in communication with one another and the whole network, then consciousness is present and operating. It serves an obvious and indispensable role in enabling one to function in the world. But it is important to understand that it does not have existence in the sense that matter that comprises the brain exists. Rather it occurs as a type of motion within the brain when the neurons in this structure are firing together to generate the various aspects of consciousness. As an analogy, running occurs, rather than exists, when the body is in rapid horizontal motion on the ground. “Running” does not have any existence, it is merely an occurrence that depends on a type of movement of a body. By thoroughly understanding and appreciating this distinction between existing and occurring, then one will never be hindered or mystified in seeking to understand what consciousness is because one will stop thinking of it as a thing.
In order for the brain to fully use and benefit from consciousness without succumbing to the limitless illusions that always comprise it when the brain is not alert, it is necessary to completely understand that consciousness is never a “thing” that exists as an entity but simply an occurrence that can help the organism deal with and relate to the physical environment and social world. When such an awareness is present then the brain uses consciousness as a valuable tool without identifying itself with it. This enables the brain, without any effort, to stop being confused by all the illusory beliefs within the realm of consciousness that were previously thought of as reality. A brain that is awake to this fact is able to have an awareness that uses consciousness without being confused or deluded by it. Any degree of effort to be free of the illusions of consciousness shows that the brain is still caught in the web of illusions because the very effort is evidence it is actively identifying with consciousness.