This entry is part 18 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

IMG_1574We live in a society that has for centuries prioritised the mind.  We have listened to Descartes who said Cogito Ergo Sum, I think therefore I am and so we believe that we are the sum of our thoughts rather than the sum of our being.

God gave us the mind to protect the heart, not usurp it. (John Eldredge, Killing Lions)

The mind is a great tool, it is there to help us navigate reality and try to make sense out of things. But the mind is ever so impressionable and if we allow the mind to take the drivers seat then we will be ruled by personality, EGO, culture, norms and peers. or as Tilden Edwards writes:

However, if the mind is the ultimate place from which we listen and respond, if we believe its insights bring us fully into the truth, then we have overstepped its capacity. We are in danger of confusing our views with ultimate reality itself. Our concepts then become idols that shrink the great mystery of divine reality to what those concepts can contain, rather than being valuable symbols that point to deep reality beyond the capacity of words and images to fully grasp. (Tilden Edwards in Richard Rohr’s, Oneing: Ripening)

That is, if you put to much trust in your mind you start believing that the finger pointing to the moon is in fact the moon.Brad Blanton writes that:

Creativity, using the mind rather than being used by the mind, is the cure for all stress disorders. (Brad Blanton, Radical Honesty)

What we need is a metanoia, a repentance, a reconfiguring of our mind and learning to use the mind in a different way. Jim Palmer states that:

In practical terms, metanoia means to “change the way we use our minds”—to think beyond the normal limits of the way we have been taught to reason. It implies that we haven’t been using our minds correctly. (Jim Palmer, Inner Anarchy)

Blanton goes on to write:

The mind, which grew out of the being like trees grow out of the earth, is at first a protector of being and after a while becomes a parasite. When the mind speaks, it also uses a particular language. The language of the being is descriptive language. The language of the mind is evaluative language. (Brad Blanton, Radical Honesty)

So when you are evaluating, comparing and judging you are stuck in the mind and therefore in the EGO, to get out of it we need to let go of the mind and at first take it less seriously

Our minds are always working. This ceaseless mental activity will continue to occur whether we take it seriously or not. But the practice of taking it less seriously can’t be taken too seriously or we are back in our minds again. (Brad Blanton, Radical Honesty)

And then we need to let go of our thoughts, ideas, preconceptions and return to experience and we experience through our senses.

We fall into the habit of giving all of our attention to thoughts, beliefs, and fantasy, and thus we lose touch with the basis of all fantasy: experience … the objective is to “lose your mind and come to your senses.”  (Brad Blanton, Radical Honesty)

We need to recognise that in the end we need to escape the prison of the mind to return to being and we do that by sensing. This is why sensuality is so closely linked to spirituality. If you listen to the great mystics and their experience of the divine it is always a sensual and never a theological experience. It is with our senses we experience and it is by being present in our experience that we return to being.

Our mind therefore often gets lost in the intricate designs of our EGO and personality our idea of what reality is like and the myths we are clinging to to create meaning in our reality. These intellectual concepts whether true or not are always distractions from experience. And it is only when we experience our being that we can experience the divine. Your mind is not infallible in fact your mind is not capable of leading you to god nor is it capable of giving you the connection with the divine that you desire.

Truth cannot be accessed in, with, and through the mind. When the mind reads the Bible it will contort and twist the Truth to fit what it is capable of understanding. (Jim Palmer, Notes from (over) the edge)

This is why we have to break free, break out of the prison of our minds and experience divine love and be transformed.

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