What is real?

Mind Vs Matter

There are two sides to reality, the objective side of atoms, molecules, rocks, trees, people, places and events vs the subjective experience of the mind.

Matter and mind are co-dependent. Matter exists to be experienced and mind exists to do the experiencing. Neither one is superior but both are needed for an experience of reality to be complete. You can’t have one without the other. Mind and matter are like the north and south poles of a bar magnet, both are needed in order for it to work.

Reality is fixed, deterministic and unchangeable, the mind, however, flows like water, being adaptable and as malleable as pottery clay. One is physical and the other non-corporeal, or at the very least made from a type of material that we’re presently unable to interact with.

The mind is the receiver of all sensory information and if undisciplined ruthlessly expresses that input back into the immediate environment by shows of body language, blush responses, clenched fists, audible intakes of breath or hoots of laughter becoming the sense input for other people whether they welcome it or not, hence it should be unsurprising that a thing as supple as the mind is forever changed by every experience. A wise man keeps the company of friends that are good for him.

One of the benefits of meditative practice is that it allows the mind to change over time in a beneficial direction of your choosing. In Buddhist traditions, the chosen object of your meditation becomes the thing that you get a greater abundance of, so if you meditate upon love, more love manifests itself within your waking existence. Likewise, if you meditate upon truth then the mind becomes much more adept at discerning what is true and what is false. It’s important to note that within none of these scenarios has the objective reality of rocks, trees, people, places and events actually changed. All that has altered is the mind’s perception of reality. In other words, the filtering mechanisms of the subconscious psyche have been tweaked to allow more of the desired object to impinge upon the conscious mind.

It’s impossible to meditatively change reality, all you can do is change your mind, which is what people allude to when they say things along the lines of ‘if you want to change the world, change yourself and the whole world changes with you.’

The conscious mind is the place where your ego lives… It’s the ant that rides upon the top of an elephant, it hardly does any work but thinks it is in fact in the elephant’s master. Most of the time it only exists to discern the next course of action. The senses have recorded something important, something that can’t be automatically dealt with and as a result have sent it up the line from the elephant to the ant, giving the ant the illusion of mastery, but the ant is blind because it only sees what the elephant is willing or able to show it. Its understanding of reality is complete fiction. We don’t see ‘true reality,’ electrical impulses stream along our nervous systems into the brain and are registered as even more electrical activity, yet from that, we get a taste, or a burst of colour, or perhaps a sensation of touching something, your fingers running along some fabric. A model of reality is built in the brain and observed by the mind. The mind cannot experience reality directly, only it’s model, which is the product of the brain. I once more remind you that the brain is a material thing and matter cannot experience itself. The mind observes matter, both are needed for the perception of reality. You can’t have one without the other.

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