Resist the Tyranny of the Human Mind

You might recognize the fact that your so-called human mind bosses you around—not to mention the way that other so-called human minds try to dominate you as well.

 I say “so-called” because the human mind isn’t a real, genuine full-functioning Mind, only an idea of a mind, a construct made up of old thought patterns along with newly acquired ones, gained by mimicking what we see around and about, ideas handed to us by consensual thought forms.

 You might not get what I’m saying and/or simply don’t agree because you’re under the impression that you think fresh thoughts: your own, individual thoughts. We all are under that impression. Yet it’s simply not true. I can’t prove it to you; I can’t even prove it to myself. Still, I do believe the outside-the-box premise. But digging deeper and eliminating the tyranny of the individual, human mind presents a challenge. This so-called mind persists in its dysfunctional patterns handed down through individual ancestry and species inheritance.

 So my question is, if we’re really thinking the thoughts we want in our own private, separate minds, why can’t we control said thoughts? Why do thoughts slip in that we’d like to eschew, that preoccupy us, that pursue us—such as a song we really don’t want to hear anymore and that drones on in our so-called minds.

In short, we’re being tyrannized, made to allow in thoughts that really aren’t helpful to us and to entertain detrimental fears and imaginings. Help!

I mentioned the idea of resisting the tyranny of the human mind to a friend of mine and he had just been reading the advice to let the whole mess be—to merely observe. That’s a traditional suggestion advised by lineages of Buddhist and other meditators and Gurdjieffians who talk about self-observation.   and

 Those two articles are good and so is the practice.

 To resist is maybe a little different, however, and may be counter to Jesus’s advice to resist not evil. But remember that Jesus is the one who threw the moneychangers out of the temple and tossed Legion out of a poor suffering madman. In the sense that thoughts foreign to the natural, wholesome, human condition continue to plague us in this day and age, we might try the suggestion to “resist.”

As Mary Baker Eddy told her readers: “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized…you will control yourself harmoniously.”

 That’s different advice than to merely observe. (However, she also said, “Error, when found out, is two-thirds destroyed, and the remaining third destroys itself.” That would advocate, I think, self-observation.)

 Maybe self-observation is what Western psychotherapy is all about, with help in pointing at what isn’t being observed by the “patient” or client.

Spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen tells students not to believe their own thoughts or emotions. That, I think, sparks both watching (self-observation) and resisting.

 What do I think is a good approach? Hmmm, I was taught that strategies are useless, that only God can correct us as He will. In the meantime, we try to transform by any means possible.

Coming soon: Strings . The novel is a tongue-in-cheek look at string theory and the universe and isn’t just for chronological kids.



 Sometimes anger feels empowering—better certainly than fear or anxiety. But fear and anxiety often fill in for an anger that has been long suppressed.

 I’m pretty certain that most of us are carrying around a lot of squelched/repressed anger, in fact, hidden away during childhood. At that time our needs and wants were of primary importance—to us, but not always to our parents or a caregiver. We would become angry, furious, enraged when our needs (or our whims) weren’t acceded to. And then our anger was countered by intense disapproval.

 As little people, we were at the mercy of giants, perhaps well-meaning giants, but certainly ones handing out rules and restrictions that often went against our needs and wants. After all, the giants were trying to socialize us, not to mention that they had needs and wants of their own. We were thwarted.

 We bottled up a lot of anger, some of which has resolved itself over the years through various means. Life mellows one out; therapy may help; and simple understanding of a situation or of the “other” may drain away old inner explosions.

 But not all anger is simply from our early experiences. Current injustices can cause us to steam up with a rage—sometimes triggered by sensitivities developed in the past, sometimes simply from an innate sense of what is really fair.

 Consider Jesus and the moneychangers he threw out of the temple. Do we think Jesus was just an angry guy? That pretty much doesn’t fit the picture we have of the healer and most compassionate of men. He drove the “commercial interests” out because he was angry, angry at the outrage of what these people were doing in a sacred space, a house of prayer, the temple supposedly dedicated to God.

 So maybe anger isn’t always wrong—even for the spiritually minded.

 That’s right; it’s not.

 The problem comes in determining if anger stems from old and other issues or if anger arises in meting out a righteous judgment.

 Often we become angry, lose our tempers, and then an hour later feel regret. We feel bad, that we made a socially unacceptable misstep. (Or at least women often feel this way.)

 Does that mean we were wrong in letting loose our anger? No, not necessarily.

 So how do we decide what should be expressed and what felt/experienced and not acted on?

 I’m sorry to say that in reality no rule of thumb exists. The source of anger over a situation is very individual, and moreover, we generally won’t know what the anger arises from. My energetic rejuvenation guy, Anton Baraschi, said one day, “You might be hungry or tired, or…”

 Indeed, that day I’d been cold inside my apartment and snapped at someone on the phone over a trifle.

 We simply have to work with anger, as we do with all our other difficult and volatile emotions. We have to do our best, and while trying to be authentic, hope to be guided by a higher power.

 I only wanted to say one thing: Don’t stop or step on your anger or force it underground because you’re a “good” person. Good people can get angry, too. Getting angry isn’t a sin. (But don’t hurt anyone in the process. Really, that’s not the right way to behave.)

 If you perceive the other person is doing something wrong, you can let that person know—or not, if the situation doesn’t really invite such a response. (We might not want to tell off our bosses.) Later, when the anger feels less hot, we might be able to better dissect its probable source.

 Lost your temper? Forgive yourself. Sometimes that happens and it’s not the end of the world or even, generally speaking, the end of the other person’s love for you.

 As spiritual master Andrew Cohen said one time, “I’m not trying to be a saint.” We don’t have to be unnatural.

 The more you deny that you’re angry in attempts to be holy, the more inhuman you will become, and the more inhuman you become, the harder you’ll find it to forgive.—Unknown

Want to take a fiction writing class with me? I’m the author of two writing instructionals and have won a couple of writing awards. Sign up for a Writer’s Digest University class: . I give a lot of structural and ground-level writing feedback.

Are You Asking Too Much?

This is the season when we might want something and ask for it from our closest friends and family. A new TV? A pair of opal earrings? Dinner out? We know just how much we should ask of someone—not too much, yet something that will represent a fair “exchange.”

 Then when we turn to the Universe for a gift, what are we thinking? I asked a friend why she believed people may not pray. I thought perhaps because they didn’t believe in anything, couldn’t conceive of a responsive universe, but she gave me an answer that surprised me. “They think they aren’t cared for. That they aren’t liked, and that they won’t get what they ask for, anyway.”

 And that makes some sense to me, too.

 Are you asking too much of the Universe, of Source? Of Creation?

 You are if you don’t expect anything at all. Then anything you ask for may be too much.

 I know, because deep in my heart I must be in the same situation: Most often I don’t receive the boons I request. Yes, I’m speaking in favor of prayer yet I tell you it doesn’t (always) work for me.

 Sometimes it does. “Miracles” occur. But not every time.

 Am I asking too much? It’s too much if I don’t believe I’ll receive it. I don’t allow an opening for the Cosmos to step in. I don’t accept the delivery. I set up the non-delivery.

 When we go to someone and say, “Well, you wouldn’t want to do this one small thing for me, would you?” the person might be led to think: What the heck is it? Sounds as if I don’t want to do it. I don’t think I can. The Universe, too, can’t decipher the double message. Does the person want this, or not?

 I’m not saying we should ask the Universe to send us millions. What’s the sense of that, anyway? But we do deserve as much as we need. Do we deserve health? For certain that. We deserve to live free, be healthy, and have enough to eat. We should have someplace to live, friends, family, clothing to wear. That certainly isn’t asking too much. Jesus said, “Whatsoever you ask, believing…” He didn’t set limits—though I just set some for you :).

 Ah, that’s the catch then, you must believe. If you believe and feel deeply that you have a right to receive exactly what you need, then, yes, here’s the UPS guy, bringing it all to you just in time. Gratitude before and after may also factor into the equation. Let’s try some; we may like it.

 How did Jesus do it? Well, read Jesus of Nazareth, Boy and Man, a Novel of the Lost Years at reduced from $2.99 to .99 for the holidays.