Tag Archives: brain fog

Questions and Answers

To receive answers to important spiritual questions, questions that concern the inner self, such as ‘who am I’, ‘what should I be doing with my life’, we will need to use the appropriate method. Big questions such as these shouldn’t be put into the emotionally based associative thinking we habitually use, the kind of thinking we use to balance our checkbook or schedule the day. In answering higher questions associate thinking gets us nowhere. Being cast into the wrong realm, these questions endlessly spin around the brain in a negative feedback loop, tying up our mind.

For great questions, we need a different level of mind, something patient and insightful. There is a gap between our associative spin thinking, and the place of tension that can contain the great question; a quiet space in which to ponder. We find this space through meditation; practicing methods to strengthen and calm the mind. People who are really busy, with kids and careers, will tell you they don’t have time to ponder. If you were as busy as they were, they insist, you’d know this. But would they meditate 2 to 3 times a day, conscientiously, they will find sooner or later that they do have time to ponder. Most of our so called thinking, is actually an emotionally based form of worry, guilt, or anxiety; it doesn’t serve a valid function. Once you see this through self-inquiry and meditation, the worry and anxiety will begin to evaporate. You find you do have time to ponder. You begin to understand how to put spiritual questions to the inner self, the unknown.

question
question

We find great answers by putting our great question up against the unknown, and holding it there with attention. We wait patiently for the unknown to respond. It requires true patience and courage, for the answer may not come immediately, it’s not associative. The process takes a while. Maybe a minute, an hour, maybe a year, even longer. Sooner or later, if we keep the tension there, against the unknown, the Inner Self will be stressed to respond with the answer, bringing resolution.

This tension-based thinking is hard to do, for there’s often no immediate satisfaction. It requires being able to both hold tension and be patient. The tension and waiting serve to break the associative loop, putting the question instead to a higher source, something not in space and time. Emotional thinking and rationalization are on the mundane level, and have no access to matters beyond.

One caveat is that we may find we’re getting answers in this tension based thinking, but not to the questions we expect. Instead of our present question, questions in the background can be suddenly answered, for the tension, once created, will jump to the next question on our list, whether we’re conscious of it or not. This can happen because the questions we’re putting to the unknown may not interest the inner self, or we may not have put them in in the right form and need to rephrase and clarify them. Or, we may not be ready for the answer, we might refuse it.

Questions held with tension in a quiet mind draw to them the corresponding answers; a process of resolution. Patience, courage, and humility are key. Remember, we ask a question because we do not have the answer; we are admitting our ignorance, and are asking for release in a determined and humble manner.

-Bob Fergeson

 

The Cloud of Unknowing

Written around the year 1375, The Cloud of Unknowing was written as a letter of advice to a young novice just setting out on the path of contemplation.  The author, believed to have been a country parson, writes in a personal, direct style, hoping to share his knowledge of contemplation with the young would-be monk.

  The theme of the Cloud of Unknowing is of turning one’s attention within, away from the mind and its objects. The attention is turned inward upon itself, and since it is now focused on nothing the mind can understand, sees only a ‘cloud of unknowing’, a seeming nothingness. For most seekers, this can be frustrating, if not impossible, for it gives no immediate reward, or even an object or image for their mind to grasp. To simply aim one’s attention at its own source is to look back up the ray of one’s awareness, where the mind and ego cannot go. This also takes the attention off of the body and its desires and fears, along with the senses and outer environment.

Cloud
Cloud

For when you first begin to undertake it, all that you find is a darkness, a sort of cloud of unknowing; you cannot tell what it is, except that you experience in your will a simple reaching out to God [a naked intent unto God]. This darkness and cloud is always between you and your God, no matter what you do, and it prevents you from seeing him clearly by the light of understanding in your reason, and from experiencing him in sweetness of love in your affection.

 – You are to smite upon that thick cloud of unknowing with a sharp dart of longing love. -… no man can think of God himself. Therefore, it is my wish to leave everything that I can think of and choose for my love the thing that I cannot think. Because he can certainly be loved, but not thought. He can be taken and held by love but not by thought. – Cloud of Unknowing
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The gift of The Cloud is its simple message of going beyond the mind. We cannot find our Source, or “God”, by thinking, or through worded thought, but only through what it calls love or longing. This may be called a vector, a direction we follow through our intuition, even after we have gone beyond our mind. It leads us into an uncharted realm, a cloud of unknowing in the back of beyond, where we lose our ‘self’. If we continue into this Great Unknown, guided by this longing, perhaps we will meet our Self,  and find we have been there all along.
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For whoever hears or reads about all this, and thinks that it is fundamentally an activity of the mind, and proceeds then to work it all out along these lines, is on quite the wrong track. He manufactures an experience that is neither spiritual or physical. He is dangerously misled and in real peril. – Cloud of Unknowing

 

http://www.mysticmissal.org/archive4_cloud_of_unknowing.htm

Ennui

Ennui  by  Ike Harijanto

 

It is not blind

for it has no eyes.

A glob blubbery blob, marshmallowy,

yellow, bloated Ennui

blows thick smoke from a hookah drooping

off its thick puckering lips.

 

For Life and Love it’s an ogre so hungry.

Beware of its smoke for it can swallow

whole and drag low,

then all motions drags a clunky

laborious chain of “Why?”

 

Marshmallow Ennui imperceptibly

turns into sticky molasses Depression quickly.

It’s not a morphing; it’s a giving of way,

for Depression is a desperate try

against falling so deeply asleep that is Ennui.

 

It drags you into a gray-brown bog,

Blowing its drowsy fog.

I fall asleep without knowing it,

thinking I’m awake, thinking I’m aware.

 

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Ennui is a know-it-all thinking, “I know too much.”

Ennui is an armchair traveller claiming, “Been there, done that.”

Ennui is jadedness yawning, “Meh,

seen everything already.”

Familiarity turns into a malady.

But don’t waste your life feeling guilty,

For it’s not you

who says, “All is done; nothing to do.”

It’s Ennui!

 

How did I fall asleep? I don’t know;

Didn’t catch myself nodding.

In this thick heavy fog, God of Light, please show

Just a needle of Your Light piercing.

From this aggressive vortex pull of Sleep,

that seducer,

I want out, I want to wake!

 

Henri in ennui, again

What are you, Ennui?

A resistance born of negativity,

a lack of meaning of life, or merely,

a superfluous entity?

What an irritating allergy

sapping energy,

this chronic, addictive serving of me.

Why are you here? What are you trying to tell me?

More importantly, how do I

widely open my eye?

 

Ennui

Thrill is not its remedy,

for Ennui’s not a hole

for the Muse to fill with lively creativity.

Maybe it’s a bothersome additional

to simply shoo, shoo.

 

Can’t reason with that entity.

Need I take it so seriously?

Ennui, ennui, go away

Come back another…

Well actually, don’t bother!

 

– Ike Harijanto

 

* The hookah is a reference to a poem by Charles Baudelaire entitled “To the Reader” in his Flowers of Evil

Henri in ennui
Henri in ennui

The cat is Henri, guru of ennui, found on youtube : http://youtu.be/Q34z5dCmC4M and FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/henrilechatnoir

Brain Fog 2

Another thing hidden by the brain fog is the dual aspect of our machine and its life. Our lives are largely the process of a machine generating energy, like a treadmill. The dual motion of two pistons, action and reaction, experience and experiencer, hooked to a central drive shaft, is transferring our energy away. We can see this by observing how we spend much more energy in our lives than is necessary to simply get by. We lead mechanical lives of dissipation, which are not of our own making, but from the states of mind we have bought into.  We are hooked up to the treadmill in the rat race, and in our personal emotional lives as well. Our emotional reactions to our spouses, our parents, our careers, whatever belief system we bought into, drives the machine, takes away our energy, and we never question it.  We can never solve this problem from its own level. The harder we push, the harder too are we pushed back. We think that we know what we’re doing, that we want what we want. It’s all being forced upon us, until we begin to question it.

Fog
Fog

This questioning takes a certain amount of courage, and trauma perhaps, but in the end run it saves a lot of energy.  We have to be able to face the fact that we do not want to question ourselves, our very beliefs, our sacred cows at whose altars we pray.  Our defenses automatically jump up whenever anyone else calls us on it, keeping our ego and the system of belief safe.

Brain Fog – States of Mind

In this modern technological age, we can see there is a noticeable disconnect between the online social networking world, and the factual world of our real actions. This  can be seen too in the gap between the computer program generated weather reports and the actual weather.  These examples help to show how the reactive ideas we  automatically believe about physical events can and do become real in and of themselves. We take the computer or brain model for being the actual reality.  The weather reports are no longer directly about the weather, they’re about the computer program.  You can see this in all walks of life.  Businessmen take their business beliefs as their model and can become disconnected from what’s actually going on in the day to day world of the real business.  We develop a brain fog,  a sticky mass made up of visualizations and patterns in our head that are formed from reactive experience, coupled with wishful thinking, along with a good dose of desire and fear. They’re mixed thoroughly to create and projcet a pattern we take to be reality.  We then project or force this onto the environment and further reinforce the pattern. It has no direct link to reality but is actually a mixed up mess of associations, often disconnected from what we would see if we could see clearly.

The innocence of the child can clear up this brain fog by enabling us to look around with a different seeing, one that doesn’t rely solely on the computer model, but which relies on what we’re actually witnessing in our  day-to-day experience without a forced projection.  The computer models become the reality and the weather man forgets to look out the window to check the forecast.  He may even refuse to refine the program in order to bring it more in line with the real weather, as that could affect his pride, his boss, or the bureaucracy, and put a damper on his career.  This creates a separate force, holding us in a fairyland of belief, rather than basing what we’re doing on what we actually see.  The clearing of the fog is by the sunshine that comes from the child, from the innocence.

Foggy Morning
Foggy Morning

States of mind can be the central revolving factor in our life. Our individual state of mind causes all our beliefs and our actions to spring forth, and we never question it.  Instead of questioning our state of mind and trying to see what’s really going on, we try and force the belief system of our current state of mind onto the world, by attempting to change the world to fit the state of mind.  All of our problems and their solutions spring from the state of mind, as well.  This can be seen very easily in others, when you see that their state of mind is really not their own, but comes from someone else, it’s inherited. They can’t see this.  They think it is their own unique individual thinking.  It revolves around getting rid of the tensions we allow to be placed on us through these same states of mind.  We dump on other people or the world to get these tensions off our back, which is only a temporary solution.  The real solution would be to question the state of mind, and see where the tensions are really coming from.