Your brain attempts to predict the outcome of every action and your experience as it unfolds before you, from moment to moment. Millions of neurons talk to one another and try to anticipate what you will see, hear, smell, taste, and feel and the entire sequence of actions that you will take in a given situation. Experience now is “constructed” from the reference data and known facts already assimilated from your experiences past. So your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions can really be considered to be a fabrication—constructed not only from a myriad different sensations and revived images of sensations, but also the subtle faiths, fears, anticipations, instincts, superstitions, and blind impulses that plague the soul. As you chew on that first morsel of lunch, your brain is busy predicting the next sequence of actions you’ll take as you reach for that next spoonful and before you are consciously aware of the intention. To maintain a reasonable probability of success in any event, your brain must necessarily limit the variables of experience to those that are most familiar to you and hence, ipso facto, “good” for you. Problems arise when your brain makes broad associations and excludes entire categories of things from experience.
Whenever you agonize over what you should or should not do, you are really compartmentalising your experiences into categories, one pitted against the other. That this is good for you and this is bad. So instead of direct encounters with the real, moving world, the natural ebb and flow of life is stymied by judgements about whether you should be doing this or you should avoid doing that. In the process you add unnecessary complication to the basic simplicity of what you are. You don’t need to impose injunctions on your mind, but you must also ensure that it is sufficiently grounded so that it doesn’t wander. Meditation gives you the space to just experience the freewheeling movement of ego without avoidance, while enabling you to gently nudge the mind towards more skilful ways of working. Through this simplicity and straightforwardness, though fear and anger may arise they dissipate of their own accord and you actually have a chance to learn from your actions instead. When you attempt to direct your consciousness with injunctions, there is no learning—only petulant rebellion that eventually manifests itself in fear and tension.
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