Good or bad? Our brain is obsessed with the concept. The question comes in many forms, and is so fundamental in our thought process that even the answer we determine goes unnoticed. It becomes part of the barrage, the endless stream of thoughts and words we use to unconsciously, involuntarily narrate our life experience, to ourselves. Why do we do this? I enjoy a sip of chai and automatically say, “mmmm good”, even though I KNOW I’m enjoying it, my mind THINKS “good”, in word form. My boy, when watching a movie HAS to determine who is the good guy and who’s the bad guy. Someone calls and asks, “how was your day?”, and we know if it was a “good day”, or a “bad one” based on arbitrary “rules” that exist only in our minds.
It is a human condition to “categorize” all that we encounter, otherwise it all might just be too overwhelming. To be in a crowd, it would take stupendous processing powers to give everyone the same attention as if you were alone in a room with each, thus everyone is put in mental boxes, so there is enough “free RAM” to operate as we’re accustomed to. Don’t take it personal, everything else has been boxed up too.
Truly, each and every flower could have at least a few seconds attention, but let’s face it, our time is finite, and I have way too much boxing up to do! Each tree is no doubt unique, but all those things on my street, my mind can say “trees”, and that’s the extent of the attention they get, the mental image fills in the rest. Categorization is a mental mechanism that affords us efficient use of our attention, and our attention is everything. But we don’t stop at just lumping life forms into heaps and piles, we categorize EVERYTHING. Utilizing everything from snap judgment assumptions, to past experiences, our brain hosts a wide variety of tools, to facilitate our opinions and perceptions which ultimately dictate who we are.
Another human condition is the need to label & define, which on an elementary level may seem the same as categorizing; but our mind takes it another step further, and feels the need to put a subjective label on what were boxing up. In other words, “this is what you are, and this is how I feel about you”. Once again, no need to take it personal, it is just our brain operating the way it has been developed for survival since before we took to two feet. That is going to kill me, this is gonna nourish me, that may piss off my tribe, this might “get me the girl”, and so on…
The only thing is… we run on this unconscious algorithm that COMPLETELY dictates our perception, thus completely dictates our reality. Everything that we see has “subjective price tags” on them as the other side of the coin to our categorizing and labeling. Don Juan Matus asserts that up to 80% of our entire reality is/are these subjective price tags. In other words, the majority of our attention is focused on stuff entirely in our heads, and if we are focusing our attention on that, by the time we recognize what is right in front of us, after we finish “boxing it up” we miss it in the present and only experience it as a tainted memory!
A screen of fog descends in between the present and our experience when we identify with and call truth the nonstop stream of narration, when we try to box up our life. Not only do we miss the present moment, we misunderstand and potentially miss this entire thing called life. Consider all your opinions, do they actually change “what is”? Does subjectivity influence objectivity? Of course not, the only thing we can control, is our mind and our actions, which only then has the potential of influencing what is. My point is this, happiness, contentment, pain and strife, “good life” or “bad”, it is all a matter of perspective, controlled by our mind… the foundation from which you experience your world. Does your mind serve you, or do you serve it?