It seems my dreams have become more high tech. You see, for many years now, they have often come to me in the written word. The dream is of someone writing my dream on a yellow legal pad. All I see is the hand, the pencil and the pad. And I must read vigorously to keep up with the words as the story unravels. The dreams always make sense at the time although right now I can't think of any of them in any kind of detail, although I know one of them was a story about a bunny family. Dreams...go figure.
So, within seconds of seeing this Google search, my mind took me to the idea of how these searches work and how it ties into how the mind works. That’s what led me to sit here before I've even had my coffee, in hope of following this thought stream to see if it makes any sense later in the day.
First, I should tell you that I am a bit attached to Google search and it worries me that it’s going to turn my mind to mush. But then again, it may be making me smarter than my genes or education ever could have dictated. I generally sit with my iPhone nearby so that if anything comes to mind or I hear a name or word on the radio or tv that is unfamiliar, I can instantly Google it and learn things that may or may not be of any value in the scheme of things. For instance, I know more about character actors from the golden age of Hollywood than any person under the age of 85 should know, except maybe for Robert Osbourne. ( If you don't know who he is, Google it.)
Anyway, back to the connection my mind made about my mind. During the past two weeks I did a couple workshops on Yoga Nidra, the yoga practice of deep relaxation. I've been gearing up for them for some weeks now and found myself deep into the rabbit hole with more material than I could possibly use in the short time allotted.
Much of what I was exploring were the many concepts from yoga philosophy that come into play in this practice. My intention was to share with the participants, most of whom were yoga teachers, the worthiness of this often ignored method of experiencing a profound sensation of peace. In a nutshell, this peace is accessed by withdrawing our senses from the outer world (pratyahara) so we can go within and tap into the peace that lives deep in our hearts and defines our true nature. The benefit is that then we are able to respond to the world from a calm, stress-free place, beyond the worries, doubts and limitations of the mind, and therefore, are able to make better choices for ourselves moment by moment. We move from thought to intuition, from guessing to knowing.
In yoga, we call the thoughts that get in the way of us tapping into our inner wisdom, or intuition, vrittis. The analogy I make is that the mind is like a blank piece of paper and the thoughts are like the type on the page. The thoughts, or vrittis are divided into 5 categories: right knowledge, misconception, verbal delusion, sleep and memory. The biggie is memory. Everything we see, hear, touch, taste and smell instantly connects us to a memory of something we experienced in the past and the mind is off and running taking us out of the moment into dwelling on the past or reaching to the future. These memories can be either painful or painless, but in either case, take us from what we are experiencing here and now.
So, what the hell does this have to do with google searches? Well, google is like our memories. As information comes in, we go into our memory bank and search for associations. Like with Google, this all happens in a nano second. And as with Google, what often happens is that you go so far down the rabbit hole, you forget what brought you there in the first place. You are no longer just searching for the name of that character actor whose name you couldn’t remember, you're reading about the history of MGM and the making of the studio system. You are now missing the nuances of the movie you are still watching and although you are still able to follow the plotline, you're missing out on the clever dialogue, the beauty of the cinematography and all the reasons this film was considered a classic in the first place.
This is just like when someone is talking to you and something they say triggers a memory for you. Instead of really listening to what they are saying, you are already in your head thinking of your own story about what they said. So, in essence, you are not listening to them anymore, you are listening to yourself. And if you are not really listening to them, you are not really connected to them and you've lost out on the richness and healing that connection offers. This can happen when looking at a beautiful sunset. Instead of soaking it in and really feeling it, your mind takes you to the sunset you saw when you were in Colorado last summer. What a pity, as now instead of having 2 memories of bliss, you now only have one - the cost of attempting mental multitasking.
I have to admit, I don't know if there is a big point to what I'm saying here. I wasn't really looking to answer any question or make a profound statement, but it does remind me to take note of what is lost when I lose focus of the moment while realizing there is really nothing inherently wrong with that either. It’s just another choice I’m making. Hopefully, a conscious choice made while fully knowing that there are consequences. I just hope that I end up up choosing connection over living in my head with all its justifying and analyzing, more often than not. It just seems like the best way to go to live a richer life.
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.” The Buddha