Friday, March 6, 2009

Functioning of Brain/Mind

It may be useful to discuss a bit about the functioning of our brain/mind before discussing about the constructed qualities like attachments, possessiveness, anger etc. We have already seen that mind is nothing but the functioning of brain or the result (or process) of processing of brain. Brain records all information it process into the memory. The sense organs are the input devices for brain and the whole body and memory are its output device. It sends the output of processing to required part of the body. It processes all information it receives through the sense organs. But the extent or level of its processing depends on few factors which depend on the individual. After processing the information, it stores everything including the details and method of processing into memory. The operation of processing expresses itself as our mind. If we are attentive enough, we can see the complete processing of brain as our mind. But due to various factors, our attention is distorted so much and we can observe only a fraction of the processing of brain.

This fact can be understood better with few examples. The Ayurvedic medical system evolved few thousands of years when no external instruments were available to understand the functioning of organs of body, yet it describes preciously the functioning of almost every part of body. How was it possible? We know that brain is the control center for the whole body. Hence the functioning of each and every cell will be monitored by brain by means of collecting information, processing and sending command. All these processing is expressed as mind. If we are attentive enough, we can observe the information received from each and every cell of our body and the commands sent to them by the brain. Hence the logical conclusion shall be that whoever devised the ayurvedic medical system must have been attentive enough to their brain/mind so that he can observe his mind to core of the details and expressed as ayurvedic system for the help of humanity.

Gautama Buddha has expressed that there are 72000 energy channels in human body. (I am not sure whether science has established/confirmed this fact or not, most probably not!) How can Gautama Buddha observe it without the means of any instrument? The energy channels send signals to brain and hence the brain processes the information of those energy channels and which is expressed as our mind. If we are attentive enough, we ourselves can find out these things.

How to tell the brain to process certain information and leave certain other information? If we can command what to process and not, to the brain, all our problems and hence problems of society will be solved. There is a way to do that. For doing that, we need to bring in certain changes within ourselves.

For example when we walk down the street we see many activities happening in the street. The details of all those activities will not be processed by the brain and recorded but process and record only certain events or activities which get our attention. If we can understand this mechanism, probably we are leap ahead in the process of commanding brain what to do and not to do, and eliminating reactive thoughts and hence the constructed qualities.

In the above example, the eyes are seeing everything in street the ears are hearing every noise in street, nose smells every fragrance in street. But not all get the complete attention of brain and recording as memory. If we observe closely, out of whatever sensed by our sense organs on the street, only those items which has certain utilities for us are processed extensively and stored by the brain. Other information are also processed by brain, but find no utility for us and hence stop the processing at that point and discard that information from being stored into the memory. To make it clear, where ever we are aware that certain information do not have any use for us, those information are not processed by the brain extensively. If the brain already has some information about certain sensed event and it is not aware of the uselessness of that event, and within the brain already there is a projection of that event, that particular event will be processed by brain extensively and stored in memory. On the contrary, even if the projection of that event is already in our mind and we are aware that the event is not useful for us, the brain will not process that information extensively.

For example when we go from a town to a big city for the first time, all the tall buildings and the lavish shops will get our attention and enter into our memory. Here we see it as adding knowledge about the structure of a city and whatever we see there will get into our memory. After some time we will be used to such a city and all its tall buildings and busy streets have no more meaning to us. Now we happen to visit another city. Here our attention will not be like when we visited any of the cities for the first time in our life. This is because now we understand that the knowledge about each and every element of the city is no use for us and what we know is where to go and how to come back. The brain processes only the information relevant for any purpose and discards all other information, because we are aware that all those information have no use for us. As all our examples, this example too cannot be taken as universal. This is because every one of us is different in our constructed qualities (Because constructed qualities are projection of mind and each one of our minds shall be projecting itself in different directions) and hence same example can not applicable to everybody. But you may be able to appreciate the validity of this example by relating to something else, depend on individuals mind.

Here the key point is the awareness of uselessness of certain information.

Now we have to understand what we need and what not. We have to understand what is of any use and what is of no use. Once we understand these things, it is not a difficult task to eliminate reactive thought process and hence constructed qualities. Understanding few of the constructed qualities may be helpful to understand what is needed and what is not.

The difficult task is to realize we are the result of physical and psychological conditioning during the 200000 years of human existence, probably the result of conditioning from much, much before that. To reach a state of commanding our brain/mind, we need to be free from conditioning of our brain/mind. We have to have the willingness to be free from conditioning of our mind. That willingness will come only if we see that we are the result of such conditioning and then only it is possible to undo those conditioning. Our intelligence has to work to see these facts. Without seeing these facts we will never be willing to change ourselves. Intelligence works only if we get away from projection of mind. There might be many methods prescribed for achieving these results. The key point is not the method, but seeing the fact. Once we see the fact, any of the prescribed methods may work or we ourselves can find a method.

Probably, the discussions in this blog may help to understand few of the facts and once we have the understanding of few of the facts, our intelligence shall takeover to do the rest of work to bring in the necessary change within us to facilitate complete realization

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