As you grow up you form a mental image of who you are based on your personal and cultural conditioning. We may call this phantom self the ego. It consists of mind activity and can only be kept going through constant thinking. The term egomeans different things to different people but when I use it here it means a false self created by unconscious identification with the mind. To the ego the present moment hardly exists. Only past and future are considered important. This total reversal of the truth accounts for the fact that in the ego mode the mind is so dysfunctional. It is always concerned with keeping the past alive because without it – who are you? It constantly projects itself into the future to ensure its continued survival and to seek some kind of release or fulfillment there. It says: One day when this that or the other happens I am going to be okay happy at peace.” Even when the ego seems to be concerned with the present it is not the present that it sees: It misperceives it completely because it looks at it through the eyes of the past. Or it reduces the present to a means to an end an end that always lies in the mind-projected future. Observe your mind and you’ll see that this is how it works. The present moment holds the key to liberation. But you cannot find the present moment as long as you are your mind. Enlightenment means rising above thought. In the enlightened state you still use your thinking mind when needed but in a much more focused and effective way than before. You use it mostly for practical purposes but you are free of the involuntary internal dialogue and there is inner stillness. When you do use your mind and particularly when a creative solution is needed you oscillate every few minutes or so between thought and stillness between mind and no-mind. No-mind is consciousness without thought. Only in that way is it possible to think creatively because only in that way does thought have any real power. Thought alone when it is no longer connected with the much vaster realm of consciousness quickly becomes barren insane destructive.
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