You must be your own light. This is what J Krishnamurti taught. People who are life coaches, people who call themselves spiritual teachers are no different than anyone else you encounter that shows you something that has made a positive impression in your life.
Taking the time to understand yourself is something we aren’t taught as children, nor are we required to do so in our adult lives. To me self understanding is a process of being mindful and also studying other people and the world around you so that you can diminish and cancel out ways of thinking that are hindering or hurting you in some way. Self understanding can teach you be in control most of the time instead of being out of control due to the fact that you’re being strongly influenced by negative thought structures and because of a lack of insight into your own behavior. Are you truly in control or has your brain become the puppet master. I can definitely say there have been some times in my life when I was not in control…….my brain was. I was simply along for the ride and when it was all over with I wondered why the hell did I do that.
Learn to take a little bit of this and a little bit of that (but be selective) and never conform yourself to the teachings or beliefs of one person or discipline. In this post I want to delve into the subjects that came together to give me a better understanding of myself and others.
My late teens and early 20’s was a time in my life when I became drawn towards Zen buddhism and Taoism. The practice of Zen buddhism led me to seek another viewpoint on understanding what’s going on behind human consciousness, what’s underneath my behaviors, my viewpoints. From these Eastern philosophies of mind I moved on to learn about the human mind from building a viewpoint based on various scientific disciplines. Dedicated scientists who seek to create an accurate explanation of a given phenomenon can be very useful in helping us to understand the human experience. So I fell off into neurology, psychology, philosophy, and psycho-cybernetics, In parallel I studied the works of Freud, Carl Yung and Friedrich Nietzsche. I was also quite fascinated by computers and artificial intelligence. My first computer I fondly remember was an Atari ST. I was either 18 or 19 at the time.
Neuroscience, cognitive psychology, molecular biology, human biology and computer science are subjects that have given me a very thorough description of what a human being is and how the interactions between the human mind/body and the world culminates in projecting ourselves(consciousness). These scientific disciplines have lead me to a multi faceted view of the extraordinary complexity of the human brain and body. This complexity is what causes problems when we don’t comprehend the mechanics of our being and we exhibit behavior and viewpoints that are counterproductive in our lives. Cognitive dissonance. Some of us with the use of understanding/enlightenment can without drugs or therapy dissipate negative behaviors. Some of us cannot. This isn’t a sign of weakness this is a fact that points to the realization that each of us is wired differently, all of us variations on a theme.
The tragic thing is, even after you understand the underpinnings of human behavior and the interplay between the mind/body, genetics and environment that doesn’t mean you can now easily have more control over your behavior and make all the right moves. I think you should start small. Identify one of your negative behaviors and find a way to get rid of it. Don’t try and change several behaviors at a time. Also look at behaviors that could be improved such as social and parenting skills.
Once you understand what’s behind the curtain that influences and sometimes totally controls what you do and say you have created a launch point into the effort of attempting to program your brain to produce positive behaviors and viewpoints that are more useful to you.
So that you aren’t all over the place studying subject matter that probably won’t help you in some form or fashion I have listed below the subjects that I find most useful in giving me a mental perspective that enables me to better control irrational thoughts and feelings and to better know myself. By way of the internet(websites, youtube), e-books and even old fashioned books coupled with your interactions with others and your day to day life you can come to know yourself better. What these subjects together do is create a perspective that is informative enough for you to deduce how and where to make changes in your behavior and views.
- Cognitive psychology
- Computer science
- Human biology
- Quantum field theory
Look around you if you are blessed to be in a developed country and behold the staggering achievements of the human brain and possibly come to realize why you can many times have a difficult time trying to reach your goals. The human brain/body a powerful computer and sensors interacting with a complex environment that you must learn to understand in order to learn how to control it.
That’s it. Science coupled with the beliefs of human beings like Gautama Buddha, Jiddhu Krishnamurti, Carl Sagan, Friedrich Nietzsche and many others help us to form a mental representation of the structures and interactions behind our consciousness and reflect how powerful the human brain can be, how complex it is and why this complexity is many times a good and a bad thing. All of us at times simply the projection that is caught in a storm of thoughts, a raging river and we have little or no control over our destinations. No control over what it is to be.