We’re already nine days into the new year and I realize I haven’t posted anything yet. True, things have been busy. Crazy busy. But that’s no excuse. After all, my mind is constantly churning out thoughts I seem to have no control over.
Spewing and spewing more words, phrases, ideas, and concepts than I can wrap my head around. Nonstop. Mass internal confusion. The collision of thoughts like sub-atomic particles ricocheting around in a super collider.
Condensation trails in a cloud chamber.
It’s no wonder it’s tough to think and write cohesively.
What is that voice in our heads constantly telling us how the world is? And I don’t mean that voice from the subconscious that warns us when we need it most – that’s our gut talking. That’s intuition. That’s something entirely different.
No, the everyday, run of the mill, monotone, never-ceasing-to-chatter documentary. That’s the one I’m talking about.
It goes by several names.
The new branding of the ancient concept has been “self-talk.” I personally don’t like that term as it implies more control over it than I think we have. I better like the term, “the internal dialog.” I picked up that phrase up reading Castaneda’s books back in my teenage years.
There’s another term I picked up over the years that refers to a bit different view of that voice, or voices, in our minds and it is the “Mitote.” If you look for the translation of this word you’ll find that it refers to an indigenous dance of Mexico, more specifically, the Aztecs.* You’ll also see it used in the context of a party or celebration. Then again, it’s defined as being an uproar, a disturbance, an annoying or uncomfortable action. And finally, it can be an initiative, a proposal or a singular idea.
But the context I most appreciate for this term is that of it being the thousands of voices in our heads all speaking at the same time. That annoying uproar that starts infiltrating our minds before birth and doesn’t cease until our deaths. It’s essentially a “fog of perception.” A description of the world and all of its elements in terms of language, culture, and all other “accepted” social beliefs and institutions.
Other correlative terms include: “Illusion” or “Maya.”
This fog, this clutter, blocks our ability to actually “see” and experience the world, and all that’s in it, as it truly is because it’s a pre-programmed, homogenized, and restricted description that has been repeated over and over for centuries. With slight refinements and updates, it’s the software that’s loaded into our brains, without permission, that colors our entire world view.
It’s also very judgmental, chaotic, and just plain aggravating at times.
The Mitote not only prevents us from seeing the truth of the world, it prevents us from seeing the truth about ourselves. About who and what we really are.
Now that’s a big mouthful to swallow. Gulp!
Our internal dialog, a singular voice speaking to ourselves, could be described as a small fraction of the Mitote. Usually, our voice consolidates and mimics the other voices and we don’t even realize it. In fact, we are frequently deceived because we believe we are having original thoughts when these concepts have already been inserted into our neural network. Pre-wired for our convenience.
And sensibly, this voice, our internal dialog spewing its chaos and confusion, is the one we seek to quiet when practicing meditation.
Shut up already!
So, meditation not only calms the mind, it allows us to see past the illusion. Past the facade of architecture constructed to obscure reality. A reality not favored by those intent on social control.
And I like that word facade too. “An outward appearance that is maintained to conceal a less pleasant or creditable reality.” Wouldn’t it be nice to see a credible, tangible, untainted, reliable, verifiable, and unmalleable world view?
And if we could experience that view, without the internal pandemonium, would we be able to recognize it after being subjected to our lifelong brainwashing? Our domestication?
Could we see through the illusion?
I remember a Buddhist parable where the Master pulled his best student aside and sent him on a mission. The Master gave the student a dove and instructed him to go where no one could see him and kill the bird. Puzzled, the student asked why, but the Master would tell him no more. It was a test.
So, the student began walking through the village searching for a place where no eyes could see him. He wandered out into the surrounding farmland, but there were still people not so far away that their eyes could not pry. He finally entered the wilderness, but there were so many other animal species, and they were all wary of this man holding an innocent dove, restricting it from its freedom.
He labored on and on to depths of the wilds he had never experienced. But even there, the insects and plants flourished. He felt their eyes upon him.
He finally climbed a mountain, going far above the tree-line, to an area so cold and desolate that no species could thrive. Even he would only survive a short time in this barren and oxygen-deprived of all lands.
He looked down at the innocent dove he held in his hands and prepared to snap its neck, but thought that maybe he should meditate on his actions first. And that’s when the realization came through.
He retraced his steps back to the monastery, met his Master, and presented him the live dove. His Master smiled and asked him why he had not carried out his mission. The student replied, there is no such place for there is always a witness – ourselves.
He had passed his Master’s test.
Yes, we are always our own witness. And we inherently know when actions are wrong or right. Often more by feeling or intuiting, and not by wading through the maze of the Mitote. Or even the singular conglomeration of those thousand voices comprising our internal dialog. We can see through the social programing if we take the time, hike the distance, clear that fog of perception long enough to see the truth.
It’s like waking from a dream. And just what will we see? Feel? Believe?
There’s a whole world out there to experience. To experience anew, without the cloud of preconceived and pre-programmed ideology.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all awoke from this social-drug-induced sleep . . .
Photo: A reflection from a silver painted light bulb. 🙂 If you look close in the bottom center of the shot, you’ll see the camera. I had ducked down behind the desk. In the foreground is an antique clock, followed by a candle holder – three candles that flickered three times during the timed-exposure. Finally, there is the table lamp. All-in-all, a distorted or contorted view of what we regard as “normally perceived reality.” But in a world where our brains are filled with preconceptions, maybe time and space do bend in ways we can’t conceive with our limited senses and socially-induced prejudices.
* And here are a couple of links describing the dance version of the Mitote 🙂
** It’s claimed that death releases us from the grip of the internal dialog. We will then experience, without prejudgment, our true spiritual self and all that surrounds us. And it’s also been postulated that taking hallucinogenic drugs produces a similar death-like experience where that internal dictator “voice” is shut down. Could the visions remaining after that shut down, normally thought of as hallucinations, actually be reality? A reality so foreign to us to be beyond our current level of comprehension because it has not been pre-interpreted and spoon-fed to our brains?