How Do You Know?
Updated: Jan 22
In this post I would like to point out how much our entire life has been and it is constantly based on beliefs and assumptions that condition and shape the reality we live in. Mind wants control and this urge of safety represents a self-imposed limitation in facing and experiencing the world.
"The secret is to be in a state of constant departure
while always arriving"
- Waking Life -
"How do you know that meat is bad for your health? How do you know that vegetables are good for your health? How do you know which diet is best for you? How do you know that modern medicine is the best option? How do you know that alternative medicine is the best option? How do you know that Earth is round? How do you know that Earth is flat? How do you know that science is the best way to study reality? How do you know that spirituality is the best way to study reality? How do you know that meditation is useful? How do you know that meditation is a waste of time? How do you know Darwin was right? How do you know creationists are right? How do you know academics are right? How do you know your doctor is right? How do you know your mother is right? How do you know psychedelics are bad? How do you know psychedelics are good? How do you know Catholicism claim the Truth? How do you know Islam claim the Truth? How do you know which religion is the best one? How do you know the Bible is trustful? How do you the Koran is trustful? How do you know God does not exist? How do you know God do exist? How do you know reality is objective? How do you know reality is subjective? How do you know reality is material? How do you know reality is immaterial? How do you know that your senses are reliable? How do you know that your mind is reliable? How do you know that mind is generated by the brain? How do you know you have a brain? How do you know you are not living a Truman show? How do you know that I am not fooling you in this blog?".
I could have kept going for pages and pages making a list of new questions but to keep a long story short: "How do you know you are not full of crap?". The truth is that we do not know. The truth is that most of the things we think to know for sure are simply assumptions we religiously follow based on faith. What we lack is direct experience.
Even the most obvious fact such as having a brain is taken for granted. It is certainly likely that you have a brain, it sounds even non-sense to doubt such an evident fact but still I personally never had a direct experience of having a brain: I never looked within my skull, I have never seen a picture of it. I just heard and learnt that I have one.
Before falling into the ridiculous, I am not suggesting to anyone to open its own skull up to check whether they do have a brain but I would like you to simply recognize that most of the knowledge you have acquired in your life is based on faith. I would like you to realize that 99,99% of things that I mentioned above are hold by you as a belief, that is, you have no direct experience of what is true or false. For the purpose of this post it does not actually matter whether the believes you are holding on are true or false. What I would like you to admit to yourself is that you do now really know ("The Importance Of Not Knowing"). And the gravity of this behavior is that in a way or in another some of these assumptions are conditioning and ruling your life.
Among all the assumptions there are certain ones that make no difference to your daily life such as knowing whether the Earth is round, flat or held by a turtle but other assumptions deeply rooted in your mind are causing you a lot of issues as a human being, probably without being aware of it. Your attitude might be to just want to live your life peacefully and quietly, that all this questioning and philosophy represent a waste of time that do not bring any good in your daily life. You might be thinking that questioning and being skeptical about everything is not the right mind set, that we have the luxury to have trustful authorities to rely on in making sense of each aspect of our reality. We cannot know everything after all!
That is exactly what mind, alias you, wants. Do not be bothered. Do not be disturbed. Feeling safe. Feeling grounded. Feeling stable. Feeling under control. Being at ease. Feeling peaceful.
As I said previously ("The Importance Of Mind"), mind represents, relatively speaking, who you are. When I refer to mind I do not only mean thoughts but the entire complex web of believes, assumptions, ideas, concepts, emotions, feelings, perceptions and sensations that make you. Mind is the structure needed to feel grounded and safe, mostly preoccupied in creating rules, limitations and boundaries within reality in order to be efficient in experiencing the world. Mind likes to withdraw definitive conclusions about the reality it lives into to then convince itself that that model is the best one. Mind also loves to be lazy and to keep things simple, logic and rational as if rationality represents the best and only way to describe and frame life. Mind loves to stick to whatever gives assurance and it does not really want to be challenged over and over again. Once an assumption has been created, mind will try to erect its model to be 100% true and flawless.
Mind wants one and only one thing, that is, to feel secure and it will use its most powerful weapon, fear, to keep you chained. Manifestations of fear are: blaming others to be wrong, being judgmental, using logic and rationality to mock and dismiss anything that sounds and tastes new agey, rejecting any alternatives in modeling reality by assuming a defensive behavior and a closed mind attitude.
It is interesting to realize that we are so afraid to look at things differently that we, as "healthy" mind, do everything we can to avoid any possible crack in our solid and objective belief system. We confine "crazy" people into asylums, we tend to ignore them, we tend to label them as "out of their mind". Not only people with mental psychological issues but also whoever seems to propose a new window to look at the world. Since reality seems to be material and solid and science has plenty of data proving this model, you had better to be ready in proposing something different. Since PhDs and medical doctors have said that X is good for your health, do not dare to try Y.
Nowadays we are exposed and bombarded with all sort of information: fake news, new theories, new models and it is difficult to discern valuable knowledge in this jungle of data. It takes a lot of time to study and read all the proposed theories, to cross reference them and being able to connect the dots by discarding bad information. For this reason most of us do not embark in this investigation and we simply trust and have faith in what others claim, blindly following their advice. Even worst, we go around and we preach to others what we have just learnt and read in a book, we behave as true authorities about a subject and we superficially dismiss and mock whoever comes up with something different.
People (minds) like to fill up their mouths with words of which they never had a real direct experience, they simply heard or read about it. And they take these words so seriously that they start real fights to defend their beliefs. Mind likes to do it because it gives a sense of security to have finally figured something out, it gives as sense of grounding.
This kind of attitude ranges from existential questions to more mundane issues and history is full of cases of people that were initially mocked by the majority to eventually been awarded and considered pioneers in whatever field they were investing their time. It takes courage to go against the prevalent authority. It take courage to see things differently.
Would not be too much luck and too much a coincidence being born in the only trustful culture, where there is the best food, the best science, the best diet, the best religion, the best political and economical organization? Does not sound to much simplistic and naive to believe that the place in which you have born already offers the best way of living? What a chance!
What if, as awakening seems to suggest, all models of reality are relative and all perspectives are only a specific and limited way of looking and experiencing reality? What if you realize that none of those boundaries and labels imposed over reality are objectively present? This feels uncomfortable for the mind. This feels shaky and few people would walk towards that direction without a safety net. Mind needs to feel secure and accepting the idea that your reality is one out of infinite is simply freaky scary. Mind needs order, structure, logic and to be rational. Mind cannot accept reality to be too fluid.
We cannot know everything, true. But by being at the mercy of others, we are not doing any good for our self. We are lost in fear of survival. And even though Consciousness' work is often seen as pure philosophy, as a sort of mental masturbation that has nothing to do with "real" life, going deep into this journey will make you realize that by realizing who you are and what reality is, your entire attitude as a human being will change and you will refuse to blindly accept anything that has been told you, especially if it represents an important aspect of our life such as who you are and what is supposedly good for you as a human being. Once you awake to your true nature, mind will gradually ground itself in the realization that there is no real ground, that there is no real and objective perspective in life and that everything can be seen from a different angle.
The distinctiveness of Consciousness' work is that you are the only one that can do it ("Look Within You", "Neti-Neti: Who Am I?", "No-Self: The First Step Towards You"). No one can come to you and point to your true nature. This work does not rely on intellectual knowledge. No written words in any holy book will make the trick. Words and concepts are only pointers that can be useful to guide through this journey you but eventually direct experience is essential.
At the moment most of people believe that what they fundamentally are is a biological individual made out of flesh and bones. A belief that is so much rooted in our mind that no one is questioning it for obvious reasons. Mind wants to be the main character of this novel called life and it does not want to be dethroned. Mind wants you to be identified with something specific. If on one hand this identification process is essential in experiencing and participating into the world, on the other hand it limits your life as a human being.
Awaking is the realization that mind is one of the character, definitively a special one, and that there is more to reality than concepts, words and human senses and perceptions. By holding a belief as your absolute nature, you are enormously limiting your potential. Awakening frames your human life in a much bigger scale and it offers you a different window from which to look and live life. You gain back your full authority in living life not out of fear but with the necessary openness to challenge all limitations and boundaries that have been given to you by others and that you have carelessly accepted in order to survive.
From the point of view of someone that is not interested in revealing the magic of life this work appears to be a self inflicted pain, a way to get into your own interest. But by knowing who you are, this work will simply be seen as an opportunity to have at disposal a powerful tool, mind, that can be used to explore Yourself, to be creative in solving your human problems rather than you being used by it ending up in creating only limitations and misery.
By doing this inner work you will realize that a human being needs to accept to wander into a relativity world and it needs to be willing to embrace change and constant transformation in order to dance life by being amazed by every single aspect of reality. Thinking to be arrived to an ultimate conclusion is an illusion, a self deception constructed by mind to feel safe. There is always more work to do, always different ways to look at things and it is up to you how much investigation you want to do. As I said previously ("Truth Is Radical"), this attitude will cause you many problems as being part of a society that is highly unconscious.
Science, religion, politics, economy, philosophy, sport, psychology, medicine are all valid and interesting aspects of our human life to investigate but instead of clinging and blindly follow one of them I would rather suggest you to integrate all of them, to keep your knowledge fluid, not static. Be open, listen to others, accept the possibility you are wrong, mix different cultures, merge different information, do not be a fundamentalist, be always ready to shape your reality and above all have a direct experience of what you are talking about. Consciousness' work helps you to challenge all the boundaries and limitations mind has created within reality, all the assumptions and believes it has blindly swallowed. This work will give you much more freedom, strength and joy in challenging everything you know, everything that is important for your life. By becoming your own authority, no one can fool you anymore.
Consciousness is the only absolute reality, everything else within It is relative and questionable. Consciousness is the groundless ground that contains all possible relative perspectives and once you get to this realization, mind will slowly embrace and accept the fact that change and transformation are a natural part of our human life.
Thanks for reading.