What the Mind Needs to Know
‘Needing to know’ is often the basis for our entire feeling of safety in life, our entire way of navigating through difficult times, emotional turbulence, and unexpected crises. We cling to knowledge on the mental level because we have lost our anchor in the deeper knowing of the Eternal.
What does your mind need to know and how strongly do you believe you need to know this? For many in the West who have grown up with a rational, scientific mentality as the basis for knowledge and for security, having a rational explanation for things is simply taken for granted as a natural human need. A ‘mystical’ explanation, for example, will not do. But what does the mind really need to know? This is a question that is answered differently in the East, where the rational and scientific orientation toward reality often becomes subservient to a more devotional and sacred perspective. The latter allows the Divine to enter the picture as Creator and Cause, often without the understanding that the mind may seek. From this perspective, the Divine is seen as holding the knowledge that is not accessible to the mind, but that may, at times, be accessible to the spiritual senses.
We, in the West, are hungry for knowledge that we can feel, smell, touch, and, speaking in scientific terms, observe and have confirmed by others. We are used to it. We hunger for it as one who has been without food hungers for the next meal. We think it only natural that we should want this mental feeding. Such ‘needing to know’ is often the basis for our entire feeling of safety in life, our entire way of navigating through difficult times, emotional turbulence, and unexpected crises. Only some of us, and not very many, have discovered a resting place at times of difficulty that does not lay in the mind but in the knowledge of the heart that knows itself to be connected to something that is Eternal, something that governs all of life. We cling to knowledge on the mental level because we have lost our anchor in the deeper knowing of the Eternal, and thus we have no place of rest unless we can answer the dual questions that are based on the mind’s knowledge, namely, what is happening and why is it happening?
We, in the West, are hungry for knowledge that we can feel, smell, touch, and, speaking in scientific terms, observe and have confirmed by others. We are used to it. We hunger for it as one who has been without food hungers for the next meal.
The sense of being held in the sacred flow of Life which is larger than our individual selves but which we are always part of has become less accessible to us, and so we look for safety in a different way, in our mind’s knowing and in our answers to the question of ‘why’ things are the way they are. Even when there is no answer to the ‘why’ question, we try to make one up in order to reassure ourselves that we know what is happening and what will happen next. Since this degree of mental certainty is not realistically available to us most of the time, even though we seek it always, we walk around in a state of tension and anxiety, in varying states of adaptation to our perpetual sense of insecurity and unsafety. We do not assume that peace is a natural state for us to live in. We assume that anxiety, based on the uncertainties we face, is the natural state.
It is not enough for us to long for peace. We must understand that peace, not anxiety, is our deeper nature, and that we have departed far from it through no fault of our own. It has happened through our identification with mind as a way of navigating physical reality, and it has happened over a long period of time in human history and evolution. Now, however, we are being given the opportunity to return to a more peaceful state and to a more sacred awareness. We are being given the opportunity to return to the sense of rest within our deeper selves that relies on our eternal Being as the source of safety, not on our mind’s knowing.
We doubt that this can happen. We fear that this can happen. We long for this to happen. So many conflicting motives surround the wish and fear to let go of the rational, scientific, egoic way of looking at reality. Doubt, fear, longing, swim together in our consciousness. We are afraid to let go of the foundation that has upheld us for so long. Nonetheless, in the secret recesses of our inner knowing, we know that what we have told ourselves we ‘understand’ through information about ‘why,’ has never really penetrated our deeper sense of truth. It has always been a guess, something that others guessed at in a similar way, and so we felt reassured by their corroboration. Still, we were not often at peace, even with such knowledge.
We have the choice, today, because of the spiritual light that is casting its rays through every perplexed mind and through every physical body to examine the possibility that we do not need to know what we think we need to know. Our security and rest can lie elsewhere. Yet, how can we find this elsewhere?
First, through a willingness to entertain the possibility that we do not need to know what we think we need to know. Just to entertain that as a possibility. This is the first step.
Second, through the embracing of simplicity. We can think of the small creatures of the Earth as well as the rocks and plants that do not base their lives on mental knowledge. They base their lives on a deeper knowing, an organic knowing, a biological knowing. Perhaps we could be more like them, trusting our deeper knowing that lives more within our bodies than within our minds.
Third, we can entertain the possibility of surrender of our mind to our heart — to its awareness of love as the primary value that governs life. Love, and the commitment to love, is not based on mental knowledge. It is based on contact with a moral center that lives within us that allows us to know what is most important in life. We can contemplate leaving the primary identity of being a mind-focused person to being a heart-focused person, leaving our minds to function well for us when they really need to.
Each of these steps is part of the process of surrender. They are part of the shift of our psyche from a rational-scientific perspective to a heart-centered perspective. Each step taken in this direction allows us to let go of trying to control life through our mental explanations, and begin to experience life more fully.
We are at a choice point, today, as individuals and as a society, one that can allow us to make a radical shift in our approach to life that will enable us to live with greater peace. Such peace rests on a foundation of truth that is deeper than what the mind can access. What do we need to know, and how afraid are we to let go of this belief are questions for our time. They are doorways to a new and sacred way of life that we may choose to walk through if we are willing to entertain this possibility.