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The Tinkered Mind
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May 29th, 2020
Despite the tantalizing inequality of space presented by the night sky and all that exists beyond the thin blue border of our atmosphere, space as we experience it is finite and limited. For anyone who has crammed the mechanics of their life into a tiny studio apartment in an urban filing cabinet, the fact can resonate so deeply that claustrophobia takes on new dimensions.
A room can be completely filled with stuff until there is literally no space left. Imagine a room filled to the ceiling with junk. How do you make space?
The answer is obvious: take some of the stuff out. Making space is a subtractive process because space is finite. In order to make space, we have to address each and every thing in the room. Picking it up, and hauling it out.
The mind has a fairly similar requirement. To make some mental space, we need to take out the things that are buzzing in the heart of our attention and clouding our ability to see. Sometimes this is as easy as writing down a list of things to do.
But most of the time, it is even easier, though few people are practiced in the process. Often times, a thought, or the shadow of a thought just needs some acknowledgement. It’s as though we have two minds. One vast mind that encompasses all that we might do and all that we dream ourselves to be. And a second mind that clutters our view of that vastness with a cloud of annoying, unhelpful thoughts.
We need only note them, consciously, and often such extraneous mental paraphernalia pops and vanishes into nothing. Like the junk in the room, we remove thoughts from our mind.
This is an essential skill for any person to develop. It is a path to peace. It may in fact be the only path the peace. Or, at the very least, the only reliable path to peace that anyone can walk at any time.
To have clarity, to have mental space, to be at peace. These things are not achieved by the addition of things that we believe will spark joy somewhere in the fussy workings of our mind.
We must take the opposite approach.
Only then do we get a clear view of what we really are: something far more vast and capable than we’re lead to believe as we swat at the normal cloud of pesky thoughts.
Clarity requires removing things from our sphere of consciousness.
Peace is a subtractive process.