How does the Human Condition impact you?
The 6 distortions of the mind
“Our minds maintain enough of an illusion of separation that we can function on the physical plane. In functioning, however, it blocks awareness of the underlying unity and the joy that is also present. Like every other system, it’s useful for what its useful for, but deleterious beyond that.” James Fadiman
As described in my prior article, we all suffer from the so-called Human Condition. This is a mental state that prevents human beings from seeing the full extent of reality. It’s like a software program that acts as a screening device or control center that filters information going in an out of our psyches.
So how does the Human Condition impact you? I find it easiest to describe the Human Condition as distortions of the mind. Here are the main distortions:
1. Separation. Our minds see everything as physical or manifested form. Thus, we perceive humans as separate bodies and do not see how we are connected to other life forms, the earth and the ultimate source of life. This distortion is called the illusion of separation.
2. Form. Our minds perceive everything as “form” or physical (as opposed to energy). So we see only the physical material realm. This is thought to be because our human bodies can only process information through our five senses (e.g., see and hear). From this limited input we assume this this is reality when it is just "perception." In other words, we "see" only what the body-mind sees.
“It seems that we have made a dreadful mistake by identifying ourselves exclusively with our consciousness, by imagining that we are only what we know about ourselves. For as Jung says, “It is important and salutatory to speak also of incomprehensible things.“ Lyall Watson
3. Time. Our minds invent the concept of “time and space” and thus construct reality in a linear fashion. We see things as moving forward or backward in time, not realizing that reality is not actually linear. Indeed, science has discovered that there are other dimensions of time and space.
4. Past. Building on the concept of time, our minds think that there is past and a future, although none really exists. Thus, the mind uses the past as its reference point to predict the future and worries about the future – which does not exist. The mind can not see the present moment which is actually the only thing that exists.
“The moment we lose sufficient connection with the Now we collapse into our own peculiar psychological reams in which everything we think (about ourselves, others, past and future) is distorted in accordance with the particular adaptation of our survival personalities and acculturalization. It is a personal psychological dream world.” Richard Moss
5. Cause. The mind thinks that there is something called “cause and effect.” We perceive physical actions as directly causing certain outcomes in a material world. Our minds reject the fact that other “invisible” causes are at play and that there may be significant time delay between an event happening the resulting consequences.
6. Ego-Identity. The mind creates a false identity or persona that we each refer to as “I” (e.g. “I like cake” and “I am smart”). This persona is much like a random person in your head. However, it thinks it is very real! It tells you all sorts of things and feels she is the boss of you. Indeed, this so-called “small self” does everything she can to protect and defend you. I discuss the ego in detail later.
As you can see, there are two distinct roles of the Human Condition. The first is to filter things coming into and out of your psyche (distortions 1-5) and the second is to protect your ego-identity (distortion 6.)
You will see in my next few articles, that the sixth distortion (the Ego-Identity) is the most popular distortion. This is mostly because it was recently “discovered” by psychologists as a cause of much of our psychological suffering. But also, many mystics and sages see the egoic-state is the primary barrier to awakening – individually and as a species. For example, Eckhart Tolle says:
“Until now, human intelligence, which is no more than a minute aspect of universal intelligence, has been distorted and misused by the ego. I call that “intelligence in the service of madness” … and it’s threatening our survival as a species.“
I personally believe that if we are able to transcend the ego-identity, we will be primed to remove the other five distortions.
The bottom line is that we may never break free of all six distortions. We may never expand our human perception to such a degree that we actually see and experience that we are all connected.
However, since we are all in the process of expanding our consciousness, this information is very useful in helping us in two ways. First to help us make sense of what’s really going on in our lives and on the planet and also to help us embrace the (often bumpy) journey with confidence.
In my next entries I talk about:
Where did the Human Condition come from?
What is the Ego-Identity?
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