I’m continually amazed at the power of the human mind. Its ability to process data and discern minute details is unparalleled. Cray, the largest maker of super-computers (at least at one point in history), made computers that filled an entire room, took thousands of gallons of cooling fluids, all to process data at a fraction of the speed of the human mind. Granted, their super-cooled CPU’s didn’t get bored.
I get bored sometimes, and when I do, I might play video games. I’m not much into the violent stuff, but I like the stuff that challenges your hand-eye coordination. One program I liked (for the XBox-360) was Pro Gotham Racing. I liked this partially because many of the race courses were modeled after neighborhoods in the 5 boroughs of NY that I know so well. It’s an extra-special treat when you get to race an exotic sports car down a city street you have driven down in real life, in a regular car.
Sometimes, you’d be challenged with a race that would just kick your butt. And so you’d restart, and it would kick your butt again and you would restart again, and so on and so forth for far too many hours. But… if you stuck with it, that great little brain we have, would start to notice minute patterns. In one race, I noticed that I got further, if on the very first turn, I crashed into the rear of the leading car (effectively taking them out of the race). In fact, you couldn’t do well at all in that race unless you took out the front-runners on the first turn. I don’t know how I arrived at those conclusions (lie, yes I do, trial and error over multiple restarts), but they proved to be true. (full disclosure… I never buy the cheat-books… that would spoil all of the fun).
I find that this gaming mindset spills over into other areas of my life. I program computers for a living, and the same faculty that helps me figure out what to do correctly, in a game, is the one that helps me figure out what is wrong with a computer program… or, my car, when it breaks down by the side of the road. I don’t know how I do it, but its a little like those CSI videos, where you sort of ‘gaze’ inside to see how the bullet entered into the victim and nicked the aorta, you just know where the problem is coming from.
They say we only use about 10% of the capability of our minds. I’m thinking it is maybe less! Through the practice of meditation, I’ve learned that there is a way of directly ‘knowing’ something, without taking the ‘long way’ around through logical understanding. There was a great book that I read several times when growing up called ‘A Wrinkle in Time’. In the book, they gave this analogy… they said ‘imagine that you have a string stretched between the fingers of your two hands. And, imagine that an ant walks across the string from one hand to the other. It is a long way that the ant has to crawl. But, if you were to bring your hands together, the ant could step from the start point to the end point without traversing the middle.’ (not an exact quote, I’m just remembering here).
We are used to the scenario where we start off not knowing something, then we get a bunch of books, do a bunch of reading, then eventually, we learn something. But what if that wasn’t the only way to learn? What if you could suddenly just know something, like in the movie, ‘the Matrix’, when they download a Kung Fu program, or a Helicopter Pilot program?
Well, in fact, it is possible! The human mind is a much more capable beast than we give it credit for. The only reason we don’t see this is that we don’t believe it is possible… we don’t test the envelop! If you study with an advanced teacher… or study on your own, but seriously read the works of the advanced teachers, then you might experience this. What happens is that they touch your awareness and download a ‘block of attention’ to your mind, just like downloading a zip file of some incredible research paper to your computer’s hard-drive. In formal lingo they call this the ‘direct transmission of the dharma’.
By itself, that zip file sitting on your hard-drive is just taking up space. If you don’t attempt to unzip it, or access it in some way, it’s not going to do you any good. But, if you put your attention to it, you can gain access to the contents. So, if an advanced teacher transmits a block of attention to you, you won’t immediately know what to do with it. But, if they have at least given you an idea of the subject of the knowledge they gave you, then you will start to read the books, and do the background research on the topic… and then, this is when the magic kicks in… as you begin to acquaint yourself with the basics, you suddenly grasp the deep esoteric meaning of the topic… you unzip the zip file! It is all plain as day! It is as if you had always known this knowledge, but you’d forgotten it and had just remembered!
People who learn how to harness this power of the mind may advance very quickly. It takes focus and hard work, but the payoffs are immense! If you are not decoding the secrets of the Universe, then either you are not taking advantage of the power of your mind, or you are focusing it in the wrong direction. I mean, it is nice to know the optimal way to cache the CBS video player’s content over a slow connection (Survivor/Amazing Race – hint, pause the player while it is playing, pausing while it has stalled will cause problems), but there are far more interesting things you could be comprehending!