When we allow our minds to wander off in thought, we become disconnected from the present moment and from the reality that exists around us. We enter a sort of pseudo-reality dream-like world within the mind, as we reflect upon past events, or try to imagine our future. The simple fact is that most of our mental activity distracts us from reality and since it is not reality, can be classified as fantasy, or daydreams.
Daydreams and fantasies imprint upon our memory in the same way as any external event. Some will produce stronger imprints than others. Some will be forgotten, Others will feed and shape our Ego. Just as it is with events in reality, those that stir or invoke emotions leave the strongest imprints on our memory.
Because we live in a society that practically worships big Egos, we are never really taught the importance of inner reflection and self awareness. Without self awareness, the Ego is free to operate without any checks and balances and this free reign of our unobserved Ego often leads to clashes with other Egos.
In our fantasy versions of reality, where we are script writer, director, and star of the play, we have complete control and dominion over everything, and usually create versions of realities that inflate and reinforce our Ego. Events that occur in physical reality seldom bend completely to our wishes, and when our Ego does not experience reality the way it thinks things should be, we suffer.
When we anticipate future events, the mind likes to play out various scenarios searching for what seems to be most favourable to our own desires and will. In this fantastic reality, we can always say just the right thing to fit the circumstances, and of course, we can always achieve the results we want. We exist in a universe of infinite possibilities, and physical reality does not bend so gracefully to our will or our wishes as we would like. No matter how many scenarios we run through in our minds, we can not possibly imagine every outcome in a sea of infinite possibilities.
When we encounter an anticipated situation in physical reality, the Ego (which has unrealistic expectations of control, since it has become accustomed to having control of it's inner fantastical reality), will sub-consciously try to manipulate the situation into playing out as close as possible to our preferred fantastical reality. Since other people's Egos are doing the same thing, the likelihood of our Ego clashing with other Egos increases. Our responses, actions, reactions and interactions with physical reality are influenced by a combination of our life conditioning (memories of similar prior experiences), our views of who or what we believe we are or should be (Ego), and unconscious programming from our fantastic reality. We are indeed creating our own kharma.
The way to break free of this cycle of Kharma is to learn to observe the inner workings of the mind by paying attention to what is going on inside at all times. Attention is the mind's learning mode. As every grade school teachers says, "Pay attention or you will not learn anything". As Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
Driven by fear of the unknown, fear of making a mistake, fear of not being in control, fear of saying or doing the 'wrong' thing, or any of many different fears, the Ego will most assuredly defend itself with flawed logic to justify all of its daydreaming as being necessary to be prepared for whatever may arise. Ego wants to say or do just the right thing at just the right time. After all, this is precisely what the Ego can do in fantastic reality. We convince ourselves that with enough preparation we can somehow control physical reality like we do with fantastical reality. More suffering.
So where is the flaw in this reasoning? In fantasy, thoughts seem to flow effortlessly into words during mental conversations where we can always say or do just the right thing. If the circumstances of physical reality played out exactly the same way in physical reality as they do in fantastic reality, this might actually be useful. However, in physical reality, there are far too many other variables for our limited minds to be able to consider or compensate for. Driven by a fear of saying or doing something less than ideal to our Egoic expectations, we become reluctant to just allow that same easy natural flow of thoughts to manifest outside of Ego's control. The simple truth is that if we can just let go of our preconceived ideas and conditioning, and our need to be in control, opting instead to trust in pure present moment awareness, then our thoughts, speech, actions and re-actions can arise from a place of purity and truth. Some aspects of conditioning (inherited kharma) may still be there, and may not be what the Ego desires, but our actions, re-actions, and interactions with reality will certainly be much more appropriate, genuine and authentic when we let go of our need to control reality and trust in the natural flow of life instead.
|Michael L. Fournier|