I’m driving on the highway. It’s close to midnight. Thoughts are wandering off, … and I continue driving the car as on automatic. Not much different from walking or cycling or swimming. The movements are hard-wired. The handling of the car is hard-wired. But the sensing and driving is still done by the mental mind. Isn’t It?
Who is driving? It has happened before that my mental mind is not doing the driving, and I still get to my destination. It has happened also that something inside me knows exactly how to drive to the destination, but like an old sat-nav system, the subconscious driver finds the road via the bridge that is now under repair. I, the “director“, I have to intervene, and correct for this mistake. The mistake is the hard-wired road, taken more than 10000 times. The director is the I who identifies being me, or self.
The body-mind machine is doing the driving on auto-pilot, somewhere in the subconscious or unconscious (are they not one and the same?).
It happens that I arrive and have no recollections between point A and B. Memory is on hold during that driving. The google-in-my-head keeps itself busy with the driving and leaves the director doing ‘more important’ tasks.
When driving, the body-mind machine makes many decisions that never make it to consciousness. This machine works as efficiently as a robot or a search engine: the ‘google-in-my-head‘.
Of course, this only happens when there is reasonably low traffic. All my attention is needed when there is more than the normal amount of traffic. A singing child is then quietly asked to keep a lower voice, so the director can focus on the road.
The director corrects the body-mind machine and the car. But the body-mind machine is doing the driving. The director sometimes expresses directions to be taken, but it is the body-mind machine reacting to crazy cut off’s by reckless drivers. The director can teach the body-mind machine to unlearn the bad habit of cursing. The body-mind machine learned that habit during childhood from the body-mind machine of his father.
The director can focus on learning or unlearning new habits. For achieving this there is a need for a will. The director has the will but it is also possible that his will is to be without a will. That will originates from a desire. During driving, the director once awakened to the body-mind machine cursing. It got the desire of stopping this habit. To stop this habit, it would invest energy into achieving this desire, focussing it to an act of will.
The programming or re-programming takes time, but if there is enough perseverance, the body-mind machine can be reprogrammed and a bad habit unlearned.
Unlearning is impossible on the emotional and hormonal systems, (although they can be repressed) but the director can teach mind not to get involved when this happens, or to breath deeply and count to ten :-). Doing so, emotions might still be expressed through their physical outlet, like tears or a facial expression, but soon silence and being calm can take over.
When the director uses the mind-machine for reasoning, speed and efficiency of the machine is reduced by a factor of thousands, even millions. Try doing martial arts through the director in stead of through the body-mind machine, and see what happens. Those learning to drive a car for the first time face the same problem. How to handle gear and clutch and … steering too without any existing habits. It’s not that difficult if you have grown into driving by having lived in the city as a child and having driven a bike or a skateboard. But take a Tibetan monk from his monastery and put him into a car in Paris, and see what happens.
Reasoning and acquiring knowledge and skills is done by the director.
The director behaves like the homunculus or the ‘ghost-in-the-machine‘. But in fact it is nothing but the voice of the conscious mental mind, that we so often identify with. So mind can split up in a conscious director, thinking thoughts and reasoning, and having a great or small idea about itself and its existence, and an unconscious mind-machine doing al the rest that needs to be done.
Who decides what becomes or remains unconscious?
Is it the identification mechanism that directs self as a director or as a mind-machine?
Is the identification as a director not a fooling of oneself?
Is this director-observer perhaps nothing else but mind playing tricks.
What happens when ‘I’ do not identify? Neither with my mind, my emotions or my body?
What is it that directs my consciousness (if at all) and that chooses not to identify?