body-mind machine


how conscious are we of the driving while we are driving? – who is directing being conscious of it or not?

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?

Pictures by bvdb (whoisbert) February 2004 – @herent(B) – HP-Photosmart C935 – HPIMG0149

20 thoughts on “body-mind machine

  1. What is it that directs my consciousness (if at all) and that chooses not to identify?

    Me. That is, Self. I direct My Consiousness and am My Consciousness. I deny My Consciousness. Further, I deny that I am the Universe and that I am God even though that is what I am. It could be no other way, as I gave Myself and am Free Will. I permit Myself to decide, I decide for and against Myself, and I contradict My Decisiveness with My Indecisiveness.

    That it’s Me in charge of it All is incredible. That I is the Origin—Everywhere and Nowhere—is one of the hardest things to accept, understand, and know. But if I can do It, I can.

    • The drop in the Ocean, or the entire ocean in the droplet? 🙂
      Thank you for your beautiful comment.
      I’m afraid that words will never be able to communicate about this mystery, and lead us to the eternal swamp of the paradox. But I have also noticed that those people who went to conquer the K2 — when they talk about their challenge to each other, they know exactly what the other is saying.

    • Hello Erik, (and, of course Bert) I like the three words ‘if at all’ in your opening statement i.e: ‘What is it that directs my consciousness (if at all) . . . . ‘ Something directing requires something separate so it has to be “not at all”!!! 🙂

  2. To ”my” opinion (and its wonderful world ! -thanks for this post by the way) of all the problems facing science none are more challenging yet fascinating than those posed by consciousness.
    Very well written as always.

    • Interesting link you provided. I wonder who takes the initiative to restructure the wiring. Is that the neural network itself, or is there more than just that. I hope for the latter, but I don’t let my mind fool around with the experiences it cannot interpret, so I’ll keep it ignorant 🙂 LoL

      • No, it’s repeated behavior that deepens the neural pathways. As we’ve continued ‘doing what we’ve done before’ – or more accurately, ‘thinking what we’ve thought before’ countless times, those pathways are deeply grooved. When we begin responding or thinking differently, new pathways are formed. It is we, and only we, who restructure them.

        • Thank you. That confirms what I noticed, that repeated correction un-creates bad habits or creates new ones, and apparently also on a physical level n the neural realms. Still pondering how this works on higher levels … 🙂

  3. interesting post…auto-pilot is a good description
    I go the long way around now a days , the people on the main through fairs
    are so on auto pilot, with their texting and eating/drinking, I wonder who the co-pilot is….
    so many questions and when I get close to an answer…more questions …
    A good post…Thank you for sharing
    Take Care…You Matter…

    • You are most welcome. I don’t think mind can come up with a final answer. The world of paradoxes opens up when it puts a mirror in front of itself. We need to venture into space to realize the beauty of our planet as seen from above.

  4. Put simply, there is the true identity, the Spirit identity, and the physical identity, the Earthling.They are connected via the transformer we call the brain. However, if one wishes for the real truth one has to go to the extremes of comprehension; to the fact that all we perceive as real is an illusion we create continuously. I have previously used the comparison of the virtual world some create on their computers.

    • Thank you Ian for you great insights. … We have to venture into that Spirit identity to ‘see’ that truth, and coming down, we will not be able to express it into words without contradicting ourselves.

  5. Most people drive their cars on auto-pilot so all your questions are very interesting. I certainly have no answers. I grew up in New York City but did not take driving lessons until my 50s. Learned “how” but cannot drive. Too terrified. I have no auto-pilot despite much practice. Just terror. It is a real problem.

    • It took me some time to see what ‘might’ be happening, and to be honest, it is just a guess.
      When anxiety comes in, the director is always up front, and the driving becomes a ‘what to do now’ experience all the time. The body-mind machine cannot do what it is supposed to, and driving becomes a fearful experience.
      Suppose while walking, the only thing you think of is how to avoid animal droppings (read dog S.), how would you walk, and how many people would you bump into focussing on the yard in front of your feet?

    • We all do drive like this, nearly 99% of the time. We are unaware when we change gear, or take a turn that we steer, and so on, and so on … . Then when our thoughts really wander off, we notice that we didn’t have to do anything to do the driving.
      When my father had already lost 70% of his vision, he had no problem driving. He said his car brought him everywhere. But after some time, while really putting attention on the road with his conscious mind, he realized the danger and stopped driving. He never got rid of the car though, it is still there, used by grandchildren to bring grandpa anywhere he wants.

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