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Mindless Belief

Posted by spritzophrenia on September 20, 2010

The role of our mind or reason has been a past theme here. I want to share what someone said in a recent post on Beliefnet. Here’s the verbatim quote:

The idea that there is a God and the idea that there is no God are both mind conceptions. The mind can go on developing the idea one way or the other, but it just goes around in circles. The rational mind is incestuous and keeps recreating itself endlessly.

The perception of Reality is beyond the rational mind. The experiences that people have on drugs, for instance, happen when the drug annuls the rational mind.

In Zen Buddhism there is a practice based on koans, which are questions that have no rational answer, like “what is the sound of one hand clapping”. The purpose is to have the mind make the efforts to find a logical answer until it short circuits itself. That is the time when the transcending experiences, called satori happen, moments when reality is seen as it is.

I would add that the aim of all true spiritual practices is the wearing off of the rational mind. Not to kill it or remove it, but to transcend it and not be the center of one’s perceptions.


I feel uncomfortable reading this. I think there are two extremes, one is to have too strong a role for the mind, the other is not to value it at all.




? What do you think?

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11 Responses to “Mindless Belief”

  1. As I published this, I saw on Twitter, “People who don’t think probably don’t have brains; rather, they have grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake.” ~ Winnie the Pooh


  2. I don’t agree. I think the mind is far more powerful than we give it credit for. Sure there is space to clear your head of noise, but the mind is everything. I think it’s impossible to experience anything without the mind, so to try and rid oneself of thought is folly.

    If we could harness the mind’s power in its entirety, I think we could transcend our current understandings of the universe.

    • “I think itโ€™s impossible to experience anything without the mind”

      I hadn’t thought of that angle. Let’s say in “enlightenment” you are having an experience beyond the mind. Then WHAT is having that experience?

      I understand some Eastern thought conceives of the Universe experiencing itself, but… yeah. No conclusions from me there, just a direction of interesting thought.


  3. Having no value or role for the mind is not the answer because we need the mind to get to the point where we can go beyond the mind. The mind can only take us so far. As it implies here the goal is to transcend the rational mind to reach the Reality beyond the mind and senses–what the mystic has experienced. The mind is our instrument in order to achieve this.

  4. leesis said

    Some people think the rational mind must be ‘overcome’.
    Some think emotions must be overcome.
    Some think physical drives must be overcome.

    Me, I reckon I’m rational and emotional and physical and ethereal and all sorts of stuff I’m yet to learn and I’ll use the whole lot to learn. To reject any part of me seems silly. And you know, it reminds me of when a priest told me as a teen that sex wasn’t for pleasure and would take my mind away from God. I asked why then were women given a cli… well you know (I wasn’t so polite when I was a teen :)). I don’t mean to be rude but its the same idea isn’t it…rejecting a part of what we are?

    • Nice approach, and if god made us then all of our bodies are good, including the rude bits.

      I am wondering how “the physical” might interact with a spiritual search, if our mind and emotions do too.

  5. The Zen answer to “do I have to lose my mind to become enlightened?” is “Come see me if that happens.”

  6. joshilan said

    ‘we live that we may learn to love

    we love that we may learn to live

    no other lesson is required of humanity’


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