We’re continuing with The Misleading Mind by Karuna Cayton. I’m trying to find the connection between Step Two: Set up your laboratory and a rationale for the practice as he’s teaching it. I know you know. You know I know. I know that you know I know and vice versa. But in a book that sets out to deal with the Trickster Mind, I really want Cayton to assume I don’t know! But I’m going to trust his process and practice anyway hoping it leads to that pot of gold.
Reading the instructions for setting up the laboratory, I have a strong sense of Cayton’s corporate coaching persona coming through. The language is very “go-get-’em” and the “ABC” breathing practice floats out there without much of an intention to anchor it. I can infer the intention because I know from other experience that the practice holds promise; but it takes me away from my intention to hold a Beginner’s Mind.
The issue of “what is mind?” seems to be what he gets to in the third chapter. How do I clarify my experience so that I can understand reality is what I create? So, in the ABC, A is for anatomy; bring awareness to the areas of tension in the body. B is for breathing; anchor yourself in the breath. C is for counting (really); count the in- and out-breaths. I can’t resist so let me infer that the sequence is to calm and steady internal turmoil. In psychological circles, it’s a variant of progressive muscle relaxation blended with breathing to calm symptoms of anxiety. Not a bad thing but a link to how this prepares “the laboratory” (presumably of body-mind) would have been helpful.
Enough about the book. More about me practicing with the book. Cayton explains that “disturbing emotions” have the power to “hypnotize us…so they become ‘reality’.” This nugget is worth getting to and a powerhouse of energy is conferred when I work with it. It also reminds me of Tara Brach’s use of the term “trance” in describing our habitual energies and auto-pilot. I call it getting on trains that take us away from our experience in the moment; we believe escaping on the train as the reality because we think it’s safer or that we’re actually acting on the distress.
Later in the chapter, Cayton points out that our mind is very much like a video camera and TV screen running simultaneously. Our sense organs (I’m interpolating) record the impingement of sensations which leaves a mental imprint. And, at the same time, we’re layering our interpretation of the experience on that imprint. Instantly, the process of logging the experience becomes laden with our bias, our preferences. We create the world as we are.
And it ain’t so. We can absolutely count on that.