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A Good Mind, the Will, and Our Real Self

Updated on December 23, 2010

Not a grey hair in those days.

Yours truly at forty-one.  Taken at MacQuarie Island Base in 1977.
Yours truly at forty-one. Taken at MacQuarie Island Base in 1977.

What does this really mean?

We sometime hear the expression: He (or she) “has a good mind.” From such, we assume a number of things, based on our own interpretation of that phrase. “She’s intelligent.” “He is learned.” “That person is very knowledgeable.” But what does this really mean? Is it a measure of how much reading and study the person has done; how many academic examinations passed, learned papers published? Or is it perhaps his or her success in making a lot of money, or becoming famous through their own efforts? Or maybe it’s artistic creativity? What exemplifies this expression, “having a good mind.”

We're judged by our behaviour, and behaviour comes from structure not content: content is neutral

You might have been told that you have “a good mind.” I’ve been told that. However, I don’t have any academic qualifications of note to back that up observation up. S it would seem it is a completely subjective opinion of someone who thought they knew me by observing what they’d seen me do. Their yardstick: my behaviour. You’re probably judged or evaluated the same way.

The Contents of the Mind and Structure they're held in are not the same thing.

Here, I think we might be talking about the contents of the mind; what information we have stored there. People seem to get the contents mixed up with the framework or or matrix into which it is all built. All right, is there a difference between the contents and what I’m calling here a framework ?

Sometimes the dawning is slow.

Approaching MacQuarie Island around 2 O'clock in the morning.
Approaching MacQuarie Island around 2 O'clock in the morning.

Having a lot of knowledge does not necessarily mean we're intelligent.

A lifetime of reading and study will put a great deal of gunk into our memory. This is content. However, compared with the infinite knowledge available to us – and that which is not – even sixty years of reading and study represents only an infinitesimal part of Total Knowing. So having a ‘good mind” is really something very relative and is not even based on usefulness. The handy-man, who can turn his hand to overcoming most problems which come up in his life, is every bit as with it – and probably more - than the Professor in his ‘ivory tower’ who can’t even change the tire on his car. So who has the “good mind” here?

Most of us don't think much.

No, own my inclination as to who has, and who does not have, a “good mind,” is based not so much on content, as on the Will that directs one’s attention.

Most of us don’t think much. We imagine we do. But we don’t. Rather, we let our attention be drawn this way and that by whatever thoughts arise in our mind (the ‘mirror of consciousness’ or ‘central processing unit’) and then react to those images or imagined words. Our verbal discourse tends to rattle on, taking us this way and that. Not only that, we are completely immersed in it and accept it as our thought, as if we created it. More, we say it is us!

But eventually a little light begins to be shed.

Do we really create our thoughts?

Did we create it? Or is it simply ‘out there,’ floating around like the radio and television signals which fill up unseen space all around us (and, incidentally, penetrate through our physical bodies just like gamma rays) all the time. Perhaps we simply pick up, modify and pass on, something like a radio transponder. The fingers on the ‘tuning knob,’ of course, out interest

It seems we spend our whole lives arriving.

Are you using your will to concentrate, or are you simply 'drawn?'

Read a book, and your attention is at first directed. You chose to. It is directed when you pick up the book. It is from that moment you drawn by your interest. If the book doesn’t appeal to you, you’re not drawn, it becomes a task to concentrate. You have to work at it.

The essential us: Consciousness or Awareness with a Will.

Ah, so concentration comes into it. Concentration is part of the “good mind.” Yes, it is. In fact I’d go further. I’m of the opinion that Doctor Roberto Assagioli is right. Our real self, as close as we can get to it with a logical explanation, is that we are “Consciousness with a Will.” Sensation, Impulse-desire, Emotion-feeling, Thought, Imagination, and even Intuition, are simply ‘elements of the mind’ They are the framework or structure which hold the contents, either permanently (long term memory) or temporarily (short term memory) and that a “good mind” in the sense of our being in control of it, is dependent upon one very important aspect of the real us – our Will.

But we'll make it to solid ground eventually.


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