Mindful Monday - Not the Flag, Not the Wind
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Not the flag, Not the wind

A Zen koan of the early 13th century tells of two young Buddhist monks watching a flag flapping in the wind. In contemplating the flag, the two monks began to argue about what they were observing.

One said to the other, "The flag is moving."
The other replied, "The wind is moving."
The Zen master, Huineng, overheard this.
He said, "Not the flag, not the wind; mind is moving."

This koan lends itself to illustrating the three dimensions of mind.  Our minds turn interconnected wholeness into patterns of cause and effect, measuring, comparing, and creating hierarchies of what-moves-what, or what is more important than what.

An Illustration of the Three Dimensions of Consciousness


The Natural Dimension

A more subtle interpretation involves the three dimensions of consciousness.

"The flag is moving" observation made by the first monk, is a literal interpretation of reality through immediate perception. This superficial interpretation represents the natural dimension of consciousness.

The natural dimension includes all pre-conceived, programmed concepts, as well as instinctive reactions produced by past experience. These concepts and responses are imprinted and hard-wired in our neurological synapses.


The Rational Dimension

The second monk, who infers that the flag is moving because of the winds, represents the rational dimension. This dimension brings a more articulate awareness about our selves, and our situations. This dimension compares and measures, enabling us to think things through rationally and make “logical” decisions. It's in this dimension that we form a mental picture of who we are, who we want to be, and what we “want” from life. It also infers and interprets reality, filling in what it believes are missing pieces with its own memories and interpretations. (Like the third goat!)

We use the rational dimension to make decisions and resolutions. Based on our mental picture of what we want to be, we may decide to start a new nutrition or exercise plan. But, as perceived needs, lack, or fears arise, the rational dimension will be overrun by the basic desires and instinctive reactions of the natural dimension and we usually end up giving into old habits.

In fact, the rational dimension is more often than not directed and dictated by the natural dimension. 

It doesn't take much, just a few "what ifs" will trigger  the natural dimension enough for it to take over. 

When this happens, we go into “automatic”. The rational dimension is not programmed, but it can be, and usually is, “conditioned” by the unconscious fears and patterns of the natural dimension that drive us back to the safety and security of our old habits. It is also conditioned by our environment, culture, beliefs and sense of self. Our conditioning prevents us from perceiving the whole picture: it limits our perception. 

The Downward Spiral of "What ifs"

The limbic responses of the natural dimension are constantly being triggered by the “what-ifs” of the rational dimension. As well, the frontal lobe of the brain (frontal cortex) where a lot of the rational dimension thinking happens, is constantly creating scenarios and interpretations based on the triggers of limbic brain.

In this way, the two dimensions ping pong back and forth escalating us into stress and anxiety.

Chronic disease occurs when conditioned narratives (our "story') trigger hard-wired survival responses, and the organism is unable to know how to respond to the perceived threat to survival, because the threat is essentially a mis-perception and mis-interpretation of the conditions of the external or internal environments.

Like the third goat, the threat exists only in our imagination.  

The Spiritual or Implicate Dimension

The Master, however, speaks from the Spiritual, or Implicate Dimension, pointing out the limited interpretation of both the natural and rational dimensions, while bringing insight to the true nature of reality.

This insight brings the rational dimension into alignment with the greater whole, the greater reality of the implicate dimension, and enables it to get out of the escalation of stress and triggering.

At MICH, we explore the narrative to discover the survival mechanisms being triggered by the misconceptions of what one requires to maintain one’s individuality.  

Making use of the relationship between the rational dimension and its access (albeit limited) to the spiritual (holographic, implicate) dimension to uncouple the processes in the rational dimension from the programs of the natural dimension is what the MICH Method has been developed to do. The process calms both the programmed natural dimension and the conscious rational dimension in order to allow life, and allow us to live fully. 

To explore your narrative, practice the following for the next few days: 
  • Pay attention to what happens when your mind goes into 'what-ifs'. What happens to the level of fear, anticipation, anxiety and other emotions? 
  • Keep note of the “conditions” that have surreptitiously become necessary for your existence  (the illusive third goat), your attachment to what you think will make you complete, happy, in charge,etc., without which you feel incomplete or less than.
  • Observe how easily the mind interprets something as missing, or that might be taken away, and how that reinforces projecting into the future and not being able to be in the present. 
Happy mindfulness!

MICH is a vehicle of holistic consciousness, providing full accreditation training for homeopaths since 2005.  

Our diploma program is recognized internationally, and our new special interest courses provide self-guided online learning that embodies the whole person approach.  

Our Mindful Monday series is designed to inspire you to welcome mindfulness into your life.  If you like this kind of content, sign up for our newsletter & use the icons below to share if with your friends!

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