Sample Nonfiction (1)

*All names have been changed or omitted for personal use as a portfolio sample

 

What is the mind? This could be the ultimate question of life. There is a story that goes something like this: When two young fish were swimming in the water, an adult fish approached them and said, “How are you boys? How is the water?” The young fish nodded their heads and continued swimming. In a short while, one fish looked at the other one and said, “What the hell is water?” As the fish are not aware of concept of water, we are not fully aware of the vital role that the mind plays in life. As the fish cannot live without water, we cannot live without the mind. Experiences are perceived by the mind, led by the mind, and produced by the mind. The mind is the forerunner of our experience and it is the only tool we can use to channel the vital force of life. We complain about the circumstances of life but, when the mind is understood, it can shine a light into our problems, solutions, success, failures, sorrows, and happiness.

The modern time is a great time to be alive. Technological breakthroughs and space exploration have never been as intense as they are today. Our knowledge is expanding exponentially. Unfortunately, we have given very little attention to understanding or exploring the source of our growth, which is the mind. Science mainly focus on the flesh of our mind, called the brain. To understand the mind, we have to go inside of the brain and begin to observe what the microscope cannot detect.

The mind is divided into two parts: The conscious mind and the subconscious mind. The conscious mind is only 12% of the brain while the subconscious mind is 88% of the brain. These two minds are responsible for every single aspect of our life. They help us to breathe, blink our eyes, move our bodies, circulate blood, digest food, dream, plan our lives, solve our problems, create and invent new things, to name but a few.

The conscious mind operates only when we are awake and it goes to sleep when we go to sleep. This mind is full of knowledge and rational, or intellectual, thinking. This mind is the master of will-power. The conscious mind gains knowledge by collecting data from experiences and using this data to make decisions in everyday life. For example, if we notice that there is too much traffic on the route that we take to go to work in the morning; this information will send a signal to the conscious mind that we could be late to work. Then this conscious mind will send a signal to take a different route to get to work on time. To better understand the conscious mind, it is helpful to understand how this mind collects data and how it uses this data to formulate rational thinking to make decisions in everyday life.

The conscious mind is also known as the mind of the senses because it uses the five senses of the body to understand reality. Everything we experience comes to us through sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch, and our decisions are based on these sensory experiences. All sensory experiences are labeled and saved in our conscious mind. When we were born we had no idea what a car was but, as we grew, we were able to distinguish the sound of a car from the sound of a train and the look of a table from that of a chair. Ever since birth, this mind has been growing and expanding its knowledge, memory, and vocabulary by using the five senses.

The conscious mind is trained and influenced by other people such as parents, teachers, friends, society, culture, and the environment. All of the information in this mind is information that we received from people and other external sources. For example, if someone asks you what you are doing at this moment, you might say that you are reading a book but, how do you know that what you are reading is a book? You know because when you were a young child, your parent or teacher taught you that what you are holding is called a book. When you first came to this planet you did not know that this is a book. Society labeled it as a book and this is why we all came to know it as such. All of our vocabulary, understanding, and knowledge are not things that we brought into this world when we were born.

The conscious mind is, by nature, full of judgments, opinions, and perceptions. Every experience that it receives through the five senses is also perceived with a judgment. For example, we might say of something, “That looks beautiful,” or “That is ugly,” “That smells good,” “That tastes awful,” “That sound wonderful,” or, “That feels rough.” The conscious mind is also very addictive and it likes to grasp or hold on to experiences that are pleasant and reject or repel the experiences that are unpleasant. This attachment to what we like, and detachment from what we don’t like, is the main reason for all of our sufferings. We will discuss more about this when we get into the Power of Problems section.

Even though the conscious mind is the master of knowledge and the mind we dominantly use when we are awake, it’s understanding of reality is limited to what it can see, touch, smell, hear, or taste. This mind can only think in a two-dimensional way. For example, we are comfortable with the fact that a story has a beginning and an ending, a book has a first page and a last page, a box has a top and a bottom, a left and a right. Now, if I ask you to close your eyes and imagine a tree that is so tall that its top is endless, can you imagine such a tree? No, because you have not seen such a tree that grows forever. The conscious mind always looks to find the definite. It seeks to find the end of everything because our senses have taught us that everything has an end point. We can’t think of a book with endless pages or a movie that goes on forever (other than soap operas). For a fish, its world is limited to certain depth; it cannot explore the deep water, nor can it explore the world above water. Similarly, the conscious mind’s understanding and its domain are limited the five senses.  The conscious mind can only understand things that have dimensions such as, height, width, depth, weight, and so on. It cannot understand anything beyond sensory experiences. However, some people say that they have gone through a near death experience or an out-of- body experience. This is very mystical, magical, and very difficult for us to understand. To understand this, we have to look into the subconscious mind.