Here’s what to watch for:
* Increased mental acuity
* Verbal precision and depth
* Argumentation, debate, and criticism
* Verbal swordplay
* The cutting, deconstructive intellect
* Intellectual machismo, pride, or arrogance
* Clarity found through a more precise articulation
* Developing or honing a technical skill
* Chemistry, science, biology, technology
* The truth and the right way to share or speak the truth
* Mental powers
* Strained speech, forceful speech
* Mental exhaustion
* Mental or nervous overstimulation
* Empiricism and the “laws of nature”
* Verbal, emotional, or mental abuse
* Learning challenges or disabilities
* Words that heal, words that harm
* Winning the argument without fighting
* Mental cunning, deceit, manipulation
* Impersonal logic used for personal reasons
* The intellect used as a defense against one’s true feelings
On CNN today one of the headlines reads, “There is no God, Hawking says in final book.” He also says, “For centuries, it was believed that disabled people like me were living under a curse that was inflicted by God,” he adds. “I prefer to think that everything can be explained another way, by the laws of nature.”
This is, unfortunately, not a scientific “answer,” but rather a personal opinion, coming from an ironically narrow understanding of the history of theology on planet earth, and yet because it is being given by a “credible scientific authority,” many people will take Hawkings “final word” as the gospel. Another irony is that for as celebrated as Hawking’s mind has been (in many ways literally celebrated as something detached from his body, speaking through a robotic channel) the unconsciousness surrounding Hawking’s personal opinions and feelings about God, cloaked in the unexamined dogma of empiricism, just dying to get one last final word in about the negation of God, is a glowing example of how the mind becomes one’s worst enemy.
When the mind relies only upon itself, when the mind refuses to see beyond its attempts to circumscribe God with reason, it becomes a black hole, a self fulfilling prophecy, perpetually zeroing itself out by its own unnecessary necessities, collapsing under the weight of its own stubborn futility, finally unable to hear or see anything but itself: a fading conceptual apparatus, just as limited and impermanent as the literal stuff of stars. People with difficult mental karma (and there are plenty of us) rely on the strength or power of the mind and identify with its literalisms above everything else. Dogmatic empiricism, in a sense, is a collective karma that reflects our alienation from each other, from the spirits of nature, and from the mystical cosmos we live in.
The mind as our enemy can’t stand the thought that it is limited and that it exists ONLY in relation to eternity. The mind as our enemy can’t stand the thought that it is a servant of the soul, not a master.
The mind as our friend sees that truth, science, mental exploration, and intellectual discovery are activities performed in service to the soul. The mind as our friend understands its own limitations and, intelligently, learns to sing, pray, and love. The mind as our friend is discerning but humble. The mind as our friend recognizes that it is just as natural, rhythmic, and changeable as the seasons. The mind as our friend knows that order, meaning, choice, consciousness, and divinity are unquantifiable because they are eternal, without beginning or end. The mind knows that it will someday end, and in this final knowledge, there is peace and surrender, the mind’s most honest prayer.
Prayer: Put our minds in service to the soul, and bring our souls into loving union with you. In this way may our minds become houses of your timeless wisdom.