Mindfulness is something I’ve been experimenting with for a couple of days now. Not only have I been actively avoiding all other thoughts that tend to form trains of thoughts, but I’m also focusing on the present. All I’m thinking of right now is the sound my keyboard makes as I type these words out. Being mindful doesn’t just mean avoiding everything and concentrating on the task at hand. The second point I’ve come to understand is that it involves accepting the truth that everything works on a cause-effect mechanism and that the concept of control is just an illusion.
Now, to be honest, since I’m just a beginner in being mindful, I’m not entirely convinced by the point above. We are conscious beings who make decisions that can alter our lives and the lives of others. We have the power to decide and thus, alter the flow of our lives.
What I think the second point means, is that we are simultaneously everything and nothing. We own everything and nothing at all. Consider this, if someone insults me, I get angry, hurt, sad. If I really did own my feelings and emotions and my mind, why can I not control them, upon being insulted. Hence the conclusion that I own my mind and I am master of it and yet simultaneously I don’t own it.
But it could all be just an illusion. The whole concept of control might be an illusion. We think that we can make our own decisions and thus alter multiple lives. But what if, the decision-making and feeling of having control over our decisions is just an illusion we fall prey to? We might not know it, but every decision might have been the logical one and we never even made the decisions in the first place.Now, I’m not advocating the presence of any higher powers, I am an atheist, after all. But practicing mindfulness has opened up a new avenue for me to think about. Are our decisions our own? Is anything real? If so, what is reality?
So, will we ever reach a point where everyone agrees to the answers to these questions? It is doubtful, but it is in experiments like these that we really open up our thought process and think of the important questions. For starters, here is a video that discusses the ethical dilemma of self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are not evil per se – they are way safer than human drivers and will only lead to the advancement of AI – but the design process must be implemented in a way that leaves no trace of the human minds that designed it.Humans are logical creatures with inbuilt biases, however these biases should not be present in technology we develop. The video is a great look into how there are ethical dilemmas that need to be resolved before the wide-spread adoption of self-driving technology.
Returning to my original point, thought experiments and philosophical outlooks are useful in a way – they open up a discussion about the world around us. And maybe that is what mindfulness is about, being present in the moment, seeing the world for what it is, and asking the right questions about it. What are your thoughts on this? Let me know, in the comments. 🙂