Investigation into Mind, Thought, Spirituality, and Floating
by Roy Dopson
The central idea around Hinduism (the world’s oldest religion) is that the physical world is not fundamental reality, but is rather like a dream, or a movie. In exactly the same way that human consciousness can be drawn into a captivating movie to the extent that we forget about oneself sitting in the chair, so has the Divine Universal consciousness forgotten its true Self. “Your name here,” therefore, isn’t your true Self; it’s just a very convincing lead character in this particular movie.
Hinduism goes on to say that our misinterpretation of taking this realm to be fundamental reality is the source of all suffering. Remembering, or becoming aware of the true Self, is to be freed from the cycle of suffering. All of it. Such liberation is called “Moksha” in Hinduism, “Nirvana” in Buddhism, and “Heaven” in Christianity.
The Need For Spirituality
To me, spirituality is consciousness becoming aware of or remembering the true Divine Self. It’s the act of searching for that which is more “real,” like coming back to awareness of the three-dimensional realm while watching a two-dimensional movie.
Human consciousness, as a whole, is completely entranced by this three (or four) dimensional movie. We find this realm so interesting that we have forgotten/lost awareness of true Self. As a result of this, human consciousness, as a whole, is entering an era of ever-increasing, unprecedented turmoil and suffering, of our own doing.
You see, the human species is a bit of a special case. We are, in a sense, doubly entranced. Our consciousness has developed thought and language, which has superimposed an additional realm overtop of physical reality. This second level of illusion is, of course, thought.
So not only do we have the illusion of the physical realm as being fundamental reality to awaken from, but also the entire realm of thought.
All psychological/emotional suffering comes from/is thought. The next time you’re suffering, pay attention to the thoughts attached to the suffering. Ask yourself, “If these thoughts weren’t arising, would that problem exist?”
The thing is, we don’t really pay that much attention to our minds/thoughts. Most people are slaves to their thoughts, following them without question. Human consciousness is completely addicted to thought/symbol. Right now, stop reading and just sit there in thought-free awareness. Just sit there without moving or thinking.
How long were you able to abide in thought-free awareness? All of those thoughts are distracting you from awareness of your true Self. In order to find your Divine consciousness, you need to transcend mind. You need to delve into the space between thoughts.
Human consciousness spends the vast majority of its time shifting attention back and forth between the physical and thought through symbols (a symbol is simultaneously a physical thing and a thought). Why is there the urge to fill every second with either a sense input or a thought? What is the cause of our addiction to screens, to information?
Thought can be incredibly addicting, but at the end of it all, it turns out to be fundamentally empty, unfulfilling. We don’t hear this very often. It wasn’t until I was 40 years old with a decade of spiritual searching that I came across someone suggesting that thought itself was causing the problem. The instruction was to investigate thought itself, as well as the space from which thought arises.
That’s what I did and that’s what I’m relating to you. I have found that investigation into the mind, including the space between thoughts, is the most effective spiritual practice.
Floating, also known as sensory deprivation, is a powerful tool to assist and complement one’s spiritual practice. Floating essentially removes the entire realm of exterior physical sensation, leaving only the body and mind.
If true spirituality is the search for the true Self, one would surmise that Self-inquiry would be essential. How often do you pay attention to your own body and mind? How often are you actually, completely, by yourself?
In the float tank there’s only you. Devoid of the constant noise and distraction of the exterior world, awareness of mind becomes paramount. Thoughts that normally would have gone unnoticed become glaringly obvious. The more one witnesses the functioning of the mind, the more one can recognize karmic patterns and cycles.
Religion and Spirituality
Religion is a path that can help lead one to true Self and liberation from suffering, but it must eventually be transcended. Again, if thought is in actuality not leading us anywhere beneficial, but rather distracting us from the peace and happiness that is our true nature, then any thought, even “spiritual” ones, can keep the focus away from our Divinity.
Religion, indeed all systems of thought, are leading consciousness somewhere, trying to change something, to convince you that it’s “truth.” However, it’s really a case of the blind leading the blind. Where are you going? What are you trying to accomplish anyway? Which are the “right” systems to follow? To answer this question bluntly: They’re all wrong (inherently incomplete). Mind will only lead to more mind…
Underneath the convoluted mix of sensations and thought is an ever-present, infinite sea of peace, happiness, perfect contentment. This is the Source of All. This is your true Self.
Floating doesn’t try to convince you of anything. It doesn’t introduce man-made chemicals into your body. It doesn’t do anything other than show you yourself. All of the answers lie within YOU.
Reality functions at a Spiritual (beyond mind and matter) level. Life is a mystical journey. Engage in Spiritual practice. Find out what and who you really are. The more you find out who you really are, the more balanced and happy you will become. That’s how it works, because that’s what you really are.
Come float. You’ve only got suffering to lose…
Roy Dopson works as a wildland firefighter in the summer and as a Spiritual mentor in the off-season. You may book a float here: https://paigegoebel.coconutcalendar.com/#service. Roy’s website: www.onesteppath.com. Also see the display ad on page 24 of the 23.5 January/February issue of the WHOLifE Journal.