Gautama Buddha: “The mind is the slayer of the truth” (450 BC).

This posting was triggered by my wife who said an hour ago, “Parents complimented me today for being a good swimming instructor for their kids. I know that I am good but I don’t feel it.” My antenna as a psychologist popped up. “It’s natural,” I said, “not to feel it. Most human beings know that they can do things well but don’t feel that they can do them that well.” Excited, I excused myself and rushed to my Blog to try to enlighten those of you out there who posses a terrible thinking fallacy that you are your mind!  You are not! The mind is the “slayer of the truth.”

But it is not that simple.

This discovery by Gautama Buddha 25 centuries ago sprouted many versions of it by psychologists today. You can probably find them all on Google if you type Freud’s “The mind is the beast in the cellar,” or a host of other titles by psychologists who “accuse” the mind as acting independent of you, not in your interests, disowning your Self, or being so powerful that it can do “anything it wants to do.” The psychological consensus of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Silva Mind Control, Erhard Seminar Training and other programs is that if you can tame your mind and make it your “friend” together you will have an opportunity to become happy, wealthy and healthy.

Who was that enlightened Buddha that discovered this profound truth about the human mind that is denied to this day by most human cultures or religions?  Gautama the “awakened one” was born in Nepal around 500 BC to a king and a queen of the Shakaya people of Nepal who believed 1000 years before Judaism that “no man should have more than one wife”!

Mary was a PhD candidate in Psychology when she came for counseling after her divorce from Jim. “My marriage to Jim should have lasted forever,” she said, “I thought we were compatible. I even made a list of pluses and minuses before I married him.” On the third session it became clear to me that her mind was involved in the decision to marry Jim no less than her heart.

Woh do you blame for your divorce?”

“Myself,” she said.

On my way home I tried to apply what Buddha said – to myself. Who was responsible for the mistake of buying GM shares last year?  My mind was responsible: it was clearly a fallacy of thinking! It will not happen again! Why did Mary blame herself for the divorce? Do psychologists also blame themselves when something they do doesn’t work? How can the mind get away with slaying the truth that all bad ideas come from its thinking? I found the answers in the Bhagavad Gita (page 492-3, plate 23).

 

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