“How do you deal with the world without ideas?”

I get this question, in one form or another, pretty often. It’s valid.

I don’t know that there is a way to deal with the world without our ideas about it. They are the medium we interact with reality through. There are holy people around the world and throughout history who have claimed to be beyond these ideas, and maybe they are, but my non-holy mind cannot understand how one has actually dropped all concepts.

The key, in my opinion, is to at least recognize that we are dealing with ideas and expectations rather than real things. Our job is to understand that we are interacting through a medium rather than direct experience. We are watching the news (often with commentary) about something rather than witnessing the event itself.

The Mind as Medium

This is important because the medium of the mind always inserts opinions and expectations and requirements and desires as it processes whatever the event is. A light turns red, cars begin to slow down. Our mind processes this through the lens of how badly we have to use the bathroom or how this will make us even later than we already are. The latter can trigger thoughts of how we are always running late or how our new client might judge us because we weren’t on time.

Now, a person with no ideas at all shouldn’t be in a car in the first place, and they wouldn’t know what to do at the red light, so that’s a silly concept. But, we can at least deconstruct the anger or frustration or resentment we feel at the red light. We can recognize it’s not personal and has nothing to do with us. It’s just a thing that happened, a timed mechanism did its job. Move on.

This gets more complicated when we are dealing with other people, as everything seems to do.

We’ll look at that tomorrow.