One of the most important concepts of Taoist enlightenment practice is that of the Social Mind.
It should be the most important idea in your life. The reason, it is the source of nearly all your suffering and pain.
The Social Mind is the reality that humans, as a population, have created for themselves. That you create for yourself. Reality is such a cold sci-fi word, isn’t it? Lets call reality what it is, the experience of life. The Social Mind is your experience of life.
You Are the Social Mind
The Social Mind exists outside of you, within the collective of humans, but it also is you. It is not a thing foreign to you that is imposing its will on you. It is a portion of the thing that you regard as being yourself. If it were suddenly removed, you would feel as if a very large part of you was torn away, even though it is the source of pain and suffering.
Social Mind is not culture, nor is it human law, nor is it politics, nor is it relationships. Trying to affect the mind through any of these pathways is a dead end and will not change your suffering. The only thing that changes the mind is your decision to change you. That decision, that little basic decision, is the foundation of the spiritual path. The spiritual path is the quest to find out what is real and to become what is real. Not to read about what is real. Not to talk about what is real. Not to repeat what is real, but to become it.
What makes up the Social Mind?
The Social Mind is basically a bad map of reality.
It is bad in two ways. It is bad because it is not a very good picture of reality. If it was a road map, it would have towns and gas stations on it that didn’t exist, would omit ones that did, and would put roads in the wrong place. Try getting somewhere using such a map. You’re going to be unhappy with every trip you take.
It is also bad because the map itself is not built well. Imagine the road map being printed on cellophane and toilet paper. It has cigarette burns on it. It’s stained with coffee.
Do you want to live your life with such a map? What is it going to do for your life experience, your reality?
It will lead you to dead ends, when you should be moving. It will let you run out of gas, when you by all rights believed you had plenty. It will make you distrust the advice of others, because their advice comes from the same bad map. It will make you unwilling to live, because you fear yet another path of failure. It will make you intensely dissatisfied with everything. It will make you suspect that everything is a lie.
Is Your Approach to Free Yourself Wrong?
Let me tell you, in mentoring I have spent many hours talking in technical terms, in simple illustration, in metaphors, in stories, in examples about exactly what Social Mind is. Not one bit of that conversation leads a person to grasp Social Mind and then make the decision to resist it. Not one bit leads to a person becoming a Taoist. The reason?
Your intellect can’t take you out of the mind. A person that becomes Taoist must at the level of intuition know that what I am saying is the absolute truth. You must in your gut know that there is a better map. You must know it through your dissatisfaction.
In fact, most people that become Taoist have always, since childhood, suspected the existence of a true map. When I say the words, I merely verbalize what they have always known but have not been able to say. The reason you can’t say it? Simple, the bad map in your head prevents it, doesn’t it?
If this is you that I am talking about, and you are not resisting that map, your suffering and pain, the discomfort of your life, is being sustained by your conscious choice to live in pain and suffering.
Now you know two things. The most important thing in the world and what makes a Taoist a Taoist.
Master Mikel Steenrod
Keeper of the Gate of Man and Heaven
(Lineage Holder of the 4 Ascendant Spheres Purity Adept School of the Tao)