(by Amy Corzine)
A review of The secret Life of the Universe appeared on Watkins Mind Body Spirit Issue 20.
In this age of computers, which hypnotise us more effectively than mere television ever did, it is useful to find a way to break trances. Too much information, anxiety, emotional turbulence, illness, bad food and sedentary isolation can make you fall into a strange vacuous state of mind. The addition of tantalising machines ensures that most of us stay in a state of hypnosis.
To break my own bad habits and patterns and to write this book, I lived for a time in a retreat centre where I had no access to any means of communication except the human voice, writing and books. Silence was palpable. Nature drew close. My mind relaxed. The repetitive songs and chatter I was used to hearing in my mind settled. I noticed the birds outside my window. Then came insights. I began to observe how the mind operates. Through meditating every day, I become aware of how I create habits and put myself into trances via repetitive thoughts – and how to get free of them.
Scattered as the disparate subjects I wanted to include in my book were, gradually they came together to form a shape. My aims were to:
* identify what elements in life are pleasing to human beings
* show how they are related to each other
* indicate what fosters happiness
* offer a bigger picture by surveying the positive things that individuals and groups are doing
* suggest a higher foundation on which to build a better world.
As the Buddhists say, what we think today determines what our tomorrow is. Everything that happens comes from what we think. We make things happen according to the tenor and atmosphere of our thoughts, both individually and collectively.
Much of what I observed in my book about society and the zeitgeist of our time is becoming more obvious these days. The threats and solutions I surveyed are now more prominent than ever in the world. More potential answers to problems have been put forward since its publication, but also ever burgeoning manmade crises are developing every day.
Organisations like The Mind and Life Institute and David Lynch Foundation are making great strides in the dissemination of information about meditation and contemplative practices in the hope that people with calm minds will come forward to guide humanity to a better situation. Daily ten-minute sessions for silence or meditation have been introduced to good effect in schools. Even that small effort has led to a lessening of aggressive behaviour and violence and to higher exam results.
Imagine what kinds of people would inhabit this planet – imagine what good they would do – if they learned to calm the emotions that inhibit their minds. The reasons for everything we make happen in the world start in the mind. How much good could each of us do if we had greater awareness and understanding of ourselves?
The human mind can be a mere mechanical, reactive agent, but it can be so much more. By examining the way it operates, you can learn to make it work for you instead of letting it lead you around by the nose and into aimless tangential meanderings. You can find your way out of habits of mind that push you this way and that – and learn to steer your ship to the place you want to go.
If this is all new to you, you may find helpful my observations and the people and organisations surveyed in The secret Life of the Universe, especially its third chapter entitled ‘The Inner Universe of the Human Being: Mind Science’.
Meet the author: Amy Corzine grew up in Texas. She paid her first visit to Ireland thirty years ago to study its folklore after discovering that it was the source of many of the fairytales she loved as a child. She subsequently studied theatre in London where she now works as a writer and editor. She also updated the fifth edition of Cadogan’s Ireland guide.