Who is the Master who makes the grass green?
– Dogen Zenji, 18th Century Zen Master
Dogen would ask all trainees this simple question… “Who is the Master who makes the grass green?”
The answer is as close as our visual cortex…
Let me explain…
Although it may seem difficult to comprehend, we receive somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion signals every minute (this number seems to be growing higher and higher every year, just know it’s A LOT). Most of us have difficulty keeping track of more than three things at a time and there have been studies that show the average person loses their focus ten times a minute. (Hey! Pay Attention!) Let me repeat, you receive over a BILLION signals every minute, to consciously keep track of that many pieces of information would be pure chaos. In order to create order and make sense of the chaotic onslaught of billions of bits of information we use an amazing tool that reads all the other tools of our organism-as-a-whole. This tool is our nervous system, which is processing all the information being sent to us.
Every second of every day your eyes are being sent information, your ears, your skin, your nose etc. Just because the voice in your head may be focused on what you are going to say to the beautiful guy/girl in class, does not mean the rest of your organism isn’t taking care of (processing) everything else, to be honest I wouldn’t want to be in charge of my breathing, bathroom breaks, food digestion, blood circulation, I’d probably forget all too often and then die, so it’s best it’s left to a more reliable companion, this companion, is your nervous system.
You are not made up of a whole bunch of pieces like Frankenstein, going forward, or at least for this blog post, you need to view yourself as one organism, the organism-as-a-whole, not the sum of a bunch of parts, it’s ALL ONE THING. Every evaluation that is being made is an evaluation as a whole, what the voice in your brain thinks it’s controlling is merely a false dichotomy,
For an exercise, tell yourself you know the difference between a movie and real life. The movie is composed of actors, actresses, directors, producers, lights, camera, you get it…. Now go see a scary movie in your local theatre that are so popular. Tell yourself it’s just a movie and “not real” and see if you don’t grab the chair, flinch, get shortness of breath, look away… What your voice in your head thinks it controls is an illusion, your body will still get tense in the theatre even though you tell yourself in your head “It’s just a movie…. it’s just a movie…..”
EVERY EVALUATION YOU MAKE IS AN EVALUATION OF YOUR ENTIRE NERVOUS SYSTEM.
Our nervous system’s role is to receive, transmit and integrate signals and messages. While your conscious attention is focused on the act of reading these words, your nervous system is taking care of your blood flow, breathing, food digestion, filtering out harmful bacteria etc. The nervous system to this day appears to be a collection of many interlocking systems such as the immunological system, the endocrine system, the neuro-muscular system and so forth. All of these systems are in the process of computation, it’s a synergetic process on many levels and the messages are being sent up to the brain.
Your brain, the amazing bio-computer composed of One-Hundred Billion Neurons, receives the information from your nervous system and constructs a model of the world, which is then projected out. This model of the world, grid, reality tunnel, map, whatever term you’d like to use, is not objective reality, it’s your own personalized model/map that is being projected outwards. Read that last part again. The processing speed of your nervous system is so fast that we don’t notice it, and often never come to the realization that everything we come in contact with is not reality but our interpretation of reality.
The Map is NOT the Territory, meaning the model of the world your brain is creating from the signals it’s receiving from your nervous system, is not objective reality, but completely subjective. Or as Alan Wattsbeautifully stated “The Menu is NOT the Meal.” Everyone is using a different map to orient themselves around the environment, it’s no surprise why we have such difficulty communicating with one another and most of us feel misunderstood.
We are all greater artists than we realize
YOU are the master that makes the grass green, the green is not outside you, it’s in you, your visual cortex registers green from the environment, it does not exist outside “in the grass.”
Now that you know you are creating a model of the world and not viewing it from a completely objective lens, Click Here to read the next post using metaphors to illustrate how your mind works and how these maps we all create are acted out on a daily basis.
Encinitas Life Coach