Excerpt About Reactivity
Another factor that makes our world dead is our reactivity. We not only have old concepts of who we are and what the world is, we also have reactions and opinions about them that make our concepts even more rigid, opaque, and out of touch with the actual present alive world. Whenever something happens in your experience, you have to categorize it as happy or unhappy, as bringing pain or pleasure, as good or bad. You could have a favorite star, like Sirius, and every time you look up at night you look up and admire that star; you don’t see the other stars or the sky, just this special star that brings you pleasure. Or you could believe that there are malevolent aliens in the sky and be afraid to ever look up and see it. You see the people you know as good or as bad, because you are seeing your idea of them. And your reaction makes it that much harder to see what is real in them; it solidifies your concept of them. We see not what is there, but our concepts of what is there. You look outside, and you see trees, you don’t see reality. You look up, and you see stars, you don’t see reality. And what is “star”? Something in your mind. Not only do you perceive through the filters of your concepts, you have associations to those concepts. “Star” makes you feel a certain way. The word “mommy” makes you feel another way. The word “pet” brings different associations and reactions. These associations and reactions are all determined by your past. Basically your parents teach you how to respond to things. You learn what to be afraid of and what to be happy about. When someone is born, everyone tells you that’s a time to celebrate. If someone dies, everyone is supposed to be sad. So death is a concept—you don’t know what it is—but you’re already programmed how to respond to it. Birth is something we conceptualize, and your reaction to it is already determined. If you feel a certain sensation, it has already been given a name. Not only has it been given a name, you’ve been told how to react to it. So your world is set. Your life is set. Who you are is set. It’s all the content of your mind.