The Materialist Mindset

Not only do traditional descriptions of God make new sense when God is identified with the faculty of consciousness, so do many spiritual practices. The key is the way we create of our personal reality.

In earlier chapters, we considered our construction of reality in terms of our sensory perception–the sounds, colors, and sensations we experience. The way in which we produce this picture of the world is more or less hard-wired into the brain. How we interpret this picture, however, varies considerably. You and I may assess a person’s actions in very different ways. We may read very different meanings into a news story, or see a situation at work in very different lights. These varying interpretations stem from the beliefs, assumptions and expectations we bring to the situation–what psychologists call our mind sets.

In much the same way as our various scientific paradigms are founded on an even more fundamental belief, or metaparadigm, the various assumptions that determine the meaning we give to our experience are based on a more fundamental mindset. We believe that inner peace and fulfillment comes from what we have or do in the external world.

Tragically, this way of thinking actually prevents us finding true peace of mind. We can become so busy worrying about whether or not we may be at peace in the future, or so busy being angry or resentful about what has stood in the way of peace in the past, we never have the chance to be at peace in the present.

Don’t worry, be happy.
– Meher Baba

The general effect of this material mindset is to put our inner state of mind at the mercy of the external world. In this respect, too, it is similar to the materialist metaparadigm of contemporary science. In both instances, consciousness is assumed to be dependent upon the material world. The current scientific worldview believes that consciousness emerges from the world of space, time and matter. This materialist mindset tells us that our state of mind depends on events in the world around us. And, like the scientific metaparadigm, the mindset that runs our lives is seldom questioned.

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