You see your world through the lens of your eye, but also the lens of your mind. The images collected by the eye are interpreted by your brain and then filed and saved and linked as memory. If you do not think about it, you allow your brain to do the filing based on the last software upload. By software upload I mean belief-system.
For example, if you see a tree, you brain may interpret the tree as similar to the one that held a tire swing when you were six years old. Or it may link the tree to a picnic you had with your first lover when you were eighteen, or if you are a biologist, the poor tree may be reduced to merely Kingdom, Order and Phylum. This system is all very good if you are not using your brain for much– if you are just cruisin’ through life lookin’ at trees.
However, if you plan on using your brain as the awesome tool that it is, you must have periodic upgrades. You can’t play WoW on a Commodore 64.
It is as simple to reboot your brain as it is your computer. Yoda, the Zen Master, said it: “You must unlearn what you have learned.” Remember that everything that you know is true, is actually just a belief about reality. Even something as ubiquitous as gravity. On a quantum level gravity does not exist. You may argue that you don’t exist on a quantum level, and here I will have to tell you…you do. How can you not? Your body is made of molecules and atoms and protons and neutrons and quanta. What is your mind made of?
Think about this for a while.
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
The old beliefs do not have to be destroyed, but they do have to be loosened up somewhat. They WILL fade away of their own accord as they are gradually replaced with more productive and beneficial ones.
Empty your cup and be ready for tea-time.