I realize that some good and simple responses have been given here. I’m still going to add my 2 cents (or 1000 cents), hoping it does not add confusion to the issue.
Here is a simple arithmetic problem I found on the internet (bear with me):
Tell whether the sequence is arithmetic or not. Explain why or why not.
Sequence A : - 1, - 3, - 5, - 7, …
Sequence B: -3, 0, 4, 7, …
Sequence A is an arithmetic sequence since every pair of consecutive terms has a common difference of -2. That is d = -2.
On the other hand, sequence B is NOT an arithmetic sequence. There’s no common difference among the pairs of consecutive terms in the sequence (that is, there is no sequence to d; d is not predictable - d=+3, d=+4, d=+3).
How does the mind/brain approach a math problem, a logistical or a technical problem? Even in those fields, the mind needs to be attentive in order to receive and understand the problem. In those fields, once the problem/question is understood, it can be solved using effort, knowledge, time, experience, method, formula, imagery, etc.
But if the problem being perceived or received by the mind is in the psychological field of relationship, can the mind solve the problem using the same approach of effort, knowledge, time, experience, method, formula, imagery, and so on? Hasn’t this been our one-size-fits-all approach as we have searched for an answer to our problems of right action in relationship for thousands of years? CAN the problem of fear — anger, deceit, selfishness, jealousy, greed, arrogance, depression, anxiety, pretense, and so on — be ended by means of effort, knowledge, time, formula, etc.? CAN the fundamental questions which fuel our discontent — questions of meaning, confusion, brutality and injustices, and so on — can these questions be ended through struggle, knowledge, experience and method?
Consciously or unconsciously, is it that we still think or hope that maybe the next book, the next talk or the next teacher will be able to reveal or convey “the answer” to me through a new formulation of words? Are we still relying on thought to unlock the answer, to provide an insight? Is it that we are afraid to try a totally new approach, an approach devoid of effort and thought?
Aren’t the limitations of the mind, “the self-enclosing activities of the mind” (as quoted by nobody and Emile at post #27 in the “Freedom” thread; for convenience, the full quote follows) clear? As I see it, they are — not only to me but to anyone who has “thought on these things”. Then why does my search not end? Is it that the only way I KNOW how to search is through thought and effort, even though I see that thought and effort cannot solve fear and discontent?
In the immediate moment that the limitations of the mind are understood, effort is ended. It is also observed and understood that the reactions and movements of conditioning can still surface — and there is nothing for “me” to do about it. This “doing nothing” is the only thing I have to do, as I understand it.
Where the limitations of the mind are understood, any movements of conditioning which still occur are viewed not from the perspective of self but out of understanding. What ends is the STRUGGLE to overcome suffering through thought, as I see it. One can still falter, one can still get caught up in the illusion of self, but this does not obscure the understanding of the psychological processes. Therefore, one makes no effort to correct it or to end it through thought. One does not judge and condemn it.
Here is the K quote mentioned above:
“To go beyond the self-enclosing activities of the mind, you must understand them; and to understand them is to be aware of action in relationship, relationship to things, to people, and to ideas. In that relationship, which is the mirror, we begin to see ourselves, without any justification or condemnation; and from that wider and deeper knowledge of the ways of our own mind, it is possible to proceed further; then it is possible for the mind to be quiet, to receive that which is real.”
So K (and others) say that understanding the limitations of the mind is not enough to end suffering, it is not enough “to receive that which is real”. Now, personally, I don’t know about receiving that which is real. But understanding the limitations of the mind also means understanding that one cannot go beyond the limitations of the mind by means of the limitations. Thereore, those endless, repetitive, useless, exhausting efforts are finished with. This particular mind/brain may never “receive that which is real”. So be it. But it is not “nothing” for psychological effort and struggle to be ended. There is something totally new in that. And much to learn.