Sometimes I find it helpful to think of my brain as a computer. My body is the hardware, and I have an operating system like Windows XP, that runs all the software.
This morning during my meditation I kept asking myself: Who is watching these thoughts? Who is interrupting them, noticing what is going on and then switching direction?
Who IS that? What brain function DOES that?
And in the reflection that followed, I came up with this:
There are 2 predominate ways I seem to operate.
95 % of the time I run on “Auto.” I just run the default program. I’ll call it Samsara 2.0.
I don’t know much about Samsara 2.0. It just came with the computer.
It’s the default, the “No Brainer.” (Literally.) It’s just in there humming along, and I don’t even pay attention to it. Normally. It’s what I generally refer to as, “me,” or “just the way I am.”
Samsara 2.0 is basically my social conditioning, the way my parents raised me, the socio-economic situation I find myself in, the safe patterns of operating I’ve devised over the past 20,503 days of my life
But here’s the thing: Every once in a while during a meditation, I actually notice this programming. And when I do, it’s kind of a shock.
“Whoah,” I say to myself, “look at me getting all caught up in that story. That’s amazing. There’s been a whole brain takeover. I am running an epic of complete and utter fantasy and I am really into it! I’m totally believing it. And not only that, I’m trying to run all my relationships, and my life, as if that’s actually ME!
Man, I am really fucked up!”
But what is really the incredible part of this whole scene I just described, is that I was able to pull out of the drama in the first place. I was able, for a brief moment, to actually notice that it WAS a drama, and that I was running Samsara 2.0.
And who exactly did the noticing here? Which program in there allowed me to pull out and notice the running of Samsara 2.0?
Clearly, I must have 2 operating systems available to me then, right? Samsara 2.0 (the default) and another one I’ll call “Witness 1.0” (which is still in beta testing) -a kind of “over-lord program” which notices the running of the other one.
And I have a CHOICE of which one to run. All I have to do is remember (no small feat), then hit the drop-down menu and switch from Samsara 2.0 to Witness 1.0.
I am thinking that if I start to run Witness 1.0 more often, there is a good chance that, over time, Witness 1.0 could move out of beta and become my new default consciousness.
And that would be a great.
Because I am totally bored and disgusted with Samsara 2.0. It has become viral. It has infected my whole life, causing me to run outdated, not to mention demented, programs like, “Fear of Failure,” “Everybody Has to Like Me,” and “Procrastination Will Keep Me Safe.”
So that’s what I’m going to do for the next 100 days. I’m going to start installing a new operating system. Check back with me in 100 days and I’ll tell you how it’s going.
Wish me luck.