Split Mind

May 10, 2022

Before I jump in, I just want to make something clear.

Many people I talk to about this stuff perceive it as "intellectualizing". It's the furthest thing from it. What's intellectual about a paradigm shift that allows you to live life with a depth of peace and wellbeing that was previously considered impossible? It only seems intellectual to those who don't truly consider the depth of how this applies to their lives. This paradigm shift is what happened to me and I know it can happen to anyone. I know how priceless it is from first-hand experience.

In every moment of experience, you could say there are two parts to it. There's the circumstance or the reality of a situation being presented to you - that's one part. We can call this part "life". And then there's the self, the thinker, that considers it, interprets it, and generally decides what to do about it. That's the second part. We can call this "me".

The "me" is what we have a feeling for as a sense of self. It's like, we all have a little computer of opinions and beliefs inside the mind that processes what's going on in life and then does something about it (or nothing). It's kind of just observing and taking in what's happening around it and then generating some reaction. Every sensory thing. Every sensation, every sound, everything in sight.

So "life" plays the role of what's happening, and then "me" plays the role of figuring out if there's something to do about it, and what to do about it. Life gives you a bad grade on your test for example, and then "me" analyzes it, processes it, and does something about it. Maybe it deems it insignificant, maybe it goes to argue with whoever graded it, maybe it cries.

I don't know if you have, but I've heard quite a bit about people talking about "reacting" versus "responding". If life hands you a lemon, and you get all angry and toss the lemon at a tree, maybe that would be considered "reacting". Whereas, if you sit for a minute and look at the lemon mindfully, then it might occur to you to make lemonade. This would be considered "responding" with some kind of degree of wisdom, intelligence, etc.

But both reacting and responding come from "me". The "me" can be mindful or volatile, or anything in between.

So this "me" is kind of like a little tiny castle that is surrounded by the ocean of life. And sometimes the waves of life crash hard. Sometimes there's a storm and the castle feels it needs to build up its defenses. Sometimes the ocean is sunny and friendly. In these times, the castle tries to embrace the ocean, to hold it for a little while.

There is a split between the "me" and "life". We may not always put words to it, but we experience this split nonetheless as perception. Life is on the outside, "I" am on the inside. Perception is seen as the bridge between "me" and "life".

The only thing here - and it's simple - is that this split isn't between the inside and the outside, between "me" and "life". The split is in the mind. These two parts are two parts of one mind. You.

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Schizophrenia literally means "split mind". It means that part of the mind has seemed to have been projected outside of itself and split off. The mind dissociates from what it has thought up and invents a division to justify the dissociation which it calls perception. Then what it thought up seems outside of itself.

But in order to completely dissociate, it needs to invent a sense of self, a "me" that is small. So the "me" says "I am very afraid of this", not realizing that the "this" is literally the other half of the mind. This teeny-tiny self goes "Ahhh!" or "Yay!" to what's on the other side of the split - "life".

When the mind is split, the whole mind (what you are in truth) identifies with the small part, the "me" (illusion), and through its identification keeps it running. Without realizing it, you (the whole mind) are still using, generating, operating, and playing the role of the other part as well - the apparent "life" part. But that aspect is hidden from awareness.

So the mind seems to be split. "I am schizophrenic" is always a true statement because the mere fact that there is a "me" necessitates that there is a split between the self and what is not the self. If there is no schizophrenia, there is no "me" either. It means there is no tiny self believing it is separate from the rest of the mind, calling the other half of the mind "reality".

Imagine how imprisoned a schizophrenic person must feel to be subject to their own hallucinations? How much fear there is must be that. Imagine how liberating would it be for that person to realize that they were only identified with a small part of the mind, and remembered their wholeness and freedom by seeing that their hallucinations are literally what they are doing to themselves.

Up to this point hasn't been too different from what I've been sharing in the past, but here is the part where I think things have a tendency to get lost in translation that I thought perhaps could use some clarification.

If someone says something like "you are using the power of thought to invent your life", the 'you' word in that sentence is interpreted as a reference to the "me" part of the mind (and interpreted by the "me" part of the mind, ironically) - the small computer self that serves to perpetuate the split. So of course the little tiny computer self will deny this statement. And it's correct. The "me" does not use the power of thought to invent life. The most it can do is make lemonade out of lemons.

But that's why the insight reveals that that's not who you are in the first place. You are not the tiny self. You are the whole mind. This is what wholeness is.

The schizophrenic person has to lose their sense of self to become aware that they are also "thinking" the hallucinations as well. This means who they believe themselves to be has to undergo a totally radical shift. They can't keep their old identity and also realize who they really are at the same time. The "I" that is separate from the hallucinations can no longer exist when the mind realizes its wholeness. The identity has to shift.

But through that shift in identity, the hallucinations no longer feel 'outside' them. And that's what happened with my insight (there is an irony to calling it "my" insight, but just for the sake of conversation). I simply realized that my mind wasn't outside me. It was so simple, but I had not been aware that I had not been aware of that up until that point. In other words, I had believed that my mind was outside me for pretty much my whole life, but I didn't realize I was believing that. I thought I was seeing reality. Why didn't someone tell me? Maybe they did and I wasn't really listening because I was so caught up in the thoughts of the tiny self and the tiny self would not explore that idea deeply. Maybe they did and I just accused them of denying reality without realizing they were pointing me to my own sanity.

When you play the piano, each hand plays in harmony. If one hand became afraid of the other hand, some weird tunes would come out of that because they'll be fighting each other. When there is no split, there is no "me" operating. Something higher operates through the space that's left. That's wholeness. My whole mind becomes open. It becomes an instrument of something greater. This experience is a spiritual experience. Or at least that's how I use the word spirit.

Harmony is not two separate hands trying to play a tune together. It's one player playing the hands. Oneness.

And the experience of this oneness doesn't happen through just throwing a blanket over all experience saying "it's all one anyway." You have to see the split mind, and it has to be unsplit through insight. That insight then makes room for oneness. In oneness, there is a depth of wellbeing that I won't describe because it just wouldn't do it justice.

This is not just intellectual philosophizing. It's a total shift in identity. There is a depth of freedom, peace, and joy that come along with this insight. The mind is no longer fighting itself, believing it is fighting something outside it. It no longer feels lacking or lonely, because that only happens through the "me" experience. It becomes fully alive and creative. Or rather, it allows creation to move through it without obstruction. Life can no longer drain it because the spirit is always supplying it with joy and energy.

And now there can be peace. Real peace. And real wisdom that comes out of that too.




Peter made this website.