• Luigi Espasiano

Beliefs and the changing mind

Is it possible to change our mind in ways favourable to us?

This question is of paramount importance since changing our mind is likely the first step towards changing our behaviour, or habit energies, as Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn puts it.

No doubts, this is one of the significant challenges a human being may be called to face, and indeed, a desirable benefit that psychedelics therapy may offer.

First things first, what is it that we are trying to change?

When we ask wether our mind can be changed, we should make sure we understand what it is that we are really trying to change. Say you are trying to replicate the taste of a cake you have tried (and liked very much), would you be able to do that without an exact knowledge of the recipe? Unless you are a highly accomplished patissier, the odds are that your cake will be a mess.

The logical conclusion is that without a clear understanding of the object of our investigation, it is very unlikely we will succeed to manipulate it or alter it in any meaningful way. The question that follows naturally is, what is it that we are asking to change, hence, what is mind?

What is mind?

  1. Mind is the collection of functions (attention, memory, cognition etc.)

  2. Mind is an aggregate of interacting parts or components

  3. Mind is a process consisting of all the thoughts and sensations that arise at any given moment

  4. Mind is the space in which thoughts manifest and sensations are cognised

  5. Mind is both a space and a process

  6. Mind is your suffering (well, this is the case sometimes isn't it?)

There are overlapping elements in this list which could certainly be extended or completely revisited. One immediate realisation is the lack of consensus regarding the object of our study. Some aspects of this problem are terminological, others are a consequence of the complexity of the concept which eludes clear definitions.