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The Unconscious Portrait of a Being

by Dean Michael Patterson

The once strapping bodybuilder of a young man was now a portly middle-aged socialite

with a full head of white hair and large thick well-groomed white beard. Samuel worked

as one of the top neurologists at the college by the ocean. He liked working at the

college. He could walk everywhere, and he thought the campus was a beautiful

environment to live and work in.


Samuel spent half his time teaching and inspiring young eager minds about the brain

channel and the other half involved with research and clinical trials. Samuel loved being

in the lab conducting research, discovering new and exciting things. Then telling people

all about what he discovered. His current object of study was the ever so popular topic

of human choice or freewill.


Samuel was feeling distraught by the results of his current field of study. According to the

data, as humans develop, they form mental images of who they are, based solely on

personal and cultural conditioning. Much to Samuel’s chagrin, he was discovering that

people are identifying with something created by an unconscious phantom self.

Much like believing that you are a ray of light when you are the sun. Or a wave when

you are the ocean.


Samuel grew up passionately inspired by the understanding that life orbited around the

mind being the most amazing thing in the universe. Lately, Samuel began wondering if

the mind might be the most dysfunctional thing in the universe, constantly thinking about

past and future ad nauseum. The incredible thinking machine it never stops.


Samuels clinical trial hypothesized that choice or freewill requires a high degree of

present moment consciousness, awareness centered on the now. That is why Samuel

was left scratching his head going over the clinical trial data. It appeared that the mind

was not capable of present moment consciousness.


Judging by the data, the mind misperceives the now. The mind sees the now by looking

at the past then projecting into the future. Samuel understood that freewill did not play

into that equation. That equation was called conditioned reasoning.


What Samuel was observing from his clinical trial was that the actions people engaged

in were not part of any conscious choice. In case after case Samuel was discovering

that people were unconsciously going through life according to the conditioned patterns

of their mind. This engrained thinking was driving people’s choices. The conditioned

mind appeared to be running our lives.


Samuel’s freewill predicament got him to wondering. Was it possible for people to make

choices not identified with the mind? After all, if people are acting like automatons that’s

not choice or freewill. Samuel needed to discover a way into the essence of who a

person really is. And why did everyone seem to be in a state of near constant thinking

concerning past and future.


Samuel did what he always did when struggling with a project. He did something else

completely different to distract him from thinking about it. Samuel went his desk top

computer screen and called up some colleagues.


“Hey what are you doing? Want to meet up at Dr. VonRipski’s? Yeah, I know. Tell me all

about it. Anyways rendezvous in an hour say.”


A glass octagon studio, constructed from wooden framework painted white, worn

ragged from years of weather abuse. Nestled precariously atop the towering cliffs over

Black’s Beach. One got the sense of floating over the ocean when you looked out

through the immense windows. Dr. VonRipski himself an enigma was never around, but

a few select individuals had access to the retiring abode.


Inside the studio, a big beautiful towering rock fireplace, several large comfy green

couches scattered about. Before one wall of windows sat a black wooden bar with

leather highbacked stools and an antique cork dartboard. Before another wall of

windows, a burgundy felt pool table and several graphite pool cues lined up.


Dr. VonRipski was a botanist as evidenced by the plethora of very strange plant and

flower arrangements nestled around the room. The smell of jasmine wafting lightly in the

air.


The one expensive item in the studio was an esoteric sound system connected with

silver interconnects and a weird looking vacuum sealed phonograph player. Classical

music played regularly however depending on the age of the crowd and hour of the

night all sorts of worldly music could be heard. Standing outside the studio one might

think live music was being played inside, it was that good.


Samuel sprang into the studio on what was turning into a crisp cool night. The sweet

salty air combined with the crackling of the fireplace produced a relaxing aura of easy

comradery and soft laughter.


Tchaikovsky played sumptuously in the background. The gathered crowd was a

refreshing mix of women and bearded men, mostly professors. A few bright honors

students and local business folk mingled amongst the august gathering. Samuel made

his way over to his friends at the bar.


“Did you read the latest article in the Journal Nature by Dr. VonRipski.” A bearded man

said to a woman dressed like she just got back from Hawaii, all florals and bright colors.


“Oh yes, that was so interesting.” Said the woman in flowers sipping on something from

a coconut. “I’ve actually been to that place. What do you think of my dress Dr.

VonRipski gave it to me. I thought he would be here have you seen him?”


Samuel’s ears perked up, he confronted the couple looking surprised. “What, what

article was that? I didn’t know Dr. VonRipski published again. Was it any good, what this

time? Damn he’s fast, he beat me yet again.”


“Oh, yes hi Samuel,” said the bearded man. “It was about a pheromone meditation

retreat in Big Sur. People practice brain training by using pheromones. They believe

that you can train the brain to a state of no mind. Through pheromone triggered total

acceptance and nonjudgment of the now.”


Samuel wondered if such a state was possible and it intrigued him to imagine what life

would be like without thinking. Just a state of being. Samuel felt suddenly gripped by an

intense flashback. He sunk into one of the bar stools and closed his eyes to ride this

out.


He was standing in a very long noisy line waiting for bagels and lattes in a small beach

side café. He was feeling stressed out and agitated waiting in line when he noticed this

person just standing there grinning.


“How in the hell do you seem to be so eerily peaceful right now. It really kind of bugs

me. I mean honestly you seem to be just radiating inner peace right now just look at

you. Are you humming, meditating, chanting what is that?”


The grinning person replied. “Want to know the secret? Like attracts like.”


“What?”


“I walk around like an idiot; my mind is so empty.”


“What are you talking about,” Samuel asked frantically pulling at his beard. “These kids

running around like banshees are driving me crazy. That lady at the front of the line

talking and laughing with the person at the cash register as if none of us are waiting in

line behind her, driving me batty. I mean my god what is wrong with that lady, there’s

like ten of us behind her and she’s carrying on a conversation. And now I’ve got you

here talking crazy.”


“Calm down,” said the stranger. “Now just take a deep breath. It’s the negative thoughts

in your mind that you are choosing to identify with, that’s the only thing that is crazy

around here. It has nothing to do with that lady, this line, or the kids, and everything to

do one hundred percent with only you. Life reflects what’s inside of you.”


“Don’t tell me to calm down,” Samuel snapped. “Just look at that woman she is being so

rude to all of us behind her. It isn’t right she should be told. And what kind of parents

just let’s their kids run around like this? None of them should be allowed to be parents. I

tell yeah.”


“Woe, woe their partner,” said the stranger. “Just listen to you. Right now, your negative

mind is completely controlling you. Don’t you see, you are just reacting to what your

mind has conditioned itself about waiting in lines. Which is apparently a lot of frustration.

Let me guess you’re used to getting what you want when you want it and you also grew

up with very strict parents I’m guessing.”


“Forget this,” Samuel started shouting. “MISS ah MISS, at the front of the line, yea you

Miss Chatty Kathy. HEY, do you mind the rest of us would like to order. Your being very

rude to the rest of us. Very Rude.”


“Man, your out of control,” said the stranger laughing. “Just look at you, your acting

completely insane. You asked me why I look so peaceful. I’m trying to tell you. It’s all

about learning to dissociate from your mind.”


“You’re a lucky guy that this doesn’t bother you,” said Samuel running his hand through

his hair, fuming mad. “But seriously, I have no idea what you are talking about right

now. But hey good for you, more power to yah. I guess ignorance is bliss hey.” He

patted this person on the shoulder.


“It’s not ignorance,” the stranger said gently placing a warm hand on Samuel’s shoulder

talking softly as if to a child. “In this insane world, being conscious without thinking, is

simply the only logical conclusion. That is if you want to live with inner peace. You must

learn to surrender to what is without any uncertainties.”


“I think I’m more of the, do not go gently into that good night type, but hey I’m still open

to learning. After all I wouldn’t mind having some of what you have right now.” They

both laughed.


Samuel thought maybe this person was what he said he was, walking around like an

idiot his mind is so empty. As a neurologist, Samuel has worked with people largely

unidentified with the mind. People with brain trauma or genetic disorders like down

syndrome. Many of whom seem genuinely happy or peaceful doing whatever.


Samuel’s head came up from the bar and he snapped back out of his dream like revere.

He shook his head and sipped at his drink, hum interesting. I should find out what this

is, he thought. Drink in hand he rejoined the couple still talking about Dr. VonRipski.


“How long was I out?”


“What? You just sat down at the bar, are you alright Samuel you look a little peeked?”


Bright and early next morning Samuel was at his desk. Sitting in his small office

listening to the radio when suddenly a voice on the radio caught his attention.


“When you are surrounded by other people at this level it feels really good.” The

classical musician was being interviewed on air for the public broadcasting station. “You

know we truly work so very hard to get to this level of excellence. Practice, practice,

practice. It’s just feels so great to be here with all the other certainly talented musicians.”


“What on earth is she talking about,” Samuel shouted out in dismay. “How arrogant can

you get. Oh, we are so great because we’re so talented. We are better than everyone

else. We work so much harder than everyone else. Those are called god given gifts for

crying out loud what is wrong with you.”


The professor in the office next door heard Samuel shouting, not unusual, but he came

over just to see. “What did you say Samuel. Were you asking me something or just

talking to yourself again. You know I think that’s weird.”


“No what, what, no. I’m just trying to figure out why people can be so arrogant so full of

themselves it annoying.” Samuel pulled and twisted at his beard then looked up at his

colleague. “Tell me professor if your so smart, what are some things people can be born

with and have no control over. And I’m not talking about diseases today. That virus thing

is behind me. I mean things which would lead a person to believe that they are better

than everyone else. Even though they had nothing to do with it, although they might

actually think somehow that they did.”


“Well that’s easy Samuel, good looks like mine,” said the colleague laughing.


“Seriously…”


“Well let’s see. You can be born into a rich powerful family. You can be born with natural

sheer physical strength, born smarter then everyone else, born to be amazingly

beautiful like me. Oh, yeah and born to be incredibly gifted at things like music, math,

art, dancing, athletics. The list goes on, why what’s this all about Samuel? Is someone

telling you how great they are, and you disagree yet again.”


“Maybe, this time it’s more like what is the mind telling us,” said Samuel looking glassy

eyed. “And what or who is telling the mind. You know, we recognize talent as something

people are just born with. You either Mozart or you’re not. It doesn’t matter how hard

someone works or studies at it. Life can be very black and white that way. We recognize


that we have no control over these things. Well at least not yet we don’t maybe

someday. But anyways…”


“Yeah, so what Samuel. Some people are just born lucky, so what’s the point?”


“Well you know. It just makes you wonder if choice and freewill operate in the same way

as god given gifts you know, out of our control. Let’s just say for a second that people

have no control over their freewill then what does that make us as a species?”


“Well Samuel I’ll tell you what it’s not. It’s not called freewill just by definition if we have

no control over it. However, if you have discovered empathetically that we have no

choice or freewill in our lives then that might account for something. Hey, did you just

prove that everything is connected. We are all one with the universe, cool man.”


“Seriously… Stop messing around. People make choices based on the lives and

genetics that they are born with that’s fundamentally true. But, what if true natural

choice and freewill are actually not of the mind? Then how does that work?”


“Well once again Samuel that’s easy, you’re talking about the spirit now. Old school

stuff mind, body and spirit. Look you figure it out and let the rest of us know OK. Hey,

you going to that party tonight, Dr. VonRipski’s I love that place.” Samuel mumbled

something, the colleague walked back to his office.


Samuel took a deep breath and began pouring over his notes and research on the

clinical trial. The results kept pointing to a few startling facts. One was that people seem

to be living their lives doing what they’re being told to do by their constantly thinking

minds. The rambling mind appears to be controlling through a lifetime of learned


reactive patterns or conditioning. Literally generation after generation, humans react to

certain situations because that is how our mind tell us to react to that situation.


The genetics we are born with and the environments in which we are raised contribute

greatly to how our mind learns and makes decisions about how to respond to life

situations. The problem Samuel saw in all of this was that it is all one hundred percent

out of our control. So, who or what is calling the shots down here on old planet earth.

Samuel felt despondent. Choice and freewill don’t mean anything. People can only do

what they are made to do and can only react or respond to life how they are told by their

mind.


Samuel spent the rest of the day drafting notes about the clinical trial into a report. He

felt depressed by the whole thing and knew that he would be happy to put it behind him.

As the light outside began to fade Samuel tidied up his desk, finished for the day. He

was more than ready to spend some quality time mindless talking with people over adult

beverages.


Samuel strode purposefully over to the cliff top studio. He took a deep breath of the

fresh ocean air and walked inside. He was happy to see some people he knew and

walked over. They were deep into conversation talking as people usually do about other

people.


“Oh, hi Samuel,” said a fellow colleague. Samuel ladled some bone broth infusion into

cup and drank thirstily. “Did you hear about what professor Franklin has been doing in

his free time.”


Samuel listened intently to a tirade of judgements as they poured forth about professor

Franklin. Samuel felt lightheaded and a cold sweat broke out over his forehead. He took

another long pull from his bone broth infusion and his head cleared. Samuel set his cup

down. He liked to use his hands when talking.


“You know when we judge someone we are actually recognizing ourselves in that

person. Or more specifically that person is bringing up something that we see inside of

ourselves. Hence the judgement. If that person makes you angry it is because of the

anger inside yourself. Or if that person makes you uncomfortable it is the

uncomfortableness within yourself that you are feeling. And so on and so forth.” Samuel

was pulling at his beard looking glassy eyed.


“Yes, Samuel what is it this time,” said a fellow colleague. “I know life is a reflection of

what’s inside of us, right! Isn’t that what you always say. If you come across three

assholes in the morning guess what you’re the asshole.” Laughter broke out.


“I have no doubt of it,” Samuel said and ran his hand through his shaggy sandy blonde

hair. “No, my friends, there are no judgements to be made, because we are in fact, all

equal. All one hundred percent equal, all part of the same system we call life. None of

us can do anything about it. People only think they can because their mind tells them

that they have choice or freewill. Why because their mind tells them that they are

separate. The mind has fooled us all into thinking that we are separate.”


“Total acceptance and non-judgement of the now. Right Samuel? Please spare me the

new age psychobabble.”


“We can only hope to empty our minds and flow through life. Look it makes sense, our

minds are conditioned by our past. The mind only tells us what it has learned over

generations of evolution. And our emotions are just our bodies response to what the

mind is thinking. Emotions can’t help us with choice or freewill. Only by going beyond

the mind and experiencing present moment consciousness can we understand the true

essence of ourselves.” Samuel was looking at his friends who were starring back at him

blankly, shaking their heads in dismay.


“Well Samuel your truly depressed aren’t you.” A fellow colleague finally spoke up. “You

know what they say, if you can’t beat them, join them.”


“Meaning what,” responded Samuel eyeing his colleague suspiciously.


“Simple my dear young professor Samuel. If you want to know what life is like beyond

the mind then join the dead my dear brother otherwise you know what they say, get

busy living or get busy dying.”


Samuel staggered backwards before grabbing and raising his glass. “Amen I’ll toast to

that. Say have you noticed lately that there’s no minds and no bodies around.”

Meaning what,” replied the laughing colleague.


“Well simple my dear young professor. I don’t mind, and you don’t matter.” With that

Samuel bid his adieus and strode purposefully back to his office. He had a new

research and clinical trial to write up.