Yesterday I read about the life of Erwin Schrödinger, and also part of his book ‘What is life?‘ before I went to bed. Edward Schrödinger was a physicist whose work was key to the early development of quantum physics. He also led a fascinating life, moving between different countries and exchanging ideas with people like Albert Einstein. Perhaps you have heard of ‘Schrödinger’s cat’, the thought experiment of a cat in a box? His ideas also influenced people outside of physics. One example is James D. Watson, who researched the gene which led to the discovery of DNA.
I was inspired by what I read, and just before I woke up today, I head the words ‘boolean field’ spoken to me in a short dream. As I woke up, I thought of the idea as a gift (coincidentally, it was my birthday too!) and by taking these words (which come from the domains of mathematics and physics) and I used it to create a method for finding more happiness and freedom in life. I think it is very good, and I want to share it with you. I combined the words with some things I have learnt the past years by investigating a multitude of sources for personal development.
I will first outline the idea. Then I will explain the method, which you can use as a tool to find out more about yourself and your relation to the world. Two basic question to keep in the back of your mind are
- What is actually true?
- How can I know for sure it is true?
Last, I share a long list of links to further reading which I hope will awake curiousity and passion in you for further exploration on your own!
Think of your mind is a minefield, a Boolean field of mine or thine. The mines are traps which cause us unhappiness. Boolean is a term from logic, meaning that something can be true either false. In the mind, it appears as classifications and judgments, of me and not me. It also appears as labels on objects, events, concepts and even emotions in terms of good or bad. We can easily get lost in it and when we do, it prevents us from seeing reality as it really is. Think about how an infant that has not yet learnt a word looks at life. Part of why it smiles so easily and naturally is that it has no set notions about the world yet.
To find out what is actually true, we want to reset our minds boolean field, to a state of neither true or false.
To be live with the boolean field removed is a beautiful experience. No labels, attachments or identies troubles you. Only being with what is, in the present moment. To make a parallel with quantum physics, it is to live in a more undetermined state, a quantum state of possibility and potential, but without clinging to absolute certainties. Things can be momentarily true or false, and also both, but the changes of states do not cause us lasting suffering.
You can estimate how far away you are from this state by making lists and adding up the number of items you find
- How many labels on things and phenomena do you think are yours and needs protecting and would resist sharing or losing to anything you consider to not be you. This includes your body, your thoughts, your ideas, emotions and memories. It also includes every person you have ever met or think you will ever meet.
- How many labels are you using to classify every person you know, including yourself.
- How many labels are you using consciously or unconsciously when observing around you, on any occuring phenomena. This phenomena may arrive to you through sight, sound, touch, taste and hearing, but also more subtly through inner thoughts and images.
- How many things in life are you certain to be either true or false
If you do a list of these things, you can get an estimate of how much work you have to do to experience a much happier life. Even if you don’t make a written list, just thinking about it can be helpful too.
You can make a list of these, and then meditate on letting go from them, thinking either ‘I don’t know for sure, perhaps I need to find out’ in the terms of beliefs, and ‘I don’t think it matters if this is me or mine’ for identification, and ‘I am not completely certain what this is’ for phenomena or outward labels. Do it honestly. You can also apply this while going about your day, trying to be as aware as you can of any unconscious judgements you do.
Be wary of going overboard; rejecting or resisting something can become a boolean mine in disguise! Also, if your mind gets very stuck on a certain phenomena, that can be another telltale sign!
The key is to be loosen up a bit, letting go, but not being to obsessed with this idea either.
You can also, using the list as a guide, start sharing, giving away and act less protectively around anything you think needs to be protected in some way. This can be your identity, your beliefs, your belongings, your behaviour and people around you. In short, be more open to change and new experiences.
Resources for further investigation
The method above shares similarities with meditations, philosophical self-inquiry and religious practices. The goals and the paths toward them are referred to by many names.
Here are a list of examples which you can read about at your own pace:
It is very interesting to look at the similarities these share. I think they can be used freely as pointers of investigation.
Many terms appear in more than the contexts which I have listed within the parenthesises. If you think I have left out anything important, I apologize, and please let me know with a comment.
Also, any ideas or suggestions for improving this blog post are warmly welcomed!