This is Dan of Vagabond Buddha. I’m in the park running in Malaysia.
And, in the present moment in the Buddhist sense. I’m surrounded by nature.
And, I thought it might be useful to have a conversation. If I can do it. About how being in the present moment reminds me of how a computer works, in some ways.
And it’s just an analogy, it’s not perfect, but I’d like to share it with you.
And as I do this, i’ll be going back and forth from my history, which is a mind function, and being in the present moment, of this run, of this beautiful park.
So a computer has a memory and it has programs and it has an operating system.
An operating system takes a program from memory and puts it in the processor which begins to execute instructions. And those programs, when they’re executing, have control of the processor.
Computer is like human mind
And I’m going to call the processor the human mind when it’s running a program.
So let’s pick a program of some kind, let’s say an accounting program. So when the operating system puts an accounting program into faster memory, the processor thinks, in a metaphysical sense, that it is an accounting program. And it executes steps, that the accounting software tells it to execute.
Computer thinks it is the process it is running
The processor thinks it is an accounting program as it executes one instruction after another, running through an accounting program. And so the computer is being an accounting program.
And when that accounting program runs normally everything works fine. But if the accounting process gets caught in an infinite loop, then trouble may start. An infinite loop is a malfunction where a series of instructions keep repeating over and over again without resolution. It is stuck. It can cause physical pain to the computer such as overheating or thrashing through pages of executable instructions in and out of memory.
It can overheat, which I will call emotional pain and it can thrash, which I will call another kind of emotional pain or possibly even physical, more of a physical nature of pain.
Eventually something will interrupt the computer, such as a restart button and it will recover and start over or run another program. The same is with humans, you will be stuck in thought about something, and then the phone rings and you become another program, such as a friend program talking on the phone to a friend.
And so, as a human being, we go from program to program. We have a program about our work, with people at work, who we like, who we don’t like. We have a program of our finances, what investments are doing well, which are doing poorly, to whom do we owe money.
We have programs about our family, our mother was this way to us, our father was that way to us. We have programs about friends, my best friend did me wrong, or did me right. We have programs about house cleaning, social events, sex, money, relationships, religion, etc.
Computers have a belief system
And all of these programs have data and instructions they access, when they are running, that determine what we are (friend, boss, spouse, customer), what they believe (religion, social justice, political), for each program subject. So that is the human condition.
Computer believes it is the process it is running
So your operating system goes through from program to program. And from time to time, there is a pattern interrupt, for some reason, that switches which program is running in your mind, whether a telephone call, and emergency request, an interrupted pattern of thought. In computers those interrupts are sometimes called flags. The flags tell the processor that it needs to look at something and see what needs to be done.
A flag is thrown and the processor reads the flag, and understands that there is some pending emergency. That must be attended to now, and the processor begins running that program.
So before switching to run a higher priority program, the processor saves the present program it’s currently running and the operating system puts the new program in the processor.
Programs with higher priority get control of the processor, often because of an emergency. An emergency is a time sensitive thing that needs to be done. Often higher priority things are something that you may already are upset about, something that needs to be fixed.
So the human computer goes from program to program, operating system programs, memory programs, virus protection, etc.
Human problems restored to running process with full awareness
A mind identified human often runs one program after another. Some of those are upsetting programs, because they are unable to drive to immediate solution. Many human programs are unable to solve the problem they are working on. So the human gets caught in an infinite loop or begins page thrashing because the program they are running can’t find a solution to the problem. Maybe they don’t control all of the factors that could be used to solve the problem, like in work or personal relationships, where other people have other ideas about solutions to the problem.
Infinite Loops and Page Thrashing is Emotional Suffering and Physical Pain
So the human keeps going back over the data (facts) over and over again looking for a solution and trying to figure out how to drive other people to their solution to the problem.
That is, in my world, my analogy, how your mind works.
And, what enlightenment is. What being in the present moment is, is noticing that you have a master process running silently in the background, that is just data gathering and listening to the human processor as it tries to solve a problem, over and over again.
Enlightenment is perceiving that you have an existing master process already running silently in your life, in the background. The master process merely observes that you are running one process after another, some of which are causing you pain. And that there may not be much joy in your life, and in fact, if you find yourself running processes over and over again, that are thrashing or in an infinite loop, your daily joy, is greatly drained. Your processing resources are overworked, your batteries are drained, and your mind is overheated. Some people even have a nervous breakdown.
Data is a Computer’s Belief
Most people don’t get to that point. Most people just suffer through a more moderate version of infinite loops and page thrashing. And thrashing through your memory pages, back and forth, because the program that you are running can’t solve the problem. No matter how hard they try, the program from memory doesn’t have the data or the steps, to solve the problem.
And so the program doesn’t solve the problem.
Enlightenment is an Aware Operating System
And so what enlightenment is, is an understanding that, it is an observation, that your mind is running one of these after another, and creating pain in your life. You can have an awakening or new listening, which is somewhat akin to stepping back just watching your mind do its thing.
You can also awaken in silence. That is when you don’t have one of your mind programs running, so the processor is in a purely data gathering mode. The data just keeps coming in but you are not processing that data with any mind program.
An awakened state may start with moments of time, when you are new at it. Eventually you can gain complete control with your master process for minutes, or hours, or weeks or whatever you are presently able to do. Not running programs, but just idling the processor, and observing the pattern interrupts that are trying to get your mind to run one of these painful mind processes.
Your mind would like to take your present moment of being, and run a mind process definition of yourself, that is found in one of the mind processes. Your being goes from the joy of being in the present moment and observing what is happening in your body. The process of just receiving incoming data, perceiving incoming information without processing, perceiving what’s typed on the computer or perceiving what data is coming in over the network connection (ears, sights, sounds, smells), and maybe just buffering all this data. Your master process just buffers the data so it is there when it is time to run a mind process.
But the master process can just freely observe, and does not necessarily need to invoke a purposeful program to interpret the buffered data. It is just observing it.
That’s what enlightenment is. It is a master process. It chooses whether or not it’s going to define itself in the given moment based upon any process it may choose to run, or not.
And then later, as you develop your master process. You’ll have the ability to run each of these self-defining processes programs, within the environment of the master process, like a sandbox, and observe it as it runs. And notice sooner when a program is running in the infinite loop and that pain has started, or notice when page thrashing has started, because of pain.
If the master process runs a human mind program, like ‘relationship’, while it watches it run, then the master can interrupt the program, if it becomes painful. So the master process doesn’t have to sit there and writhe in pain as it watches the ‘relationship’ program thrash or run an infinite loop.
Three States of Being Human
Mind Identified State
Running one program after another without any control just switching programs whenever there’s a pattern interrupt or flag that changes from one self-defining program to another. That is the state of thinking you are your mind.
Master Process Awareness While Running Mind Process
Awareness that you are not your mind and that you have a choice of whether or not to run the next program. This is present moment awareness while running a mind process.
Master Process in Observational
The state of just being present as a master processor. Enjoy the beingness of a being a computer, without running a program that has a purpose. And that’s what being in the present moment is. It is enjoying the park without purpose. Just taking in the surroundings while breathing in the joy of the present moment and when it’s appropriate.
When you get to the point where it’s time to run a program, sometimes you have to balance the checkbook, sometimes you have to interact with the world in a way, that has the potential of running a program from your past that causes you pain. And, instead of giving that process entire control of the entire ecosystem, give it a sandbox to run in, and maintain master process awareness.
So you have a choice to switch programs or do nothing and be in the present moment, when one of the programs throws an infinite loop flag or starts thrashing.
And so, from a computer scientist’s perspective, how to run your brain is analogous with present computerized systems.
Can You Observe This in Your Body?
Networks interactions between people are scientifically observable within your own body. You can, if you are able to raise your awareness and look and see. Is any of this true? Is any of this happening inside you?
So, back to my full time Master Process in Observational. Time to enjoy this gorgeous park, here in KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia. This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. Thanks for dropping by.