One of the primary features of the human mind is pattern recognition – the ability to recognize the inherent structure of nature by the patterns we perceive in form and phenomena. We can explore the intelligence around us – this the essence of science.
Because of the koshas, all of our environment is an expression of who we are. Thus, if we explore any specific detail thoroughly, we would learn not only about that aspect of the world but who we are beneath that. This is the essence of why some old sciences like astrology or palmistry can work.
However, because of this pattern recognition, if we don’t use the discrimination of science, we’re bound to see patterns that are not actually there. It’s fun to see a pattern in the stars or clouds but is it reality? Does the moon have a face or is it a rabbit or just a moon? When are stories like Santa fun and when are they a trap?
There’s another like trick of the mind that can get us into trouble here. It’s known as confirmation bias. We’ll tend to notice or emphasize things that support our beliefs and filter out things that don’t. If we believe life is harsh, we’ll tend to notice things that prove our belief and ignore the others. Good news is easily forgotten. Or vice versa.
This is actually built into the way the brain processes incoming sensory info. The first thing it does is compares it to past experiences. Only then does it become conscious, already filtered. This is to ensure faster response time if we get a danger signal but can have the effect of making us blind to things around us if we don’t accept them. It also can bring a charge with the experience that may or may not actually be there. We had a bad experience with that store last time, so we’re going to have it again – I just know it! And thus you will.
It’s an interesting process. Do we develop our intuition or fall into magical thinking? Do we reject anything non-physical and deny ourselves the richness of what is here? Or do we ignore the physical and float off in the mind or imagination?
It’s all about balance and checking our assumptions. Noticing what is here now rather than what has been or might be or should be.