When was the last time you engaged in introspection? Introspection involves examining our inner selves and becoming aware of our unknown triggers.
When we delve into our minds, we often confront darkness that paralyzes us and obstructs our progress. This experience can unsettle us, shaking us to our core and leaving us without a clear sense of direction. We can liken our minds to unfinished basements, places we tend to avoid due to their lack of light and musty smell. We only venture there to store things. However, there comes a point when we must confront the mess within, whether to foster personal growth or seek solace during challenging times.
René Descartes, a renowned French mathematician, and philosopher, extensively explored the complexities of the mind. He is best known for his modern approach to the concept of body-mind dualism, famously captured in the quote, “I think; therefore I am.” This quote encapsulates Descartes’ belief that a thinking entity is the fundamental essence of human existence.
Descartes gained a wealth of wisdom and intellectual development through extensive travels and constant observation. He dedicated himself to observing not only his own thoughts but also the behaviors of others. This process led him to divide reality into two fundamental categories: the extended substance, representing the three-dimensional physical world, and the thinking substance, representing the realm of thoughts and consciousness.
Descartes argued that the mind can exist independently of the body, while the body depends on the mind. He essentially considered the body a vessel for the existence of the mind.
Through his works, Descartes wrote a series of discourses that allow us to delve into his mind and explore his cognitive abilities. His sense of self emerged from an ambivalence toward accepting every thought that arose within his mind. He declared, “I resolved to pretend that all the things that had ever entered my mind were no truer than the illusions of my dreams. But immediately I noticed that while thinking this way, it was necessary that I, who was thinking this, was something.”
In my view, Descartes discovered the concept of the True Self, the driving force behind our mental processes. Unfortunately, many of us fail to penetrate the layers of our thoughts, accepting each thought that arises without discernment or filtering out unnecessary ones. We navigate through life reacting to the external world, neglecting to analyze the inner workings of our minds—the very place where our true power resides.