There are three basic levels of the mind. The highest is the pure mind or consciousness, devoid and free of all thought and concepts. This is the transcendental condition of mind, known as Unmani, or Self-knowing without attributes, known as Vidya. Next, is the level of realizing the attributes of divine mind or Self. This is buddhi mind, or the intuitional mind. Here, the pure consciousness of Divine Self reveals its inherant qualities. The mirror begins to reflect qualities of its purity. The principles of Divine Life and cosmic creation are revealed in the buddhi mind. These divine qualities of Self and creation are realized in their potential via the head centres of mind and realized in their actual presence through the mental nature of the heart centre. These realizations are known as divine wisdom, jnana, or higher knowledge of Divine Being. We find wisdom through the buddhi mind, which is a mental function or instrument for knowing, rather than a mental place or container. This wisdom comes through the buddhi mind as reflective impressions of the pure transcluscent consciousness. Esoterically, the wisdom of divine-knowing comes out of the creative imagination of the One Divine Being. That One Being is called Brahman and that power of creative imagination is known as Shiva. The One Being realizes Itself through Its creative imagination, that is, whatever It wishes to be It is, or however It thinks of Itself It is, and these divine thoughts of Itself are reflected through creation as the essential qualities within creation. This is not to suppose that all manifestation is a perfect mirror reflection of Divine Thought, but that these divine thoughts can be realized through the conscious buddhi mind and then manifested in life. All creation and nature is essentially a reflection of Divine Thought or Imagination, as these divine principles or qualities live within and inspire all manifested activity, but such divine inspiration can only inspire to the degree that each body-mind is capable or willing to realize. The nature of earth, its various lives and ecologies, are as reflective of divine qualities as they are capable. The sub-human lives on earth are mostly evolved as much as they are capable, though some evolution still proceeds, and their limited perfection is worthy of appreciation. But humans have greater capacity for divine reflection, capable of integrating virtually all the qualities of Divine Being; yet their capacities are mostly unrealized and their habitual unwillingness to be impressed by divine inspiration limits this potential evolutionary reflection.
The buddhic impressions received from Divine Being are direct knowings, direct intuitions, yet they are pre-conceptual. Each impression possess a unique quality, known by one of the inner psychic senses. These qualities of higher wisdom are either felt, tasted, smelled, heard, or perceived, but not in the ordinary sense. They are the subtle sense powers of the Ajna centre, where sometimes you can even taste the truth, though this is a psychic taste. What marks the intuitional mind is how the impressions seem to lack conceptual understanding. You might feel that you directly know the impression or this quality of divine inspiration but it doesn't come as a thought or with an interpretation. You just know what it is, you know the truth of this impression, without thinking about it or interpreting it in language.
Buddhi wisdom is directly known. It's non-conceptual, and it doesn't come from conceptual thinking or reasoning. It is just reflective of our divine nature, the one spiritual consciousness. The more of this wisdom realized the greater is our spiritual understanding and presence in the world.
The increased establishment of jnana wisdom within the conscious mind builds the sattva energy of conscious-wisdom presence.
Out of the buddhi mind, conceptual understanding can develop, either spontaneously or intentionally. Conceptual understanding is a product of the lower level of mind, called manas, meaning the instrument of thought or conceptualization. The activity of conceptualization and thought-full reasoning is called vikalpa. Teachings of yoga often stress the need to eliminate or go beyond vikalpa, in order to approach the transcendental nature of mind.
Vikalpa becomes a hindrance on the upward ascent, as it were, to pure consciousness. Yet, vikalpa is needed in the descent of wisdom consciousness. Wisdom, the realized qualities of spiritual being as intuitive impressions, needs to be conceptually understood, in order to make these spiritual intuitions more practicaly applicable and communicable.
Conceptualizing our spiritual intuitions of the Self-reality improves or even transforms our reasonable understanding of ourself and the world. Whether we realize it or not, our conceptual view of ourself and of reality, that is, our beliefs and map of what we think of as reality, determine how we act and relate in the world, which helps determine what goes on in the world in relation to us. How our world appears and manifests around us is very much determined by our beliefs and the way we conceptually understand things.
This, our conceptual reality, structures experiences within its particular map and within its particular definitions or interpretations, and it is first developed through social educational conditioning. So, the conceptual mind, manas, is hardly insignificant. It may need transcending in order to reach pure consciousness, but if we are to actually live as body-minds, as conscious, practical interacting beings, this conceptual mind is a necessary part of our functioning. As such, it needs transformation, not just transcendence. It must be transformed by the spiritual intuition. Remember that manas, the conceptual mind, has been mostly determined by social education. Manas has the ability to reason with itself, which can develop greater coherancy and eliminate irrational thinking, but this internal reasoning of mind will be limited by its own deeper structure influencing the reasoning itself and structuring new experiences. We call this the mind trap. The only way out, at the deeper levels of its structure, is through the transcending consciousness and the transformative impressions of buddhi intuitive mind.
These higher mental impressions can free old
conceptual structures and evolve a more meaningful and deeper
perceptive understanding of reality. One reaches to the Source of
self and creation, the Divine Mind, and here realizes truth directly.
Yet, these intuitive impressions of divine truth must still be
clothed in a conceptual language and structure, in order for them to
have sense in the existing conceptual structure and in order for them
to be communicated with others. The spiritual intuitions require
concepts and thoughts which already exist in manas, so there is a
reliance on the existing conceptual language and thoughts, until we
expand our knowledge with new studies. We cannot totally break free
of this reliance, so we should be cautious not to over idealize our
intuitions as understood by language. But realization within the
buddhi mind is still a freedom from the existing manas, and as such
these intuitive impressions will be transformative in manas. Concepts
and language already existing in manas will have to be used
to reflect upon these spiritual intuitions, but the intuitions can
selectively use only what is needed to cut through any illusions of
the existing structure of manas. Buddhi mind offers a way out of the
mind trap, because its source is pure of conceptualization. It will
need to use what is available from manas in order to be conceptualy
understood or reflected upon, but it is not completely trapped by
those used concepts. The intuitions are limited because of this
necessary relationship with the existing manas, but the wisdom mind
can intelligently select language and images of manas for the
transformation of manas. The practical suggestion for gradual
transformation of the conceptual mind is reflection within the higher
intuitive mind, attempting to understand the spiritual knowing by
whatever means available to mind. If one allows, the intuitive
spiritual mind will begin to speak on its own accord and chose the
words of its teaching. The buddhi will speak, will teach, will
guide, if you let it, and depending on the developed connection
between the conceptual and intuitive mind.
This connection between levels of mind must be developed through meditative and attunement practice. We could imagine a subjective bridge from the lowest level of the concrete, practical mind to the highest level of intuitive knowing wisdom or even to Pure Knowing Being Itself. That connecting bridge is sometimes called the Antakarana, which actually means the coordinating ability of mind. Once there is coordination of the mind, by mind, there is power and applied wisdom of mind. Yet we must not mistakenly think that this bridge or coordination is built solely with our own willful effort. This bridging coordination requires our will and effort, but surrendering of will and the attitude of allowing mind to be as-it-is is also necessary. How can our will and the surrender of will happen simultaneously? This appears to be a contradiction in terms. The power of will is needed to concentrate and steady the mind. One must also know what is intended of the mind. So many people practice meditation without any focus and without any intention of what they wish to accomplish. The mind without will and intention is like a floating ship without any means to steer it and without any agreed direction. This aimlessness and unfocusness of the mind is a actually quality of Samadhi, pure Self-realization, but it doesn't do much good in the work of coordinating or bridging the higher intuitive mind, buddhi, with the lower mind of thought, manas. Samadhi is a final letting go of will, intention, concentration, and even of the mind as one usually knows it; yet mere drifting of the mind in aimless thought or mental sleep is not Samadhi and cannot lead to Samadhi.
Classical yoga teaches that Samadhi is first preceded by withdrawl of the outer senses, then concentration, then meditation. All teachings leading toward Samadhi speak of intention, concentration and using the will. We have to first gather our mental energies which, as we will soon find, are usually un-coordinated and scattered about in various disconnected directions. So the first requirement of meditation is the gathering and collection of self-control, bringing all the available energies of mind together under one commander, the intentional will, under one supreme purpose which is to attune and coordinate with the guiding wisdom of the higher or deeper spiritual mind. The will, that is, intentional you, must concentrate on the purpose of attunement to the highest spiritual wisdom of mind, and eventually reach the highest experience of the spiritual Self. One feels to be willfully and intentionally aspiring to know the highest wisdom of the Divine Mind of the One Being, raising upwards, building the bridge upwards into the Greater Light of God. Yet the will cannot coordinate how the Divine Mind shall come to be experienced. One is not meant to make up the experience of the Divine or to merely invent divine wisdom from one's will or intention. The active will and focused intention has its place in the bridging process of attunement, but the divine wisdom must be allowed to bridge toward us and clarify itself in our understanding. We must allow the greater divine mind to descend into our knowing, allowing its greater light to penetrate our mind and infuse into our being. This called the allowing aspect of will and intention, which in meditation compliments active aspect of will. The active aspect of will focusses, concentrates, and directs the mind toward the intended purpose, while the allowing aspect of will allows and permits the penetration and infusion of divine wisdom. One builds the bridge by concentrating mental energy in the direction of the spiritual wisdom mind, while simultaneously allowing the bridge to be built by that greater spiritual mind in which we truly exist. This allowing will, or willingness, is as necessary as the active intending will. It is a willing surrender to that greater wisdom. Gradually, the active self-will, which must intentionally begin this process of attunement, becomes more and more receptive and allowing of the attunement to take place under the direction of the wisdom mind. One must remain consciously focused and collected, but this becomes a focused receptivity for divine impression. Then, the divine wisdom gradually enlightens our understanding. The wisdom begins to teach us and guide us. The wisdom mind begins to penetrate the conceptual mind and transform it. Spiritual truths and qualities of Divine Being, known in our inherant wisdom mind, become recognized in the form of ideas and thoughts, and these newly recognized truths gradually transform our conceptual reality of self and the world. The spiritual wisdom within us is first realized as an impression or feeling or intuition of just knowing. This shows contact in the intuitive wisdom mind. From here it is possible to ascend, as it were, or surrender, into the pure mind or consciousness, into the Samadhi experience. Yet at some point the Divine Consciousness of Samadhi will seek to realize its qualities of Being. In other words, it will seek to manifest as a thought or idea. This is known as the creative descent of Spirit, or the formulation in mind of Divine Truth. It is the creative spiritual will seeking to manifest in mind, in body, and in the world. The wisdom mind is the link between pure Spiritual Truth and conceptual understanding. All is, in essence, one Mind, but there are these experienced levels of mind. The pure mind and buddhi mind are eternally complete and perfect, but the conceptual mind of understanding must evolve or develop through time and process, or it will remain limited and ignorant. The conceptual mind will never be excatly the same as buddhi mind, because conceptualization is merely a practical means mental orientation, a way of modeling or mapping reality.
Such modeling is necessary in life but any model requires certain props, terminology, language, which may be different from other models. No model is the reality itself, but some models have greater coherancy and more thouroughly describe the comprehensive reality. So, the conceptual mind is limited but needed. It is certainly needed for communication, and communication is a significant aspect of human life. It is the language we use to understand ourself and the world. We each think by this language, that is, thinking requires this language, and we communicate our understanding by this language. The conceptual mind is also necessary for making plans and decisions concerning creative activity. It gives us both identity and direction in our lives. We say to ourself, 'this is who I am', or 'this is what I shall do.' Without language or without ideas and thought we could not orient ourselves in this way. Without some kind of self-definition, of what qualities I have or what I want in life, or without any definition of my direction of activity, I would live an aimless, vague kind of life. To some people this aimless, undefined existence is the spiritual goal of life. That, I suppose, is anyone's choice. Some may call this freedom, but if you are truly free then why not be free have some chosen direction and affirm yourself in the world? We have been conditioned by the ascetic and anti-worldly bias of some religious teachings to assume that the body, the intellect, and the creative will are the antithesis of spirituality. The tantra, which preceded classical yoga, buddhism and Christianity, never succombed to this one-sided spiritual bias. In the tantra all aspects of human life are sacred. So assert your intellect, as well as your creative imagination, as well as your sensual body. Assert yourself in the world, that is, assert your spiritual truth and leave behind all ignorant biases. We can spiritually apply the mind in life, using thought and language for the betterment of life, and we can define and assert ourselves, our desires and directions. There isn't any thing wrong or unspiritual about this. But we can go beyond the superficial mind and superficial desires. We can find, define, what is truly ourself. In the spiritual path we do not merely apply the usual conditioned mind. Instead, we apply the spiritually trannsformed mind, the self-awakened mind, and we continually attune this mind to spiritual wisdom through meditation and allow this mind to continually learn, change and grow in its understanding. We allow our mind to be flexible and penetrable, open and awake to new insights and greater enlightenment. The mind can be conceptual and have its definitions, but none of this is set in stone, for the mind can be like clay being gradually formed by the infusing spiritual wisdom. This is growth. This is evolution. We need to have some ideas of ourself, some affirmations of our divine qualities, because our beliefs will pattern our lives. Without some self-belief we will not have any confidence to act creatively and spiritually in the world.
Yet all ideas or beliefs of the self must be allowed to grow and transform over time. Self-definitions cast in stone, or held together by a fear of new self-discovery, will only hold us back from greater self-realization. So, although self-definition is needed in life, we should be also willing to let it all go and just be open to a fresh understanding of oneself and one's direction in life, which is the necessary attitude in meditation. Meditation, in this way, is a fresh experience of oneself. The creative alchemy of meditation is to let go and transcend all that we think is true, concerning ourself and what we ought to be doing, until we reach a purity of conscious being, being in our pure essence, from which wisdom arises, and from here a fresh understanding of self and reality can begin to formulate, or re-formulate itself as idea-qualities in mind, in manas.
Manas refers to our
thinking mind, our conceptualizing mind, and generally what we consider
as mind. It might be understood as regular mind. In western esoteric
teachings this is called lower mind. Buddhi, or Buddhic mind,
in contrast, refers to a higher level of mind, or what could be called
a spiritual intuitional level of mind, or the ability of mind to
directly perceive and realize the universal principles of metaphysics
and ethics. Buddhi mind is, essentially, not our own mind at all, but
rather it is our connection with Universal Mind - which is one of the
three primary aspects of Divine Being, (the other ones being Power and
Love).The manas, if transformed by being in-formed by
the buddhi mind, better and better reflects the Wisdom of the Divine Self.
The wish to know thyself has spawned a great quest for many people and the perineil question of self-knowledge has been the subject of many spiritual books. We want to know who we are. To some people such a question or quest seems ridiculously stupid, like 'I'm obviously me, this body, this personality.' But others find this simplistic answer unsatisfactory or superficicial, like 'there must be more to me, or my true self is deeper than I'm yet aware of.' The quest for oneself is an essential aspect of the spiritual quest. We do have a spiritual impulse to discover what is good and right in action, and we also have a spiritual impulse to discover who we truly are.
The tantra teaches that self-knowledge is not solely confined to one-self, but is reflective and informaive of the whole universe, which is thought of as the cosmic Self to which our self patterns. Thus, self-knowledge, cosmic knowledge, and divine knowledge are all intimately related and reflective of each other. Self-knowledge is generally called Jnana, meaning wisdom. Yet, there are three levels of self-knowledge. The highest level is buddhi wisdom.
This is knowledge of Self-qualities, those inner inherant qualities of our essential humaness, which under-structure or often lie dormant beneath the conditioned structure of our usual thoughts and emotions. Self-wisdom is realization of these deeper qualities of our being. Some of this is realization of what is already inspiring us or guiding us, but which is not yet consciously known or acknowledged, and some of this is realization of our potential self-qualities awaiting recognition and development. To realize these qualities of being is to realize the qualities of our divine nature, the Atman or soul, which reflect the essential Qualities of the One Divine Being. For instance we may discover the qualities of unconditional love, or creative imagination and power, or conscious intelligence, or freedom from attachment. These are qualities of the buddhi wisdom, or realizations of Divine Being. Within the higher mind, the buddhi mind, these qualities are known in their essence or pure form of being. Here, we know these as who we are, our true self. We call these the essential impressions of our true being. And from here, conceptual ideas of oneself can be formulated in the middle mind, the manas, which is the mental ability to conceptualize and reason about oneself and reality. Within manas self-knowing is conceptualized into thought which requires language. Thus, we formulate a language about ourself or thoughts about ourself. The buddhi mind is impressionistic, while the manas is conceptual, and both should coordinate together in re-newing our self-understanding, which eventually transforms our whole life. The very lowest mind, very essential to our lives, is the instinctual mind, which is the intelligence functional within the body. Mostly this is unconscious to us and it is best to leave this to work alone, though we can give it our encouragement and faith. Sometimes false thoughts about ourself, or negative self-images, can re-program the instinctual body mind to reflect those thoughts or images, and thus cause ill-health. To heal this we should mostly leave alone the hard-wired intelligence of the instincts and concentrate on re-programing the conceptual mind with inspiration from the higher mind of truth impressions.
The higher mind, or buddhi wisdom, is realized as either `I am' or `Such is'. It is a realization either of the self or of the real, and of course, both are interelated. Classical yoga philosophy, especially that of Patanjali, described this sense of `I am', called asmita, as one of the hindrances to self-realization, the realization of pure Spirit Consciousness, Purusha. This is correct in the context of achieving pure realization, but we should remember that the self-understanding of `who I am' is essential to a creative, divine life on earth, in this body-mind. We should respect the importance of transcendence and the surrender of all concepts and any sense of `I am'; yet, we should also acknowledge and devote time to developing and clarifying the wisdom-sense of `who I am'.
This does not have to be an incompatable paradox or contradictory intentions of life. We can devote time to both transcendence and knowledge, at times transcending all knowledge to just be in the purity of spiritual being and at times develop an understanding of that spiritual being.
This is the cosmic ryhthm. One is the purifying path to the Source and the other is the path of knowing self and creation. The purifying path is a path of uncovering or inveiling the true Self, the source of all thought and all self-experience. This is the path of negation, called neti neti, not this and not that. You ask `who am I?' Who is the real experiencer, who is really conscious, who is the source of any impression or thought of `I am'. This leads one to pure self-realization. But such realization is without any definition or thought. It is boundless and undetermined Being. Any description at all, any knowing at all, is not this pure realization. It is freedom, but without even the sense of freedom. Yet from this, true knowledge can be realized. We can call this true knowledge contemplation within Being. In the path of transcendence this contemplation is finally left behind and its source is realized, yet the wisdom value of this contemplation should not be fully negated. It should be nurtured once we have reached the pure sky of Self-realization. Then, contemplation becomes an unfolding wisdom of the Self or Pure Being, rather than something to be unvelied or transcended. Contemplation becomes a re-discovery of Being.
Patanjali is right in saying that any sense of `I am', any impression of `who I am', and any knowledge of the Self is not truly the pure Self Itself and is a form of attachment or identity which, he says, must be transcended for pure Samadhi. Yet, there is no reason to assume that such knowledge and identification is without spiritual value, unless one is purely trying to get out of this existence.
But the way of tantra is to live spiritually and creatively in this existence, to experience and understand the qualities of the spiritual self and creation, and to be spiritually creative in life. Through the higher, deeper mind of knowing one can realize the essential qualities of spiritual being, which are deep and true experiences of creative power, of love, and of intelligent understanding.
When one comes to a deep sense of `I' or `who I am', one can experience the being-quality of power, either as the power to collect oneself or the power to-be. We can realize this power to be complete in oneself, to be totally here, and not mentally scattered or a prisoner to wandering thoughts. We can just be, being conscious of being, and real;ize we are conscious of being, conscious of being our true self. We can realize our power of mind and know that we have the power of the present moment to choose to be divine and unfold qualities such as love and wisdom in our lives. This is our inherant creative power, the power to be and unfold all that we truly are in potential, and we can take this realized power into all aspects of our lives. We can say, 'Yes, I am', or Yes I am free, or Yes, I choose to be', or 'Yes, I allow love and wisdom into my heart and mind'.
Thus, the wisdom mind, the buddhi experience, is an impression, rather than an expressed idea using conceptual language. It is experienced as a direct knowing, or intuition, or a `sense' of some quality. But often, the impression and a conceptual idea go hand in hand, as it were. I might experience the impression of spiritual power or spiritual freedom, and my mind conceptually formulates this intuitional impression into the affirming words of 'I am a being of power,' or 'I am free in spirit'. I might even feel that power or that freedom in either my etheric energy field or in my body, feeling `powerful' as a choosing spirit, or feeling a sense of freedom, or feeling love within and around me. These word phrases of understanding and these feelings or senses of spiritual qualities are all significant in the transformation of our personal lives.
This is all part of the incarnation of divine spirit, the making of divinity a reality in our lives. For the spiritual purist these thoughts and feelings, these experiences, are to be transcended, given up, and forgotten about. That is fine if you wish to take that pure path so seriously. But the tantra believes that good thoughts and good feelings are part of the good spiritual life. Enjoy good thoughts, good feelings and good sensations. Go on the pure path and go up to the mountain peak, but this is not the whole of life's journey.
The going up, the coming down, the mountain, the valley, the waters and the sky, are all glorious parts of the spiritual life. To believe that pure transcendence is the final goal of this life is to deny the value of the rest of life. The tantra values the whole person and the whole of life's experiences. All the seasons are wonderful in their own way. The mountain peak is glorious, but so is the valley below. Freedom of spirit is blissful, but so is sensation of the body and emotional feeling. Problems arise only when we disrespect and suppress parts of life or parts of our whole being. The true goal, if we should use that idea, is discovering the divine incarnated in life, in our life and in the lives of others. Enjoy the spiritual immanence of life, the spiritual beauty of life. Enjoy the cycles of divine immanence. Realize and enjoy the many qualities and aspects of the One Divine Being, of Whom you reflect and radiate.
At the same time, there is a great wisdom in the unveiling of thought, or the unveiling of the mind to what or who stands as the essence of mind. All thoughts of being are veils of the pure Self, and we can discover, or uncover, the pure nakedness of our being, the pure experience of just being. The closer we come to this truth of being, the closer we come to the pure knowing of oneself, which is a greater certainty of being. This is not merely trying to be positive about oneself, as in creating positive thoughts. It is transforming the mind of belief through direct knowing, or direct experience of truth. Thus, the mind comes to a more complete certainty of its true nature. Thoughts are like clothes dressing the nakedness of just being. We don't need to be attached to these clothes, but the clothes can be representative of who we really are, can be expressive of the pure qualities of our creative nature, the inner beauty of being.
Spiritual ignorance, avidya, is false identification or false attachment to certain thoughts about ourself or about the world. These need to be cleared and transformed through the power of spiritual perception and meditation. Through the direct experience of meditation we uncover the naked truth of our being, a nakedness which is not sinful or lowly but naturally beautiful and divine. It is not thinking what should be divine, or what we ought to be in order to be spiritual, rather it is a direct discover of the divine by uncovering ourself, allowing ourself to be, and sincerely perceiving with an inner knowing the essential qualities of our nature, as felt in the heart and known in the mind. This is the meaning of spiritual intuition, direct knowing of the self. Partly this is a recognition of the qualities of being as we find them unfolding through us.
This discovery emerges spontaneously as we consciously meditate on pure being, on the essence of ourself, while maintaining continuity of consciousness through the breath and allowing the sincerity of true feeling to be involved in the meditation. Conscious breath maintains the vitality and continuity of meditation and feeling maintains the true sincerity of meditation. Breath, feeling, and meditation all go together, integrating the essential energies of body, emotion and mind. Many meditation techniques attempt to concentrate all energies into the mind and transcend feelings and sensations of the body. These techniques have their use at times, and any meditation must go beyond mental attachment to habitualy repeating thoughts and emotions that stand in the way of deeper insight. A quality of letting go is important to any meditation. But the most transformative meditation, in general, involves some essence of the body and feelings, integrating with the essence of mind. In a sense, we could see this as uncovering and distilling the essence of body and feeling. As we distill these essences in meditation they are eventually found to be all related or as one essence. In one view, the essence of body as pranic breath, the essence of emotions as sincere feeling, and the essence of mind as conscious knowing are each blended together in one meditation. And in the other view, these essences are realized and felt as one whole essence unveiled.
Through meditation the spiritual qualities of being are found already existing, and the conceptual mind can elaborate of this direct knowing. Yet another potential of meditation is to creatively imagine how we wish to be. We often think of imagination as the creation of something not real or as fantasies of the mind. This is a false understanding of the spiritual function of imagination. In esoteric teachings creation is from the imagination of the Divine Being. Since we are essentially this Divine Being, creation is part of our spiritual role in life. Who we are, or who we become, is as much dependent on our creative choosing as dependent on our discovery of being. On the one hand we discover who we are through spiritual intuition or meditation, and on the other hand we creatively decide how we shall be in life. As we creatively see ourself, and how we wish to be in life, so we become. In this view, a loving nature and spiritual expression in life is a matter of choice and of visualizing this self-expression. We have the power to be who we want to be. This power and freedom becomes known through meditation. It is the power of our divine creative spirit.
So, from the truth of being, a realization of freedom and power, we can imagine who we want to be or how we want to be in life. This is not an attached desire, based on conditioning or habit, but a creative desire, based on the unconditional freedom of our creative being. This desire comes from the spiritual essence of our being, not from social conditioning or habit. It is, in essence, the desire or creative will of the Divine Being. It is not what you want from life, as in wanting to acquire certain things, but what you want to be in life and what you want to give to life, or how you want to relate in life.
This desire, this creative thought of oneself, and this choice of being, is the power of transforming and evolving ourself in life. You have the power to be who you most wish to be, an expression of divine life, which has many possible facets and qualities to it. All of the many qualities of Divine Being are potentially yours. You can intuitively realize these qualities, sometimes singularly and sometimes interelatedly, or you can creatively imagine them from the power of unconditional freedom. Either way is essentially the same, though viewed from a different perspective.
Spiritual intuition and spiritual imagination are eventually realized as the same. They are two hands of the same being, the same truth. The power of knowing is itself creative and the power of self-imagination is a quality of true knowing, that is, when it comes from sincerity. I don't mean that you should just let the imagination run wild in an uncontrolled fantasy. This would be synonymous with letting thought run wild and scattered. The right use of imagination is purposefully employing it to see our possibilities of being and possibilities of the world. Allow freedom of the imagination, in seeing what is and what can be, but this freedom is from our sincerity of being and wisdom knowing of our divine creative will. It is creative like any fine artistic production, and thus it is focused and intentional, not scattered or silly. It is free, though also sincere.
There is great power in this creativity, if focused and decisive, a clear creative affirmation of being, so it should be sincere, otherwise we might regret what we have set into motion.
We have systemically described the mind on three levels. The lowest mind is an instinctual intelligence, rooted in the body and predominately subconscious. We can learn from this intelligence but for the most part we are better off not interferring with it. The middle mind is the thinking mind, the mind we most identify with as being ourself. This is the level of thought and thought thinking about itself, which we mistakenly think is who we are.
Thinking and thought is a tool for understanding, for placing experience on some conceptual map or in some language form. It concerns important issues but it is not the primary important subject of experience. Once we view thought as a just a tool and not identify our being with it, then we will gain freedom from thoughts leading us all over the place.
The esoteric teachings will often symbolixe thought as a dog, a camel, or a monkey, which so often leads its owner by a leash. Thought and thinking can be very useful, and we might find use in following the dog's nose, as it were, but if we only follow thought in this way we will be trapped in an ultimately aimless life. Thought can reason about things and consider the meaning and value of things, and it can practically plan things. But thought on its own can not lead us to truth, and thought itself is not the experience of truth.
We can only know the truth of self through meditation and the truth of the world through direct experience in the world. Thought is the considerating reflection on this experience, in order to fit experience into our wholeness of understanding and to discover how to make experience practical in future creative activity.
The higher mind is meditative, intuitive, and impressionistic, which means it is a pre-conceptual experience, a direct knowing of some self-quality or quality of meditative spiritual experience. This source of experience becomes the basis of any conceptual reflection about oneself or about spiritual truth. How these higher mind experiences are registered in memory is not clearly known, though I believe they are registered symbolically and through feeling, and they are found to have a transformative effect on the structure of mind itself and on the energy structure of the body. Yet, however they are transformative themselves, such intuitive impressions can become more useful when they are conceptually understood through the language of thought as word phrases or sometimes as pictured images. For example, the spiritual impression may be an intuitive sense of unity, a knowing impression of one's unity with all life or all consciousness. The impression itself, as an experienced quality of unity, is immediate, direct, and without thought, yet without thought I cannot describe it to myself let alone anyone else. So from the level of impression it could be useful to conceptually reflect on the experience and its meaning, which we can do as the experience keeps unfolding. Or, one could at this point consciouslt transcend this impression and ascend, or surrender, closer to what is called Samadhi, Self-realization. Or, one could transformatively descend from the knowing impression into thought about the experience. So, from the level of spiritual impression one could remain just here, or ascend out of it, or descend into thought about it. Thoughtful consideration, or reflection, is described as a descent while surrender of thought and impression is ascending, but the analogy of up and down does not pertain to ultimate value, for each way has its own kind of value and both can be cultivated. The ascent brings us closer to direct self-knowing, being itself, while the descent brings spiritual experience closer to practical use in life.
As a firmer connection is gradually made between the intuitive mind and the conceptual mind, between buddhi and manas, one's conscious mental experience in daily life is more and more permeated with spiritual light and wisdom knowing. The thinking mind itself, manas, can be divided into three levels. Recognition of these three levels also helps us disidentify with thought as it jumps around here and there.
There is not just one kind of thought but three primary kinds. The lower kind is the most practical thought, thoughts describing a plan or way to manifest activity in the world. This thought, or thinking, is very straight-forward and set out. It is calculating and virtually identical with machine or computer thinking. It is also reactive, in that when circumstances disrupt or threaten our practical plans, our desires, or our expectations, we automatically react to fight off or avoid such disruptive threats, and we do this in a habitual, programed, conditioned way. The middle level of manas is rational or reasoning thought. We reason by some kind of logic, either a self-developed logic or a socially conditioned logic, and usually some mixture of both. Logic is either metaphysical or practical. Metaphysical logic, which could also be called moralistic logic, defines what is the right way of reasoning, the implied laws of right reasoning, and it thinks about what is ultimately true and good. Practical reasoning is defined by our set goals, that is, what we reason as being good. It reasons out what must be done in order to achieve some good goal. In order to achieve the goal of X, the path of Y is necessarilly needed.
This practical reasoning, usually implicitely guided by the metaphysical or moralistic reasoning, defines the program of the practical thought. Practical thought is programmed or set in place, while practical reasoning consciously works out this programing of the lower manas. The higher level of manas is intuitional thought. This comes from the intuitional mind as a kind of intuitive guidance. It begins to work more consciously as we meditate more in that intuitional level of mind. For this intuitive thought to work through us we must be receptively open and not in the mode of reasoning about things or in the automative mode of just following our usual practical plans. We must allow intuition to speak to the conscious mind of reason. Instead of thinking or reasoning about ourself or our circumstances, we allow intuition to think through us. We allow higher spiritual guidance to speak or reveal truth through images and feelings. In order for this to work properly we must let go of our usual patterns of thinking and trust the wisdom of this intuitive guidance. We gradually come into a greater trust of this guidance, a trust based on a growing faith in our inherant wisdom and divinity. This faith and trust grows as we realize with ever-greater certainty our deep connection with divine wisdom or the inherant divine wisdom within. Yet, in the process of developing this intuitive connection our habitual reasoning and thinking will often condition or distort this intuition, so in the beginning we cannot fully trust all that is apparently given from the divine intuition. This creates a certain paradox, because we have to learn to trust intuitive thought for it to work, while we cannot always completely count on the accuracy of what is given. The way out of this problem is to meditate more in the intuitive mind, which is pre-conceptual and immediate in its impression, and then gradually develop a connection to the thinking mind by reflecting on what is directly known in the intuitive mind. Also we must gradually understand through reason what is intuitively given. In other words, whatever is given through intuition should be also considered by reason. Even though we must surrender reason and thinking in order to allow the entering of intuition, we must then reflect with reason upon this intuition, giving thoughtful and practical consideration to such intuitive guidance. If the intuitive guidance seems very unreasonable or strangely bizarre, then it shouldn't just be accepted. It may be off or distorted, or it may be true but just baffling at this time. Then, we should speak our reason to the intuitive mind and allow the intuition to respond to our doubts. Gradually such inner dialogue, between active and receptive modes of the mind, develop a better intuitive connection and reasonable understanding within.
More on Reasoning and Mind
Certainty is our deep connection with divine wisdom or the inherant divine wisdom within. Yet, in the process of developing this intuitive connection our habitual reasoning and thinking will often condition or distort this intuition, so in the beginning we cannot fully trust all that is apparently given from the divine intuition. This creates a certain paradox, because we have to learn to trust intuitive thought for it to work, while we cannot always completely count on the accuracy of what is given. The way out of this problem is to meditate more in the intuitive mind, which is pre-conceptual and immediate in its impression, and then gradually develop a connection to the thinking mind by reflecting on what is directly known in the intuitive mind. Also we must gradually understand through reason what is intuitively given. In other words, whatever is given through intuition should be also considered by reason. Even though we must surrender reason and thinking in order to allow the entering of intuition, we must then reflect with reason upon this intuition, giving thoughtful and practical consideration to such intuitive guidance. If the intuitive guidance seems very unreasonable or strangely bizarre, then it shouldn't just be accepted. It may be off or distorted, or it may be true but just baffling at this time. Then, we should speak our reason to the intuitive mind and allow the intuition to respond to our doubts. Gradually such inner dialogue, between active and receptive modes of the mind, develop a better intuitive connection and reasonable understanding within.