The Mind and How It Works – Part 1

What the Mind Is  

It’s always good to know more about what you’re living with every day.  It is hoped that by knowing more about your mind, it might run you around the block a little less, giving you more freedom to make your own choices consciously, more flexibility for understanding things better, more influence due to your mastery of such a mysterious thing as a mind, and more competence with everything in general.

The mind is a conglomerate of consciousness, energy, and all its concomitant functions. It is filled with things perceived through the senses along with their opposites. Just as a flute is mute until the musician plays it, the mind is merely an instrument.

The mind is the mother of the brain. Just as we have said about the senses—you have eyes because you can see, it’s not the other way around—you can think of the relationship between the brain and the mind in the same way: you have a brain because you have a mind. Knowing more about the mind and how it works will tell you something about yourself, and will very likely shed some light on your current situation as a non-physical individual entity presently taking up residence in a human body.

What the Mind Isn’t

The mind, and the brain for that matter, is not intelligent. It only appears to be intelligent because of the all-knowing-You behind it. (You really do know everything, though it’s a little daunting trying to get access to all of that information whenever we want.)

You have eyes because you can see, but it isn’t really the eyes that see. Take away the vision center in the brain and the eyes are still there with their images, but still the eyes do not see. The eyes are just an external instrument. The mind has to reach out to a seeable object and bring an image back to the vision center in the brain before the eyes can see it. The same goes for the other four senses.

It All Began With You

Self or Soul (Atman)

In the Absolute, you exist as a non-physical individual entity in a blissful state of perfection, with unlimited potential and the same qualities attributed to God. You have the ability to be conscious and to become self-aware. You have free-will and the ability to employ it, so you do . . .

Sense of Self (Asmita) 

You become self-aware. You are aware of your own existence.

Self and Other (Purusha & Prakriti) 

Having become self-aware, you exercise your ability to be conscious and you become aware of another self. You are now conscious of something other than You, from the point-of-view of You. There is You (purusha) and there is other-than-You (prakriti). Duality has made its entrance and generates a powerful force from which your own individual mind is produced.

© Copyright 2009, revised 2012, Durga Ma and Phoenix Metaphysical Institute, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

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In the next installment, we will continue with Part Two on the subject of The Individual Mind next week.

Durga Ma

The Code of Pashupati – Part 3

The Five Stages of Pashupat Shaivism

There are said to be five stages in Pashupat sadhana. I do not know if this has been arrived at by latter day scholars and practitioners, or whether it was originally intended. I do not see anything definitive regarding five stages within the sutras themselves, although there are prayers at certain junctures that separate five sets of sutras. Still, the first of these five sets appears to be an overall synopsis of the sadhana. On the other hand, with an overview of the complete text, it is possible to identify five teachings on the subjects of residence, sustenance, practices and actions, and gains, that can be summed up something like this:

Stage 1

Residence: a house.

Sustenance: begging alms.

Practices and actions: strength-celibacy, eight-limbs practice [see Yoga Sutras of Patanjali], actions like laughter, song, dance, etc., and bath in ashes.

Gains: removal of impurities and attainment of wisdom.

Stage 2

Residence: the world at large.

Sustenance: whatever is offered.

Practices and actions: appearing foolish, eccentric, and a lunatic.

Gains: merit, demerit destroyed, purification, withdrawal of the senses from objects of sense.

Stage 3

Residence: a vacant house or a cave.

Sustenance: alms while living like a cow or a deer.

Practices and actions: remembrance, surrender to God.

Gains: purification, complete introversion of the senses and the mind.

Stage 4

Residence: a cremation ground.

Sustenance: accepting whatever comes or can be obtained as chance provides.

Practices and actions: purification of states that cause one’s constant remembrance to slip.

Gains: direct contact with God.

Stage 5

Residence and Sustenance: the mode of living like a rishi (sage).

Practices and Actions: carefulness and grace of God.

Gains: the end of sorrows.

I leave it to you to try to convert this wisdom into present day understanding that is both useful and true to the original teachings. I believe this can be done, for this is a scripture and it is the nature of scripture to be timeless.

Durga Ma

Fear of Death – Part 2 of 2

Can the fear of death be overcome?

Yes, it can. It is actually very simple. All that is needed is a little knowledge and a little experience. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be a little quiver of trepidation when the time comes, but that’s just the body having its say.

Stories and teachings about death and the afterlife are found in sacred writings of most spiritual and religious traditions, so finding a spiritual path and bothering yourself to try to understand the teachings of that path is a good source of knowledge. If an experienced teacher comes with the package, all the better.

Knowledge is a good thing, but personal experience is even more convincing. The practice that will give you the necessary experience to relieve the fear of death, is meditation. The sages tell us that even a little bit of meditation can accomplish this. Unfortunately, what many people think of as meditation isn’t really meditation at all. It is authentic meditation to which the sages refer.

Before you get in a swivet about having to ferret out this meditation business and then go the trouble of doing it, let me reassure you that it is no trouble at all. When I discovered that I didn’t have to twist the body into a pretzel or make it rigid with pain in order to meditate, I got excited. I could actually do this!

With everything one has to do to navigate life, it may seem like a challenge to find the time to meditate, but if I could only convey with words, all the gifts and wonders that it will bring you, you would be jumping up and down with delight, eager to begin.

Through meditation you can reap a huge harvest of benefits and wonders beyond your imagining. All you have to do is do it. It will be the smartest thing you’ve ever done in your life. I speak from experience. But let me be more specific:

♦ Through this practice, you will experience for yourself, that you do not need a body to see, hear, feel, smell or taste.

♦ You do not need a body to go places. In fact, you can go to more places more easily without one.

♦ You will even discover a multitude of undreamed of places that surpass imagination.

♦ With time, possibly only a year or two, you will experience what it is like on the other side of life without having to die for a few minutes and come back.

♦ With this practice, you will discover through your own experience, that your body is just a temporary residence and that YOU NEVER DIE.

Granted, you have to do this practice for a substantial amount of time on a daily basis. Some exceptions are inevitable, but you get my drift.

What Is a Substantial Amount of Time?

You need two hours a day. You can cut this time shorter, but I recommend that you don’t. Most people who cut the time shorter give up out of impatience. We are an instant gratification society. If you are patient and persistent, you might get away with it. If you are young, you may be tempted to put it off. Do not make this mistake. You have advantages now that will go away with age.

If you really want something and it costs more money than you have, you would probably find a way to come up with enough money over time. Well, if you can do that, you can do this practice. Give something else up if you have to. There is always something we do that we don’t really have to be doing. The only reason people don’t do this is because they don’t know what they are missing. Rather than repeating myself, I will send you to this web page to find out more. It opens in a new window.

I can assure you that if you are willing to take a chance that what I am telling you is true (it is) and put the time into it, you will never regret it.

Durga Ma