This article serves two major purposes:
1. To demonstrate the power of the individual mind as equivalent to and even far greater than mere physical action.
2. To show that one of the major potentials and even responsibilities of the true power of mind lies in its power to shape and also deconstruct the shackles of consensus reality which serve to bind us within narrow constraints.
There is a tendency of many to consider action as something of the physical body. Thoughts themselves are commonly dismissed as being separate from the physical world we live in.
Robert Moss, an excellent teacher and author of dream work, calls this out when he talks about the “three only things” that we say to ourselves. It was only a coincidence. It was only a dream. It was only your imagination. We are conditioned from early on to lose the deep sense of connection of our minds with external reality.
How often do we consider that all physical structures have started as ideas in the mind? How often do we consider that consensus entities like corporations, money, government, and property are all really objects held in the consensus mind?
When we sit with this discernment for ourselves more frequently, we may really start to take a second look at the power of consciousness in terms of its manifest ability.
“I shall now declare to you the creation and its secret. For, it is only as long as one invests the perceived object with reality that bondage lasts; once that notion goes, with it goes bondage.” ~ Yoga Vasistha 3.1
These are only two quotes of many from the wisdom traditions suggesting that the power of the mind, with its associated names and forms, has the capacity for true power and the potential for shifting what we perceive as the “external reality.” What do these quotes evoke in us?
If the mind does have such power, then why is it that we feel so helpless and fearful in the face of what seems to be an incredible weight of problems in our lives?
I would say that it is due to our internal fragmentation. Many of us want to change and unify the world but we do not know how to unify and internally rewire ourselves. Part of the illusion lies in the fact that we consider ourselves one stream of consciousness, or one individual personality and not many.
Do we ever notice the internal wars inside of ourselves? Even more interesting, do we notice that what we fight with on the outside, what we perceive as an external war is oftentimes a reflection of our own internal wars?
Our tendency is to externalize ourselves and “put the responsibility on someone else.” In this way we can avoid deep seated feelings of guilt and shame by having an external scapegoat to carry the load for us. This only gets compounded by external consensus. The work of Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974), a practicing yogi and contemporary psychologist of Freud and Jung, describes this process in detail in his beautiful work of Psychosynthesis.
I personally believe (through personal experience) that only by healing and unifying all of the streams and identities within ourselves will we truly be able to release 100 percent of our inherent power, which is colossal. Most of us are only operating at a very low percentage of potential, precisely because we are internally conflicted with ourselves. One stream or identity has 10 percent of us, another has 15 percent, and so on.
In truth, we always have access to all of our power but it is held within different camps or streams within us, non-accessible because of our fragmented connections. The “spiritual us” beats up the “material us” or any other infinite number of possible internal conflicts.
Acceptance is the key to truly starting down this road of healing.
The practices of acceptance and discernment bring about a deep unifying of the diverse streams within ourselves and thereby result in the goal of yoga: union, the union that brings together the diverse flows into the single pointedness which is called ekagra or samadhi.
When we start to experience the condition of inner union within ourselves, what do we do with this immense release of energy that we might suddenly find? Do we just check out and hang on the mountain? The Buddhists among others tell us to give. To help.
Or, perhaps this thought to give and help arises within ourselves as we begin to both see the connected threads within our reality more clearly and recognize how much responsibility we do truly have how our minds shape the world.
What is true generosity and help?
Physical generosity is powerful, but it comes loaded with mental intentions. In examining our intentions do we lead with authenticity or do we follow a the riverbed of those many streams who have gone before? Does the world need to be saved? Do we agree with consensus reality out of fear or do we sometimes find the courage to call bullshit and give through our authenticity? Can destruction sometimes be seen as a more powerful form of generosity? Violence and destruction are not the same thing.
True birth that creation entails takes place through death.
Do we sometimes face the possibility of becoming an outcast among not only society but also the very religious and spiritual organizations which we might take part in on a daily basis? It takes true courage to find and continually seek for authenticity in every situation.
To have the courage to question and even disagree, not only with what everyone disagrees with in our circle but also to have the courage to question the paradigms that even these circles close to us cling to. Krishnamurti and Socrates come to mind as inspirers of this mode of work. As does Einstein as well as many artists and others who have the courage to continuously push the comfortable paradigms forward and even shatter them.
As many times as I have cherished the Yoga Vasistha (I have studied it intensely for 20 years now), I have also thrown it across the room in utter disgust. I abhor Vasistha’s tendency to dismiss nature and truly revile his tendency to cling to outmoded patriarchal paradigms. Nevertheless, he speaks truths, powerful truths which I cannot simultaneously dismiss. The more I disagree, sit with, chew it out for myself, the more the depth of it truly comes alive in me.
When friends go on about how great Obama is, I oftentimes play “devil’s advocate,” pointing out the hypocrisy and bullshit that also goes on in his organization. Does that make me a Republican? No. It makes me a free thinker, and one that gives a shit about deconstructing these comfortable plateaus that even I want to hang out and sit on for some time.
But being comfortable never gets us very far.
I see a lot of cutesy pop-wisdom spiritualism on platforms like Facebook. These pop-quotes with the lovely pictures are like a two-edged sword. On one hand they might actually inspire and direct one’s mind in a direction that brings more freedom. On the other hand, they might also inspire laziness and the tendency towards being submerged in certain spiritual beliefs that actually increase one’s bondage in invisible threads of subtlety.
Honestly, I prefer reading original accounts of people’s experiences, or accounts of contemporary debate of past paradigms, paradigms which may be “wise” but not necessarily relevant in all ways to our present day and condition. To me, these courageous free thinking folks are the ones that are pushing the envelope in the modern day.
Can we push the paradigms forward even more? Can we shatter it? All of us?
Our minds are powerful. We barely recognize how powerful they are for both freeing us as well as ensnaring us. Waldo Viera, a Brazilian consciousness researcher who has been working decades in the fields of consciousness and the multidimensional nature of man/woman discusses these concepts that have been around since time immemorial, about how thought/feelings are actions that shape and define our world.
Simple thoughts in our minds, what we dismiss perhaps as meaningless, actually build and shape vibratory mental bodies, which in turn act directly on physical objects, places and people.
Many traditions, both Western and Eastern acknowledge this, but do we witness this directly? Do we truly see the causal relationships between our minds and this world? I think sometimes we ignore it because it can be truly terrifying. Why terrifying? Because we are scared at how powerful we actually are.
Chogyam Trungpa once wrote an amazing article on the terror of space. It is terrifying to the mind that wants a comfortable structure to hang out in, because in space there is nothing that constrains it. The ability of movement becomes unlimited.
The more that we become used to living in the freedom of space, the depth of power that our true will and minds can unleash, the more that we will have to capacity to start to shape in positive ways and even shatter harmful consensus realities with authenticity and pure deep level intention.
“In this world whatever is gained is gained only by self effort… What is called fate or divine will is nothing other than the action or self-effort of the past. They indeed are fools who are satisfied with the fruits of their past effort, which they regard as divine will, and do not engage themselves in self-effort now.”
~ Yoga Vasistha 2.6
I abhor traditions that dismiss the will. One student of mine brought up the whole thing about how science has determined that action in the physical body has been proven to come before the thought of it (discussed in Blink by Malcolm Gladwell). This is easily explainable to me not as proof of the non-existence of free will but rather that the true will lies prior to the body.
The deep level decision making process which arises from what the yogis call the buddhi, is prior to the body. This gross shell is only one of our many layers. What causes us to consider that decisions are even formulated by the brain? The scientific paradigm?
The modern scientific paradigm is not a paradigm of direct recognition but rather one of collected consensus viewpoints based upon axioms which themselves are thoughts. How easily we fall prey to reductionist beliefs because they permeate culture.
Taking responsibility for our personal will frees us.
To think for ourselves, to act for ourselves, to shape the world through the power of authentic expression, released from the shackles of conformity and comfort.
It takes courage. Courage to actually express our individual nature which itself is true divine expression and the ultimate fulfillment of our dharma.
What we think causes changes, whether we immediately see this or not. Thought is energy. The more that we recognize this, the more that we might clue in to the daily changes that occur as a direct result of our minds. Seeing this has the potential to give us faith. Faith in the power of consciousness.
This faith has the power to fuel the sharpening of our intentions, the examination of our motives. Breaks us out of our comfort. It forces us to examine our minds and wills more deeply. To examine the relationship between what we think and what we say. Between what we think and what we do.
We begin to examine the deep threads that connect and shape the net that is relative reality. We begin to see our potential as divine creators.
What do we want to create?
Matt Huish has spent over 25 years studying classical forms of yoga and other traditions with master teachers and teaching yoga on a near daily basis to all manner of students from beginners to teachers since 1996. He has diksa in the Dattatreya sampradaya of Sri Vidya tantra with Sri Amritanandanatha Sarasvati of Devipuram, India and has his blessing to teach. Matt currently teaches yoga in Seattle, WA. To learn more about Matt, visit nadiyoga.org & stop by his blog: phenomenal-luminosity. [email protected]
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