The World of The Mind
|Written by Editor VOPUS|
Happiness and Pleasure
This article is about finding happiness. The question is whether getting to know about the mind can help us find happiness.
Money can be good and it can buy you pleasure, but it cannot buy you happiness. Pleasure is not happiness. Pleasure and pain are two sides of the same coin.
Illness is painful. Those who are mentally ill can suffer as much as those who are physically ill.
Health is good but not enough for happiness either. Many people are healthy enough but feel empty, lacking in something; they find themselves unfulfilled, wondering whether there is something else to life.
This lecture is about personal development and spirituality. About self-actualization, or self-realization, i.e. full development of one's potential as a human being.
The believer, the skeptic and the Gnostic
Beliefs are things of the mind, but this is not about beliefs. Some people can be contented with a belief, but this is not what I am interested in.
A belief is not real knowledge; a belief is simply an emotional attachment to an idea. A belief can give you some limited comfort, but it can easily be shattered through conflicting experiences and then you become a skeptic.
A skeptic is useless and hopeless, a spiritual cripple, incapable of development. A skeptic will never move beyond their own ignorance; they are emotionally attached to their own disbelief and that is their comfort zone.
My interest is finding out what really is the case through direct personal experience and in practice. That is, I am interested in gnosis, or Gnostic knowledge.
And to practice you need to make an initial leap of faith, before you can gain experience. But the skeptic cannot make such a leap, will never practice, will never gain experience, will never know.
That is the difference between the believer, the skeptic and the Gnostic. The believer believes; the skeptic disbelieves; the Gnostic seeks direct personal experience.
In Gnosis we are not believers of any particular religion, but we seek the universal wisdom in all of them through direct mystical experience. As we discover their inner truths, we can then recognize fragments of that universal wisdom in the different esoteric traditions and fundamental religions.
Bits of universal wisdom can also be found in the modern scientific discoveries. However, the problem with the empirical scientific method is that it is very slow to get round to any little bit of truth. Therefore if you refrain from acting on your own common sense only because it has not yet been validated by the empirical science, you are doing it at your peril.
Psychology, Mind and Consciousness
Psychology is the science of the mind. If you want to know yourself, take the short-cut to your own mind and get to know it directly by yourself!
What do we mean when we say, "the mind". In common parlance we use this word in a wide sense, meaning the psyche, i.e. the psychological sphere of a person, including also the spiritual aspect.
But as we get to know ourselves we find there are many other things in the psyche, and we then prefer to use the term, "the mind", in a narrower sense.
In particular, we do not use the word "mind" if we want to refer to the consciousness, as in the power of awareness.
Thinking, thoughts and intellectual elaboration belong to the mind, but the consciousness is something else. When people are conscious they can be aware of their own thoughts.
Conversely, one can be thinking very hard and at the same time be very absorbed, unaware of anything outside their own train of thoughts. One is then day-dreaming and in fact unconscious to other intents and purposes.
States of consciousness
So there are different states of consciousness. Sometimes we are physically awake, yet behave very unconsciously.
This is important because sometimes we confuse intellect with intelligence. We sometimes assume somebody who is very intellectual is very intelligent.
However, one can elaborate brilliant intellectual discussions and do it in a state of little consciousness. One could be writing up highly respected academic papers, for instance, without being a particularly conscious person. In fact academics and intellectuals in general can be very absent minded.
Yet the consciousness is a power of intelligence. In the consciousness there is the power to live life in an intelligent way and indeed to find real happiness.
Have you had moments of elation, of real happiness, even for a moment? Were you then thinking, or simply being aware in a heightened state of consciousness?
Perhaps looking at a starry night on a mountain top, or a sunset, or just the joy of living and animation of pure friendship. Have you ever been in love? Were you thinking? Were you conscious? Were you happy?
And what about our usual daily life, or just now. How conscious are we? What is our power of awareness like?
I would challenge anybody to do this experiment. How long can you stay conscious, being aware of being aware, without lapsing into a day dream?
And while you are being aware, how conscious are you, what is the depth and breath of your consciousness, what are you aware of?
Meditation is a technique that serves to muster one's conscious awareness and direct it inwards. The state of meditation is a state of heightened awareness.
The mind is a whole universe, a world to explore, deeper and wider than the external life that we live daily. Exploring this world consciously can be more fruitful than the hollow diversions of the consumer society.
Hours spent watching TV leave us with nothing, but a dump of impressions in the mind. However, some time spent on self-knowledge is more rewarding and over the years it will make us more free and certainly more autonomous, original, independent thinkers.
The mind is like a screen, or should I say, like a mirror, where reality can be reflected. The mind can be an instrument of the consciousness, allowing us to get closer to reality and gain more and more truth within ourselves.
Why does this matter? Does it matter whether we are conscious or not?
It does matter, because, if we are conscious, if we utilize whatever power of awareness we have, we can turn this awareness inwards and we can get to know ourselves.
We can observe our own minds and discover those elements of unhappiness.
We can become aware of the thought processes that make us unhappy and of their underpinning motives.
Once we have discovered these, we can then apply conscious reflection in a meditative state in order to understand them.
Then, once we have comprehensive understanding, i.e. real understanding through direct experiential knowledge, we are in a position to change those elements that make us unhappy.
What are the deeper psychological motives behind our thoughts? We justify ourselves, find excuses, believe our own lies to ourselves and thus remain trapped in our own miseries.
Would you agree that what we think in our minds tends to shape our world view and behavior? If we have some kind of thoughts, those thoughts are going to shape our lives.
- Hillel the Elder
It is urgent that we seek to know our selves, to know our minds deeply, seriously. Life is too short to be spent in indulgent self-delusion.
Perhaps we think we have got it all sorted and are on a path that leads to somewhere, but suddenly something happens and we realize those securities were just a mirage in the mind, that we had been kidding ourselves with a fantasy. We convinced ourselves that we knew what we were doing, that we were in control... And suddenly the harsh reality of facts comes in crashing through the gates.
We need to base ourselves on something more solid than the mind. Yes, let us think. Yes, let us use the intellect. Yes, but let us not deceive ourselves.
Let us base ourselves on the consciousness. That is a more solid basis than the mind.
I am inviting you to follow the path of gnosis, the path of the consciousness, the path of self-discovery, self-knowledge and self-realization.
Do you think you know yourselves? How can you assume you know yourselves inside out? Have you ever made any efforts to know yourselves? Are you perhaps assuming there is no more to yourself than what you already know?
If you seek within yourself you may find in your own nature there are latent powers that can help you conquer more real happiness over and above the mind. Seek and seek within; there is not an endeavor more worthy of your attention.
Psycology - Personal Development - Inducing Consciousness - Happiness
|< The Upright Individual||Destiny and Karma >|
|Gnosis and Gnosticism|
|Psychology and Self-Knowledge|
|The Revolution of Consciousness|
|Kabbalah and Man's creation|
|Study of the Soul|
|Life and Death Phenomena|
|Great characters of Universal Gnosticism|
|The unknown dimension|
|Practical Gnosis and Meditation|