Chapter 3 – The Mind, or Something Like It*

 

“The mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass,

wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true incidence;

nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced.”[1]

 

"A sorcerer can use the wings of his perception to touch assemblage-point positions outside of the band of human perception: that of a crow, a coyote, a cricket, or the order of other worlds in that infinite space.

The two points of the totality of man, the tonal and the nagual, are outside of oneself and yet they are not.  That is the paradox of the luminous beings.  The tonal is but a reflection of that indescribable unknown filled with order; the nagual is but a reflection of that indescribable void that contains everything."[2]

 

“There are no answers, only choices.”[3]


 

 

A

 colleague wrote to me recently, in response to an online message I posted,[*] “You are now in the same league as Bishop Barkeley (epiphenomenalism, as I recall) who held that the ‘real world’ was only a projection of the mind.  An attempt to disabuse him of this hypothesis was supposedly having him kick a brick wall and then say that there is no there there (as Gertrude Stein might have put it) ”

I replied, “Well, that's not exactly what my position is, although it does appear to go in that general direction.  In the first place, all I've got is the Schroedingerian ‘He both did and did not kick the wall,’ but then all I have of that is whether I was “at the right time and place” to observe something; how I represented the event to my senses, what meaning I ascribed to it, and how I manage to categorize and describe it to myself.  I really don't end up knowing whether some bishop ‘actually’ kicked some wall.  Look at how much of the 'known' world we ‘know’ only because people or books told us about it!  So the whole ‘world’ is whatever package I bought.”

     Furthermore, I don't regard "the mind" as any one thing at all.  I could take it as Gurdjieff describes, as a system of centers and levels to which we don't even have direct access, instead having to use the intercession of the "formatory apparatus" because of the fragmentation of the personality and the wrong work of centers.

     Or I could use don Juan's depiction of a "luminous egg" with bands and ranges of "points of assemblage" so that all perceptions and cognitions are colored and formed by whichever frame of assemblage is ‘lit up’ on my ‘egg’ of awareness.[†]

     I could also regard any act or function of mind to be intrinsically that of Universal Consciousness, so that my experience as "a human in the material world" is merely a designated “movie film” for the portrayal of some great life-lesson.

     Lastly, I can believe that everything I experience is some or other level of dreaming -- I go to sleep in my dream, I awaken in my dream, I learn in my dream, people die in my dream, I die in my dream (but, as far as I can tell, I'm always reborn in some dream; at least, ‘here’ ‘I’ ‘still’ ‘am’).

 

So I am pretty sure that the mind cannot define itself in any ultimate terms, either because of the “blind spot” paradox or because everything already is itself, and it is meaningless to attempt to define something in terms of itself.  But my teachers say that the only reason for us (the group mind?) to even have experiences is so that Mind can know itself.  Then, using that as its M.O. (as if we were detectives seeking a ‘perp’), we can come closer and closer to profiling just who this Mr. Mind really is, and where he hangs out.

           

            Do you notice that I completely sidestepped the old “God conundrum” – we don’t have to project upon some external archetype whatever designs and attributes prove that our cultural biases and prejudices are the correct ones, and we don’t have to erect monuments to our own vainglory.[‡]  

            On the other hand, that does not absolve us from falling to our knees in shame and awe when we discover that everything we thought was ourself is but a puny speck of egocentric detritus, in the face of what we really are – infinity and eternity rolled up in a single Moment of all-of-us, and vice versa.  Doing that comes not from being told, “Now is when we get to the point in our religious service when you’re supposed to get down on your knees and pretend to feel awestruck and penitent.”  Instead, I am speaking of an entirely involuntary reflex that comes from awakening to the miraculous nature of existence itself. [§]  That’s one of the main things I’m trying to get you to, in the processes that I describe in this book.

 

You may notice that, instead of dissecting something and pinning labels to it, I’ve been telling you seemingly contradictory stories about some of the Mind’s attributes.  That’s partly due to the precept I gave you about not defining anything in terms of itself; my other excuse is that, to paraphrase the Tao te-ching, the mind that can be defined is not Mind[**] (I am capitalizing the one I am trying to demonstrate to you).  The reason for this is that, for one thing, the foundations of our mind were formed at least partly before we had any language and before we had learned to think and perceive in terms of our culture, and we have long ago lost touch with the terms in which we had thought of ourselves and of the world.

            Another reason is that, as soon as we form any definition or explanation, it leaves out everything else that the subject could have been – it flattens the subject dimensionally, as if expecting a drawing of an engine to actually pull a train uphill!  That really is the illusion of our symbols – we forget that they were symbols, and we forget what the original object was.  We also trap ourselves with euphemisms.  Look at the word ‘period’ – it originally meant simply a duration, then it was taken to mean a monthly cycle for women (literally, menstruation – “something that occurs each month”); now one can hardly say the word ‘period’ or ‘menstruation’ without overtly meaning “a woman’s monthly cycle of shedding an egg and bleeding” which, in itself, at our present time in cultural history, does not sound at all embarrassing enough to have gone through all these obfuscations.[††]

Secondly, I claim that the major part of the Mind is inaccessible to ordinary cognition except during extraordinary conditions like extreme fright or emergencies, near-death experiences, very advanced meditations and trances, and drug-induced states (we’ll be talking more about all of these later on). To a great extent, this assertion corresponds to the ratio of the extent of the brain whose functions are known to those for which they are not – about 1:10, give or take.[4] 

A big difference that I see between brain functions and the scope of the Mind is that it is much easier to talk about the brain in terms of categories: medical, neurological, functional or psychological, to some degree, although the latter is usually thought of as pertaining to the mind rather than to the brain itself.  The reason I am including the psychological aspect on the ‘brain’ side is that it is regarded as acting (at least to some degree) on the mind from without, whereas I am endeavoring to portray the mind as a more self-contained entity.  For example, let us say I am a psychotherapist and you are my client; then I would have some theories concerning your affliction (e.g., sexual confusion from early toilet training, self-doubt from harsh discipline during childhood, phobias from untreated trauma, etc.) and I have some plans to manipulate your attitudes (or perhaps only your behaviors) based upon those theories (e.g., hypnosis, talking it through, behavior modification, TA, NLP, etc.)

On the other hand, when speaking of the Mind, it is really the Mind speaking of itself; that is, it is the mind itself that is inventing the terms we can use to describe it, and these turn out to be either metaphors or conceits, generally.[‡‡][5]  And it is also the Mind which decides in what terms we shall regard our perceptions, and in what moods and frames we shall form our cognitions regarding those perceptions.  Please remember that our minds formed these rules at very early stages of childhood and, in general, we have not checked on them since then, which is why we are now finding them running our lives amok.

 So now I seem to be suggesting that the Mind is a sort of dysfunctional computer which has outmoded and often malicious rules programmed into it.  This implies that, somehow, we could correct its programming.  Actually, that is one of the main purposes of this book: to offer a means of reprogramming our minds.  But we are faced with a serious problem, which is that we ourselves are figments of Mind, and the tools with which we are attempting the overhaul are only what Mind provides to us, and that is nothing but dream-stuff.  It is as if we had stepped into a movie theatre and then forgot that there was any world outside of the film we are seeing.[§§]

But I now assert that the Mind is not at all dysfunctional – it is the perfect machine for studying itself, for studying the universe which is itself and yet not entirely itself.[***]  It dreams, and it can know that it is dreaming.  It perceives and experiences and feels, and yet can stand apart from everything that seems so very real.  It loves, but can know that it is attaching itself to decoys for its true unity; that is, we dream that we are separate particles of beingness and that we are finding or not-finding other particles to ‘love’[†††] which means, in this sense, that the tendrils of the mind are splayed out in search of itself but, finding only objects and particles of its dream-self, winds around them like the tentacles of an octopus.

            Another way of saying all this is the idea that we form worlds of experience through our fixations and, conversely, we fixate on whatever the Mind sees itself ‘needing’ to experience.  Think of the Mind as Nature – it always finds a balance, somehow, somewhere, even if it has to mystify our rational minds with the need to explain our observations with such notions as (on the scientific side[‡‡‡]) ‘dark matter,’ ‘dark energy,’ ‘superstrings,’ ‘cosmic constants,’ and other slush factors.  These are all just our ‘epicycles’ – the product of viewing nature from the wrong perspective, in too few dimensions.  

            But there is a point in continuing to search and continuing to hypothesize, because the one thing we do know about Nature is that it is guaranteed to be in some balance, no matter how improbable, and that it strictly conforms to mathematics (even if abstruse).  The Mind sets up rules and then obeys them, at least until we have outgrown them and step into a different rule-base which, in our case (in this book), we mean a conscious awakening that allows us to create or discover a new reality.[§§§]

 

 The other way that the Mind mystifies us is that, under certain circumstances, it gives us visions of strange alternate realities and the voices of beings beyond ourself.  The dark side of this, of course, is madness – paranoia, commands to kill people, destroy things or commit suicide, hallucinating to such a degree that we can no longer function in any useful way, needing to be institutionalized or drugged into compliance with the ‘norm.’  Since this book is about transformation of consciousness rather than psychiatric disorders, we’ll be examining these aberrations as clues to our hidden possibilities rather than as illnesses to be dealt with.[****]

            While we’re at it, we should also look at criminal mind, autistic mind, child mind, genius mind, addictive mind, sexual mind, drugged mind, ‘high’ mind, follower mind, mob mind, violent mind, hysterical mind, brainwashed mind, leader mind, expanded mind, ‘flipped’ mind, illuminated mind and saint mind.[††††]  What changes from one to another?  What moves us from mind to mind?  How can we determine our exact state of mind, and then change it?

 

            I suppose we should begin with “normal” mind as the natural starting point, even though I truly doubt that there is any one normal mind, and even if there were, its usefulness would be questionable.  What we usually consider to be normal mind is really just a default state (like the lowest-energy quantum state of an electron in an atom) within a particular type of circumstance, within a general cultural context.

            I have already mentioned that I don’t subscribe to the model of a conscious mind and a subconscious mind so, to me, this default state is simply a bubble on the surface, afterwards to be added to the mass of brain activity that we’ve been calling “the subconscious.”  As an example, let’s make a short list of attributes of a typical normal state:

  • Being bombarded from all sides by advertisements, propaganda and noise;
  • Suspended between conflicting demands (e.g., your boss wanting more commitment from you, your spouse demanding the same, your children who undoubtedly will end up on the streets for lack of attention);
  • Standing in an elevator, aware of nothing other than the floor numbers or the tops of your shoes;
  • Lusting for someone or something attractive that you can’t have;
  • Regretting things that you’ve done;
  • Judging everyone or everything else as inferior to yourself or your clique;
  • Trying to see the victim of some accident that just happened;
  • Thinking of what your response should be while someone is talking to you;
  • Empathizing with fictitious characters on TV while ignoring the real people around you;
  • Immersing ourselves in useless hobbies while ignoring the quality of life in our community and the dangerous trends in the world around us, or vice versa;
  • Justifying money on toys for ourselves while giving only tokens of charity.

 

Naturally, when it comes time to look good to others, we’ll suddenly ‘know’ ourselves as thoughtful citizens, loving and self-sacrificing parents and caring relationship partners; we’ll be intelligent, creative, spiritual and perhaps even immortal, in our self-opinion.  We’ll be able to explain how we’ve given all we can and have even “loved too much.”

            And, as I mentioned earlier, we’ll usually not stop each other in these lies because we each depend on the other to shore up the house of cards that is our self-image.  Since these self-opinions are mutually contradictory, we compartmentalize them, and thus form an entire ‘hotel’ of mutually exclusive ‘tenants’ (what we used to refer to as the ‘parts’ of our ‘subconscious’) who are afraid even to meet each other for fear of being snuffed out.  Such is our ‘normal’ state (really, a large range of states).

 

            Moving on from there, we have the states which are formed when our self-contradictions do meet each other, either serendipitously or by way of trauma, illness or an encounter with death, or from an intentional influence like hypnosis or sorcery.[‡‡‡‡]  We then directly clash with the lies upon which we have built the edifice of our life story: what kind of person I am, what I would or would not do, my good character.  When these crumble or blow up, we are left with madness which may often show up as illnesses or even systems of diseases which may be unrelated anatomically but all emanating from the same psychic conflicts.[§§§§]  As I mentioned previously, such a shock is also the basis of many a fable or horror tale.  This is the crossroads at which many people decide whether or not to commit suicide or to walk away from their previous lives and either go into seclusion or become missionaries.  As a wonderful example, St. Francis had been murdering ‘infidels’ in the crusades, and the horror of it crashed in on him one day, leading him to his famous illuminations and his mission.[*****]

 

The next state of mind that I’d like to talk about is, what I’ll call for the moment, the Brush with Death (BWD).[†††††]  This may come with the fabled light at the end of the tunnel and miraculous healings, but I’m not interested in any of those ‘goodies’ for the purposes of this chapter.  Instead, let’s look at death as the powerful and unifying influence that can either shape or destroy our lives.

            With many people, it comes as a (usually) one-time near-death experience (NDE), and I’ve know many channelers and spiritual healers who started from such shocks (several of them have reported multiple NDEs).  In other cases, the person is exposed to horrors repeatedly or over a prolonged period, such as in concentration camps,[6] war prisons and battlefields, street gangs and shantytowns but, of course, many people who have been subjected to those conditions become shifted downward into antisocial frames; but a few (like St. Francis and others) become illuminated or awakened by such darkness.  My own experience has been a sort of combination of both patterns.

            At any rate, in order to create the Brush with Death shift of awareness, the impetus must be sufficiently strong, terrifying or awesome, and life-changing.  It must put us in touch with the roots of our mortality, our fragility, the preciousness of life, something that forces us to require some sort of divinity, whether in the form of the standard religions or even the deification of science[‡‡‡‡‡]; it can take the form of UFO-chasing or identification with supernatural events.

 

Now that I’ve enumerated some of the ways that the BWD is induced, let’s see if we can describe it, or at least its effects on us.  To be quite fair, the BWD is not one single state but an entire range of thoughts and feelings; furthermore, it is different for different people and at different times for any one person.  So let’s take a typical model for it.

            The first thing I notice about someone who has looked into the face of Death is that, as if for the first time, their speech takes on a far more sincere quality, and they are more likely to tell their secret fears, doubts and longings.  They take far more interest in the other person than they usually would, and also they will examine themselves much more candidly.  Further, with such people, it is often very easy to induce them into higher and more extreme states of consciousness.

            The reason for these attributes is that the pressure of the awareness of our mortality on our masks (or on our assemblage point positions) forces the masks to crumble and displace (and our assemblage points to shift), leaving behind a far more naked essence (whatever is left, once the false personality is removed).  That essence will be the foundation of everything else we’ll accomplish here, so stay with us on it and we will arrive at a clear understanding.

 

The next most important mind state that we should talk about is dreaming, and I emphasize the word for the same reason that Castaneda does: rather than the passive state to which most of us are accustomed (in which we just get fragments of more-or-less non-sensical stories that we either forget about entirely in the morning or, instead, try to read symbolic meaning into them), we are going to be developing an active, at-cause posture in our dreaming; that is, we will become a volitional dream character during our dreams, and then we will develop the power to keep track of our transitions between dreams and dream states.  In most of the esoteric teachings I’ve come across, dreaming has been regarded as an essential tool for developing control of our mental states, and then over our whole reality!

 

I’d like to briefly go over the ways that people’s minds are classified in different systems.  These are differentiated according to gender types, astrological signs, enneagram types, the sitting positions of the Star Maiden wheel, totem symbologies, the Michael teachings, the playing card systems and the various other personality typings.  Naturally there is a good deal of overlap among the various systems, but it isn’t difficult to observe the general patterns involved.

            The most obvious differentiation is probably that between the female and the male mindednesses – I use that term because the female mindedness belongs not only to women, nor the male-mindedness only to men.  Sometimes this difference is referred to as yin and yang, and everyone has elements of both, in various combinations.  In my own case, for example, my most superficial attitudes are male (my interests in gadgets, adventures, heroism, women and things which are socially acceptable for men); at one level deeper, you would find my more yin love of beautiful art, sweet music, dramatic depictions of relationships and inner trials.

            At another level, my psychic and channeling mind embraces both male and female attributes, whereas at some very deep level the distinction seems to disappear, something like the androgyny found in east Indian religious art.  My sense is that there is a center between the gender attributes which includes the highest abstracts of both, and also something beyond those.

 

Another commonly used method for separating people into convenient types is the range of different systems of astrology: Tibetan, Chinese, Babylonian, native American and the variations on the Western system, depending on how you draw your house borders, whether you use sidereal or conventional times, whether you take asteroids or progressions into account, etc.

            Some (like Gurdjieff) say that astrology really applies only to people who are subject to fate (under the planetary laws) instead of just to accident (under the denser laws of the moon), but it is fairly easy to observe general characteristics of people under each of the twelve basic signs.  I invite you to come up with your own list of characteristics, but my off-the-top list shows (without even taking into account the balance of elements, cardinality, and all the other esoteric fine points):

  • Aquarius – sociable, even tempered; may take on too much;
  • Pisces – a bit too in touch with their emotions; they want to be loyal, but sometimes are too at-effect;
  • Aries – perfectionistic and self-critical – may excel, but might crash on the way;
  • Taurus – stalwart and loyal, but may be awfully stubborn, even to their own detriment;
  • Gemini – craves interaction and mental stimulation, may seem to run all over the place;
  • Cancer – likes everything (and everyone) to be in its ‘proper’ place, to a fault;
  • Leo – likes to be the one in charge, but may inadvertently run over other people;
  • Virgo – very loyal but critical, and awfully perceptive;
  • Libra – often can’t make up their minds if their life depends on it, or they make up their minds prematurely;
  • Scorpio – you’re either with them or against them, very little in between;
  • Sagittarius – waxes eloquent, maybe be brilliant but still miss the point;
  • Capricorn – takes on the cares of the world, and then suffers; curiously, they seem to thrive on suffering.

 

Please note that these characteristics are just how these types appear to me, from my own perspective (I’m a Gemini-Rooster); as I’ve emphasized previously, everyone takes on characteristics and shadings from the context they’re in: when, where, whom they’re with, etc.  The point is that each of these types represents a general set of tendencies that overlay our map of reality, and thus flavor our thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, what ‘facts’ we select to describe our experience.

 

            Another way of typing mindsets, that I’ve found useful, is the Deer Tribe’s Star-Maiden Circle which, like the zodiac, is arranged as wheels within wheels.[7]  In this system, each of the eight points of the compass (and also in accordance with Mayan numerology) represents a particular personality-mind type:

            N      Philosophy and Belief Systems

            NE –    Design and Choreography of Energy

            E       Fantasy

            SE –    Concepts of Self

            S       Mythology and Entertainment

            SW –   Symbols of Life Experience

            W     Daydream

            NW – Rules and Laws

 

For each one of these types, you can tell their:

  • Objective input stimulus
  • Subjective personal reaction
  • Personal frame of reference
  • Internal response
  • Message given to others
  • Basic belief system
  • Use of male Active-Conceptive energy
  • Use of female Receptive-Creative energy

 

Since this paradigm is proprietary to the Deer Tribe and because it is not integrally part of what I’m sharing in this book (and is too complex to summarize briefly[§§§§§]), I’ll leave it to the interested reader to contact them and take their wonderful seminars, which I did for three years.  I believe they are currently in Scottsdale, Arizona.

            In the meantime, I’d like to point out some of the interesting features of this system.  You find which of the eight points is your “sitting position” from native astrology, and from that you find out which types of responses and attitudes are intrinsic to your basic personality.[******]  Once you know that, there is a sort of formula for creating an intentional shift to a different sitting position, and basically, this shift takes us out of habitual attitudes (at-effect) and allows us the freedom of perceiving the world from a whole set of at-cause perspectives.  That is definitely one of the goals of this book, although we will arrive at it in a somewhat different way.

 

In one channeled teaching, four types are given: the cleric, the warrior, the sage and the priest – this closely parallels the caste system of the Hindus and probably originated in the same way, as a means of describing people’s foundational mind-sets.[††††††]  In another system, people are classified by soul-ages – four general age groupings, each with ten subdivisions.[‡‡‡‡‡‡]

So we have “baby souls” concerned with their short-term needs, “young souls” who see issues only in black and white; “mature souls” who often take positions of leadership, and “old souls” who are completing their karmic business.  The latter includes people who seem only to be going around and settling up with old friends, and also those on the verge of transcendental beings.  Some regard this as the last stage of old soul, others as its own class, about which little is known.  But stories do abound about such people, both in mythology and in modern lore.  Siddartha is a well known example from ancient India, and some of the teachers of recent times, like Gurdjieff, Yogananda, Sai Baba, Swami Muktananda, Padrinho Sebastião and Amachi, may be either emerging transcendental beings or avatars,[§§§§§§] if there actually is a difference between the two classifications.  I’ll ask you to keep such people in mind, and to come up with some examples of your own, for when we talk about ascended mind-states.

I’m just going to mention some of the other systems of personality-mind typing that I know of, because even though they have different origins, they basically work out in similar ways as what we’ve already talked about.  These other ways are the enneagram types, the color types and the several systems of playing card classifications – those can be regular decks, Tarot or animals, crystals, flowers, the Orixas,[*******] etc.  To talk about these more here would be outside of the scope of this book, and there is already plenty written on them if you would like to pursue these subjects further.

 

For our purposes here, I’m going to lump together the criminal/violent, the depressive, the neurotic and the paranoid mind-states, notwithstanding the flack I may get from criminologists and psychologists for doing so.  But for this book, they share attributes in common:

  • They are all based on negative decisions – revenge, victimhood or just giving up;
  • They all require a great deal of energy to continually justify themselves and to indulge their moods and schemes; this energy, of course, steals from the energy it takes to transform and transcend;
  • They are each a heavily grooved “down-flip”[†††††††]; that is, they are triggered by external stimuli, many of whom or which have nothing to do with them except habituation.[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡]  An internal conversation runs incessantly, like a tape loop, “proving” that everything is unfair or justifies one’s violence, and so on.
  • They limit the perspective of those individuals – they can see everything only in one way.

 

I am also going to take the autistic, the child and the genius minds together, but not as different aspects of the same thing; rather, as extraordinary mind-sets that share some unusual attributes.  They all have a range of perspectives distinctly different from the normal adult mind-set:

  • They tend to see connections and structures where the normal would see only separate things.
  • These connections and structures make up whole entities in their minds which interact with each other dynamically and organically, so that they give off instantaneous understandings or insights rather than requiring a plodding, linear approach.  This is why an autistic savant immediately ‘knows’ the cube root of the 57th prime, and it is the basis for the radical improvements that IBM made in its chess-playing programs.
  • These people may use categories of thought that the ordinary person might never think of, or they may even drop all categories entirely.[§§§§§§§]

 

What the genius generally adds to this mix is the drive of his passion, which may come from a vision or visions, from an inspiration or even from acute despair,[********] as with Mozart and many of the great painters and sculptors.

 

Such despair makes a good segue into what I’ll call “impacted mind,” which includes those which are addicted, afflicted with political or religious[††††††††] zeal, the effects of certain drugs or heavy rock/rap music, or propaganda, beyond a certain degree.  Although I think we would be far better off without any of those influences at all, it is also true that we can tolerate a great deal of such ‘noise’ without falling into the impacted zone.  So now let’s look at what these impacted states share:

  • As with the negative states we’ve talked about, they are each a heavily grooved “down-flip” but, in these cases, they are triggered by both internal and external factors such as surges in brain chemistry and metabolic spikes on the one hand, and reinforcement of the ‘noise’ (dissonant lyrics with strong rhythms, advertisements that play on people’s emotions, government propaganda that plays on one’s fears, etc.), on the other hand.
  • They readily flare into strong emotional degrees of panic, hysteria and violent mob behavior.
  • They are manipulated by means of primitive symbols[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] that we hold as basic tenets, and therefore unquestioned. This becomes the foundation for a false, but deeply felt, ‘logic’ by which even an educated audience can be turned into a torch- and pitchfork-wielding mob.
  • In each case, the person gets a reward of some kind, be it the feeling of belonging, a short term stimulation of pleasure centers, or even a loss of the sense of self with concomitant relief from anguish or disconnection.

 

These impacted conditions bear some similarities to the next group, which I am calling “depressive states,” but watch for the differences.  This group includes narcotic-induced captivations, pornography, brainwashing, television and certain induced trances.  Here is what I find this group of mind-states to have in common:

  • Again, it’s a down-flip, but of a different kind.  This one has no target of contention, but is concerned with (if anything) the very basic needs of comfort, pleasure, the next ‘fix’ or just apathy, numbness and disconnection.
  • As with the previous set, these habitual states wear a deep groove in our psychic shape, which is why, even after we’ve “cleaned up,” we still impress others as junkies, whores or reprobates, and we readily fall back into the old lifestyle if we don’t have a strong support system around[§§§§§§§§] us.

 

 

That gives us a fair catalogue of types and shapes of mind that we find in the normal realms (the tonal, as don Juan calls that range) – all states of mind whose attributes we are born with, which were taught to us, and which we acquired in response to the “tidal edge” or “weather front” between our propensities and our environment.  The catalogue could have been arranged, and its members could have been distinguished, in many other ways, but the important thing is that we have a foundation against which to compare what will come next.

 

Now we finally arrive at one of the keystone concepts of this book: The proportions and alignments, of all of the states and factors we’ve talked about, constitute a particular “shape” in the psychic world; that is, in the dimension of all of our feeling-minds together, each entity is not only completely recognizable by its ‘shape’ but, unless a specific intent is launched as a countermeasure, all other identity-shapes must respond according to its form.

            The first implication of this abstruse and possibly preposterous idea is that everyone reacts to me the way they do, wherever I go, precisely because of the shape my psyche has taken, including from the moment of my birth; that is, the shape of each of my parents required them to be towards me in the way they did, even if they hated themselves for it!  This point extends to everyone we ever interacted with.

            The second implication is that no blame can be assigned for anything because everyone acted as they had to, given your shape and their shape in whatever the alignments were at that moment.  Now we can start to see how astrology and other divinatory systems fit in (although we will only touch on them as they apply to our subject – their full explications are detailed abundantly elsewhere).

            The third implication is that nothing wrong actually ever happened – even when an event was obviously cruel or traumatic.  This is going to be most difficult to explain, so please bear with me.  As I mentioned, the shape of my psyche was however it had formed up to that point (even the moment of birth, for example).  My form had already selected what genes of my mother and what of my father it was going to assemble, and in what proportion.  And it had to use these materials and these proportions in order to align with its (my) own destiny, whatever that was going to be.

            If that sounds like circular oratory, you observe correctly, because one of the key principles of the paradigm of manifestation (remember paradigms?) is that the beginning and the end unite somehow, as if in the middle, as if both beginning and end exist in the same moment[*********][8] in order to conceive something (me, in this case). This is true of electric sparks, chemical reactions of all sorts, bacterial growth patterns and ‘evolution’; that is, a creature with given characteristics, according to this new paradigm, is instantaneously created by the simultaneous interaction of a nodal ‘itch’ of life force and a corresponding ‘vacancy’ (or a ‘hole’ of the correct size and shape) in nature.

            So then we can say that my birth is the ‘itch’ collected by the union of my father and mother, combined with the ‘itch’ of the available context to be my cradle, as it were. In it I am hatched with my particular metabolism and hungers, which then meet with the ability of this environment to feed me.  It should be obvious, from this paradigm, what happens when the environment is poisoned or depleted – one’s shape becomes deformed around the area of lack or imbalance.

            So now I am ‘shaped’ not only in accordance with my available gene pool (which is guaranteed to have a number of defects in it) but also along the lines of deprivations and disjunctions in the environment.  This revised shape is exactly what attracts events that conform with that shape; for example, people whose shapes have a tendency to deform in the direction of my own deformations.  This is just another way of saying that our attitudes get set from reacting in habitual ways, and from then on, we think that we are perceiving ‘facts’ instead of self-fulfilling prophecies.

            Because of this, we can no longer accuse anyone of being ‘evil’ or ‘wicked’ – they may have been shaped as to seem ‘weak’, but they came into alignment with my shape only in conjunction of the Event that included both my shape and their shape together.  Does that mean we should beat ourselves up?  Not at all because, just like bacteria or anything else in nature, we were the perfect adaptation of what we were with what we had.  But that does not mean that we are stuck with that, at-effect.

            It should not be news that, as I mentioned earlier, there are myriad techniques for reprogramming ourselves[†††††††††] (some free, others very expensive).  It should also not be news that the most popular of them don’t seem to ‘stick’ very well, and most of those that do stick do so because of the charismatic or institutional force of their propagators.  In our paradigm, we might say that they are (or create) an environment that aligns with our very ‘weaknesses’ (the injured or deprived features of our shape), and even that they emerge or appear in our environment just because of those features of our shape.

            Now we begin to see how dependencies and addictions form: we find an external shape that ‘fits’ the holes in our own shape.  This would also explain many personal relationships.  Of course the problem with this kind of adaptation is that we lose our ability to balance on our own, so that if the external is removed, we experience the loss as ‘pain,’ ‘injustice’ and suffering.

            Then what would be the alternative?  Using available disciplines and supports,[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] we can gradually move our orientation from at-effect to at-cause.  This task proves to be very meticulous, because it requires us, in minute steps, to drop all our blaming, requirements, projections, victimhood and self-pity that we hold toward others, and come to see every event, no matter how ‘scary’ or ‘painful,’ as an indispensable tool for extricating ourselves.  In our paradigm, this means that we learn to correct the faults in our shape by intentionally ‘feeding’ each of those areas with well-being[§§§§§§§§§]; by doing this for ourselves, we avoid the dependencies that form from requiring an institution or a charismatic healer, for example, to be an external source of such well-being.[**********]

            At this point, I am often accused of being anti-religion or anti-guru or anti-psychology or anti-medicine, etc.  But my point is that we can make use of any of these, just as we make use of available foods, in accordance with our self-knowledge and our self-authority.  It is myself who decides what to accept and what to discard, and the ability to make such decisions (the knowledge and the power[††††††††††]) is always a long time developing.  So we are required to become very patient with ourselves and very forgiving of others in the process of developing the position of at-cause-ness.[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡]

 

 

Exercises for Chapter Three

                                                                               

  1. Continue the exercises from Chapter Two.
  2. Taking one of your habits that you’ve observed, make a point of doing it some other way today – something small, like using your other hand; pick a different habit for each day, in advance.
  3. When you find yourself having a few minutes of quite alone-time, look at some pattern (wallpaper, carpeting, a book cover, etc.) and allow it to change, perhaps by paying more attention to shadows or open spaces.
  4. While someone is talking to you, try to place yourself into their mind-set and their feelings while keeping your own intact; this is not an exercise of sympathy (although you may indeed become more sympathetic by the effort) but of moving your attention.

 

 

 

References for Chapter Three

 



[*]See Appendix Two for the subject of this chapter in stream-of-consciousness format.

[†] For more about this idea and also the quotation about nagual and the tonal at the top of the page, please see Appendix Three.

[‡] Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that <your favorite belief-icon here> either does or does not exist; I am simply focusing the whole question on the Mind itself, regardless of how it ‘got’ here.  Later on we’ll see that those who love God can have more God than they ever dreamt of, and the materialists can have nice, rational ‘material’ coming out of their ears. J

[§] Some scientists gave psilocybin to a canary, in a religious setting, and it proceeded to genuflect and do other obviously pious acts.  At least, that’s what they said happened.  Maybe they took the mushrooms.  J

[**] In the Tao te Ching it says, “The tao (basically essence or basis] that can be told is not the Tao.”

[††] Of course, now the pendulum has swung the other way, and we can hardly turn on the TV these days without a close-up of how well some sanitary product fits a woman’s crotch!

[‡‡] I just read about a report in which 60% of over 800,000 high school seniors rated themselves in the top 10% of “getting along with others” (College Entrance Examination Board), and each respondent applied one standard to himself (like the value of introspection) and an entirely different standard to other people (e.g., “just doing what they were taught”).

[§§] As in Plato’s caves analogy.

[***] Another way of saying this is: the Mind dreams the Universe, and the Universe hatches the Mind.

[†††] Generally, these are people with whom we form intimate relationships, but also pet things to which we attach too great a value.

[‡‡‡] On the religious or mystical side, of course, we have nothing but mystification: undecipherable “mystery wrapped in an enigma” – the soul, the supernatural, spirits, channeling and prophecy, saints and avatars, obscure scriptural passages, and rituals whose ultimate purpose has long been forgotten.

[§§§] This, of course, would make no sense in a paradigm which insists that a reality must be external to us.

[****] I am taking this seemingly objective position as someone who has experienced two suicides in his family.

[††††] Many of these are variously referred to as “self-remembering,” “cosmic consciousness,” “the place of no-pity,” “heightened awareness,” “second attention,” “third attention,” “satori,” “Samadhi” and so forth.  Rather than trying to tie the discussion to categorical terms (and remember the problem with categories), I’m going to describe the states as I have observed them and, whenever feasible, take notice of how close they seem to fit the available terms.

[‡‡‡‡] We also discussed the shakti-type influence of gurus and masters in Chapter One.

[§§§§] Some good movie examples of these moral shocks are: A Few Good Men, Courage Under Fire, Word of Honor, Jacob’s Ladder, Girl Interrupted, and the TV miniseries Stephen Spielberg’s Taken, …

[*****] It has seemed almost a rule that people on this path must encounter their demons first.  Many of the people I know in this work have come back from alcoholism and addictions, and even prison.  I myself was even arrested at my own crossroads in 1995, and witnessed my mother’s suicide in 1958.

[†††††] We’re going to have an entire chapter on Death but, for now, we’re just going to examine how Death shapes the mind.

[‡‡‡‡‡] As when the Scientific Establishment refuses to accept data that would contradict one of its pet principles or diminish the current scientific celebrity. Edison used this against Tesla; Newton crushed his own rivals in this way.

[§§§§§] That is to say, I never really understood it myself, intellectually, although I do use it subliminally.

[******] It also helps us to understand the other person’s perspective and therefore communicate much more effectively.

[††††††] As usual, a system for understanding ourselves degenerated into a hereditary bondage in India, causing a great deal of suffering and of losing what the lower castes (and outcasts) might have contributed.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡] These soul ages are generally portrayed in the film, “Groundhog Day” as Bill Murray’s character (Phil) strives to become desirable to Andie McDowell’s wholesome Rita.

[§§§§§§] We could make the distinction: “Are they ascending to divinity, or descending from it?”

[*******] Pronounced “or-e-SHAs,” these are an African pantheon which is also widely accepted by South American shamans.

[†††††††] You’ll understand why I call these down flips after we talk about up-flips in a later chapter.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] An example of the internal conversation goes something like this: “I know what those people over there are doing – they’re talking about me.  They all want to hurt me, take advantage of me, shame me. I’ll show them – I’ll {kill them / kill myself / show them how unhappy I am / make their lives a living hell / make my own life a living hell / stop feeling anything / etc.}

[§§§§§§§] Children, of course, start out with none of the categories that their normal adults use; thus “they say the darndest things.”  “Out of the mouths of babes,” etc.

[********] I am aware that ‘despair’ is not a psychological diagnosis; once again, my descriptions in this book are based on a subjective, inner perspective, rather than an external cataloguing.

[††††††††] Here I am referring not to the direct effects of religious experience (we talk about that in other contexts) but to the influence of religious leaders who use their pulpits to harangue against “those sinners” – whatever group is the current target of demonization.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] We talked about these symbols in earlier chapters.

[§§§§§§§§] Like the reminders we talked about in Chapter Two.

[*********] See Terence McKenna’s idea of the Eschaton in his book, The Invisible Landscape, … .

[†††††††††] Some examples are NLP, Scientology and its derivatives, meditational techniques, Science of Mind and its derivatives, Psycho-cybernetics and similar, most religions, and so on.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Please review the examples given in Chapter One.

[§§§§§§§§§] Some say that fright is another essential ingredient, because it shocks us off of our stagnancy.  Look at how much people pay to be frightened at amusement parks and at movie theatres.

[**********] This, of course, includes sense of structure, of authority role models and of consistency, which many people are lacking in their own experience.

[††††††††††] As we talked about earlier, power is used here to mean the ability to do, being able even to remember that there was something you wanted to do, why you wanted to do it (having aim), and having the energy to overcome all the resistance we build up: physical inertia, mental doubts and emotional fears.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Actually, the patience and forbearance are essential ingredients in the recipe, so it all works out in the end.



[1] Bacon, Francis, Novum Organum (‘new tool’) , …

[2] Carlos Castaneda, Tales of Power, p.277 (partially paraphrased) , …

[3] The character Gibarian, in the film Solaris (2002) – obviously quoting from somewhere else.

[4] Some science magazine article about brain functions.

[5] Scientific American, May, 2004, p. 46

[6] Schwartz, Jack, Body Controls, …

[7] Reagan, Harley Swiftdeer, Sweet Medicine Sundance Basic Teaching Wheels, 1980, Deer Tribe Metis-Medicine Society.

[8] McKenna, Terence, The Invisible Landscape, …