Study - Higher Mind
Shall I drift through life ?
Shall I catch the ‘Higher Mind Study’ boat ?
Drifting will not guarantee our best performance. Any white-water canoeist knows this. Somehow we must steer our way through life’s rough waters. But there are two ways to steer: an egotistic way, and God’s way.
Every Olympic athlete knows that an egotistic self-image is not the best aid to top performance. A man who struts about thinking how marvellous he is, how wonderful he looks to other people, is wasting energy that he needs for his greatest concentration of effort. Energy not focussed on the goal to be attained is energy dissipated and wasted.
Before we consider God’s way, and what God is, let us re-posit our question, put our question not in terms of ego or God, but in a more direct way.
Starting Propositions to effective Study
Why do we Study?
We Study in order to bring Conscious Understanding & Intelligent Order into our Body, our Mind, & our World. To begin, our very first motive for Higher Mind Study is to consider our view about an important question:-
Is the Universe in which we live Impersonal or Personal?
If we think of the universe as a manifestation of impersonal energies, we can approach it in a quite different way from that we must use if we believe that it is the work of an intelligent all-aware God. This has been the starting premise for thinkers throughout all ages, perhaps since the time when man first walked the earth in self-awareness.
If the world is just an impersonal system of energies that are open to scientific investigation and technical manipulation, then we can view ourselves, because of our scientific and technical knowledge, as “masters of the world”. Then we can believe that we are “in charge of the universe”, that we are the highest beings yet evolved by natural forces, and that we can legitimately, as “masters of the world”, do with it whatever we like. We have but to study “the way nature works” and then appropriate this knowledge and so force nature to obey us.
But if we accept for a moment that the energies of the universe are but special modes of an infinite power which is intelligent and knows itself to be such a power, then we shall have to take into account the possibility that this intelligent power has some purpose of its own in bringing the universe into existence. And if this should be so, then it will be for our own welfare if we find out what this purpose is. Our study will have a different viewpoint, and will be personal.
How might we decide?
That there is a universe of active forms demonstrates that it is a work of power.
That these active forms are related together in certain mutually influencing ways shows that this power is a relating power, not merely a chaotic mass of unharmonised energies.
The stars have their places and movements within the vast pattern of things and events.
The sun has its function in passing energy from the infinite to determining the orbiting of the planets in the solar system and to provide a means of sustenance for life-forms on earth.
All of these facts we might admit without believing that the originating power of the universe is an intelligent being, self-aware and in charge of the world’s processes.
But we human beings present ourselves with the problem of our own being.
We know that we have a certain amount of power, and that this power is part of the universal power, part of the vast store of energy which constitutes the world we live in.
We know also that we have a certain amount of intelligence.
If, then, we are forced to believe that what power we have is derived from the same power that has brought the universe into being, then we must also admit that whatever intelligence we have is derived from the same source.
Ultimately all things are but ways in which universal power behaves and manifests itself.
Therefore, any Study we undertake might consider how we are to more deeply inform ourselves about this initial question of governance. Rather than to merely drift through life, instead we are to enhance our intelligence function in order to be able to feel and act in accordance with this intelligence. The Study we are to undertake will be in the realm of the Higher Mind, Wisdom, the Logos as it is called.
How might we begin our Study?
The Study of Division & Decision
Let us go a little into considering why division is a necessity of creative intelligent living. If we allow ourselves for a moment to imagine the removal of dividing lines from all the things in the universe, we see at once that all the energies of which things are made would run together. There would be no world as we know it. No defined forms of things, nor order, would exist. There would simply be an infinite ocean of chaotic energies, an endless confusion of random motions.
Order – Outside & Inside
But actually we exist in a world in which some order is manifest. The planets move in an orderly predictable manner around the sun, keeping by some mysterious power in their orbits. Our earth, as one of these planets, orbits around the sun, and also rotates on its own axis to give us the measure of our days and nights.
Inside our bodies are other systems of order. Our blood leaves our heart, travels through our arteries and veins and organs and returns to the heart to complete its orderly cycle. Every organ of our body has its own cycle of activities, and responds to the action of others, and to the outer world. Everywhere we look, there is evidence of orderly process, within and without our bodies.
When we look with our physical eyes into the outer world, we see some degree of order. But we see also some evidence of disorder. In the outer world we see nations subsisting by means of some orderly system of behavioural controls, yet we see also nations at war with each other, trying to break down each other’s working systems by which they maintain their existence in a competitive world.
In the same way we can see inside our own beings a degree of order, by which we are maintained in existence; and we can see also evidences of disorder.
Order maintains us; disorder disintegrates us.
We can see that the disorders and conflicts of the outer world endanger the existence of nations, peoples, societies and families. It is easy to see internally also that disorders and conflicts of the inner world may endanger our individual existence. Conflicting ideas, emotions and impulses may seriously affect our lives. The inner battle creates tensions, stresses and strains which may have the same effect on our body and brain, that an external war between nations has on the earth. We all know what a battlefield torn with shell-fire and bombs looks like. A microphotograph of the inner organs of a human being with an internal war shows similar effects.
Apart from order, there is disorder. Disorder is chaotic energy. Where forces undefined disturb and dissolve each other there is disorder. Where order is, the forces are defined and have specific functions which relate to each other in clearly defined manners.
Without definition, order is impossible.
Definition rests upon division of forms of energy activity. This is the meaning of “firmament” in the Bible book of Genesis. “Let it (the firmament) divide the waters from the waters”. The “firmament” is the Bible word for that activity of energy which divides one thing from another, in order to create the conditions of existence without which the created world we see would not have its being.
The Principle of Order
“As within, so without; as without, so within”. The world, and all things in it, exist by means of the Principle of Order, which rests upon a function of division. This Principle of Order is called anciently ‘The Logos’ and is translated in the Bible as ‘The Word’.
How does the study of the Principle of Order help us?
If we study the laws which govern the outer world, the laws we there discover are related to laws which we discover in the human being. What we discover outside our being, we can discover also inside, and what we discover inside our being, we can also discover outside it. The same chemicals that are existent in the external world, exist also in our internal world. The same principles of electronic action that we find in the things of the outer world, we discover at work also in our own nervous system.
It is permissible for us to view the outer universe as a mirror-image of the inner world of mankind, or for us to see as a mirror-image of the universe in which we live. For every process we discover inside our own organism, we can find a correspondent function in the universe. Thus when we meditate on our inner processes, we may discover rules which govern the outer world, and when we meditate on processes we observe in the outer world, we may disclose principles inside our own being.
Spirit & Soul
True Oneness as the Aim of Study
True Oneness does not disintegrate, does not die and corrupt and vanish. Every part of true Oneness involves in itself every other part. Man has not yet fully realised that his ultimate survival as a living being rests on his capacity to resist disintegration.
Disintegration – what and how
Disintegration implies lack of a single unifying purpose.
So far, man has scattered his energies over multitudes of ultimately profitless activities.
He has lived striving to accumulate material things that at death he cannot take with him.
He has not striven for those things that can resist the forces of disintegration, the truths that finally fit together in one consistent wholesome pattern.
He has neglected the truths that add up to the ultimate Oneness which confers immortality on his soul.
Today millions of people have taught him that he is but a material body, doomed finally to disintegrate into atomic dust, to lie in the ground or be turned up and blown by wild insensate winds ceaselessly about the world.
Thus man has come to believe that it is not worthwhile to try to understand himself.
He sees no profit in the study of depth psychology, no advantage in believing in the spirit.
He busies himself in the materials of the outer world, where he can see, or thinks he can see, what is going on. Material things he can touch and hold in his grasp, and, if he works hard and becomes able to pay for them, may legally do so and declare them his own. And they are outside him, where he can keep an eye on them, so that they are not stolen away from him.
But in the inner world of his soul, his eyes are not so reliable.
The inner world of the unintegrated mind is a world of ever-shifting ideas, feelings, emotions and impulses of obscure origin.
The outer world of hardware commodities can be seen for what it is, and can be dealt with in hardware terms.
The inner world is a world of software, of fluid shifting shapes less easy to handle.
Thus the materialist apparently has chosen the easier lot. He lives in a world of external handleable hardware. But he also finally dies in it, unaware that his neglected inner self is not totally annihilated by his physical “death”, and so must then be faced.
Physical Death is not the End
We know that energy may change its form, but we know also that it cannot be totally annihilated, cannot become absolutely nothing at all.
We know that all things in the universe are but forms of energy.
Therefore we know, whether we like to know it or not, that we are ourselves forms of energy, and so not finally reducible to nothingness, and so finally must face ourselves.
During our life we change our form, from baby to adult, without ceasing to be what we are, namely, forms of energy.
At death also we change our form, yet remain still the energy we always were. The energy we were is forever inescapably itself.
Study in order to Understand our Purpose
Science or Invisible God?
We moderns live in an age that tends to believe more in the achievements of science than in the miraculous power of an invisible God.
Yet physical science has been driven towards the recognition that all the energies manifesting in the universe are modes of operation of one supreme power.
True, science has not yet managed to shake off its conceit and so confess that even the energies of scientists are derivatives of the universal power.
Animal or Human?
Human beings as we know them show diverse tendencies, behaviours that we call ‘animal’ as well as those we call ‘human’. At this level of interpretation we can see that the ‘animal’ and the ‘human’ aspects of our being are in a certain way opposed to each other. The ‘animal’ in us tends to pursue pleasure and to avoid pain, while the ‘human’ in us strives to attain some degree of control over our ‘animal’ tendencies.
This question of animal or human was first outlined in the Bible. The story of the sacrifice of Abraham’s son Isaac shows a demarcation. If we equate Isaac with our human aspect, and the ram caught in the thicket with our animal tendencies, we can see at one level of interpretation human beings as a higher form of life than that of the animals. Humans by use of our innate intelligence have gained control of the world in a way that animals have failed to do. We can invade animal territories, destroy their environment, capture the animals and put them in zoos, or, if we will, can kill them. We are aware today of the problem of endangered animal species. The superior power of human beings everywhere threatens animal survival.
The name Isaac, in this interpretation, means ‘the laughter of acquired power’. We humans have power enough to destroy all the animals for which we have no profitable use. In the process of our destructive activities, we can impoverish the world, remove from it the millions of non-human lives, destroy the landscapes’ natural beauty, and reduce all vital differences to one flat plain of radioactive rubble. And we can laugh at it, and glory in our tremendous destructive power.
At this point we can see that, if we do not curb ourselves, the delight we feel in being so powerful might lead us to destroy our whole world. It is here that our intelligence, the Abraham in us, may be called upon to sacrifice Isaac, the power to which our intelligence has given birth. And this is a demand that we cannot refuse.
If we do not sacrifice our power, give it back to its source, we may find that our laughter at possessing it will end in dreadful tears. Power without a sense of responsibility is the most dangerous thing in the world. Somehow, if we are not to destroy our world, and ourselves with it, we must gain a full sense of responsibility for its use.
But if we give up the power itself, we shall reverse the whole process of human evolution. For millions of years our ancestors have striven to attain power, over their environment and over other creatures. It is now time for all of us to do what a select few have already done – that is, attain power over ourselves.
God, the Creator of the Universe and of ourselves, does not will us to regress back to our primitive state of powerlessness. But He does will us to give up our power to Him. Absolute power belongs to God, and God alone. The power we humans have is lent to us by the Infinite Source of all power, and lent to us for a specific purpose, the building of a new heaven (that is, a new idea), and a new earth (based on this idea). Without power we could not build this new heaven and new earth.
God tests us as He tested Abraham, to see if we will give up the power that He has given us. If we bring ourselves to this point then He offers us another solution. A ram in a thicket appears for us also.
For those of us who are not of the view that the universe is merely a blind, purposeless, chaotic, lawless, scientific experiment, there is another way in which we may study and acquaint ourselves with the process of Oneness and purposeful development, and to intelligently sacrifice our power for a higher purpose. It is through Study we aim to unfold & make conscious this purposeful way.
What is Purpose?
Purpose is that which we posit now in order to fulfil over time. That which is to be fulfilled may be objective, subjective or be an action event.
Our definition is not confined to human endeavour. Not only man has purpose. We say that all other creatures also have purpose, and all purposes of all beings are sub-purposes of the infinite power that made them all. From the atomic purpose of basic existence, through simple life forms, to plants, animals and civilised man, sacrifices of lower forms & functions to the higher have had to be made by the intelligent source power of the universe.
In the process of attaining the civilised state, man has had to sacrifice, transcend, whatever forces seemed to oppose this state. But man has made mistakes. He is not omniscient as is God. Man has made sacrifices which had to be made, but he has not always made these sacrifices in the most intelligent way. Some of his methods of sacrifice have been unintelligently suppressive, and so have brought unintelligent reactions. There is no ‘short, sharp shock’ solution to all the world’s ailments. Suppressive methods may, bring some instant superficial improvements in external behaviour patterns, but they do so at the expense of long term laying of deep resentments, which in one generation or another suddenly erupt with devastating results.
Enforced Social Cohesion
Today we are reaping the results of unintelligent sacrifices and suppressions made in the name of an enforced social cohesion. But life does not grow from outside in, but from inside out. Not by the external imposition of resented controls will man take his next evolutionary step; his improvement, where genuine, will come from greater understanding of his real place and function in the universe. God has a purpose for mankind, and will establish it in His own good time. Meanwhile it is for man to study, with all the intelligence and power God has conferred upon him, that divine purpose, so that he can intelligently cooperate with it. And for this cooperation, for the time being, man must sacrifice not his human energies (Isaac-Self), but his animal willed Ram-in-a-thicket energies.
Ecology of Spirit & of Matter
Today, if we are to leave our earth in a state fit for others to live in, we shall have to modify our whole behaviour pattern, and to do this we shall have to reverse the “Fall” which split our various functions from each other. We shall have to teach ourselves anew the correct way of interrelating our feeling, thinking and behaving. We shall have to re-think and re-feel our whole relationship with that infinite intelligent universal power that we call “God”. It is useless for us to try find any other solution of our world-problem. No longer can we pretend that separative egotistical action is the meaning of existence. We have proved sufficiently that this pretence is vain and foolish.
There is an ecology of spirit as well as of matter. We owe it to ourselves and to all future generations to study & learn this ecology and to base upon it all our present and future activities. What the future world will be like, or whether for mankind there will be a world at all, depends on us, now.
In the natural world we see a delicate balance of mineral, vegetable, animal and human life. We call the study of this balance “ecology”. In the world of spirit there is also a need for a similar study, the study that we call “spiritual ecology“.
Just as in the natural world all things are interrelated, so also in the spiritual world.
Let us remind ourselves of the difference of these two worlds.
By “natural” world we mean that world in which everything happens in accord with what we call “natural law“. Everything in the natural world is ruled by forces that seem to have no control over themselves.
The natural world is a world of laws.
* There is a law of “gravity“, by which things tend to fall towards centres of compaction;
* There is a law of “inertia” by which things tend to continue doing what they are doing, either “resting” or “moving”;
* There is a law of “conservation of mass energy“, and so forth.
* Everywhere in nature there appears to be “law-conformability“.
- Minerals remain as they are because they are bound by certain forces;
- Plants grow in certain ways because they are conditioned by their environment, by earth, water, rain, wind, heat or cold, etc.
- Animals are as they are because of survival instincts which compel adaptation to each other and to their surroundings.
- But when we come to human beings, we find something that we do not find at lower levels. We are presented with a belief in freedom. We human beings not only believe in freedom; most of us are prepared to fight to retain what we believe we have of it.
Freedom & Accident
There are few people who profess to disbelieve in freedom; who declare freedom to be an illusion, but when contradicted by the freedom believers, the disbelievers tend to fight to maintain their disbelief. They not only disbelieve in freedom, but work hard to try to persuade others to accept their disbelief, apparently quite unaware of the inconsistency of their persuasion attempts.
But most people in practice behave as if they believe in freedom, and freedom is held by them to be basic to meaningful human existence. If there is no freedom, then there is either an entirely mechanically determined world, or a random one in which “order”, wherever it appears, is merely accidental.
We humans, or most of us, do not like a totally mechanical universe, and we do not like a merely random and accidental appearance of “order”. We like to be in charge of our own destinies. We hate to think of ourselves as merely the products of “accidents”.
Fall from Freedom
In our belief that we are “free”, those of who embrace this belief present ourselves with a problem. If we are really “free”, why do we so often find ourselves “bound by events”? We have seen that we are inheritors of a doctrine of a “fall”. This doctrine says that once we were perfectly free, and then that through some error we lost this prefect freedom; and since that loss our freedom is no longer perfect. What freedom we have is now merely relative, influenced by conditions over which we apparently have little or no control. We are imposed on by natural forces, gravity, terrain, climate etc. We can, to some degree, adapt ourselves to the presence of these forces. We can study them, arrive at some understanding of their modes of operation, and adjust our actions to them, but we cannot safely ignore them.
But when we have gained a sufficient degree of knowledge of the operations of these forces to give ourselves a fairly high probability of our survival, we are still faced with another problem, the problem of our own significance within the universe at large. We ask ourselves what we are, what is our real function within the realm of natural ecology, and this question leads us to the other: what is the meaning of “spiritual ecology”?
“Spirit” acts freely. “Matter” is bound to behave as it does when forces act upon it.
“Spirit” has initiative; matter is ruled by inertia.
Spirit can choose; matter cannot choose;
Spirit has the power of self-determination; matter is determined by other than itself.
In so far as we are human we can act freely;
In so far as we cannot act freely, we fall short of our full human potential’s actualisation.
Balance of Forces
To survive in the natural world, we need knowledge of the balance of forces which constitute nature. To retain and enlarge what freedom we have, we need knowledge of the balance of forces which constitute our spiritual being. What are these forces?
A human being comprises forces:-
- of matter (body);
- of feelings (likes and dislikes);
- of mentation (dealing with the things and events of time);
- of conceptual thinking (dealing with eternal principles of logic, mathematics, geometry etc.); and
- of volition (free will).
It is with the balance of forces that comprise the human being that our study of “spiritual ecology” must deal, and especially with those forces that manifest in acts of free decision.
The materialist empirical scientist denies the possibility of free will and free decisions arising from it. Such a scientist reduces the world and all in to law-compelled patterns of behaviour, and includes himself in his law-conditioned system. Thus he is, by his own hypothesis, unable to act in any unconditioned way. His view-point condemns him to conformity with natural law; he is enslaved by his belief in his own unfreedom.
But the man who believes in spirit as a real force of free self-determination, from his own understanding of himself, can bring himself to attain the freedom he believes in.
The question is raised for the human being:
Which is the most profitable belief; That man is unfree, or That he is free?
In both cases there must be study,
Either, because the unfree man is compelled by natural forces to think,
Or, because the relatively free man wills to extend his freedom.
The man of spirit, believing in the possibility of extending his freedom by acts of will, will study his own constitution. He wills to know how to eliminate the causes of further falling, and to increase the freedom he still retains. All the great religions and philosophies and true sciences teach ways to this freedom.
The great religions call the final freedom “Salvation“.
The great philosophies call it “Enlightenment“.
The great sciences will call it ultimate “Truth“.
The low-grade, old fashioned, materialist scientist confines his attention to study of what he believes to be “matter”. Mental inertia still binds him into the world of “atoms”, although these are now known not be the basic building bricks of reality.
The man of spirit continually returns his attention to the central principle of his own constitution, that is, to his initiative. He works always to regain his hold on his own real self, the hold that he partly lost at his fall.
Jesus says, “Two fight three, and three fight two in one house”. The two are the Will and the Intellect; the three are the lower mental activities, the emotions, and the inertias of the physical body.
Let us look at these five more closely. They are modalities of the sixth principle which transcends and embraces them. The five, counting from the lowest, are
- the Body,
- the Feeling-Emotions,
- the Time-thinkings or Mentations,
- the Eternal Principles or Concepts, and
- the Will or Initiative.
- The sixth is Consciousness itself.
- The Body is the easiest to consider, for we can locate it in space, touch it, experience its resistance.
- Feelings and Emotions are less easy to deal with, because of their fluidity or instability.
- Time-thinkings or Mentions are like Time itself, floating, momentary, here one moment, gone the next.
- Eternal principles are hard to hold because of their high abstraction.
- But hardest of the five is the Will itself, for it is present only in the now-moment. “Initiative” means the power that starts action. Only at the now-moment when an act is started is initiative or free will present. Immediately afterwards the effects of initiative roll on their way as inertias.
Freedom implies Self-responsibility
We repeat, only at the instant of the start of an act is there real initiative or will. After it the released forces go on their way as inertia. From this it follows that the man of spirit must from moment to moment re-posit his awareness of himself as the initiator of his own acts. He must hold himself wholly responsible for all his actions. We can see immediately why there is so little tendency to re-gain our lost freedom. Freedom implies self-responsibility, and this implies possible “comeback”. “As you sow, so shall you reap“, says Jesus. This is the most frightening of all thoughts.
We live in a world constituted of power.
Our every thought, feeling and will releases energy into our environment.
Energy cannot act without producing reactions. With every act we perform, we impose not only on our surroundings, but also, by the reactions we stimulate, on ourselves.
We are our own executioners.
This, of course, is as it should be, but not as we like it.
We prefer to believe that not all our actions generate reactions.
We prefer to believe that the energies we release will somehow be dissipated or absorbed by the environment, and that we shall not have to deal with their results, unless we find them pleasant enough for our glad acceptance.
Balance of Five Modalities
Spiritual ecology is the study of the interrelationships of all levels of our being, the recognition of the ways in which our body, feelings, time-thinkings, eternal concepts and initiative interfunction.
As in natural ecology we observe that the destruction of one form of life unbalances the whole natural system.
So in the realm of spiritual ecology the malfunction of one level produces deterioration in others.
We cannot neglect any one of our five levels of function without impairing the rest.
- If we do not take adequate care of our physical body, we expose ourselves to the possibilities of infection and disease. Physical cleanliness is essential to the maintenance of health.
- If we do not understand and control intelligently our feelings and emotions, we endanger our organism with stress disorders.
- If we do not pay sufficient attention to our time-commitments and the needs of daily life, we may find our mental life out of phase with our time-schedule.
- If we do not make ourselves aware of the eternal principles that rule the universe, we may foolishly strive to accomplish things that are by nature illogical and impossible.
- If we do not use the initiative which is the essence of our free will, we shall fall under the laws that govern all inertic things, and finally we shall lose our faith in our own freedom.
Once faith in our free will is lost,
We tend to fall under the dominion of the stimuli that strike upon organism;
We tend to become slaves to the things that surround us;
We tend to become negative, depressed, unable to respond adequately to the challenges of our situation.
We have repeated the conditions of our original fall.
As long as we have a whole belief in our capacity to act freely by the power of our will, we retain our positivity towards our life in the world, and we do not fall under the dominion of the outer world’s things.
But as soon as we lose our faith in our power of free will we are reduced to the level of all subhuman things.
By study of the principles of spiritual ecology, we become able to embody these principles in our own selves, and to balance the various forces that constitute our being. In our study we can do this most effectively by reminding ourselves that the five levels are all expressions of the sixth, which is pure consciousness itself. To become conscious of what constitutes us is to have taken a decisive step towards the regaining of our lost freedom.
When we speak of “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” we are referring to his freedom, his capacity for absolute self-determination, a capacity resulting from his total self-knowledge. “He knew what was in man”, means that he knew himself thoroughly, and, in knowing himself, knew all men. Only by such whole self-knowledge could He be “all things to all men”.
Wholeness of Being
Spiritual ecology we have seen to be the balancing of all the distinguishable functions of our being. It is this balancing that confers on us what is called “holiness”. Holiness is whole-ness, the bringing together in harmonious interrelation of the whole of our being. It is the purpose of the Bible to tell us how to regain our wholeness.
Today, world-wide unrest demonstrates to us the unwholeness of the human race. Everywhere there is conflict, between nations, political parties, social groups, families and the different parts of individuals. Yes, even the parts of an individual contest with each other, the head warring with the heart, these with the appetival nature in the lower abdomen. As long as the battle continues within us, we must see the truth of the observation that “there is no health in us”. Health is wholeness, harmonious interplay of all parts of our being.
The above examples show that by Study and applying the Principles of Order attributed to the Higher Mind, the Logos, we are enabled to Integrate and Balance our whole being, and to live and enjoy a truly profitable life.
All Study programs are associated with a chosen Meditation tradition & style. Your Study will be intimately linked with your Meditation. To begin a personalised Study direction, choose a Meditation style and please book an initial appointment. You can ask about study at your appointment.