HJ: Understanding how the mind works is essential for deep healing of the self and the expansion of consciousness. The mind is fundamental to our experience of reality and without a working knowledge of what one is dealing with, we are essentially powerless at its behest. The simple act of understanding the mind is perhaps the most intimiate way of understanding the self and ultimately liberating ones self from all suffering. Being able to see how the mind operates allows you to also disassociate from your thoughts at will (mindfulness) and begin to experience the true self.
It is with great pleasure that we present this article, which is an excellent summation of how the mind operates and works and is a great primer for anyone interested in expanding their awareness.
Healing the Mind
By Walter Last | Health Science Spirit
“We may not always get what we want, but we always get what we choose. Therefore, choose wisely” – Unknown
Our conscious decisions are made on the mental level with our mind. Therefore, all healing and all improvement in our living conditions start at this level. It is here that we must take the first step with a conscious decision that we want to improve conditions by following a suitable program. If we see the progression of our lives as a creative process, then we may see the mind as the architect.
In our society rational thinking and the intellect are worshipped, while feeling and intuition are grossly neglected. The reason for this imbalance can be found in the distorted goals and ideals of our society that has lost sight of the ‘inner values’ and externalized all values. Thus, inner riches, such as wisdom, devotion, patience, compassion, are replaced with material riches; inner purity is forsaken and traded in for excessive external cleanliness and hygiene, while success is measured as monetary wealth and dominance instead of self-mastery.
Thinking is the most important tool for achieving such external success, while tender feelings are a disadvantage for success in our society. However, thinking is basically neutral and we can also use it to our advantage in healing our body as well as our emotions. Proper thinking is required to discard unsuitable beliefs and replace them with an appropriate belief system. If we accept that negative thoughts and beliefs are an originating cause of our health and social problems, then we may say that our mind is in need of healing by replacing disease-forming negative beliefs with health-giving positive beliefs.
THE POWER OF THE MIND
Our mind has truly awesome powers, not only in making as sick or unhappy, but also in making us healthy and happy. It is like a powerful weapon or tool and it is up to us in which way we want to use it. In various clinical trials mind therapies have been shown to be much more effective than conventional cancer therapies. To illustrate the overriding importance of the mind, I like to relate two examples (from the book ‘Remarkable Recovery’ by Caryle Hirshberg & Marc Ian Barasch, Headline Book).
An elderly male with huge tumor masses all through the body, according to expert opinion, had been given less than 3 months to live. At that time trials with the alternative remedy Krebiozen were being started. Despite not being eligible to participate because of his short life expectancy, his enthusiasm about the remedy was so overwhelming to his doctor that he gave him the remedy outside the trial.
A few days after his first injections his tumors had already halved in size and continued to reduce until they had virtually disappeared and the man felt completely healthy and well. However, two months later he read a report in a newspaper that the trial was a failure and Krebiozen was useless. Immediately he fell ill and relapsed with his tumors quickly regrowing to their previous size.
His doctor was so astonished by these strong responses that he decided to make an experiment. He told the patient that the first trial had not worked because the remedy was too old. Now he was waiting for a fresh supply that would be double strength. A few days later he was given the injection and this time the tumors disappeared even faster than the first time and again the patient was completely healthy and well.
However, instead of any drug, the doctor had just injected water. Again, a few months passed and then the newspapers carried stories that the FDA had declared Krebiozen to be completely useless and a fraud. As rapidly as he had recovered, the patient deteriorated once more and this time his doctor let him die.
One might think that such a strong mind effect must be very rare but consider this: in a chemotherapy trial one third of the placebo patients lost their hair. In this rare trial only half the participants had received chemotherapy and the other half a harmless substance, which they believed to be an active drug. This means that the hair loss in one third of the placebo patients was entirely due to their belief.
This finding is confirmed by one of those rare placebo trials in surgery. After ‘real’ operations for cardiovascular disease 32% of patients had satisfactory results. However, a control group that had only pretend surgery reported 43% of subjective and objective improvement! This means that basically all the improvement came from the belief but the traumatic effect of real surgery reduced the belief-based success by 11%.
One third is a figure that corresponds with results from other trials as the approximate size of the placebo effect. I take this to mean that fully one third of patients will either die or recover just because of their strong belief. This applies equally to conventional medicine as well as to natural therapy. Those who completely believe that they will get well will do so regardless of the therapy used, and those who doubt or are fearful will receive little benefit from any therapy. I am convinced that this is the main reason why one patient is cured by cancer surgery, while another with the same condition dies afterwards.
Therefore, perhaps the main concern for patients with ‘incurable’ diseases should not be to find an effective therapy but rather to find a way to harness the power of the mind and become a believer with an unshakable faith.
However, before you decide to believe in eating a piece of cake every Sunday as your preferred cancer cure, there is another factor to take into account. Whatever you do must be totally convincing to your subconscious mind. Just believing something on the conscious mental level is by far not enough. If your subconscious mind is not convinced that something will cure you, then it will not work.
The subconscious mind is most easily impressed by something that inspires awe, by authority, by ritual, the unusual and especially by enthusiasm. Whatever impresses you as a potential cure embrace it enthusiastically. Anything that you just try to see if it works is not likely to work.
THE LOWER SELF
In order to heal our mind and use it more efficiently, we need to have a basic understanding of our lower self. This operates on a different level of consciousness than our normal consciousness or the middle self and has many of the characteristics of a separate entity. When working with it, it is best to regard and treat it as a faithful servant and partner.
It is advisable to be on good terms with our lower self because it is the power broker of the body. To use a contemporary example, the middle self is like the captain of a ship, the higher self is the shipping line and employer of the captain while the lower self is like the union boss on the ship. If the crew has any grievances, the boss may call a strike or otherwise make life difficult for the captain. The body self is comparable to the crew and very closely cooperates with the lower self.
The lower self supervises the following body functions:
1. It influences the body self and, with this, the physical body
2. It is the seat of our emotions
3. It receives all sense information
4. It keeps a record of all sense information, thoughts and feelings
5. It operates our memory bank
6. It operates our psychic abilities
7. It is the gateway of communication with our higher self
With this, all the real power of the body rests with the lower self, but it has one important shortcoming: it cannot think rationally and logically. It has only an elementary ability to think similar to an intelligent domesticated animal or a small child. Therefore, it is dependent on the middle self to tell it what to do and, as the faithful servant that it normally is, it willingly obeys the middle self.
However, because it is so simple-minded, the lower self is rather dogmatic. It may take our early childhood programming and especially our religious and sex-related teachings as gospel truth, also anything someone in authority may have said. It can be very moralistic and regard itself as the keeper of any important commitments that the middle self may have made. To illustrate these characteristics of the lower self, I like to relate a few examples from the book The Secret Science Behind Miracles by Max Freedom Long. (De Vorss).
1. A young man with a strong religious upbringing had the urge of entering the ministry. However, he took a job in a furniture factory instead. There the paint fumes made him sick. When transferred to the wood working department he developed asthma from the sawdust. He tried several other occupations, but each time he became sick from something connected with the job. In the end, a psychologist unearthed the earlier intention to become a minister. As nothing else seemed to help, he advised the man to enter the ministry now. This he did and had no more illness.
2. A religious Hawaiian man had an affair. His wife found out but soon forgave him. Within a year it happened again, but this time his wife did not find out. This seemed to make it even worse for the man who gradually lost his strength and will to live until he was very close to dying. A Kahuna (native healer) was called and soon discovered the truth. He induced the wife to forgive her husband once more and the Kahuna performed a ceremony in which all the man’s sins were washed away. The patient immediately started a quick recovery.
3. A young woman had been brought up to regard dancing and drinking alcohol as sins. After her marriage she moved into different circles and gradually started dancing with an occasional cocktail. Soon she slightly twisted her ankle during a dance. Normally she would have been fine after a day or two but instead the leg became gradually worse and a deep running sore developed below the ankle. A Kahuna convinced her that she had not really sinned against God and in addition forgave her and washed away all guilt of any kind. The ankle quickly recovered to its full strength. However, the young woman neglected the Kahuna’s instructions to continue affirming that if she had not hurt anyone, there was no sin. Again she danced and drank a little and eventually the ankle sore reappeared. However, this time the Kahuna explained that he could not help, as the lower self had now become too much entrenched in its conviction of sin. The only permanent cure was to give up drinking and dancing for good.
These examples show how our lower self holds on to childhood beliefs that as adults we have long forgotten. In contrast, the lower self never forgets. Therefore, if we suspect a conflict between the beliefs of these two selves, we have to convince the lower self that the old belief is no longer appropriate and patiently and in simple words explain the new situation instead. For methods to communicate with the lower self see the article on Mind Tools.
According to this model, our ‘free will’ is somewhat limited. Actually, it is even more limited than indicated so far. Most of the motivation for our decisions comes from feelings of which we are only partly aware, from suppressed emotions, early life programming, karmic influences and guidance through our higher self.
We are more or less unaware of these determining influences that cause our inner self to make a certain decision. Often this may happen when we are asleep and explore various possibilities during dreaming, while in the daytime our middle self just tries to find a mental reason to justify this subconsciously made decision. In this way, most of us have preciously little genuine free will and have not much conscious choice in building our own future.
I once watched a hypnotic stage show. One participant was given the post-hypnotic suggestion that at a certain signal he would open the window. After all the participants had returned to their normal consciousness, the signal was given and the one with the post-hypnotic suggestion promptly opened the window. When asked why he had done that, he answered that it was too warm in the room. I believe that most of our conscious decisions are really based on such quasi post-hypnotic suggestion or rather subconscious programming.
At other times, the middle self may make a rational decision based on the consciously known facts, but our higher self may have other intentions. Then the middle self may come up against a ‘brick wall’ or may experience suffering until it changes course and follows the direction wanted by the higher self.
There is, however, one important area in which we do have free will. That is how we inwardly react to outside events. We have the possibility to change our attitude and instead of reacting in a negative way, as for instance by being resentful or selfish in a given situation, we can decide to react positively by cultivating generous, compassionate and unselfish thoughts and feelings.
This changed internal pattern will be reflected in a beneficial way in our subconscious decision-making process. In this way we actually can use our free will to make our future more pleasant and meaningful. Generally, we may say: The more negative our attitudes are that become part of our subconscious decision-making process, the more unpleasant will be our future experiences, and vice versa, the more positive our attitude, the more will our decisions lead towards a happy, healthy and fulfilled future.
Problems do not arise haphazardly, but rather in specific ways as created or selected by our own attitudes. We encounter a problem that gives us the opportunity to correct the very attitude that led to the manifestation of the problem. When we have learned the correct attitude towards a repeatedly arising problem, it will simply vanish and not reappear again. Instead, another problem area may develop, and so forth, until we have acquired the correct attitude towards all aspects of our lives. In conclusion, free will may be true for the soul but is limited for the personality.
HIGHER MENTAL ACTIVITY
In the evolution of our life-stream as well as in each individual life we develop first lower mental activity based on concrete thinking. Gradually we advance to a basic form of abstract thinking that consists of rearranging the thoughts or mental building blocks with which we were programmed in the past. This means we can now understand and reflect on abstract ideas that we may have read.
A further important step in our spiritual evolution and expansion of consciousness is the development of higher mental abilities through innovative abstract thinking, by creating new thoughts, ideas and concepts. Abstract thinking means thinking about intangible subjects such as the purpose of life. Creative thinking means manifesting new thoughts that may either be abstract in the way of spiritual realizations or concrete as in a new invention. A related aspect is commonly called lateral thinking – seeing or realizing new relationships between ideas.
An additional aspect is intuitive thinking, which I define as manifesting thoughts or ideas from our higher or guiding level of consciousness. I also like to call this ‘intuitive meditative thinking’ because this best describes how to do it. A related method in traditional spiritual practice is ‘contemplation’.
Suppose you want to find an answer to a problem. This may be a health problem, an invention or a spiritual question. You start by finding out any relevant facts or information and then examine it from different perspectives with your rational mind. In this way you may identify the key question that needs to be answered in order to find the solution to your problem. Keep this key question in the back of your mind and enter into a meditative state without specifically thinking about anything. Just watch any thoughts drifting by. If you have thought hard enough about the problem before and now maintain a reasonably blank mind but with the question still in the background, then the answer may now drift into your consciousness as an intuition.
By developing higher mental activities through practicing these forms of higher thinking, we acquire the insight and ability to perfect our feeling nature or emotional body. We also construct a new level of consciousness that allows us to operate on a higher spiritual level.
A good way to practice and develop this ability of higher thinking is by habitually examining a problem or concept from many different angles. Instead of then selecting just one of the possible viewpoints, try to unite all of them into a higher form of realization. In addition, you may think through and apply the principles outlined in The Science of Spirituality as well as coming to your own realizations.
THE STRUCTURE OF OUR SELF
I regard the ‘Self’ as our total non-physical entity. The Self and the body together are the whole entity. To better understand inner processes of consciousness we may distinguish between different parts of our Self. I use a four-fold division:
- The higher self or super-conscious level provides spiritual guidance as inner knowledge and intuition. Commonly this is the soul level or in spiritual individuals the high self, oversoul or God Self.
- The middle self represents our normal consciousness, that of which we are aware, mainly our mind and mental body, the thinker.
- The lower self or subconscious part is the master of our memories and emotions, including long forgotten beliefs and a Pandora’s box of suppressed feelings and emotions.
- The body self is an elemental (a life-force being) that looks after the biological functions of our body. This is the level of consciousness that is still active when we are in a deep coma.
With this, we may say that the higher self operates at the spiritual level, the middle self at the mental level, the lower self at the astral or emotional level and the body self at the etheric or life-force level. The middle self can to some degree become aware of the other levels, but its center of consciousness is based at the mental level. Depending on our degree of spiritual evolution, this may be the concrete mind or lower mental level, it may be the higher mental level concerned with spiritual, creative and intuitive thinking, or it may be somewhere in between.
The higher self is not well defined, as different systems use different names and are rather hazy in what they mean by them. Even common terms such as ‘soul’ or ‘God’ are not well defined. I regard the oversoul as our personal God or God Self that created our soul as a member of a family of souls. The soul level is the consciousness that periodically incarnates itself or part of itself to form a new personality and build a body; the totality of the incarnations of our soul is our life-stream. We may also receive guidance from the high self, which is a level of consciousness between the soul and the oversoul.
Our personality is composed of our middle self and lower self while the mind is the active part of the middle self, using the tools of volition and thinking. What we commonly regard as ‘I’ is the combination of personality and body. However, there is more to this as will be shown below. When we speak of our whole self, also expressed as the ‘Self’ then this represents the combination of all four levels of consciousness.
Looking at it in another way, we may also combine the body self with the lower and the higher self and speak of it as the inner self. The determining influence of our higher self on our life is the original programming with which we incarnated. It contains our life task and the program by which it may be realized. This programmed part works closely together with our lower self in trying to keep us on course and manifest our blueprint in actual life.
You may compare the higher self to a rider, the blueprint to a training program and the middle self to a horse while the lower self is the bridle. A good horse will follow the slightest signal of the rider and both will travel in harmony towards their goal. It is a different story when the horse is unruly. Both will have a hard time but the horse is most affected. It may be punished for straying off the course but gets a nice reward for being a good horse.
The higher self does not overpower the right of the mind to use its free will and it does not normally interfere but acts mainly as an observer. If the middle self runs too far off course, it will eventually get into trouble, by having to deal with the karmic consequences of its actions. An accident may happen, a contract or job may be lost or a disease may develop and may bring the middle self back onto the right path.
On the other hand, the higher self can make life easy for us when we willingly cooperate and actively seek guidance. Then we pleasantly move along with the flow of life, money or resources will be there when we need them, information pops up at the right time and we are on the road to good health. Therefore, we have a choice either to battle along through the ups and downs of life, fight or accept a chronic disease, or we may cooperate, learn to listen and feel in which direction we are to move.
With this, we may regard disease as a helpful indication that we transgressed a law of nature and did not properly maintain our body, or that we are heading in the wrong direction and are out of touch with our internal blueprint. It is then up to the middle self to improve the living conditions for the body or to change direction, whatever may be required.
The more we spiritually develop, the more the mind of the personality will merge with the soul level and become ‘a living soul’ rather than a robot personality only originally programmed and then remotely controlled by the soul. The higher self of a living soul is now the high self or the oversoul.
Brain and Mind
The relationship between brain and mind is somewhat like that between the hardware and software of a computer. The entity is the whole system with operator, computer with hardware and software, regional network and Internet connection. The body and brain clearly are the hardware and consciousness is the software. The personality is then a workstation or laptop computer linked to a master computer representing the soul and more remotely the oversoul.
Originally the operator of the master computer installed a basic operating system together with various individualized key programs into a suitable hardware brain biologically produced by a human couple. Therefore, our brain or hardware did not produce our consciousness or software. However, our operating system allows our consciousness to use the brain to modify our programming and to install additional programs. This makes us flexible and adaptable to a wide range of internal and external conditions.
Our lower self is in charge of the Windows operating system as well as our program files and memory files. Because of this record-keeping function the lower self is also called ‘the recorder’. That is actually its real function rather than to frustrate our conscious mental efforts with outdated beliefs. When we become conscious of specific memories, then we display the corresponding memory files on the monitor. We are only aware of what is displayed on the monitor and not of what is going on inside the computer that is the realm of the subconscious level.
In addition, our monitor displays what we perceive through our senses at each moment. Recent events are still in the Random Access Memory of our brain computer and readily recalled, while after closing the computer down for the night they become filed away on the hard disk. The laptop is also directly linked to the Internet with all the beliefs and information available to humanity. With this, the laptop personality can greatly enrich or modify its database on top of its programming through actual experience.
In this way it can expand its knowledge, but expanding its consciousness is something different. That is the ability to bring up on the monitor screen items that it was previously not able to display, such as hidden files in the lower self or body self and in particular accessing additional files from the master computer. The evolution of our consciousness moves in the direction of being able to access more and more files and additional programs from the master computer. Eventually laptop and master computer will become as one when personality and soul merge. What this means is that the higher mental body of the personality is now directly linked to the will of the soul. In computer language, master and laptop computer are now linked by permanent cable instead of just a phone line, and the laptop operates under close supervision or according to the instructions of the master computer.
I define the mind as the mental vehicle of the personality. Our mind is tied to the brain. With our mind we are aware only of mental activity that has been processed by the brain. This activity may be self-generated through thinking or it may come from our sense organs or from memory recall. However, surrounding and interpenetrating our physical structure are the various energy bodies seen by clairvoyants as aura. One of these bodies is the mental body composed of more or less structured mental energy.
Our mental body contains the original mental operating system and programming provided by the soul, and also other information of which we are not consciously aware but which can be assessed during meditation, hypnosis or regression, such as past-life memories. With our conscious mental activity we continue to develop our mental body, especially by expanding our consciousness through abstract, creative and intuitive thinking in relationship to spiritual matters. The higher the mental activity of our mind, the more closely we can interact with the soul level or with the high self. Such close contact is also enhanced during out-of-body experiences.
Where am I?
If our brain and mind can be compared to a computer, you may well ask where the operator is, who sits at the keyboard? We say “I have a brain”, “I have a personality” or “I use my mind” but we say not “I am the brain”, “I am the personality” or “I am the mind”. I do not quite know who ‘I’ am, but instinctively I know that I am different from my body, brain, personality and mind, either individually or combined. If I assume that ‘I’ am a combination of all of these, that still does not answer the question “who sits at the keyboard?” I have all these things but that is not who I am. ‘I’ use my brain to think thoughts and these thoughts are in my mind and help create my personality, but where am ‘I’?
Thinking back, I believe that I had a practical demonstration to answer this question. I was then sailing with my family in a small yacht across the Pacific. An annoying weather pattern developed in which ever so often a big black cloud would come up from behind to overtake us with heavy squalls and rain. Running before the wind, it was rather inconvenient to take the sails down each time for the duration of the squall. So I got the idea to ask upcoming clouds to move to the side and leave us in peace and that is what they usually did.
However, one cloud filled the whole horizon and clearly could not move sideways to avoid us. Instead, it split up right behind us and then recombined again in front of us. We had storm and rain behind us, in front of us and on both sides but remained dry and with moderate wind in the middle. We knew that we had no special powers to make the clouds do anything that they did not want to do, we could just ask nicely from one consciousness to the other. More recently I learned that some Polynesian fishermen have a tradition of defusing dangerous waterspouts and storms by talking to them.
The Consciousness of Clouds
What makes a cloud conscious, and being conscious, does it have an ‘I’? I believe that the ability of the cloud to respond to my request shows that it has ‘someone sitting at the keyboard’ which must be some form of ‘I’. Of course, the cloud that we see is only its body. The consciousness of the cloud is in its energy field. This energy field is at the etheric or life-force level and attracts water molecules to build itself a body composed of water droplets. I believe that the ability of clouds to respond demonstrates a general principle.
Our planet is enveloped in an etheric or orgone field. Obstructions in the flow of this field, which usually moves from west to east, create turbulence or vortices. This is also the origin of the clear air turbulence that causes so much headache for the airline industry. Each vortex creates a condensed field of orgone energy, which tends to attract water molecules to form a body. If you look at the under-site of a big cloud you can often see the circular motion due to the vortex action. However, only properly formed clouds, such as big cumulus clouds, may have individualizing vortex-induced energy fields.
Furthermore, we must understand that the energy field of our projected request needs to have an emotional component that is sufficiently polarized to be able to interact with the etheric field of the cloud. If there is a real need, then there is a much greater chance that our request has a sufficient emotional charge than when we are simply driven by curiosity. The same applies also to telepathy and other psychic phenomena.
Similar energy fields also exist within water. These are usually very short-lived with bodies consisting of small numbers of aggregated water molecules, but in energized water may form long-lived domains consisting of millions of water molecules. These energy fields are assumed to be the reason that water has a memory as demonstrated by Benveniste and utilized in homeopathy. However, in contrast to microbes and plants, clouds, water aggregates and minerals are not ‘living’ creatures, but only energy fields at the life-force level of consciousness.
Here I Am
With its creation, each energy field inherits the tendency to individualize itself by forming a body. This, then, gives it the opportunity to experience itself as an individualized being, as an ‘I’ or Ego. This individualization occurs on all levels of consciousness, from the level of subatomic particles to the life-force level, the astral-emotional level, the mental level and the many spiritual levels.
At the emotional level we have the nearly empty emotional field of a baby attempting to build itself an emotional body by soaking up feelings radiated onto it by its parents and siblings. In the same way children begin to build their own mental body by accumulating thoughts and ideas. Thoughts are used as individual building blocks to create great ideas, belief systems and structures of knowledge. And who builds these structures of the mental world? It is the same principle that collects the water molecules to form a cloud body, just on a different level. It is the inborn individualizing consciousness of each energy field. This is the ‘I’ or Ego that sits at the keyboard. It wants to experience itself as an ‘I AM’ by building itself a body with which to be creative in order to express who it is.
Therefore, we may say that the middle self consists of two basic parts, the mental field and its body, the mental structures. The unstructured mental field is the ‘I’ or Ego, while the mental structures, composed of memories, beliefs and knowledge, are part of our personality and character. However, when tied to a biological body, the brain limits the three-dimensional awareness of the Ego to a single focus. With this, consciousness becomes sequential and is aware only of those mental structures that have been processed by the brain. This makes the Ego dependent on the lower self to operate the brain computer.
This is Part 1 of a 2 part series. Continued in Part 2 here