The Conscious Mind, Part 2


Description: Develop a dynamic will, control awareness, see the chemistry that makes the conscious mind appear to be what it is. Seek to live two-thirds within yourself, taking time out from the conscious mind.  The ideal is a daily vigil with a routine of spiritual practices. A spiritual preceptor is needed for this arduous journey. Keep vital the energies vibrant and buoyant, create no reactionary residue; rewards will come. Become more and more detached from the conscious mind.  Yogaswami: “You are not your body. You are not your mind. You are not your emotions. You are the atman. That only is. Be that, and be a witness!” Master Course Trilogy”, “Merging with Siva” Lessons 171-172.


Text of talk:


Good morning everyone.  Continuing our series drawn from “Merging with Siva” lessons. Chapter 25, “The Conscious Mind”


Starting with Lesson 171.  


“Reason Reigns Supreme


“It really hardens a person to live in the conscious mind all the time, because he has to build an ego shell around himself for protection, and that makes him insensitive and rough. One of the biggest protective influences of the conscious mind is anger. Anger makes a person cunning in his thinking, and of course the predominant underlying quality of anger is fear. He is always afraid of something. It is generally something that may happen or is going to happen. He is always in conflict with someone. These are the motivating forces of the conscious mind: anger and fear. Most people live in the conscious mind unconsciously. The conscious mind is the area of the mind where memory and time are Gods, and reason is the Supreme Ruler. ‘If it is not reasonable, it is not acceptable,’ declares the conscious mind, and ‘If we can’t measure it, it does not exist.’ That is the conscious mind. It is active. It is alive. The conscious mind perpetuates itself, and we all help it to do that. It is carried on in ramification by its own novelty. We can always find in the conscious mind some distraction to please us, to intrigue us, to dominate our awareness of other states of consciousness. And we don’t have to look very hard to find it.


“The mystic’s goal is to control awareness while he is in the conscious mind—to know where he is in consciousness. When he finds he is aware in the conscious mind, and the five senses have become his ruler, he then controls his awareness within the conscious mind itself. He does this in a number of ways. One way is through the control of breath. Breath is life, and life is breath. Breath is the controlling factor of awareness. Awareness rides on breath. Breath is also a controlling factor of our will power. A seeker must develop a dynamic will to walk the path of enlightenment, so that he does not stumble or falter, but continues onward no matter how difficult the path seems to be for him.


“The mystic loves the conscious mind, for he sees it like an adult sees the toys of children. An adult does not take children’s toys too seriously, but the child does. Meditate on that comparison. Meditate also upon the conscious mind while you are aware in it. Write down on a piece of paper the various areas of daily experience over a period of three days to which you are most attached. Then meditate on those time periods until you are able to see the chemistry that makes the conscious mind appear to be what it is. When you live two-thirds within yourself, even physical things begin to look transparent to you.”


So, my commentary:


Taking time out from the conscious mind is important. However, the novelty of it can make that difficult. There can be a strong desire to be looking for a new and better experience in the conscious mind. This makes it hard to take a break. However, without doing so can lead to chronic stress, frustration and even outbursts of anger. As Gurudeva said in the begining of the lesson, control the breath such as through regulating it in the rhythm of nine counts in, hold one count, nine counts out, hold one count. Hatha Yoga is good and is the yoga break—lying on the floor with a specific breathing and and visualization. Attending the temple once a week is good. And of course the ideal is a daily vigil with a routine of spiritual practices.


So I’ve noticed that, over the years, the individuals that come to me and complaining about the conscious mind, how stressed they are; aren’t taking a break. So wake up in the morning, they quickly get in to the conscious mind, they stay in to the conscious mind until they go to sleep at night.  Day after day.  So that takes its toll; that’s what Gurudeva’s saying. So we need to take a break, various ways of doing it.  And, in Gurudeva’s teachings the ideal is a daily vigil.  


Lesson 172.


“Like Writing on Water  


“Spiritual unfoldment leads us along the path into the illumined knowing of where we are in consciousness at any point in time. There are many methods through which this may be accomplished. Carefully choose one path and then stay with it with extreme loyalty. For this a preceptor is needed, a spiritual guide to answer questions, to raise questions for you to find answers to within your meditations. It is an arduous journey. The rewards come only near its end.


“To live positively in the conscious mind each day, exercise at least a half hour. Keep the vital energies of the body high and healthy. Eat simply and follow a vegetarian diet, feeding the stomach rather than the mouth. Be considerate of others always and live inconspicuously, almost transparently, by not ruffling your surroundings, by keeping the home neat and clean, by passing through a room or place and leaving it in a nicer condition than before you arrived. Seek fresh air and learn to breathe deeply. Get out in the sun. Move the physical body, walk briskly, dance, keep the energies vibrant and buoyant. Be close to nature. Grow food. Develop an art or craft so the hands are active, creative. Of course, being neat and attractive in personal appearance keeps the thoughts of others toward you positive. This is the way to live in the conscious mind. Try to live life as though you are walking in the rain without getting wet, or carefully writing on water. No ripples, no disturbance, no reactionary residue that has to be faced at some future date.”


My comment:


Gurudeva mentioned not to create reactionary residue. What creates reactionary residue? Arguments, of course, particularly when unresolved. Lesser events such as words that hurt others’ feeling also create residue.  Residue can be, is obviously felt, it upsets us.  So after an event if we’re slightly upset or seriously upset we know we created residue.  It’s no mistake when we do so.   


Back to the text:


“When we live unconsciously in the conscious mind, we most often look at the physical body as who we are. We say, ‘I am hungry,’ ‘I am happy,’ ‘I am not feeling well,’ ‘I want to go to America” or ‘I have just come to Bangalore.’ Instead of ‘I am not feeling well,’ we mean our physical body is not feeling well. Instead of ‘I want to go to America,’ we mean we want to take our physical body to America. Our language is a conscious mind language. The perspective of our language is constructed to make the conscious mind the real thing, the entire reality of the world. From little children we have been taught that the conscious mind is real and that anything other than this real, solid, conscious mind is to be doubted.”


My comments:


A good exercise in reprogramming our concept of what we are is to say to oneself instead of “I am hungry”,  “My body is hungry,” instead of “I am a bit sad” to say “My emotions are a bit sad.” Once we are established in this new perspective, it can be taken a step deeper. Yogaswami would often remind his devotees: “You are not your body. You are not your mind. You are not your emotions. You are the atman. That only is. Be that, and be a witness!”


Back to the text:


“The mystic walks in the opposite direction. He goes against the crowd. He learns to swim upstream. It is a little more difficult for him, but oh so worth it. The seeker has to learn that the conscious mind is only a vast dream created by many, many people who are dreaming openly. They are dreaming, and every mystic knows it. They are forming the dream by what they say, by their emotions, by what they think and by that in which they involve themselves. The mystic knows there is no enduring reality to the vast dream made up by people themselves, by their desires, their relationships, their cravings and their insecurities.”




To continue our Yogaswami story: To help devotees live such a detached life, he urged them to be like the tamarind fruit. As this fruit matures, it dries and shrinks, loosening itself from the hard pod in which it grows. When ripe, it is completely detached from the pod, touching it only at the point where the pod joins the tree.


In other words, as we mature in life we should become more detached from the conscious mind.


[End of transcript.]

File Type: mp3
Categories: Bodhinatha Talks
Author: Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami
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