I got an interesting question from someone, and I’m going to write about the topic of inquiry. I mention this because, quite honestly, I started this site on a kind of whim-of-inspiration, and although I’ve had a very general idea, I was not quite sure what on earth I was going to write here. I asked for some inspiration and guidance, and along comes the question, and there it is. Thank you (to the person who asked, and to the All for answering the request so promptly!).
The question had to do with what happens to your mind when you shift to a permanent position of not-self, which is reasonable enough. I probably wondered the same thing, but didn’t have anyone to ask. Now, I can’t claim that what I have perceived and conceptualised is “the truth”. In fact, whatever I write will NOT be the Truth, because Truth cannot be explained. It must be experienced. However, I can point to it *points*. Just remember the Zen saying about looking not at the finger doing the pointing, but at the moon to which the finger points.
Body and mind, psychosoma, let’s say, because they’re really not separate, forms the primary tool through which we experience that which we call reality. The brain receives signals of light, sound, scent, touch, and other stimulation, and the mind interprets it and makes a narrative about it. That’s the purpose of the psychosoma, and without it, you don’t experience the material world. Body dies, you disconnect from material reality. Mind dies (through trauma or some kinds of illness), the same thing happens. No interface.
I’ll use the analogy of the internet. In order to experience it, you need a physical device to do so (a computer, internet capable phone, or similar interface). You also need an internet connection to which you can connect the device. If your computer (or phone or other device) malfunctions, is stolen, gets wiped out in a flood, is lost, or some other problem, you can’t connect to the internet, even if you have internet service. And if your internet service is not available for some reason, you also are unable to connect, even with a perfectly functioning computer (phone, whatever). Without both of these things, there is simply no interface that will allow you to experience that which is available on the internet, and that’s all. Whatever is happening out there on the World Wide Web and elsewhere is beyond your ability to experience, until and unless you find a way to restore your full interface.
The same is the case with the material world and the psychosoma, which is the combined interface device for material reality.
Most people live within their material mind and body and they assume that this is who they are. They are unaware and unable to perceive anything apart from their material self. Their thoughts are theirs, their opinions are theirs, their ideas are theirs, and these things define them as beings, along with their physical characteristics such as gender, height, weight, age, and so on. The vast majority of humanity never see beyond this very limited view of psychosoma-as-self. This is true of very religious people, of non-religious people, of educated and non-educated people, of people who consider themselves to be “spiritual”, of people who scoff at all things non-material, of all people. Awareness of the Self who is not your self is something that eludes almost everyone, although lots of people will pay lip service to the idea.
When the Self starts to awaken, what actually happens is not that the material self expands. It’s that it becomes more translucent. Yes, some parts of the material mind will sometimes get pruned away (you don’t miss them when they’re gone), but really what happens is that as the point of reference and perception shifts away from the psychosoma and into the place of not-self, the psychosoma is seen for what it is: a device. A cleverly devised device, to be sure. A complex device, perhaps, a fascinating device, too, but a device, nonetheless. It is an interface, and with it the Self experiences Creation, both in the sense of creation-the-noun and creation-the-verb.
What changes is that instead of believing, “These thoughts are mine, and they define me, this body is mine, and it is who I am, these beliefs are mine and they determine who I am,” and so on, you think, “I see these thoughts, they arise within Consciousness, and because of the shape and pattern of this interface-self, these are the thoughts that happen to be within this self’s area of awareness”. Okay, maybe you don’t really think that, because it’s a really cumbersome thing to think, but you experience it, and that’s the gist of what I’m trying to write. Your sense of your psychosoma being yourself diminishes. In other words, you lose attachment to your psychosoma as your identity. You identify less and less with it.
So, what happens to your mind? Well, it does change in various ways as the awakening process happens, because it takes all the experiences and turns them into memories and concepts and weaves them into a narrative because, well, that’s what it does. That’s at least part of its purpose. Without the narrative and memories and concepts, life would be pretty disjointed (I can say this having experienced periods of reality where context was shifted or removed; it’s very difficult to function in the material world in that state, to say the least).
So the mind remains, as does the body, seen for what they are: a construct. You can still use them. Indeed, you must if you intend to remain in the material world.
And I’ve mentioned this before, but awakening does not, as far as I can see at this time, involve any sort of literal transcending. There is transcendence, but it’s in perception, not in some sort of magickal, carried-away-on-a-lotus sort of of arrangement. The awakening is to the nature of the self, the psychosoma, the nature of that which we call reality, and the nature of Self (Consciousness, God/dess, Source, Whatever). It is more equivalent to becoming lucid within a dream than to actual physical waking.
Or another possible analogy is that it’s similar to having walked around all of your life wearing a pair of glasses that makes you extremely nearsighted. You never question it because, hey, it’s always been that way. But then, one day, you become aware of them and take them off, if only for a few minutes because what you see is so weird and startling and unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Slowly, you take them off for longer and longer periods, until, one day, you just never put them back on again. And then, of course, you have to learn to re-interpret your reality, because suddenly you find that only a few of the old ways and techniques still work… But that’s a post for another day.
Some potentially related posts: