Dealing with the Remnants of the Lower Mind
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2012-11-22
Awakening superconscious is just a theory unless we control the remnants of the lower nature, detach from emotions. The first step for conquering a pattern is to see it, observation. Unlearn the concept that we are flawed. Identify: "We're a radiant soul." Understand the three phases -- how the mind functions and the five places -- states of mind. Go inside; experience inner light. [Commentary on book Self and Samadhi -- How to Realize God].
Continuing in "How to Realize God."
"All of these emotions are the powerful force that burst the seals of the psychic chakras, four, five, six and seven. Once harnessed, turned inward and transmuted, this life force drives the spiritual process forward. Ours is the path of not only endeavoring to awaken the higher nature, but at the same time and toward the same end dealing positively and consciously with the remnants of the lower nature, replacing charity for greed and dealing with, rather than merely suppressing, jealousy, hatred and anger."
That certainly a central feature of Gurudeva's teachings. There are many teachers who just do the first half. First half being talking about the higher nature and awakening the higher nature. It makes for a more inspiring conversation. If you talk about controlling anger, everyone kind of looks down, you know. Stop talking about me, right? Must be the person next to me. But it is a, you know, a dual task. Wakening the higher nature. Talking about our soul, our superconscious nature is important but it just remains a theory unless we can control the lower nature.
And it's the remnants of the lower nature as Gurudeva says. If the lower nature was strong no one would be sitting in the Hindu temple. I mean that individual wouldn't be sitting in a Hindu temple, they'd be out doing something else. So, it's the remnants of the lower nature that are there; they need to be dealt with. And as we talked about before, to deal with them we need to be aware that they're taking place. So, to be aware that we are getting angry on occasion isn't necessarily going to happen. We have to, number one, detach ourselves a little bit from our emotions, otherwise, we're very defensive.
"You get angry."
"No I don't; I never get angry."
You know, we're very defensive because they're talking about us. I'm an angry person, so, of course I'm not. So I deny it. We have to get beyond that. And by some philosophy. You know, that's just our lower nature, not who we are. We're a spiritual being. We need some philosophy in place first. That's why Gurudeva has so much emphasis on that: You are a divine being. You are a great soul on the inside.
But you also have an instinctive mind and an intellectual mind which you need to control. So that gives us a little more detachment. And we need observation, as we talked about. You need to see the pattern. In other words, certain things will make us angry. It's not different things; it's usually the same kind of situation. We're working very hard on a task and it doesn't work out the first time so we get angry. The common cause of anger is thwarted will. Thwarted willpower, and we're pushing hard and it doesn't work, turns into anger. Cause all that energy has to go somewhere. And it's easy for it to go down into anger. If we see that pattern, then that's the first step for conquering it. If we don't see the pattern we can't conquer. We just, the best we'll do is we'll become aware that we get angry now and then.
But to actually change the habit pattern, we have to understand what it is. What situation makes me angry and why? And how do I... and what option do I have to becoming angry? Simple one is just go for a walk for a minute, calm down. Regroup if working in a situation that allows that. Just take a minute off and regroup. Figure out what to do: This didn't work the way I thought it would. It's harder than I thought; it's different than I thought. How do I need to approach it. So we need an optional response to replace the one of anger. And then we have to do it enough times to create a new habit. Cause the mind is a creature of habit. Therefore, it takes a while to change something completely.
"Most people do not understand that they have a mind, that they have a body and emotions, that what they are is something far more lasting and profound. They think they are a mind, they presume they are a body and they feel they are a given set of emotions, positive and negative. To progress on the spiritual path, they must learn that these are not things but are, in fact... (sorry). To progress on the spiritual path they must learn they are not these things but are in fact a radiant, conscious soul that never dies, that can control the mind and directs the emotion toward fulfillment of dharma and resolution of karma."
To emphasize the point it's a "...radiant, conscious soul that never dies..." That's a beautiful statement. So we have to, actually, if we don't have that impression of ourselves, if we think we're a flawed person, everybody else is better than us and this and that. We have to replace that concept. We're a radiant soul. It doesn't mean we're perfect. It just means part of us is perfect. Part of us is also... gets emotional and needs to be controlled. Part of us thinks too much. But there is a part of us that's already perfect, and we want to change our identity to that part. Then it's easier to be detached enough from the rest of us, which is imperfect, to fix it.
"While living in a normal, agitated state of fears, worries and doubts, seeing the deeper truths is impossible. To such a person there is no doubt about it: 'I am fearful. I am worried. I am confused. I am sick.' He says such things daily, thinking of himself in a very limited way.
"This wrong identification of who we are must be unlearned. Before we actually begin serious sadhana, we must understand ourselves better, understand the three phases of the mind: instinctive, intellectual and superconscious."
Sometimes there's confusion between the three phases of the mind and the five states of mind. Sounds awfully similar, right? What's the difference between a state and a phase? In Gurudeva's terminology, the five states of mind are like rooms in a house. You could say they're places. You've got the main floor is like the conscious mind. You've got the basement; that's the subconscious mind. You've got something under the basement; that's the sub of the subconscious mind. It's a place. You've got the first floor; that's the sub-superconscious mind. The top floor; that's the superconscious mind. So these are like rooms in a house. They're places.
But phases of the mind means how the mind functions. It's not a place. It's how it functions. It functions in three ways; instinctively, intellectually and superconsciously. So different, quite different: phases and states. But how it functions, our mind functions instinctively: We digest our food without having to do it consciously. We breath, we hear a loud noise, we get a little bit fearful?instinctive. Intellectual: we think. For analyzing. Intuitive: We get a flash of intuition. We go inside; we experience inner light.
So our mind functions in three ways. It's a very useful concept. Understanding that. And therefore, when something... we observe something in ourselves. What's that? Is that the instinctive mind? Is that the intellectual mind? Is that the intuitive mind? What, where is that coming from? Have to think like that instead of saying: I am this and I am that. You're getting a little more detached. You're saying: Oh, that's interesting. Instinctively I'm doing this and intellectually I'm doing that and intuitively I'm looking at the whole thing.
Time's up. Have to be careful, I keep going, huh. Great talk.