The ‘Mind’ and beyond, as perceived by my ordinary mind   Leave a comment


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This is a compilation (with some editing) of my status posted in June 2013 on my Facebook wall and various comments made by me in response to some critical questions raised by one of my best friends in course of our lengthy discussions all about the conscious and subconscious layers of mind and the conscience, and about Indian Karmic theory, Samskaras and other such things. I’m very much thankful to him indeed for encouraging and inspiring me to go deep and delve all about the mind and the conscience at length. Hope this ‘a bit lengthy piece of writing’ will be of some help for all of us in training our mind to be ‘a more powerful tool’ to delve deep inside for finding more meaning of/for our life.

Hobby vs Profession tussle

Every one of us agrees that hobbies / pastimes are much stronger and more delightful than the professional duties or the other avocations related to our work. We always derive more pleasure from our hobbies than from our professional tasks.

Why is it so?

It’s because we go about doing our hobbies through the subconscious level of our mind, whereas, our professional duties / tasks in many a case, are performed through the surface layers of our mind, i.e., the conscious. There are some people for whom their professional avocations are their hobbies, and for some others, their hobbies are their professions.

Everything we do through the conscious mind is like a compulsion and we always feel reluctant to do it and always try to evade the work. In contrast to this, everything we do through our subconscious mind is much more a pleasurable experience for us and we always have the irresistible feeling of doing it forever. This is a big puzzle and we are always confounded and at a loss in understanding why we feel our hobbies as so enjoyable and our professional duties and obligations as constantly draining us.

The subconscious mind is always detached, plain, placid and serene, and always derives its strength and energy from our spirit / soul (or the super-conscious mind). In total contrast, the conscious mind is always disturbed as it is always mired in myriad thoughts about the experiences of its interaction with various persons, places, things and events, and the unnecessary hang-up with the ‘moirai’. The subconscious mind is always inbound, and the conscious is outbound forever. The more we are inbound the greater will be our joy and insight, and the more we are outbound and attach ourselves with the outside world, the higher will be our confusion and misery. This is the law of nature and a time tested truth.

Most of the humans work with their conscious mind independent of the subconscious, and always strive to excel in their lives and careers. It’s like a ‘wild-goose chase’, and is always a ‘distant mirage’! However, there are a few ‘exalted and subliminal’ minds with a charming personality who always excel in their chosen paths. These are the people who got to know the trick of drawing the inspiration and the energy (Here the energy referred to is not the energy as we understand in the physical parlance. It’s purely ‘spiritual’ and is far more powerful than any other form of energy.) from their subconscious mind through various powerful impressions long stored in it. The ‘Karmic theory’ of ‘Indian Vedantic tradition’ talks about the ‘Sanskaras’ (Impressions) both ‘good’ and ‘bad’, of the mind which are stored in the deeper recesses of the subconscious and are always active, and guide and influence the conscious mind in its various pursuits in the material world.

Here we can devise a small solution to solve this ever baffling conundrum of hobby vs profession. By applying this small technique, we can strike a balance between our life and career, and our profession will always be a pleasurable experience for us. Just try this- make your profession your hobby (It’s possible only when you are emotionally attached to your profession and most passionate about. Most of the professions of ours today are by sheer chance or by compulsion or by some outside force / influence / appeal, not by willful choice. It’s really a matter of grave concern.), and execute all the professional tasks as you move about in doing your pastime. This is so easy to assume but requires much intense practice in dealing with two levels of the mind- both conscious and subconscious.942019_486590581416742_1247272241_n When these two layers of the mind are perfectly aligned and reconciled with each other, the conscious level of our mind derives its ‘moxie’ from the subconscious and that eventually paves the way for us in excelling in our chosen paths, thus leading us to glory.

Positivity always leads us to glory

Everything totally depends on the kinds of impressions we accumulate in our minds, all by our thoughts, words and deeds. Great and sublime thoughts, words and deeds, and their profound experiences are stored in the form of subtle impressions and they always lead us towards greatness guarding against everything that is bad and negative, and so is the case with the negative thoughts, words and deeds, and their experiences, and the consequent negative effects.

So being positive is always desirable, and it is propitious living a life of total positivity. Positivity is LIFE and negativity is DEATH. The entire COSMOS is always ready to help us in its own gentle and intricate ways in our march towards ‘excellence and glory’ if we take that ‘crucial first bold step of POSITIVITY’. All the positive forces and vibes constantly being emitted by the NOBLE SOULS in the entire UNIVERSE conspire to make things happen when we strongly desire them through our heart and soul for the good of the mankind and all the other creatures.

“All power is within you, you can do anything and everything”; “You are the creator of your own Destiny”

– Swami Vivekananda.

The ‘Conscience’ in relation to the conscious and subconscious minds

The terms ‘Conscious’ and ‘Subconscious’ are used to describe about the layers of the mind and the term ‘Conscience’ is completely different from the former two, and signifies much more than them. Cambridge dictionary defines ‘Conscience’ as “the part of you that judges how moral your own actions are and makes you feel guilty about bad things that you have done or things you feel responsible for”.

Here lies a big problem in understanding conscience, and in locating it at some exact spot or area in ‘us’ and say here it is, when the terms / ideas I, ME and MY etc., themselves are abstract and have no significance without the idea of mind, and the mighty MIND itself is beyond one’s scope of total knowledge and understanding (of it), and the biggest irony is, we have to understand mind with the mind itself which is not in our firm control!

So where in us can we say the conscience is? If it is totally conscious, then we all must be fully aware of it and it must be very much in our grip, and thus there would be no strife at all in this world. If we assume it is totally subconscious or in some dormant state, then we must not be aware of it either fully or in part, and not bound by it. In that case, how can we understand the all pervasive ‘goodness’ in some form or the other, and some more goodness somewhere else? No one can deny the fact that all our surroundings are mixed up with some ‘goodness’ and some ‘badness’, and we can never see either the goodness or the badness in its totality in our socio-cultural milieu. The idea of conscience, if it is taken in its purest sense, it can never be ‘some good’ and ‘some bad’, but must always be ‘perfect’ and a ‘unified whole’, and it always prompts us to do only good. Then, how can we understand the vast phenomena, which are diabolically at odds with one another? That is the moot question!

It must be that our conscience works with two layers of our mind, both conscious and subconscious and all depends on how we use it and which mind to work on with. So, is our conscience subject to influence and impregnation (either by conscious or subconscious mind)? We have to go to the ‘Karmic theory’ which can throw more light on this.

The Karmic theory of Karma / action and the consequent results

About Indian ‘Karmic theory’, every one of us knows it and understands the significance behind this theory. The fundamental rubric of this theory is – good actions always yield good results, and bad actions will have their own consequences some time or later, and they are bound to have their toll on us. This is an irrefutable fact and every one of us agrees with it without an iota of doubt. In that case, why do we constantly breach this precept willfully, and why should be there so much conflict and strife, sorrow and suffering on the face of the earth? This is the fundamental question all sensible people are always confronted with. All this is due to man’s greed and selfishness which have their sway over his/her conscience. Though we know very well that if certain thought or word or action comes out with some bad intention, it is bound to have its own ramification, we still move about it never paying heed to the high calling of our conscience. JKThis is nothing but impregnating our conscience with the sophisticated theories concocted by our conscious mind without caring about the alarms given from time to time by our subconscious mind. This is the biggest tragedy of human mind, and this ubiquitous situation is called by different names such as, ‘Maaya’ or illusion. As long as this all powerful maaya has its spell on us, so long will be our misery and suffering as we can never come out of the vicious cycle of action and the consequent reaction we ourselves create around us by our sheer ignorance. There is only one tool in our hands which can be of some help, that is, our subconscious, through which we can set about finding a lasting solution. But the irony is, the subconscious has to be reached only by and through the conscious, and the conscious mind is full of its own arbitrary set of rules and theories (There are some exceptions to this.) set by the kind of society in which we live and constitute a strong part of it. So logic will never take us deep inside us, and it always acts as the biggest impediment. The first basic step towards reaching our conscience which is the ultimate guiding force and life’s prime energy is just being ‘logically illogical’, but we are ‘illogically logical’ in our mad pursuit towards greatness and excellence with vaulting ambitions. God knows where our destiny takes us! Here is a beautiful talk by H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Karma and its impressions.

The Samskaras or impressions of the mind

Now, it’s pertinent to discuss about samskaras or impressions of the mind in some detail. Good thoughts, words and deeds have their good effects on us and those experiences are stored in our mind in the form of finest impressions. In the same way, bad thoughts, words and deeds bound to show up their own consequences and all those experiences are stored as bad impressions. So, is the man always bound by the kind of impressions stored in his subconscious mind, and is there no escape for him/her from the negative results borne out the of the actions with the strong influence of bad samskaras stored up in the deeper recesses of the mind? There is, if all the bad and impure impressions deep inside can effectively be flushed out with the force of good and pure impressions. This is like a deep surgical operation and requires much deliberation both at the conscious and subconscious levels, and deep meditation / journey within! I can suggest Swami Vivekananda’s treatise on Karma Yoga and Raja Yoga for gaining more light on this, and I think that is the only authority on this subject for the modern man with his/her rational / scientific bent of mind to read and understand in a convincing way. I’m sure all the doubts regarding this bewilderment are cleared in a highly methodical way by the great philosopher and spiritual master.

Can we have some uniform mechanism by which we can estimate the percentages of the subconscious and conscious minds?

The percentages of subconscious and conscious levels of mind are not accurate and foolproof as man has still not been able to create a unit for the measurement, capacity and speed of the mind and the mental processes. How can one have an accurate and foolproof mechanism in order to decide the disparities in the two layers of mind when a man/woman is at so much variance with his/her counterparts? Everything depends on one’s awareness and also the ignorance. Some are highly aware of their subconscious mind, and some other can never go beyond the boundary of their conscious mind and have never tasted what the subconscious is like, as in the case of the animals. Man, unlike the animals, is the only creature on the Earth who can go / think beyond the basic necessities of life such as, food, shelter and protection, and the other natural bodily needs, and that’s the reason why we are witnessing so many unimaginable changes, both positive and negative, occurring around us, in both the realms, internal and external!

IQ vs EQ

About the IQ, and a few matrices developed by some so-called ‘psychoanalysts’, ‘human resource managers’ and ‘personality development trainers’, it’s great that we are making tremendous strides in the accuracy and the lightening speed of the mind with which we have made almost everything physical possible, and even started dictating terms to the very nature in whose lap we are sheltering ourselves. There is a big flip side to this, in our obsession and mad rush towards enhancing our IQ, and for more material progress and prosperity, we are taking a big risk of putting our lives in jeopardy at the cost of the sheer negligence of our EQ, i.e., Emotional Quotient! We are always after the material world and want to master it, but we are not aware of the fact that we have totally turned ourselves into slaves to our extravagant desires and passions! It’s a time tested truth that unless we conquer our inner world, we can never have a happy and meaningful life in the outer world how much we strive with our IQ! How beautiful it would be if there is perfect harmony between the inner and the outer worlds!!

Convergence and divergence of ideas

There’s no denying the fact that most of the philosophical and psychological theories and ideas are individual specific and purely based on subjective analyses. Here I would like to go a bit deeper in analyzing the most crucial issue of ‘the convergence and divergence of thoughts / ideas’. Yes, there is so much divergence, but this is pertained to the only outside world, influenced and catalyzed by various issues, events and incidents, and this amount of divergence to a large extent depends on how we react to them with which layer of the mind. In complete contrast to all this, there is a harmonious convergence of views deep inside all of us. The more we delve deep inside us the more harmony we feel. The effulgent SPIRIT deep inside all of us is the source of this harmony, and this Spirit is always ONE, it can never be two or more! It can never be explained but has to be experienced and lived, and this experience differs from one person to another since one has to crossover several insurmountable (but not impossible!) obstacles in course of one’s journey deeper inside! So we all may differ with one another in course of our journeys through different paths, but the “ultimate truth is only ONE”, and we all have to converge there at some point or  later.

Linguistic Analysis

Here I would like to borrow some ideas from the linguistic theory of the founder of modern linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure, about “Signified” and “Signifier”. As Saussure explains, “the connection between all ‘signifiers’ which are ‘sound images’ or ‘linguistic signs’ and what they are signifying – their signified object or concept – is arbitrary. In other words, there is not necessarily any logical connection between the two.” Most of us may have the same ‘signified’ or the idea and the ‘signifiers’ we use in portraying our ‘signified’ or the idea may shockingly vary from one another, and I think, this is the root cause of all the conflicts amongst us, but it works only at a shallow level and can easily be rectified if all the sensible minds from wide spectra of social, cultural and mainly religious denominations work together. In some other cases, we may have different ‘signifieds’ or ideas with some common denominator, i.e., ‘signifier’, and feel peaceful and harmonious. But it’ll never long last as it is a false feeling and nothing but self-impregnation! This is ‘divergence’ under the false roof of ‘convergence’ though not clearly perceptible, sort of make-believe. It’s bound to have its own catastrophic consequences and will break itself into pieces some time or later! So, the ‘signified’ is more prominent than the ‘signifier’, and we all sensible minds, should always look for the significance of the ‘signified’ behind the (arbitrary and divergent) ‘signifiers’!

TRUTH is all pervasive. It has no boundaries; it travels far, and the pure effulgent SPIRIT inside all of us is all encompassing. It’s ‘Omnipresent’, ‘Omniscient’ and ‘Omnipotent’. If not, where is the meaning to the expression we all proclaim with trumpet voice, ‘Vasudhiva Kutumbakam’, the profound concept of ONE GLOBAL FAMILY?

“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”

– Swami Vivekananda.

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.”

– William Butler Yeats.

Useful & Related Readings

  1. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
  2. The Life Beyond Physical Death by Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya

 

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