|2011-03-06, by John Ringland|
Worldly concepts, words and thought processes cannot give the mind
enough traction to grasp reality. However the mind itself CAN grasp
these things and the intellect can understand. Although the word
'mind' means different things to different people... Hence I'll
explain a little of where I'm "coming from" in regards to
"To him whose vrittis (modifications of the substance of the
mind) are entirely controlled, there eventuates a state of identity
with, and similarity to that which is realized. The knower, knowledge
and the field of knowledge become one, just as the crystal takes to
itself the colours of that which is reflected in it.
When the perceiver blends the word, the idea (or meaning) and the
object, this is called the mental condition of judicial reasoning.
Perception without judicial reasoning is arrived at when the
memory no longer holds control, the word and the object are
transcended and only the idea is present.
The same two processes of concentration, with and without judicial
action of the mind, can be applied also to things subtle.
The gross leads into the subtle and the subtle leads in
progressive stages to that state of pure spiritual being called
All this constitutes meditation with seed." (Patanjali Yoga
Sutra, Samadhi Pada, stanzas 41-46,
The key point in this context is the blending of word, idea and
object (of experience), referred to as "judicial reasoning",
which is a cognitive habit that leads to constant confusion and
delusion. It is closely related to naïve realism. These three
aspects (word, idea and object) are means of grasping the underlying
reality but also form veils that obscure reality, especially once
they blur together and form into dogmatic discourses or conceptual
When these veils form in the mind it can no longer approach
reality because it constantly becomes trapped in closed loops of
habitual memory associations. Hence, rather than apprehend reality
the mind conjures up the conceptual framework that has become
habitually associated with reality.
True knowledge begins with the resonance of an open mind with
reality and only later, for the purposes of communication, is this
structured and abstracted into words, ideas and declarative
knowledge. In this way all of the sacred scriptures and words of the
sages have arisen. But these communications don't 'capture' the
underlying reality - they merely 'point' in the general direction
where if one has correctly understood the words and ideas one may, by
directly enquiring with an open and sufficiently prepared mind,
apprehend the reality that was referred to.
So those who denounce mind are really denouncing judicial
reasoning. When judicial reasoning is overcome the mind can soar to
much greater heights...
"When this super-contemplative state is reached, the Yogi
acquires pure spiritual realisation through the balanced quiet of the
chitta (or mind stuff).
His perception is now unfailingly exact (or his mind reveals only
This particular perception is unique and reveals that which the
rational mind (using testimony, inference and deduction) cannot
It is hostile to, or supersedes all other impressions.
When this state of perception is itself also restrained (or
superseded), then is pure Samadhi achieved." (Patanjali Yoga
Sutra, Samadhi Pada, stanzas 47-51,
It is in this state of balanced quiet of the mind that
realisations occur, which can then be expressed in various forms.
Of those who read transcendent truths in whatever language,
whether Sanskrit, Hopi, New Age, mathematics, etc, most don't realise
that the words and symbols are not the reality, i.e. they succumb to
judicial reasoning; they must look where the words are pointing and
see for themselves.
However instead of looking where the finger is pointing most
people stare at the finger and eventually give up and denounce words,
concepts and the mind. When in fact they have simply failed to
utilise the mind appropriately.
As the I Ching says, one must eat the words of the sages and
digest them in order to gain nourishment from them, just chewing on
them is not enough.
The intellect when not used wisely it is a powerful obstacle.
However when used wisely it is a powerful tool that is of great
benefit. The trouble is that throughout history most people have had
no idea how to use it wisely so most traditions found it safer to
advise most people to avoid it all together.
However without those who wielded the intellect wisely upon the
"spiritual path" we would have no spiritual traditions at
all. The pure realisation must be grounded in intellect before it can
be shared via cultural communications involving symbols, words,
ideas, metaphors, scriptures, sutras, etc. Without intellect there is
no culture, without intellect we could not be communicating right
Without the role of intellect in spirituality there would be no
Bhagavadgita, no Upanishads, no Advaita, no Buddhism, no Taoism, no
Kabbalah, none of these. Just a very small number of wild mystics who
were completely incomprehensible to humanity at large and to each
other. In Buddhist terms, there would be only one of the three
jewels, Buddha but no Dharma or Sangha.
My work largely involves grounding subtle realisations via the
intellect and discovering new expressions for the timeless wisdom
that are meaningful in the modern world. In this way I hope to
infiltrate the materialist discourse that deludes our civilisation
and shed some light within it.
This isn't something that I plan to do or try to do, it is
something that I cannot help but do, it is my calling. My vision is
that mystic wisdom will someday be mainstream; permeating all aspects
of society, including science and technology, whilst materialism will
become an anachronistic belief system.
I sense that the anti-mind / anti-intellectual discourse is a
simplistic misunderstanding of subtle teachings, which is counter
productive to society in the long term. Genuine spirituality requires
a mature mastery of the mind and its faculties, rather than an
immature rejection of it.
To those who distrust the mind and only trust their feelings I
would say that in the final analysis, spirituality is about reality,
i.e. that which exists beyond delusion, and delusions can manifest
within thoughts or feelings. Reality is the inner most core of
consciousness, which is beyond thoughts and feelings, it is 'beneath'
the unconscious, it is the bedrock of being. We must delve deeper
than thoughts and feelings to apprehend reality, which can then
illuminate both our thoughts and feelings.