This is an excerpt from my forthcoming new book How To Find Your Life’s Divine Purpose – Brain Software For A New Civilization.
The Conscious Mind
The terms conscious, subconscious and superconscious minds are modern terms that we find in psychology but they are nevertheless very helpful for us to explore as they will deepen the understanding of the subject matter.
Mind is vast and we are consciously aware of only a minute part of it. Because our mind according to yoga is made up of the same elementary particles (tamas – mass particle, rajas – energy particle and sattva – intelligence particle) as the rest of creation it can know almost everything and perceive a vast number of phenomena. However, this is not necessary and even downright unhelpful for one’s survival. If your mind were really completely open to everything it could perceive you would be incapable of going about your daily life and dealing with necessities such as procuring food or earning your livelihood.
From the point of survival, important is not how much can we perceive but how much of that is useful for us right now. For that reason our mind has various perceptual filters that filter out about 99% of what we could perceive as currently useless. Through mystical practices such as yoga or psychedelic substances these filters can be temporarily suspended. We may then be able to perceive a much vaster bandwidth of sensations, which can result in ecstatic states or very fearful ones. When Arjuna asked Krishna to take back the celestial eye he gave him (Bhagavad Gita XI.45-46), he did so because he was frightened and weighted down by suddenly seeing everything.
Schizophrenia or other mental disorders may be due to a person’s perceptual filters becoming reduced or inhibited for various reason, which will lead to behavioural changes. Our Western society has very little tolerance for behavioural changes. Sometimes a person who simply sees more than most of us gets admitted to the mental ward because their behaviour does not conform with the very narrow standards our society unfortunately has. Indigenous societies tolerate a much wider variety of behaviour, i.e. their norms are not as rigidly defined. During the 1980’s and 90’s in India I experienced there also a much less punitive attitude towards neurodiversity.
It is absolutely essential that we take responsibility for the contents of our conscious mind. In Yoga Sutra II.34 Patanjali says that if we become aware of thoughts in conflict with our evolved view of self we need to counteract them by contemplating the opposite. Practically speaking this means that if we experience hatred towards anybody we need to transform that into love, which was also stated by Jesus.
The reason for this is that all actions begin at the level of thought. If we think hatred for long enough our actions will become hateful and poison the world. Even if you can live with that then consider that this hatred will also manifest in your own body as self-hatred and disease. Anything that we put out into the world will eventually come back as a karmic boomerang. Patanjali says that we usually don’t notice this due to the time delay between cause and effect. But the longer the karmic boomerang will take to return the larger it’s trajectory and the greater its velocity upon impact.
People are often concerned about the fact that they need to love their enemies. Jesus was absolutely correct when stipulating this but note that he did not hold back when expelling the money changers from the temple of David and he often severely chastised the Pharisees and scribes. Let me explain: If you critique somebody’s behaviour from a position of hatred or resentment your actions will carry a severe emotional charge that the critiqued person will sense. They will feel your upset and know that your anger is tied to your previous emotional baggage which has nothing to do with their present actions.
In other words they will feel that you are upset because you are processing your own emotions by projecting them outwards. In this case you are just using your current opponents as a projection screen for your frustrations independent of how right or wrong they are in the present situation. In other words part of your reactions towards them will entail a projection of your past onto the present. That’s what the critiqued will pick up on and it will make them resist your suggestions and arguments. If on the other hand you suggest, correct and communicate from a position of love and respect for the other you can still be earnest and stern but there won’t be unconscious content and projection in your message. It can therefore be accepted more readily.
To give a contemporary example, environmentalists often despise corporate executives for making decisions destructive to the environment. Although those decisions may look reckless the executives themselves are often caught up in a system that forces them to create profits for shareholders and if they fall short they will simply be replaced by somebody else. The decision makers often think that given the circumstances they are doing their best rather than being hardened evildoers. If we do project hatred towards those people we make it less likely that they will inquire into our ideas. They are more likely to blanket-reject all of our suggestions because they come parceled up with hatred and who could blame them. If, however, our critiques and suggestions come atop our basic emotion of love, corporate decision makers are much more likely to have a close look at what we say.