MATERIAL & THE SPIRITUAL # 3
Ancient wisdom is coming into alignment with neuroscience and quantum physics in many ways.
Patanjali described his 5 sheaths (or bodies) of consciousness millennia ago and now F.M.R.I. (Functional MRI) studies are showing these truths to be real.
The Body Sheath simply stands for itself.
The Energy Sheath or our Etheric body is familiar to most of us as the Chakras and their 72000 connecting energy channels called Nadis. Mind Sheath is our Monkey Mind, our primitive survival mind that the Ancestors call Narrow Mind. Nothing creative happens here and for many of us it is a source of suffering because it is continually chattering messages of delusion on our shoulders. Its use is to get us out of survival situations. The lion circling the primal cave has now been replaced by a chronic flight or flight response imposed by stressful life styles. For many of us Monkey Mind is the default and can be seen on F.M.R.I in the more primitive areas of the brain. The only way to prevent it from becoming the default is to invoke spiritual practice. Monkey Mind, Ego and the Intellectual Sheath form a triad which is always in flux with Ego and the Mind Sheath predominating and the Intellectual Sheath, (Big Mind or Buddha Mind or Christ consciousness) or Spacious Mind being put on hold. Monkey or Narrow Mind responds to emotions and the Sympathetic Autonomic Nervous System and can only be placated by the relaxation response (any form of meaningful meditation or of going inwards) a property of the Parasympathetic N.S. The latter also results in an Alfa brain wave pattern on E.E.G. in the brain and a feeling of equanimity and harmony.
The Mind Sheath is supported by the Buddhist concept of
Store Consciousness. These are the cellular and "soulular" memories or the skeletons in our karmic closet which sometimes come out of the closet to sit with us in the living room of our lives. These too can only be controlled by spiritual practice.
Monkey Mind is responsible for our negative habits or negative Procedural Memories. Procedural memory can be energy efficient and allows us to automatically drive our car home without even thinking. It is operative even as cellular memory, for instance in gymnasts, musicians and surgeons. However, it can be counter effective especially in stressful situation e.g. if we are on a diet, find ourselves in front of the doughnut store and go in for comfort food. Spiritual practice is essential to keep us on track with a growth-full life.
The Intellectual Sheath or Spacious mind contains our higher thoughts, ideas, notions, concepts, ideals, discernments and discriminations. Monkey Mind focuses on our desires, lusts, habits, addictions, compulsions and negative emotions like anger, hatred, jealousy and the desire for vengeance. Spacious Mind is focused in the prefrontal lobe of the brain. Buddhists and other experienced meditators can be seen to have more neuronal density in this area which lights up on F.M.R.I. For them the Intellectual Sheath is the default excepts in highly stressful situations. We should allow our procedural memory to be primed by Spacious Mind rather than Monkey Mind. Similarly we should enable our subconscious to be primed by the same remembering that the
Subconscious is recording events
ALL THE TIME - TRUE OR FALSE
and that ultimately it is the subconscious which controls our conscious minds and our behavior. In a sense the subconscious can be seen to be sitting with us on the couch of the living room with Store Consciousness telling us what to do continuously even if store consciousness is tucked away temporarily behind the closet door.
Spiritual practice is the glue that holds all these seminal and evidential concepts talked about in this new series of blogs viz. the Hero/ine's Journey, Positive psychology, Gratitude and reprogramming Monkey Mind which may be dominating our subconscious. Guided imagery and imagination are key to filling our subconscious with a positive outlook. No matter what we think we think in terms of our conscious mind controlling our destiny it is the subconscious that determines what we become.
Here are some contrasts between the two "Minds." Meditate on these and others important to you.
The Ancestors also bring Heart into the equation of Narrow/Monkey Mind, Ego, Spacious Mind, Store Consciousness and the subconscious. We must not forget the heart and be sure it is also primed by Spacious Mind.
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