Is there a kind of consciousness which is beyond the mind? If so, how can it be accessed? Once we have come some way along the conscious path, we may begin to sense that there are other forms of consciousness within ourselves that are beyond our thoughts. We get glimpses, so to speak - a sense of expansion where we become hyper aware. It has a different quality to our thoughts. However, the mind is so enticing. It is safe to view things in a logical way and our ego tends to lock us into our mind. So, how do we transcend the mind?
A matter of Identity
Firstly, it is a matter of identity. The philosopher Descartes famously stated 'I think, therefore I am'... Are you? I will give you some questions for consideration: Who is thinking? Who is the mind? It's very important on the conscious path to ask, 'who am I?' When you realise that you are identifying with something that is not the chore of who you are, there is a tremendous sense of expansion. So again, who is thinking? Consider, how can your mind observe itself?
In the field of Neuroscience there is increasing evidence that our brains are not simply reacting to outer stimuli, but actually creating the forms and patterns that we see, selecting them from an immeasurable spectrum of vibration (Karl Pibram, 1971, Languages of the Brain).
"So the problem is, how does the brain evoke the world, which is simultaneously the world in which it exists? Does the brain evoke the brain?" - Alan Watts
Stepping beyond the mind
You may have noticed that so far I've been writing in a way that actually stimulates the mind; citing scientific research, quoting well known philosophers, and asking questions for you to ponder. This has been somewhat intentional, both as a way of demonstrating how the mind can approach such topics, and also because it is possible to use the mind as a tool in order to move beyond the mind.
Yes, I know this seems a little paradoxical...good!! *evil laughter ensues*. The mind can indeed be used as a tool to go beyond itself by being made to consider things that are not immediately logical and don't have an answer which arises in the brain.
This method is also used in Zen Buddhisms with the use of Koans. These are essentially questions or stories which are designed to show you what is beyond the mind. Here are a few Koans:
Into the Heart
So far we have talked about 'the Observer' and how to cultivate this. However, in some ways even the observer carries some identity - even the name suggests this, so I refer to the true observer that lies beyond the mind as 'Witness Consciousness'. How does witness consciousness manifest itself?
Once you have begun to sense a part of you that lays beyond the mind, you can begin to cultivate it. What you can't do is grasp at it and try to recreate the feelings that come with it. This is just not how it works and the moment you grasp you are back in the ego, identifying with the feelings. It is just a matter of giving energy to it by tending the garden in which it can grow. And, it really is like tending a garden, using love and awareness to provide the right conditions for something to grow of it's own accord.
Many refer to this as 'the heart centre' and it's a good way of seeing it as witness consciousness comes from a place of love. This love flows naturally through each realm of physical, emotional and mental as an acceptance of what is. It is such that you can be un-accepting and controlling on the outside, while processing a pattern that needs to be worked through, and still be totally accepting of this non-acceptance on the inside.
Cultivating the Heart
There are a few simple things you can do to cultivate the heart centre in order to tend the ground for witness consciousness to grow:
A bit of inspiration
I'd like to leave you with this beautiful video from Trinity at Openhand. It comes right from the heart, and I guarantee, if you resonate with this article then this video will be an inspiration for you. Enjoy!
My name is Richard. I love to write, and here you can find my general musings, observations and articles. Enjoy!
To stay up to date with articles follow my Facebook page
BACK TO THE SOURCE
Bringing you home