According to the wisdom traditions, Mind or consciousness is the basis of reality. Mind is not only the primary cause of physical reality, it is the fundamental property of reality itself. What we call physical matter, bodies, and the conditions of the world are the out-picturing of images constructed in the mind and molded from its substance. With its divine creative power, the mind dreams images and projects them onto the field of time-space, making them real by its innate creative power.
For most people (including me) this idea is too big a leap to make all at once. It’s not something we can just believe in at will – not for a lack of trying. But our sense perceptions tell us the complete opposite in almost every moment of our lives.
To us, it may seem that matter is one thing, and Mind is another. One has no life or consciousness and the other does. The mind is something located inside our skulls, and matter is everywhere else. We have our own mind and everyone else has a mind that is different and independent from ours.
But to the masters of wisdom, the Mind is one. All is Mind and all minds are rooted in and constituted from the One Mind which shares its nature and creative power with all of its forms of expression. Just as all clay pots come from clay and in that sense partake in the nature of clay, all minds come from the One Mind and share in its creative nature.
As the Upanishads tell us, understanding the basic nature of clay gives us insight into the nature of all things made from clay. Likewise to understand the nature of Mind is to learn of the essential nature of all things and in so doing become more adept in the constructive use of the creative power of Mind.
To traverse the chasm between perception and reality we need a bridge. We need a means of making the kinds of observations within ourselves and our world that can demonstrate to us if or in what way this proposition is true, not just so we can believe, but so we may know.
The bridge is a type of consciousness that can look and see directly the less obvious activities of the mind. This is not an ordinary kind of awareness. It is a non-ordinary kind of awareness to use Stanislov Groff’s term. It is a qualitatively greater state of awareness than the ordinary default mode. One that lends itself to making the deepest and subtlest observations possible.
All is mind. The universe is mental. ~ The Kybalion
In state training, we learn to gain access to this bridge. In brainwave frequency terms it is the alpha state, the state of calm, restful wakefulness, or witnessing awareness. By itself, it may not seem all that extraordinary. It is quite common in fact. We are in alpha whenever we are engrossed in our work or lose track of time because of how engaging something is.
But when we start to maintain the alpha state while experiencing subtler states of consciousness something truly remarkable occurs. We remain conscious of the activities that are normally unconscious. We begin to observe the activities that precede verbal thought and find ourselves with a front-row view into its creative activity.
Just beneath the surface of our mind, beneath the words are images. This image-making activity is associated with the theta state. “Normally”, we experience theta when we fall asleep and dream. A “non-ordinary” theta state happens when we are awake to experience it. While many meditation methods ignore or encourage the passage through this stage in favor of the deeper, quieter parts of the mind, I have a deep reverence for the theta state and encourage time spent in theta. It is here that profound healing can occur. And in fact, when healing occurs it is this level of the mind that does the work, re-encoding greater wholeness into the pictures it uses to construct the body and personality.
In theta, we get in contact with important symbols and with pictures our minds are making that contain important content for us to work with as we heal and grow. Here we gain insights into our personal patterns and ancestral inheritance, release emotional energy from stored trauma, and find a deeper intimacy and acceptance of ourselves. In non-ordinary theta, we can see the more primordial level of our desires and fears, our allergies and attachments playing out in the imagery and fantasies that arise. And through the non-attachment of our witnessing (alpha) awareness, we find that this personal level of mind is not so personal, it is also universal. Both the story subconsciousness tells and the language it uses to speak are archetypal, using the very same mind-stuff that makes the world.
As we move deeper, we access the delta state. While words given to this state may distort its true essence, the delta state is often described as boundless, empty, or vast. We normally experience the delta state in deep, dreamless sleep. When we bring wakefulness to this state we become aware of the effulgent emptiness or the primordial ground of being that is the wellspring for all that comes into being. It can often feel as if we are aware of nothing, yet simply aware of awareness itself. Yet a great deal of ultra subtle activity happens even here, and with greater sensitivity the primordial whirling or vibratory activity of the unified field of consciousness becomes perceptible.
If you’ve accessed our short intro Quest for the Harmonic Mind, then you’ve heard the first alpha state training session. It’s important to train with alpha because as we access the deeper states of theta and delta, it is the alpha state that we are bringing with us to remain awake and aware of what we experience. In our 8-week Harmonic Mind course, there are twelve total incrementally increasing audio programs that contain alpha, theta, and delta brainwave entrainment programs to help you deepen into more and more profound levels of the mind through meditation.
And what about gamma states, you might ask? I will share more about this in the next post. In the meantime, I invite you to think about the questions you have regarding the major brainwave states and send me an email at [email protected] I promise to read them all and will send you a reply.