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Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Training the Mind

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    Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
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       Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Training the Mind

    “To think and live universally — the height of true individuation — necessitates a purificatory discipline.”  — Aquarian Almanac

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Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Training the Mind

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    August 12, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Training the Mind

    Imagination is one of the most potent faculties,
    for it enables us to reach nearer to realities.
    — APOLLONIUS

    If thy Faith is entire
    Press onward, for thine eye
    Shall see thy heart’s desire.
    — ROBERT BRIDGES

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    August 13, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: Training the Mind

    Good resolutions are mind-painted pictures of good deeds; fancies, day-dreams,
    whisperings of the buddhi to the manas. — MAHATMA K. H.

    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. — ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON

  • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
    Gerry Kiffe
    Moderator
    Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

    The lower mind, the mind we are most familiar with, is the battleground, it is where the great challenge lies. It does not need to be destroyed, it needs to be tamed. So where do we begin?

    • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
      Pavel Axentiev
      Participant
      Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

      Great point, Gerry.

      As my experience with the Fourth Way shows (and I view the practices of the latter as a necessary pre-requisite for true esoteric work, which I equate with Theosophy), training the mind is key to any further progress.

      To be fair, there are various techniques of training the mind, which are shared by many traditions. But the gist of it comes to what is especially pertinently emphasized in the Fourth Way, and that is never-ending, constant effort and attention.

      One of the greatest obstacles to development in the Fourth Way is called ‘imagination.’ This term is given a different meaning in the Fourth Way, namely, something which occurs without our control. There are two major subdivisions of imagination: one is also called “the inner dialogue” – the never-ending flow of thoughts that encompasses most of our daily life. These thoughts are largely insignificant, mundane, of a very primitive quality. Learning to control this flow is perhaps the first thing that a student should learn.

      Another aspect of imagination is thinking about things that we know nothing about. This is equivalent to inner lying. Of course, this is different from psychic perception and other similar higher faculties. But the central “dogma” of the Fourth Way is that we have to unlearn the habits that we have before we can gain access to this higher method of perception.

      Yet another aspect of training the mind should be addressing negative thinking. This can be seen as part of imagination, but in reality we get so involved in negative thoughts, that the aspect of imagination being “something that occurs mechanically, without our active participation,” no longer applies. Negative thinking truly makes our lives miserable to the point of being utterly destructive.

      Many tools can be used to address each of the above, which almost requires a separate post.

      I hope that this is not seen as a diversion. I believe that the practical tools of the Fourth Way can greatly benefit students of Theosophy. Both of these systems (Theosophy and Fourth Way) seem to come from the same source – the great Brotherhood, the Inner Circle of humanity, and they greatly complement each other.

      • Profile photo of barbara
        barbara
        Participant
        Profile photo of barbarabarbara

        We observe and can categorize our positive as well as negative thoughts in many different ways. The Yoga Sutras classified them in five broad divisions – right knowledge, wrong knowledge, fancy, sleep, and memory and each falls under either painful or non=painful. Various schools have different methods to deal with negative thoughts and ways to calm the lower mind. Perhaps, if we have a better understanding of the nature of our thinking principle, we can have better control of the lower mind or kama manas. I wonder if we can view the lower mind as a reflection of the higher mind since, in a way, there is just one Mind expressing itself on different planes? The thoughts in our lower mind is very intertwined with physical forms and images. Often, it is kama that is the cause of torrent of uncontrolled thoughts. When kama is subdued and transmuted, the mind can become clear and focused.

        • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
          Pavel Axentiev
          Participant
          Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

          Yes, kama probably plays a part in it.

          For the alchemical transformation of the lower mind/kama into its higher counterpart, an additional element may be required. Generally speaking, such transformation seems to involve a kind of meditation. More specifically, can there be a meditation that you can practice at any moment you remember and feel such need?

          • Profile photo of barbara
            barbara
            Participant
            Profile photo of barbarabarbara

            Transformation requires a change of being that takes place in our emotions, our thoughts, our attitudes, our values, and our consciousness; in short, it is multi-dimensional. All these can be viewed under the process of purification and character development. One has to eventually rise up to the impersonal and universal state to free ourselves from ignorance. Meditation is one important facet of the aforementioned discipline. If we borrow the steps of meditation from the Yoga Sutras, which is, dharana – dhyana – samadhi (concentration, meditation, absorption), then it may require a quiet setting where one can better withdraw from the senses.

            • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
              Pavel Axentiev
              Participant
              Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

              Yes, true.

              I would just like to point out the fact that the transformation requires very consistent efforts on the part of the individual, with every moment having a potential for such transformation. This is the essence of the Fourth Way, which is a practical extension of Theosophy. Just reading books and obtaining intellectual understanding of ideas, however grandiose, may not be sufficient for such transformation and is even likely to lead one astray. Theosophist is as Theosophist does. One needs to address all aspects of one’s being, as you have pointed out.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    August 14, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: Training the Mind

    In order to exclude from the mind questionable things, the mental calling up of
    those things that are opposite is efficacious for their removal. — PATANJALI

    • Profile photo of Peter
      Peter
      Moderator
      Profile photo of PeterPeter

      Does thinking of the opposite help remove questionable thoughts and desires or does it lead to repression of the original thoughts, desires and impulses, where they remain in ‘the mind’ undealt with – sometimes hidden till they spill out inappropriately?

      ~~

      • Profile photo of barbara
        barbara
        Participant
        Profile photo of barbarabarbara

        Good points, Peter.

        Thinking the opposite is probably just a temporary antidote to “negative” thoughts. It is like putting on the brakes before sliding down the slippery slope. In a way, it is useful because 1. thoughts are things; good thoughts are good and it purifies the atmosphere. If the thought is injurious to another, then this is akin to an apology; and 2. it changes the direction of the psychic current.

        By counteracting the wrong with the noble, we neutralize the toxin we created. This also gives us time to pause and reflect on the motives behind our internal action. Still, we have to deal with the reasons that prompted our original thoughts, desires, or impulses.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
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    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    August 15, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Training the Mind

    Even though myself unborn, of changeless essence, and the lord of all existence,
    yet in presiding over nature–which is mine–I am born but through my own
    maya, the mystic power of self-ideation, the eternal thought in the eternal mind.
    — SHRI KRISHNA

    Ripeness is all. — WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    August 17, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Training the Mind

    Keep your mind in check until dissolved in the heart.
    This is the knowledge; this, the deliverance.
    — MAITRAYANA UPANISHAD

    Everything is in man, waiting to be awakened. — PARACELSUS

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
    ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    August 18, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: Training the Mind

    The mind becomes informed, improved and preserved by learning and
    reasoning; but an idle mind speedily forgets whatever it has learnt. — PLATO

    Know that to subdue the mind is to subdue the world. — GURU NANAK

    Once the foundations of the edifice, the basic principles of life, are well
    laid, raising the superstructure becomes easy. — VINOBA BHAVE

  • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
    Gerry Kiffe
    Moderator
    Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

    What role does the power of choice play in training the mind?

    • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
      Pavel Axentiev
      Participant
      Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

      Hi Gerry. Forgive me if I am intruding again, but I thought I’d give a shot at your question.

      Power of choice: Do you mean it is something that helps us not to think about something we don’t want to think about? That probably requires already a somewhat trained mind. I think it is a great tool, and in most cases it mainly implies the power not to think about something.

      When we intentionally don’t think about something, this allows a higher intellect to come through.

  • Profile photo of Peter
    Peter
    Moderator
    Profile photo of PeterPeter

    Almost all areas of our lives and our development from childhood to adulthood involve some form of training and education of the mind. Might it be worth clarifying what kind of mind training we are referring to here, and why it might be important to undertake it?

    ~~

  • Profile photo of barbara
    barbara
    Participant
    Profile photo of barbarabarbara

    Hi Peter:

    I assume we are addressing the constant fluctuation of thoughts in the lower mind, kama manas. An ever changing active mind are like dark clouds, which obscure the light of the sun, needs to be tamed, in Gerry’s words. Pavel described various obstacles created in the lower mind that the Fourth Way School emphasized. My opinion is that when kama is transmuted, the lower mind invariably becomes more subdued and still, because desire is often the activating force behind many incessant thoughts.

  • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
    Pavel Axentiev
    Participant
    Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

    Here is from a modern “chaneller”; I think that the statement could be equally applicable whether one wants ‘a new sports car and a million dollars,’ or to be of service to the humanity or the Mahatmas/Brothers, or to develop a connection to one’s Higher Self, the Buddhi, etc.,etc.:

    “The most valuable skill or talent that you could ever develop is that of directing your thoughts toward what you want—to be adept at quickly evaluating all situations and then quickly coming to the conclusion of what you most want—and then giving your undivided attention to that. There is a tremendous skill in deliberately directing your own thoughts that will yield results that cannot be compared with results that mere action can provide.”
    — Abraham-Hicks

    • Profile photo of Peter
      Peter
      Moderator
      Profile photo of PeterPeter

      Pavel – that’s partly why I raised the question re clarification. Since there are so many components of training and development in common across many areas of our lives or in simply achieving our material wants like sports cars and lots of money (to use your example) , what is it that actually constitutes the education and training that makes for spiritual practice? Are the means the same but we simply choose different goals or develop different wants?

      ~~

      • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
        Pavel Axentiev
        Participant
        Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

        Hi Peter,
        To answer your question, I think that training the mind is only one aspect of spiritual practice, as such may be. The Fourth Way, which I so much like to refer to (forgive me for doing it again), emphasizes that the practice is a System, and all aspects of it must be harmoniously intertwined. That doesn’t mean that “mind-training” can not be practiced by itself, although I doubt that the results of such practice will be anywhere near those achieved by a more complete one.

        Again referring to the Fourth Way, it states that first of all we should get rid of erroneous aspects of our functioning which we have accumulated in life, in what you refer to as “our development from childhood to adulthood,” etc. This includes a lot of wrong modes of thinking, which may not be obvious at first, and which require a practice of self-observation.

        I am certain that the same ideas can be found in virtually every authentic spiritual system of development, e.g., Buddhism, Yoga, and even Judaism and Christianity; I am just using the Fourth Way terminology, partly because its fairly self-explanatory, and partly because I’ve assimilated it better than others.

        To conclude, training the mind, in my opinion, should include a lot of unlearning. And its goal, ultimately, is to re-establish the contact with the Higher Mind/Buddhi, which we have allegedly lost due to erroneous development since early childhood. In essence, I presume, it is the same as the Platonic idea of “re-membering” that which we have known before birth; curiously, self-remembering is the name of a central practice of the Fourth Way.

        • Profile photo of Peter
          Peter
          Moderator
          Profile photo of PeterPeter

          Hello Pavel – yes, it certainly requires a multifaceted and systematic approach, as you rightly say.

          On a very minor point, remembering isn’t a practice in the Platonic tradition. It’s really used as a rational argument for the soul’s prior existence to this life.

          ~~

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