A student asked these questions recently: How does one move beyond concrete mind to higher mind where limitless mind is, and therefore have access to where intuition comes from? Buddhic plane and beyond? If all is mind, do we as humans, simply choose what level to float at? It seems that we mostly default to lower concrete mind and desire. Every once in a while, we can stretch to a different level. It even feels different, but maybe I’m imagining it.
My response: Long before Shakyamuni Buddha, Patanjali explained in the Yoga Sutras that all is mind. “All exists for the consciousness alone.” This is a sutra in the first book (4 books as you know). Patanjali then takes great care to explain how all is the work of the Knower, the Known, and the field of knowledge which creates a Perceiver, Perceived, and all manner of perceptions. Patanjali gave methods by which to develop skillful means to sort out this three-foldness. The historical Buddha then made this teaching and analysis more accessible, and thus applicable in our daily life. Buddha spoke of common examples and focused on the causality of how this creates or becomes that. Everyone could get that. The Yoga Sutras were largely inaccessible to the uninitiated or scholarly.
Thus the teaching that “all is mind” actually comes from Patanjali, and he was very clear. Desires are states of mental processes; analysis, computation, creative thinking, contemplation, and so forth are mental processes. The construct of personal identity and all forms that we label and thus limit or codify with those labels are all mental processes. Patanjali did not offer this. This was part of the illumination of Buddha Shakyamuni. But Shakyamuni Buddha could get to this because he had been trained in the Patanjali system of consciousness-mind.
The difference between a limiting thought or a desire that keeps us in a negative loop is that the imprisoning one is contracted thus keeps us in contraction. Contraction never feels good, and if there is satisfaction to it at all, it is temporary. It cannot last because it is contracted, limited. Positive thoughts, feelings, and experiences have space in them; they are expanded in nature. They feel positive and bring benefit because more of our full nature is being accessed. We are temporarily out of our self-made prison.
Therefore, in changing habits, or negative thoughts, if we simply expand or momentarily give space, then the contraction cannot hold. For that millisecond, the contraction does not exist. The Way of Transformation is to repeat this and to sustain this space for longer moments. Practical examples include: with food issues simply breathe and wait (don’t hold the breath!). We give ourselves the opportunity to experience whether this is hunger or is this something else (avoidance, gratification because we are in negative emotions, biochemistry is off, etc). When experiencing a negative thought about oneself or others, a good mantra to repeat is “I am Soul, Source of clear light, giver of dynamic life, director of all my intentions. I am Soul breathing.” This changes the focus. It empowers and expands the personal frames of reference. When angry, then we think with love about the other person who is “a suffering being just like me.” When jealous or envious, we think on that person with gladness for their accomplishment. When feeling scattered or rushed, we stop and say to ourselves, ” Slow down just a little.” Then we smile and breathe before moving.