The Higher Spheres of Thought

Elevate the mind, and seek sincere faith with firm purpose; transgress not the rules of kingly conduct, and let your happiness depend, not upon external things, but upon your own mind.

—Lord Buddha

This "Mind" is manas, or rather its lower reflection which whenever it disconnects itself, for the time being, with kama, becomes the guide of the highest mental faculties, and is the organ of the free-will in physical man.

—H. P. Blavatsky

There are innumerable pages of your life record still to be written up, fair and blank they are as yet. Child of your race and of your age, seize the diamond pen and inscribe them with the history of noble deeds, days well spent, years of holy striving. So will you win your way ever upward to the higher planes of spiritual consciousness.

—A Master of Wisdom

The human mind can function at different levels, and spiritual psychology classifies men and women on this basis. In each person one level of mental activity is predominant and while it is possible to reach below or beyond that habitual state, it is the latter that determines the general outlook, the prevailing attitude, and therefore the evaluation of life's experiences and the general mode of behaviour. On the understanding of this fundamental fact depends the right approach to practical psychology and the correct kind of psychotherapy.

To begin with, we must distinguish between two opposite parts: the surface mind and a depth which lies within the superficial aspect. These two opposite poles may be called the physical and the metaphysical. The physical mind is wedded to sensuous perception and therefore constantly distracted, agitated, restless. The metaphysical part is concentrated and steady, calm and quiet. This is the higher or spiritual mind, beyond the conscious brain-mind but not to be confused with the "unconscious" or "subconscious" of modern psychology. It is, accurately speaking, the "super-conscious," above the threshold of the conscious level, and still unrecognized and unexplored territory for the average person, although everyone enters that state in deep sleep.

The physical mind is inattentive and more or less confused because it is enslaved to the senses and desires and passions and given to discursive and superficial thinking. By determination and strong effort the mind can be withdrawn from all external objects and made to come to its centre, in the innermost depth wherein all is still and peaceful.

Explaining this duality of the mind, H. P. Blavatsky asks:

What is it that one person sees poetry in a cabbage or pig with her little ones, while another will perceive in the loftiest things only their lowest and most material aspect, will laugh at the "music of the spheres" and ridicule the most sublime conceptions and philosophies?

This difference, she states, depends on the innate power of the mind to think on the higher or on the lower plane. The true nature of man cannot be fathomed unless this duality is accepted. This is the key that will explain all psychological mysteries.

In ancient Indian philosophy different levels of thinking were recognized and correctly understood. The Sanskrit language has a term to indicate this, namely, manodhatu. Literally it means the "world of the mind." This includes not only all our mental faculties, but also one or another of these different levels of thought, one of the divisions of the plane of mind. Each man or woman has his manodhatu or plane of thought determined by his degree of unfoldment. All true progress for man consists in reaching the higher planes or spheres of thought.

Since man is an intelligent and moral being, he can strive deliberately to elevate his mind. He is a thinker and a chooser. It is precisely the mind or manas that distinguishes him from the mere animal. He can through self-discipline develop the spiritual faculties enshrined within the mind itself. The freeing of the mind from its enslavement to mere objects and its withdrawal into the depth of the innermost consciousness will transform the lower or physical mind into the higher or metaphysical mind, to which belong intuition, understanding, and compassion. The higher mind is also the channel of the spiritual will, a most dynamic power for good.

Within each one of us there lies a magnetic potency which, directed with deliberate intention and a sincere desire to bring happiness into the lives of our fellow men, can achieve wonders. This potency has rightly been called "the most effective of magic levers placed by Nature in human hands." But in most people it is inactive because it is ignored if not altogether denied; while by some, alas, it is misused. If only all men of good will could learn to release this power inherent in man's inner consciousness, they could contribute substantially to making this earth a happier and brighter place for all mankind.

But like the men of Plato's cave most people turn their gaze away from the light and then complain that all is dark! Let us turn within and seek the guidance of the Eternal Presence enshrined in the chamber of our heart. Illuminated and guided by that Divine Light, we shall brighten the atmosphere around us.

This is possible if we have faith and determination and resolve righteously. Man's future destiny is in his own hands. We are weaving that future now and here, thread by thread. In fact, the future is now! The present is both past and future. We must in the present purify, elevate, and concentrate our thinking and thus redeem the past and prepare for a brighter morrow.

The future then [as W. Q. Judge says], for each, will come from each present moment. As we use the moment so we shift the future up or down for good or ill; for the future being only a word for the present—not yet come—we have to see to the present more than all. If the present is full of doubt or vacillation, so will be the future; if full of confidence, calmness, hope, courage and intelligence, thus also will be the future.

to return to the table of contents