Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Mind, Memory, and Now


Today’s blog is quote and link heavy, and a bit all over the place, but feel free to enjoy it anyway.


Last night, for a bit of light reading I was reading Lucretius’ The Nature of Things. Whereas there were several passages that jumped out at me, in the few pages I read, lines 464-480 in particular.

“Further, when people talk about the rape of Helen or
Make mention of the trouncing of the Trojan tribes in war
As real, beware they do not make us see it in the light
That these events exist as entities in their own right,
See in generations these events befell have all
Long ago been swept away by ages past recall.
For any incident of history can be referred
To as a ‘consequence’— of men or of where it occurred.
And had there been no stuff of things, and nowhere to take place,
Love of Helen’s beauty never could have fanned the blaze
That smouldered under Alexander’s heart and set alight
The luminary battles in the war’s ferocious fight.
No Trojan-duping wooden horse, carrying in her womb
The night-mare birth of Greeks, would have sent Troy to burning doom.
So you can see that done deeds have no spate entity
The way that matter does, nor can these deeds be said to be
In the selfsame way that void exists. But we can rightly class
Them consequences of matter and the place they came to pass."

Reading this section immediately got me to thinking about the relationship between the mind and memory. I know this wasn’t the point of what he was getting at. He was trying to use the imagery of the mind and memory as further evidence supporting his philosophy of all things being constructed of matter and the void. A very similiar concept to Dion Fortune’s Ring of Manifestation and Ring of NoThing Theory as explained in the Cosmic Doctrine.

To quote the Kybalion quoting itself, “THE ALL is MIND; The Universe is Mental.” It goes on to explain that we process our understanding and interaction with existence through the mind. Now, mind you that the Kybalion says a whole lot more on the subject. Go read it.

Now if you are lucky enough to get your hands on a copy of The Azoetia, I made copius notes from a copy I briefly was allowed to use as few years ago, you’ll find the following passage:

“It is taught that the Primal Goddess is to be invoked at the meeting-place of three roads. This teaching is a hieroglyph, symbolizing the meeting-place or junction of the three states of Awareness (sleeping, dreaming, waking), where it is said the Gateway unto the Continuity of Existence lies.”

Not being one to just let little bits of obscurely mentioned lore pass me by, I did some research and found out that Chumbley’s three states of awareness made their way into Western occultism and Witchcraft from Transcendental Meditation.

A quick breakdown according to what I've learned about this theory according to its use in modern Witchcraft: The mind travels upon three roads, essentially these are the states of our consciousness. These three roads are the roads of Waking, Sleeping, and Dreaming. It is when we are conscious or awake that our mind is upon the road of waking, when we are asleep but not dreaming our mind is upon the road of sleeping, and lastly when we are asleep and actively dreaming we are upon the road of dreaming. These are not the only states of mind. For instance, when day-dreaming we are in a state that is neither exclusively waking nor dreaming but somewhere in the mist between the two. Trance is induced when we shift our mental state into the point where all three meet. This metaphorical place is where all three of these roads meet, and it is for this reason that being in trance is referred to as standing at the crossroads.

Back to the topic at hand— the relationship between the mind and memory. My thoughts quickly turned towards I Am That where the Hindu Guru Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj explains the following in regards to memory.

“Perception, imagination, expectation, anticipation, illusion—all are based on memory. There are hardly any border lines between them. They just merge into each other. All are responses to memory.”

It would seem that he agrees with the basic concept of what is put forth in the Kybalion. Reflecting on this and the three roads, it can be seen that the mind is the vehicle but that this vehicle travels in three states. Easy right. The mind, however, does not time travel. It is only here, and now.

Does this make memory false? Lucretius says, “So you can see that done deeds have no spate entity.” Maharaj says, “Surely, the memory of an event cannot pass for the event itself.” After a bit of thought my answer is, no. The past, the realm of what has been made Fate, is the memory of the Mind. I am here and now and so is my mind, of which my memories are a part, they share in my reality. This does not mean that memory is Truth, just that they are the experiences of the mind from which Truth is interacted with. Witchcraft and our relationship with the world is experiential.

Just food for thought.

Boidh se!

-Spanish Moss

"Lost in a thicket bare-footed upon a thorned path."


Anonymous said...

Food for thought? No. THAT was a FULL COURSE MEAL! Thank you!

"Crossroads" Joe Carriker said...

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.