Friday, December 14, 2012

Onion, Parfait, and the Mind: Standing in Oneness

The past couple of days I have been thinking about the relationship between different levels of the mental plane manifesting itself through various filters and with the motif of the greater divine. Let’s compare, badly so, that the mind is like an onion or a parfait if you prefer.

The mind is like an onion or parfait in that it is layered in its perception. Add on top of this a filter, our core mores, hormones, and values, and you have a very complex looking glass by which the Self knows anything, or thinks it knows anything. I did say it was not a perfect model.

By recognizing the fallacy of the model allows us to better combine the overarching truth with the model by which we are able to indulge the logical part of our nature that likes to put everything into neat little boxes. The first major fallacy is the idea that the various layers are set point with clear divisions; they are not. The mind, and the Mental Plane, are spectrums, so the whole onion thing just doesn’t work if we stick too strictly to it. Secondly, the mind has more nuance and complexity than the model allows for. The whole onion thing does, however, give us a mode of talking about it and better grasping things so long as we are willing not to become too rigid and set on it.

Each of the various layers are like different points upon the spectrum of the mind. I am going to very briefly mention four of them. Because they are what I have been thinking about. The rest of that was just me making sure everyone was up to speed.

Let’s pretend that our spectrum onion-mind-thingy is a pillar, which is nothing like an onion at all, but that’ll be okay, it is a bad metaphor to begin with. So the mind pillar’s lowest and most base level is the instinctual level. Note that lowest does not imply less here, just that some random starting point of reference has to be assigned and the bottom of the pillar fits well within our schema of cultural motifs. At this level it is pure instinct that informs us of action, behavior, and existence. Also at this level is any hormones and physicality.

Next up from the bottom is speech. For those that don’t know, it is part of the human condition, even when you can’t talk, to develop methods of communication that become standard within a group. There are cases of deaf children inventing their own sign languages without outside influence that are just as sophisticated as others. Language development is instinctual. Speech is the next level up because we are informed by language in a different manner than that of instinct. Speech tells us different things depending upon which language we speak in internally. For instance, native English speakers when referring to a bed breaking when John was jumping on it is likely to say, “John broke the bed when jumping on it.” Blame is automatically communicated and assumed because of language specifics. Whereas other languages are more prone to phrase the meaning as such, “John was jumping on the bed and it broke.” As you can see the language we speak informs us about the world. It is like a vast symbolic thought process inherent to culture, well it is, and this brings us to the next level—culture.

The next level of the mind is culture. Do I really need to get into how our cultural influences and inform us about the world? I think not; I have more faith in my reader’s abilities.

The top tier is the archetypal level. No matter the culture or language in which we were raised we all know what a mother is. The nuance of that idea and the experience of it may change, sometimes drastically, but it is a universal concept.

Now on to the thought I have been mulling over. In some moments of complete mindfulness and simultaneous surrender thereof we can completely allow the instinctual primal impulsive layer of the mind to act as a vehicle by which we land firmly in the archetypal. I am not arguing this is the preferred method. Just that in some very intense life transforming moments we find ourselves in the instance standing with one foot in the instinctual and one in the archetypal straddling the whole of speech and culture and yet knowing neither in those instances of oneness. I just wanted to say that, as it has taken me a while to come to an articulate place for what before has only been a feeling; but together the two are blessedness. The rest of the blog was just me babbling enough that I felt I could share that tidbit. I hope it makes sense.


Boidh Se!

-Spanish Moss

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


Lee Shawnus said...

There is the reptilian brain which has the fight or flight instinct, like whether you run towards or away from a mass shooting. There is the mammalian brain which cares for others and feels emotions. There is the higher cerebral brain for thinking and logic. Various forms of trance can bring out the primal archetypal functions of these brains especially if the other brains are over ridden. Sex is a good example of the mammalian and works best with the upper brain turned off. Much of the visualization used in "higher" magickes are purely cerebral. I think in an even higher spiritual plane all three brains can work in unison, but that is the big trick of the Great Work.

Spanish Moss said...

I completely agree with you there Lee. That is the big trick. Our Craft is the arte of making that happen.

I think you model works very well in line with my thoughts. As I said the mind is was more complex than any simple analogy could give credit to. In fact when I normally teach mental plane functions I do so with several models.