By Jakeb Brock
As you begin reading this, take a moment to tune in to what is going on inside of you. And remember, we are all basically the same, with the same inner makeup and potentialities.
Mind activity (thoughts and emotions) will likely be the first thing of which you become aware. This is because we have all become mentally dominated creatures, whether we are conscious of it or whether this activity goes on automatically without our awareness (that is, unconsciously). This has happened to us as an outworking of our evolutionary unfoldment. Becoming mentally dominated creatures was an evolutionary leap forward from our prior state.
But if we have started a journey down the spiritual path and have grown somewhat in the spiritual direction, we may also be aware of another aspect at work in our inner world. This aspect can be best described as a higher watchful presence or field of spiritual consciousness. This Presence is there alongside our mental functions — but is separate from them — and naturally tends to stand quietly and unobtrusively alone, unaffected by mind’s vicissitudes. That is why this Presence can be said to be a higher aspect of our being. It is a vital part of our inner workings, but it never compromises its integrity by getting caught up in the mind’s many indignities. It always rises above the fray. Therefore, it is always quiet, calm, and strong. Contrastingly, the mind activity that constantly continues inside us can be loud and undignified; and oftentimes, so obsessive that it borders on torment.
As we progress on the spiritual path, our awareness of our pure conscious Presence grows, and it becomes stronger. At some point, we make this startling discovery: our spiritual Presence is always there inside of us, and it is a living force that can activate and thus exert a powerful influence over our psyche. We also discover the key to unlocking this benign activity — that being our own capacity for conscious concentrative choice. This ability to consciously choose to release the activity of the spiritual Presence within us represents not only a great shift in our personal fortunes and well-being; it also is a shift in our fortunes and well-being as a collective species. It is nothing less than a new evolutionary leap for mankind. It portends a New Age of human enlightenment, in which the dominant mental orientation that we have been moving in for thousands of years will finally give way to a much fuller and more satisfying life orientation.
Depending then upon how far along the spiritual path we have progressed, our conscious Presence will be both felt and active within us. So, as we tune in to our inner world at any given moment, this is what we will find: the residue of mind activity still doing its habitual thing but also the newly emerging force of our spiritual Presence, chomping at the bit to take more and more of an active role in our lives. This spiritual dynamic has the potential to be active in all of us. It is simply a matter of our own will to make it happen. How do we exercise this will? Every time we become quiet and listen to our inner world, we make the conscious choice to bring our mind activity into submission and allow our spiritual Presence to become increasingly ascendant.
In this way, little by little, the mind is dethroned and our spiritual Presence becomes the dominant force in our inner world. This then brings a major reversal in our overall orientation to life — one in which many of our former problems and “issues” disappear. Why is this? Because when we were under the domination of the mind, we reaped the circumstantial conditions that mind naturally creates — discordant, problematic conditions. But when we reverse that trend and bring our spiritual Presence into ascendancy, we begin to reap the conditions the Divine Spirit creates — goodness, peace, harmony, integral health, abundance, and the perfection of being.
Once we begin to taste this new directive, we will definitely want more. We will be inspired to make even greater progress — progress in which the mind is brought more and more into submission, and our spiritual Presence into dominance. This is also something that is subject to the power of our will. But generally speaking, it does not happen overnight; it requires a practice. And so we will find ourselves undertaking a more serious and disciplined spiritual practice, with daily quiet times of meditation as its cornerstone. Even if our lives are full and busy with present obligations, we will make spiritual practice our number one priority and let the other activities in our daily schedule fall into line accordingly.
What ought this daily practice to consist of? It will have a two-fold impetus. First, we will continue to practice mindfulness in meditation as a sure-fire method for bringing the mind more and more into submission. And second, we will continue to release our spiritual Presence to do what it naturally does through our conscious permission and will.
Within most of us, our mind activity is very deeply entrenched. Thus, it will be frustrating at times to see how stubbornly it holds on to its former mandate of dominance over our psyche. But you can be certain that the practice of mindfulness is the right tool for the job. If we persist, the mind will eventually yield. The more we bring all those unconscious mind patterns into the light of consciousness, the freer of them we will be. Ultimately, the mind will be tamed to the degree that we can willfully relegate it to its rightful place in the servant’s corner of our psyche at any time we choose. Does the mind ever stop being the mind? Do thoughts and emotions ever cease to exist? The answer is no. But rest assured, we will be satisfied once we see the mind brought into submission to our spiritual Presence, and we will be content to allow the mind to function in its rightful created capacity. In fact, at that point, we will find the mind to be a help rather than a hindrance.
Meanwhile, as we are working with mind, we will also find that our spiritual Presence is responsive to our desire to increase its influence and strength. But this response too is subject to practice. Left to itself, Presence will indeed slowly take on a greater role in our psyche. But we can go further if we choose. Daily, we can willfully fan it into flame and thereby hasten its emerging prowess. We can generate a stronger and brighter light of Presence. This we do through the power of concentration.
To concentrate simply means to focus our awareness into a pointed light and hold it there for a while. In the East, this is a powerful meditative technique that is widely taught. But here in the West, it is somewhat neglected. It is however, available to all – both the East and West — and can be learned simply by doing. All we need to do is to practice focusing on our spiritual Presence and visualize its light growing stronger. This increases the flow of energy to our Presence and makes it shine brighter, somewhat like turning up the dimmer switch on an electric light fixture.
Eventually we will discover that yet another powerful spiritual dynamic is being released in our lives — perhaps the most powerful dynamic of all. Like all spiritual dynamics, this one is governed by created universal law. Therefore, its operation is as dependable as the changing of the seasons. All that we need to do to set it in motion is to create the right conditions in our inner world or psyche — to establish the rightful order that comes when mind is brought into submission and Presence is ascendant.
The instant we create the right conditions in our psyche, the universal life force that we most often call God flows into us and fills us with Divine life and energy. Thus, we literally become depositories or channels of the Divine impulse. The Bible mystically alludes to this human capability when it says that man was created in the image of God. We were created not to be dominated by our minds and thereby maintain a sense of separation from God, but rather to open to and align ourselves with God so thoroughly that the two become one. This is who and what we really are as a species. It is a much higher calling than any other creature in the known universe can claim.
The revelation that this dynamic is released automatically as we create the right conditions for it can be a very liberating one. In our mind-dominated evolutionary state, we all came to believe that the Divine impulse was either off-limits to us or that we had to do something to earn or manipulate it into becoming active on our behalf. We had to pray, worship, fast, do good deeds, etc. But all of this was nothing more than a gross distortion reflective of the way that the human mind perceives Divine realities. In truth, we do not need to do anything to make God pay attention to us. Everything is based on universal law. All we have to tend to is ourselves.
It is true that as long as we are mind-dominated, our inner world will be out-of-sync with the Divine life force, and that force will not be able to come in. We will effectually keep it at bay and negate its power in our lives. That is why a mind-dominated life tends toward isolation and despair. For, not only does this inharmonious order cut us off from God, it also cuts us off from each other and from every other created life form. Clearly, a mind-oriented life is a blighted one, no matter how much our ego tries to convince us otherwise.
We were created to partner with the Divine — to be active participants in the Divine dance. But our obsessive mind-orientation has robbed us of that rightful inheritance. That is why things are so out-of-whack in the human arena right now. What we are seeing on the world scene today is simply the product of thousands of years of mind-dominance.
There is good news however. There are many indications that the evolutionary plateau of our species’ mind-dominance is beginning to give way and erode. All over the globe, spiritually conscious individuals and communities are rising up and shining forth. Many people are earnestly undertaking the task of bringing their inner world into harmonious alignment with God and the created universe. At long last, human evolutionary impulses are kicking back in and moving us forward. Mind-dominance has acted like a dam, holding back these waters. But spiritual practice in our day is bringing about their release.