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Higher MindWhen you speak of yourself, to which you are you referring? Is it your body, your mind, a combination of the two, or a mix of many things? A physicalist might say it is your unique nerve bundles and pathways, how you developed relative to your environment, and how you perceive sense data that makes you you. John Locke, the English philosopher, believed you were a collection of your memories of your experiences. That sounds reasonable…until you consider amnesia. Although rare, cases of thirty-year amnesiacs regaining their memory do occur. Were they not themselves for thirty years? If not, who were they?

These questions bring us back to the subject of dualism and monism. Self-identity is one of those topics that require a conception of what might be the source of “I”. Remember, physicalists believe that everything in the universe is ultimately made of matter; everything is reducible to a physical process, even what we call mind. Memory is brain function, nothing more. As are behavior, emotion, and cognitive tasks, like computations, planning, and decision-making. But what about the more abstract processes we attribute to mind, things like belief, meaning and values – are these also neuro-chemical processes? Where are these processes carried out; what is their mechanism? To date, there is no evidence of a central region of consciousness in the body, or elsewhere for that matter. Rene Descartes believed that the central region of consciousness was nowhere at all. That’s something to ponder.

It is true that we can attribute many mental processes to neurological function. Take vision, for example. Light reflecting off objects enters the eye through the transparent covering called the cornea, is focused by the lens and projected onto the retina. The retina is a transducer which converts the light into neuronal signals, which then travel to the brain via the optic nerve (cranial nerve II). Vision is only one way in which we perceive the external world; another is sound, another touch, another taste, and even another is smell. So we take in a number of sensory stimuli and produce a complex picture of the world around us. But is this everything there is to perception?

Higher MindOften when we discuss perception we refer to meaning. It is not enough to sense the world around us; we also apply meaning to everything we experience. Meaning is a complex attribute that receives input from beliefs, values, memories and emotions. Is this also reducible to physical processes? What about belief – is there a brain function we can call the Santa Claus belief process, which could explain the belief in Santa Claus in all children who do so? For us to determine that indeed a brain process is responsible for this belief, we would have to see the same process in most, if not all, Santa Claus believers. And values – those elements of us which drive our decisions, actions, and behaviors – which brain functions create them?

Conundrums like these make it difficult to imagine that all mental processes have physical foundations. I believe we can safely say that any mental function which is clearly attributable to a brain state, like simple sensory perception (or speech recognition, word formation, and impulse-control), would be a brain function. We can call them functions of lower mind. This designation is not intended to make a value judgment on importance or value, but instead to delineate between the tangible, material, and objective processes that we can observe and record from the abstract, intangible, subjective processes which we cannot, but which seem to exist if even just by illusion. The latter processes we can call functions of higher mind.

Higher MindHigher minded processes cannot be observed or recorded. The perception, or meaning, of these processes can be discussed on an individual basis, making them subjective, but we see no observable brain states associated with them. I have already provided the example of belief. What about perception itself? Sense-perception is only one element of experience-perception. How we process an experience requires a number of inputs. But more importantly, we can change our perspective and thus change the subjective meaning of an event, person or thing without any observable change in brain state. It is as if something else must be responsible for these functions.

Former Professor Emeritus of Physiological Science at UCLA, Valerie V. Hunt, a thirty-five year professor of kinesiology and researcher on movement behavior, body image, and neuromuscular organization of human movement, also dedicated much of her life to the study the mind as an energy field and its influence upon human consciousness and behavior. In her book, Infinite Mind: Science of the Human Vibrations of ConsciousnessInfinite Mind, Science of the Human Vibration of Consciousness, she explains higher mind in great detail.

There are growing neurological observations showing that electrical stimulation of the anticipated brain regions did not activate what was considered to be the higher mind. There is no neurophysiological research which conclusively shows that the higher levels of mind are located in brain tissue. Although some level of awareness occurs in the brain, higher levels of consciousness have not been found there. Consciousness appears to be on a continuum from material to non-material reality in which the mind is always involved, sensing, non-material happenings primarily, while the brain taps the material ones. People can remember what happened when the brain was dormant or asleep under anesthetic. Penfield found that during medical anesthesia the human mind continued to work and remember in spite of the brain’s inactivity. Acute awareness also occurred for comatose patients. It is the mind which experiences, and it is the brain which records the ‘experience’. The mind is independent and contains the will of man. The mind is the stream of consciousness. Neurotransmitters are not to be misconstrued as the source of higher mind function. The higher level of mind seems to be outside the domain of material reality as we have been able to measure it. The mind is more a field reality, a quantum reality or a particle reality. The mind is unique from the brain. The mind experiences non-physical reality. Einstein stated that the only reality is that of energy organized into fields. The mind is a field. The long undetectable energy of the human mind springs from the electron energy of the body’s atoms. The mind field is a superconductor. The mind energy is recycled in the environment. Electromagnetic energy waves or fields constitute information and describe the mind. The mind is infinite. It can be everywhere. It could be here or there simultaneously. It is embedded in a larger mind of the planetary ecosystem. Tumors or poor circulation do not affect higher levels of consciousness, only the lower minded levels. Abstract experiences and thought do not rely on the function of sensory nerves.

Higher MindCan you now see why these issues of mind, body, and self-identity have confounded thinkers for centuries? What is responsible for our higher-minded functions? Is it a part of the “me” and “you,” or is it something distinct? And what exactly is responsible for our thoughts, desires, fears, ambitions, sympathies and compassions? Is this something, this higher mind, in complete control of the physical and lower minded us, making us a form of “God-puppets,” or is higher mind accessible to us? I happen to believe our higher minds are individuated, accessible parts of us. Professor Hunt could be correct that higher mind is an energy field. Or Descartes might be correct that higher mind is nowhere at all to be found, and certain elements of Taoism might even support this notion. But it can hardly be argued that higher mind is separate from us, as higher mind clearly necessitates individuation to account for the varied personalities, subjectivities, and perceptions of “I” in the world.

How do we access higher mind? And what does it mean precisely to access higher mind? I will save these questions for another post, but I will say that if higher mind is what we, in fact, call our higher-minded, abstract mental functions, then it would most certainly have influence on our decisions, creativity, innovation, inspiration, art and music, mathematics, technology and philosophical understanding. Anybody wishing to enhance any or all of these areas would certainly care about, and welcome, accessing their higher minds. I have been teaching courses and providing individual consulting on ways to access higher mind to enhance one’s life experience. If you would love more information, please contact me.

Mind-Body ConsciousnessFrom where do your thoughts come? Have you ever considered it? What makes you see the color red; what makes you distinguish one shade of red from another, and how would you describe it to a person who doesn’t? What is responsible for your palate? If you have no taste for fish, does your friend who loves it taste something different, or do you taste the same thing but you just don’t like it? Why have people different political opinions – isn’t doing the right thing simply common sense? Or different musical tastes, clothing, what people find attractive in others, and so on? This is the realm of the mind-body problem, which seeks to answer whether we are purely physical beings, purely mental, some combination of the two, or something else entirely. This question has existed in some form dating back to ancient Vedic philosophy; the Buddha discussed it, as did Plato, Aristotle, Avicenna, and of course most famously, Rene Descartes.

Descartes believed that the mind and the body were separate things. The body being part of the material world is in the realm of physical matter. The mind, on the other hand, belongs to the non-physical mental realm – the realm of thoughts, beliefs, sensations, and the soul. Both body and mind, according to Descartes, were separate entities acting on one another. His philosophy today is called Dualism and it considers mind and body to be distinct yet closely joined. In other words, even though they are different fundamentally, mind and body do act on one another.

So what do you think – is there a real distinction between mind and body? Can you touch your ideas or beliefs? Can you change your body – your skin color, how much insulin you produce, how curly or straight your hair – the way you change your mind? And if mind and body are different, how do they act on one another. What is the mechanism of thought to action, like getting up to go to the bathroom? Where in the brain does it happen? And how can you and I share essentially the same machinery – same neurons, same neurotransmitters, same physiology – yet have totally different tastes, perceptions, and experiences? This is a problem for Dualism, in fact, it is known as the hard problem of consciousness.

The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (Philosophy of Mind)

Mind-Body ConsciousnessDualism, like all things, has an opposition. Monism believes that there is only one primary substance, all else derives from it. Now before you think it’s as simple as that – Dualism, two substances; Monism, one primary substance – understand there are different views on which substance is primary. Physicalists (or materialists, remember these folk?) believe that the primary substance is physical – that is, everything can be reduced to physical matter. To the physicalist, brain and mind are one and the same. What we consider the workings of the mind are simply neurochemical processes of the brain, and although we do not know exactly which processes lead to subjective experience (the hard problem), or where to find them, a physicalist believes we will ultimately come to know them, and when we do, very likely we will find that consciousness is reducible to a physical process.

Another type of Monism is called Idealism, which believes that the primary substance is mental, and matter can only exist to the extent that it is perceived by the mind. Even time and space only exist in the mind, according to idealists. Idealism, derived from the Latin and Greek “idea,” is the belief that all things owe their existence to the mind, for without consciousness how could anything be perceived at all.

Neutral monism is yet another type of primary substance belief, which see both physical and mental as part of the same unique, distinct stuff. A sub-group of monism is Dialectic Monism, also known as Dualistic Monism, which states that reality is ultimately a unified whole, but expressed in dualities of complementary polarities, which, while opposed in the realm of experience and perception, actually exist together as inseparable pairs.

So how would these potential realities impact your life? What would they imply about the unfolding of your experience? What would be the implications for your health, your wealth, or your success or failure in any area of your life? We know the mind acts on the body and vice versa. We know that lack of sleep can severely diminish mental acuity, that healing is affected by our outlook, and that placebos work. We are told by accomplished people that “success” and “wealth” are nothing more than states of mind. So, clearly, Descartes was right that the mind and body are intimately tied – there is simply no denying their dual existence.

And from where do our thoughts come? Are they simply neurochemical processes? How are we such vastly different people, not in our machinery, but in our input-output, in our immaterial minds? Our wiring, or neural pathways, is certainly one piece of the puzzle, but what determines that? Why aren’t twins exactly the same? Can DNA account for the parts of us that we can barely understand in and of themselves, like consciousness for example? What about purely subjective thoughts like who we find attractive, or what ice cream flavor we like, or our political leanings? What about our values – that which drives our perceptions, behaviors and actions? Can all this be explained by neurology, biochemistry, and genetics?

It is, of course, possible that the infinite complexities of the mind are reducible to purely physical processes. It is also hard to refute the Idealist argument that nothing exists outside of consciousness, for perception is indeed somethingness (Descartes was right again). So it is possible, as well, for consciousness to be the primary substance, of which our thoughts would be principal, and so perhaps it would be more appropriate under these conditions to ask from where come our bodies.

Mind-Body ConsciousnessBut finally, it opens the possibility of mind and body to exist as polarities of emergent properties from a more primary substance. Many philosophies including Advaita Vedanta and Taoism are monist, with even the monotheistic religions having strong elements of monism. One cosmology I find interesting is that of the Neo-Platonist, Plotinus. In his metaphysics, all things in existence emanate from The One, the primary substance. As the self-caused creator of being, The One outwardly emanates the Nous (intelligence), which then outwardly emanates the Souls, the principle desire for external objects, which then outwardly emanate the Forms (matter).

The mind-body problem has engaged our greatest thinkers for millennia, and I do not foresee the debate being solved anytime soon. I have presented this article to you as an opening to ponder questions, which I believe, can help you live your best life. Believe it or not, these age-old questions underlie our most basic belief systems, and thus the way we perceive the world and ourselves. Seriously, think about the questions I have posed – think about them rigorously, and think about them lightly; toss the ideas around with your friends. I assure you the more you think on the subject, the more your mind will open to ideas which only you can have. Whether because of genetics or a cosmic emanater, you will see your mind stretch to new dimensions with these meditations.

Prepare Your Spirit House (Copy)Religion and spirituality are two very different things. One is an organized set of rules by which to live cohesively with one’s fellow humans, while the other is a faith-based belief in a metaphysical reality which transcends the physical universe; and we can tap into this reality to come to know, understand and influence our roles within the matrix. Religion and spirituality are interdependent to a degree, but every individual can believe in – and thus operate within – one, the other, both, or neither. Depending on your viewpoint, your approach to life, particularly with regard to the unknown, is greatly influenced by your metaphysical beliefs.

I know people who believe our current quarantine (more accurately lockdown) is simply a dress rehearsal for what’s to come. This notion has a very distinct possibility. Apparent to many is that politics has been playing a major role in the lockdown: it can no longer be solely about a virus at this point when the numbers fail to support a continued lockdown. So I agree with the possibility of this being a precursor to a more disrupting event. I will not make any predictions here, but it will allow me the opportunity to discuss how to keep your mind and heart on the right track to navigate whatever unexpected happenings may ultimately come your way. One thing I am certain everyone can agree on is that we are in a very different world today than we were a few short months ago. And making sense of this new abnormal will require some thought and an ability to put things into proper perspective. A friend of mine has said that, along with getting your physical house in order (in the event of another long lockdown), wisdom would be in getting your Spiritual House in order as well.

Natural OrderFirst let me discuss things from an atheist’s perspective. Atheists believe that no metaphysical “power,” like God, exists. An atheist may or may not be a dualist – that is, have a belief in another realm, mind for instance, or spirit. An atheist may or may not be a physicalist either: one who believes solely in the physical universe. To the physicalist, mind or consciousness is merely an illusionary consequence of physical activity. While the atheist does not require faith in a metaphysical power, one may still have faith in the natural order of things, and by extension, a natural dynamism: as living beings, we create unseen forces which move world-wide events in space and time. This dynamic alone may be enough for the atheist to connect to what I am proposing.

Getting one’s Spiritual House in order might be for an atheist semantically unnecessary, as it may be enough for an atheist to simply keep a calm, cool head. What better than to direct one’s rational action with a clear mind? I would most definitively agree with this approach to facing the unknown; to me it is a valid strategy to simply balance the mind. But to do so successfully, one must be aware of all the looming potentialities. Create a game plan as to how you might approach each possible outcome (either good or bad). It will be imperative to first neutralize any emotionality you have surrounding each potential outcome. For example, if another lockdown could occur, it would be wise to list the ways in which this current lockdown has benefited you and others, but also how it has been detrimental. This will allow you to see how we adapt to every situation. What was life like before the lockdown? How has it changed since? List the ways in which things were previously detrimental to you. Do the same for how it served you. Make sure your lists are equal in number: keep things balanced, even if you have to dig into the depths of your mind for some time. Don’t give up. Do it for every potential pitfall you can think of: martial law, riots, or an even worse illness. This will help you face anything that might arise in the future.

ReligionReligion is the practice of living by an organized set of rules which will allow you to live cohesively with one another. Religion is a way of existing, a way of living. What we call morals typically derives from religion, as a set of principles by which to act, think, and believe. Many religious people are spiritual; however, spirituality is not absolute. Some people are raised within a religion, and may practice certain customs and rituals, but some may do so merely by rote or habit. Some historians have suggested that religion was a great way to control the masses, but things may not be as sinister as they sound. Religion is the foundation of many people’s morals, and it is by morals that people keep themselves in control. Some have suggested that society’s shift away from religion is the primary cause of what appears like increased chaos, although this point is debatable. I would argue, though, that religion is what has gotten many generations through their toughest times. Having a moral foundation, particularly when it is aligned with spirituality, can be enormously powerful for staying centered during crises, and keeping the faith to carry on. For the religious person, praying for awareness, guidance, and adaptability would be a worthwhile endeavor. And giving praise for what you have will bring your heart into alignment with the perfection of God.

Spirituality, as I have said, is a belief in something more than the mere physical. It is faith that a greater power exists, one to which the mind and heart can open, and thus bring awareness, guidance, and adaptation which every human craves. Spiritualists understand that everything exists in perfect, divine order; and as an integral part of this order, the individuated spirit-soul is also part of the future. We have a role to play in the dynamics of the matrix, so to trust in the universal order will bring the greatest sense of inner peace.

Spiritual HouseGetting one’s Spiritual House in order, then, is to connect to these greater truths and deeper realities. It does not matter your personal philosophy: when you balance your mind, neutralize your emotions, pray and give praise, and have faith in a divine order, then there is nothing you cannot conquer. Every crisis is surmountable when taking the wise actions I’ve laid out here. Some have even reported feeling divinely guided as they passed through their toughest times. To get your Spiritual House in order is to connect or reconnect with truth – you are a part of the grand divine organization. Whether that be God, nature, or some other force, it can only help you to align with it, even if just in thought. I promise that by getting your Spiritual House in order, you will be prepared for whatever awaits you, both pleasant and unpleasant, in the future unknown.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved.