Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mind and Spirit

Leonardo da Vinci - geometric and botanical figures

Everywhere around us in our human world – even within the same person – we see the interplay between the mind and the spirit. It is a constant dance between the ego, which demands attention, which creates the world of forms, and the spirit, which seeks rest and stillness, which yearns for the divine at the centre around which all forms circle. We tend to think of the mind as masculine, and the spirit as feminine, and to a large extent this generalization holds true. The masculine Mind quests after the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ in life, while the feminine Spirit strives to reconcile. Simply put: men (the Mind) ‘do’ and women (the Spirit) ‘are’.

But as often as not (and as we well know!) things are not in balance. The strident ego-Mind struts around. Subjugation is what it is really after. The Mind seeks to impose itself on things, because really it is rather insecure, and all that strutting around is just a way of disguising its own insecurity from itself – perhaps because in its innermost self, Mind knows that it is largely illusion, and that those many separate forms only exist because it thinks them. It needs the soothing touch of Spirit to reassure it that all is well.

And Spirit can fall out of balance as well: if Spirit listens too much to Mind, then it too can begin to feel insecure. If Mind tells Spirit such negative things as ‘Without me you are nothing’, or ‘You are no good’ or ‘You are not worth it’ often enough, then as night follows day Spirit will start to believe it. We can all recognize such situations, both in those we know, and within ourselves.

But also in the world around us, and which we all share, when Mind asserts itself too much and dominates Spirit, then we see our world as it is now: aggressive, dominating, always greedy for more of whatever it decides that it needs or must have, for reasons of status, wealth – or yet more dominance, perhaps in the form of political victory, or disputes over territory, or for some other reason which the ego demands of itself and of others.

So when either Mind or Spirit is out of balance, the other suffers. In our present world it is so tragically clear that Mind has dragged Spirit out of balance. For too long – literally for millennia – in so many spheres of human endeavour, Mind has demanded of Spirit that it play a subservient, submissive role, whether that has been in politics, in religion, or even at time in the arts. Recognition of this state of affairs is the first step to putting things back into balance. But the objective is not for Spirit now to ‘take its turn at the wheel’, for that would only turn Spirit into Mind. The objective is for Spirit and Mind to stand in their own right, to seek a balance with each other, and for each to recognize the value of the other, and what each can truly offer the other.

This process can begin inside each of us. That we each become, as it were, a little bit androgynous in the purest sense of the term. That we each seek the balance within ourselves. That we become both acting, ‘doing’ individuals, and still listen to our inner guide, the wise voice of our own spirit. Then the world around us will follow us, and change with us. 


1 comment:

  1. This blog touches upon the balance between Mind and Spirit and brings awareness regarding the pitfalls of overemphasizing the "Mind" at the expense of “Spirit.” I feel this message is timely and important especially in our Western society where much value is placed on being very rational and logical.
    The power of the mind, however, comes from Spirit. The mind bestowed by Spirit is an incredible instrument. The greatest benefit is when it is used in alignment, in harmony, with Spirit.

    What is Spirit? It is "being" and as Emma points out it is who we truly "are." It cannot be understood rationally as it is not a concept or a thought. So it has many names but no name nor any definition can suffice for once it is so labelled or understood it becomes a concept. The truth of Spirit can be found within us. It may be expressed as feminine or masculine, or both as it is within both, but neither defines it. Spirit transcends all form. It is that which precedes form, and that which all forms dissolve into.
    It is the totality of all that is. It encompasses all things including the universe, and yet it is the closest thing to us. Sometimes I call it "pure consciousness."

    How can we know more of Spirit? Since Spirit is who we truly are we do not need to find it - it is already there. It is the Self, and we can become more self-aware by inner stillness. "Be ye still and know I am God." I'm not sure if that is the correct wording from the Bible but it is something like that! Stillness does not mean physical motionlessness, but involves a letting go everything that is covering up the Spirit within, including all our thoughts, our desires, and all our assumptions. We cannot force stillness - we can allow the stillness to be by placing our attention fully in the here and now. Stillness arises as become aware of that which is there before thought and before form. It is not found by thinking as the act of thinking involves the dimension of time - of past and future. Spirit is timeless. It is always found in the eternal present.

    So in our modern age I think it would be of great benefit for us to consider and value Spirit. Not to make it important in the sense of religion or dogma but in the sense of discovering the inner truth of who we are, and that there is something of great value beyond the physical world of form that is the source of true knowing and the repository of inner peace, love and joy.