Intellect, Will and Mind

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From lecture 104, INTELLECT AND WILL AS TOOLS OR HINDRANCES OF SELF-REALIZATION:

Understanding yourself means finding your real self. We have discussed from various angles what this real self is. You may have noticed that I often change terms. When one uses the same word over and over — be it “image,” “real self,” or whatever else — the meaning behind the word gets lost; it becomes dead. The moment it becomes a label, you repeat the word without really understanding what you are talking about. Meaning is alive, it is forever a fresh, spontaneous experience, and you have to guard yourself against losing it. Therefore it is sometimes advisable to use an expression that challenges you to try to reexperience the meaning behind the word. Whenever you cannot recapture the inner meaning and the living experience of an expression, be aware of it. Awareness counts so much.

Forgetting the living meaning of a word is a good example of what happens between the real self and the superficial layers of your personality. When you experience the living spirit of a term, it is your real self that does so. The unfeeling repetition of a word is done by your intellect. Memory is the will to recapture what was once experienced. When the recapturing is done simply by the will, the meaning becomes lifeless. The experience has become a repetitive pattern, and your real self no longer functions.

Let us try to get a clearer understanding of how the real self comes into being and what obstructs its functioning. The obstruction is caused by the various layers of personality that are in confusion and error and by your lack of awareness that this is so. As you very well know, there is only one way to reach the real self, and that is by knowing yourself. When you know that there is confusion in you, you are more aware of yourself, and are therefore nearer to your real self, even before you know the solution to the problem.

You, in your world, are so conditioned to an overemphasis on thought process, intellect, mind, and willpower, that you believe you can somehow become yourself by a direct act of will, and by directly using your thought process to grow and develop spiritually. For example, you have learned that to be good and to love indicates spiritual development. So you try to be good and loving by controlling your thoughts, and by directing your willpower to be so. From all our previous work together you know by now that this is not possible. It amounts to wanting to be something that you are not.

Your real self cannot be governed by will or by force. It is a direct manifestation, not of thought and will, but of a spontaneous, creative experience that comes into being unbidden, when least expected. This is very important to remember and to never keep out of sight. Unknowingly, unconsciously, undeliberately — and yet deliberately — you still hope and strive to have your real self manifest by acts of thought and of will, by indoctrinating yourself with concepts — in other words, by intellectual processes. This cannot succeed, my friends.

The question may arise, why then use intellect, thought, and will, in your arduous work on this path at all? The answer is that by using your mind and will in order to understand the confusion and error of your mind and your misdirected will and motivations, you indirectly bring about the birth of the real self.

Here is a brief overall explanation of the stages of spiritual development in this connection. The most primitive stage of development is a state of being without awareness. Animal life, plant life, mineral life are in a state of being without awareness, without self-consciousness. Primitive man was only little removed from this state. He had a brain, of course, but he was functioning mostly on instinct. Only slowly did the function of the brain, or the intellect, develop. From mineral life to primitive man, a slow ascendancy in awareness, intellect, and will can be noticed. The more this development proceeded, the less did the state of unconscious being exist, and the more it changed into a state of becoming.

The next stage is a state of becoming, in awareness. Here the human being is striving, using intellect and will, to survive in the material world. These faculties are needed to cope with the world of matter. Thought and outer will are of matter and are to be used to overcome matter; they cannot be used to get into a state of being, which is not of matter. They can be used, but only to remove the surplus action of thought and outer will through which error and confusion were created. They can be used to deal with their kind of psychic material. If thought and will overproduce and thereby create an obstruction to the state of being, then thought and will must be used to deal with their own production, and never with the state of being — the real you. This means first understanding yourself rather than hoping to bring out the real self by a direct act of will and thought.

The highest stage of development is the state of being, in awareness. This does not manifest suddenly, after you shed your physical body, but it can be experienced occasionally, and increasingly so, while you are still in the body. Such experiences depend on how you use the faculties which have bred confusion and suffering and avoid using them for what, by nature, they were not destined.

Humanity now finds itself in the middle stage. It is the state of becoming, in awareness. But within this category, there are many different stages and degrees. Let us make an arbitrary division for the sake of clarity. In the first half of this cycle, it is important to cultivate and develop intellect, memory, discrimination, and willpower. Without these qualities, as I said, matter could not be mastered. Human beings need to learn, they need their memory, and they need intelligence in order to cope with life. They also need their will to overcome their raw, animalistic, destructive instincts that had slumbered in the state of being in unawareness. Without will and intelligence they could not discriminate and refrain from acting in ways harmful to others and to themselves. In other words, their actions are governed by thought, intellect, and will.

But in the second half of this cycle, people have fully mastered this stage. They are supposed to approach the threshold of the state of being, in awareness. They often realize that they want something more than a life of material satisfactions. Religious philosophies tell them in various terms about a higher state. They not only wish for this higher state because they are unhappy, or because they have heard about it, but also because something deep within urges them toward a new way of life. Yet they erroneously try to use the same tools they needed for material life to enter into the spiritual life. And this does not work. When they attempt to reach the higher form of being by using the tools of intellect, thought process, or willpower, they construct what we call images of themselves as they should be, and images of life according to their limited past experiences.

Again and again we have discussed this entire condition: repression, self-deception, non-acceptance of who you really are, as opposed to who you want to be. All the products of thought process and of exerting the will prove only that these faculties cannot directly bring freedom and spiritual growth. When used wrongly, thought and willpower create confusion and suffering. When you consider what an image is, you will see that you have used a superimposed standard to cover up what you really feel, what you really are. In your striving to be something more or better, or to attain something more or better, you no longer accept who you are and what you feel. Both thought and willpower belong in the category of becoming, but are often used wrongly, in the sense of leading away from yourself, from what you are and have now. The harmonious state of being can come about only by accepting your state as it happens to be now, even though it is still disharmonious. Such acceptance allows you to go about trying to understand yourself and thereby grow out of this state. You can never struggle out of the state of becoming by covering up what you happen to be now. If you insist on trying, the result will illustrate how the tools of intellect and will can be destructive when not used for their proper purpose, as is the general way in your world.

Thought and will are temporary tools to give directive to your outer actions and intent. They can and should be used for your physical life, for outer actions, for deciding to know the truth about yourself. But they cannot be used for spirituality. Spirituality is, above all things, love, with all its derivatives. You know very well you cannot love by forcing yourself. You may believe you do, when in reality you do not, but that does not mean you love. Love can only come into being when you remove your errors, your confusions, your preconceived ideas, and your dependency on the opinions of others. These obstacles can be removed only by fully understanding them. Then love comes into being by itself, just as the real self comes into being by itself.

You cannot make up your mind to be a good person, to love, and have compassion or humility. But you can make up your mind to find out what causes you not to be all that and so to remove what prevents you from being a good and loving person and what stands between you and a full life, of being your real self.

Can you now perhaps understand a little better why thought process, intellect, mind, and will obstruct the birth of the real self, of love, of all the qualities that are called spiritual? All this happens by itself, as a result of knowing and understanding yourself. Thought and will can only produce thought and will, they cannot produce something that has nothing to do with them. Love, transcendent understanding, and all other qualities of the real self, have nothing to do with thought and will.

Anyone who has gone through a creative process will readily admit that genuine creation is not determined by an act of will or by a thought directed into the channel you think might bring forth such a creative experience. Creation comes unbidden and is unexpected. When you expect it least, it is there. It is the same with the creative manifestation of the real self, a genuine feeling of love and profound understanding, as opposed to the superficial, intellectual feeling that merely recites and repeats — either other people’s teachings or one’s own previous genuine experiences.

Superimpositions hide the real self. This is obvious. Superimpositions occur because mind and will take them on. Without the mind to decide and the will to go through with it, no superimpositions could occur. You superimpose because you strive for happiness, for recognition, even in the very process of spiritual development. The state of becoming is striving. If one is not in a state of becoming, there is no striving, therefore there is no danger of confusion and suffering.

Take the lowest stage of development, mineral life. It has the least awareness, will, and the very least of mind. There is no misery. In the state of being there is no misery. Misery, however, will exist as you grow into the state of being in awareness, unless you have learned to go through the state of becoming by first using mind, intellect, thought, and will in an organic way. When, however, you have used your mind and will in an inorganic, unnatural way, it becomes necessary to remove that surplus of mental and voluntary activity that has caused the misuse of these faculties. One cannot say that mind, intellect, and will cause suffering and misery, but using them when they should not be used does have that effect. Your mind is responsible for all the images, wrong conclusions, petrifications, generalizations, and all that is crippling in you. So you have to use the mind, the same instrument, to remove these conditions. This can be done only by understanding fully and deeply, not just superficially, how these false structures came into being.

There are many religious systems which realize the danger of the mind. They try to eliminate mind and will functioning, but this cannot work. Do not accept my word for it, my dear ones. I always ask you not to do that. But think about it and you will see for yourself that this is so. When you artificially cut out the mind by exercise and discipline, what happens? You repress what still exists in you, and when confronted with a crisis to which you cannot apply these exercises, what was repressed reappears on the surface. So it is only a question of how successfully you can keep out of sight what still exists. Therefore, any exercise of cutting out the mind by cutting out thoughts, emotions, or attitudes that are not to your liking is artificial and can never bring genuine liberation. A person aiming at liberation does not have to fear negative circumstances. There is no need to use discipline or any exercises, for what is not there does not have to be manipulated. This is simple logic. The only way to dissolve the undesirable is to understand it, to know it, and to own up to it.

Please do not think I propose to dissolve the mind altogether. Without it you would become an imbecile. As long as you live in this world, you need the mind. Dissolve its negative use in areas of your being where the mind is a hindrance and a direct cause of your misery and confusion, where it prevents the creative process of your real self. Many of my friends have experienced this manifestation, not only in creative art, but also when a profound thought or feeling of love, or a new way of approaching life, have sprung from a deep source within. These motions come from another area; when you observe them you will see that it is as though you had another brain, another seat of feeling and reacting, within yourself. At the beginning, it does not happen often, but its manifestation will increase in frequency and duration as you understand yourself more thoroughly. Do not try to reproduce them artificially and voluntarily. It will not work. The moment you try to do that, you again use the tools of mind and will in an area where they cannot be successful and functional.

Of these two areas of thought, meaning the superficial intellect and the real self, the intellect can be directed, manipulated, and governed by the will; the real self cannot. The real self is much more intelligent, much more certain, and much more reliable. It is always constructive. You never even have to make a choice. It just is there as the one and only truth, without any question or doubt. Questions and doubts are part of the superficial intellect. But the real self is the product, the result that is being born in you through your understanding and accepting yourself as you happen to be now. As you accept the reality of your actual state now, the real self can manifest.

An intrinsic quality of the real self is that it reacts in forever new ways to each experience and aspect of life. It is never governed by the past. Therefore, its way of experiencing life is as poignant as a child’s. But when your impressionable mind has made an image out of an experience, has petrified this onetime experience into a general rule and law, then your present and future ability to experience the new is limited by its tie to the past experience. The freshness goes out of it, and often even the truth, because the present has, in reality, no resemblance to the past, or would not have any if you did not mold it according to your image.

Perhaps you will now understand better what we have examined and worked on all this time. The only way to dissolve past experiences which are deeply imprinted on your conscious or unconscious mind, and to free yourself of the mind’s limiting and erroneous structures, is to become aware of them, look at them, and understand them in their full scope and depth. This can be done only if you are truly willing to face yourself in absolute candor, and dispense with any hankering after what you should be, as opposed to what you are. I repeat: this cannot be done if you moralize with yourself. Constant self-moralizing, which often happens in subtle, devious, hidden ways, keeps you from understanding that which causes misery in your life. The misery is always self-produced; it never comes from outside, no matter how much it may appear so on the surface.

Often, people are basically ready to enter the second half of the cycle, approaching the threshold of the state of being in awareness, yet they oppose the organic growth into it by artificially holding on to an overemphasis on the mind, intellect, and the outer will. They believe that they can attain growth and experience the real self by curbing the will, by manipulating thought, by disciplining emotions. When they achieve a temporary state of precarious peace, they easily believe that they are on the right road. But when their smoldering inner reality disrupts this false peace, they despair.

If only you would let go of trying to live up to ideals that you are inwardly not yet ready for, you would not misuse the tools of intellect and will, creating more obstructions. If only you could attribute lesser importance to the concepts than to what you really feel, you would not obscure the jewel of the real self. You all hold on to these tools because you feel unsafe without them. You do not trust yourself to be without rules, laws, concepts, and ideals from outside. Without the knowledge of what is right and good, you unconsciously think that you cannot let go of superimposed standards, ignoring the fact that if only you looked at yourself as you really are, you would have nothing to fear. In order to do so, you would have to see first that the superimpositions do exist; and, second, determine why they exist. You then would come to see that the need for security plays a role here. But holding on to security cannot bring the real self into being. If you follow this procedure step by step, you will not obstruct the growth that you are inherently ready for.

Do not try to cut out by force the overemphasis on the outer intellect and will. Use them rather to see and understand what is in you, and accept yourself without moralizing. Do not ignore these tools, but use them to indirectly bring about the constant renewal and regeneration process, the direct experience of creative spontaneity that only the real self can give.

What you find within yourself may very well be the same as the superimposed standards you adopt from the outside. Yet there is a world of difference between the two. Only what comes genuinely out of yourself is of value. You cannot find what is genuinely within you, behind all the destructive patterns and images, if you are not ready to dispense with the superimposed, intellectualized concepts, and thus look at yourself naked. No matter how true a concept may have once been for the person who has experienced it, the authenticity of the experience gets lost when thoughts and actions are repeated mechanically.

QUESTION: I was under the impression that the mind is the builder, but according to what you say, it seems to me that the emotions are the builders. Am I correct?

ANSWER: Both are builders. Both can be builders for something constructive or destructive. If they are used for something they are not organically designed for, then they will be destructive. If the mind wants to build a spiritual state, hiding the actual emotions, it is destructive. If the mind builds on what it finds out about its own distortions, it will be constructive. Emotions of which you are aware, even if negative, cannot build anything destructive. But unconscious negative emotions are bound to build destructive results. Positive emotions build constructive results. If the mind is used for building material things, it is constructive, because this is what the mind is for. You need the mind to form the intent to remove what it has built up negatively. There is no strict borderline between mind and emotion. They intermingle. Both thought and emotions can be of the mind. Another region of your being — the real self — produces a different kind of thought and a different kind of feeling.

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