The principle of mentalism is conveyed in the hermetic axiom ‘all is mind’. This is a fundamental and mystical law that every initiate of the ancient Egyptian temples had to both practice and realise in order to fully grasp the profundities of our existence, engage in deeper contemplation of reality, and to ultimately arrive at a greater understanding and mastery of the laws that govern our lives.
The hermetic principle - all is mind - reminds us that our entire existence is but a manifest thought form of the supreme absolute deity, and likewise, as we humans too are emanations of the one supreme cause, our thoughts create our reality and are able to change our physical circumstances on earth. Due to the creative and destructive nature of our thoughts and mental images, we are placed in a position that differs from other dwellers of the animal kingdom. For humans are possessed with the ability to alter our physical circumstances to a great degree, either for our betterment and the betterment of others, or for means that serve in the degradation of ourselves and our environment. Therefore, we must learn how to think constructively and observe our thoughts attentively, so that we may begin the process of transmutation. Such is the reason why one hermetic master wrote long ago that: ‘He who grasps the truth of the mental nature of the universe is well advanced on the path of mastery’. Regarding this, the Russian novelist and philosopher - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, wrote in his book titled: Demons: ‘If you want to overcome the world, overcome yourself’.
All change of our external circumstances must start from the sanctum of our inner world, which encapsulates the Self. From the vastness of the inner world, our physical landscape is emanated, being entirely subjective to the landscape of our inner terrain. An example of this is found simply in the perception and perspectives of mystics, who have developed the skills to see the world in a much more profoundly interconnected way than that of the layman.
The process of mastery of the principle ‘all is mind’ begins with the mental imagery that is fashioned in our mind, for these mental images - constructed by our creative imagination- form the seeds that will eventually sprout our reality on all levels, from the cells in our body, to our external environment. Thus, considering this, the correct use of our imagination is our key to the mystical world and our key to living a far more enriched life on the physical, emotional, mental, soulful, and spiritual plains. The extent of our ability to create reaches much further than most of us realise; it extends from our ability to perfect our bodies, minds and souls; and our ability to effect and perfect our immediate surroundings in the external world. All of these abilities ultimately start with our thoughts, and the images we visualise in our minds, thus acting out the first hermetic law of ‘all is mind’.
From Tratado de Astrologia y Magia by Alfonso X el Sabio, c. 1300. Vatican Library
To the Hermetic philosophers, the law of 'all is mind' was a reminder that the entire cosmos is comprised in the divine mind of Deity. Every expression, every happening, be it physical or metaphysical, is a thought-form of God, deity, the universe, or whatever you may know it as. Every planet, human, animal, plant, and mineral exists in the workings of the great superconscious mind, first as a seed in the unmanifest universe, then, by the power of divine will, that seed thought-form is brought forth into the manifest universe, from the logos to the physical embodiment. Our idea of separation and individuality is ultimately an illusion - a product of the growth and solidification of the lower, more corporeal egoic nature, that has developed it's shell along with the gradual descent of consciousness into the grosser materialistic realm that our five physical senses perceive. Considering this, we are all, on an energetic level, united. And we are all different expressions of the same cosmic life force; just as all mystical traditions and religions are but different expressions of the same truth, a truth which is ultimately unspeakable, but one we should all strive to experience to some degree or another while we live in this incarnation. Thus the teachings of the Brahmins of India, the Kabbalist’s of Chaldea and Israel, and the schools of the inner sanctum in the temples of Thebes in ancient Egypt, gave precise teachings to only the elect few who had proven worthy enough to receive the gnosis that they are indeed God incarnate. To the Brahmins and Yogis, this state of consciousness was, and still is called the ‘Godhead’, for it is the attainment of complete experiential knowledge of some aspect of God while still in the physical body. The latter experience is known as 'Jnana' in Sanskrit and is synonymous with the Greek word – ‘Gnosis’, and the Hebrew word ‘Da’ath’.
As has just been said, the word Jnana, Gnosis, or Da’ath, is a special type of knowledge that is granted only through direct experience and realisation of the divine or some aspect of the superconscious mind, through means of prolonged trance like states that are brought about by the use of intense concentration which result in an experience known in Sanskrit as - Samadhi. This experience is one of complete absorption in the desired point of focus while in meditation, thus leading to a complete silencing of the external senses and the wandering of the mind, thus leading to profound revelations and experiences of truth, that are best left undescribed, as they are ultimately indescribable. Other means used by the ancient mystery schools of the west to evoke gnosis from within the initiate, were the use of ritual dramas enacted out by the priests, priestesses and adepts of the temples. These techniques were employed to convey subtle suggestions toward the subconscious mind in a series of ecstatic plays, designed to cultivate and yield the latent wisdom that resides within the participating initiate. Sometimes, as was the case in the Festival of Eleusis in ancient Greece, psychoactive substances would be consumed to aid in the releasing of consciousness from the egoic nature, so that one may experience profound mystical visions and insights that were aroused by the ritual dramatic plays enacted out by the Hierophant and his disciples. These ecstatic, ritualistic plays were enacted out to cultivate an intense feeling of ecstasy and wonder, which eventually lead to the complete subjugation of the ego and the surrendering of the lower nature to that of the higher nature – the Higher Self, so the participants could receive what was considered, a truly divine revelation in the eyes of the Eleusinians.
These rituals for enticing gnosis into a person also frequently involved ritual orgies, and sexual magic so that those participating would be able to harness the freshly cultivated orgasmic energy, which is the life potency, and then by the power of their will, visualisation, mantra and breath work, this freshly cultivated energy would by manoeuvred up the spinal column, into the higher centres of consciousness that are located metaphysically in the brain. When this has been accomplished, an intense experience of orgasmic spiritual ecstasy entails, often times resulting in God-consciousness, or Christ consciousness, due to the enlivening and activation of the sacred Christos within the body. All these happenings are a direct product of the transmuted orgasmic sensations from the carnal orgasm of the reproductive organs to the celestial orgasm of the third eye and the crown chakra, which is nourished by the transmuted seminal or sexual fluids into its finer, more subtle energetic form which nourishes all of the mystical centres of perception within the metaphysical body.
The mind as we know it, is comprised of different aspects. Our basic mode of operation is found in our self-conscious awareness, which is the awareness that we operate in our waking state of consciousness. The functions of this mode of consciousness primarily concern problem-solving and activity within the world. Our second mode of consciousness is called sub-consciousness. This part of the mind never sleeps, even when the self-consciousness does so. It controls all of the automatic operations of the body, from breathing, blood circulation, the beating of the heart and the operations of the stomach. The subconscious mind is known in esotericism as the great cosmic waters, for it is here that every single event of our life is documented, from the very beginning of our existence to the continuation of life after we leave the body. In the deep waters of the sub-consciousness (or unconscious as Carl Jung called it), can be found keys to the mysteries of the self. And for those who truly seek, the subconsciousness is the gateway to the super-conscious mind of Deity. Ultimately the two dual aspects of the mind, the Self and subconsciousness, are interconnected on a fundamental level with the divine cosmic consciousness which is the intelligence of the universal Deity. Therefore each one of us IS a reflection of Deity or God; for, the self and sub-conscious minds are but extensions of the great cosmic mind of Deity. Therefore every action we make, whether bad or good, is fundamentally linked to an expression of Deity. Some actions may be committed for the betterment of the person. Some may be committed for the detriment of the person. But ultimately on the grand scale of things, all of these actions and choices are there for our teaching, our growth.
Because our sub-conscious mind is always active behind the scenes, it takes on the impressions given to it by our self-consciousness, which itself absorbs the influences of the external world. Thus, the sub-conscious mind begins to form patterns and structures based on the information it is fed by the assimilation of self-consciousness. This is how most of our deepest conditions come to be, like our habits, fears, and behavioural patterns. These conditions begin to be input into the mind from the day we are born, and slowly they weave the fabric of our personality and our life - from infancy all the way through to the shedding of the body. With this being said, the soul does contain characteristics unique to its composition and the experience it has cultivated in previous lives. But due to the amnesia cast upon it before incarnation, we largely forget most of the wisdom and knowledge acquired in previous lives. To the ancient Greeks, this state of amnesia was an immediate effect of drinking Lethe's water, a drought of forgetfulness, so that the soul may go through the necessary trials and tribulations of physical life that aid in the purification process of the soul and aid the universal Deity in its quest to experience itself. Considering this, it is therefore our goal to remember who we really are – Divine and Enlightened beings.
Artwork by Paul Lafoley Such is the path of Advaita Vedanta, the path of non-duality, a path of realising the true self and recovering our natural state of enlightenment. In philosophy and theological theory, especially in Buddhism, it is widely thought that the earthly life we lead is the direct karmic consequence of the deeds and doings of our previous lives. Those who have lived a pious life, dedicated to the cause of realisation, will often reincarnate on earth in better circumstances, allowing for an easier passage through the material realm, with greater awareness and more tools and opportunities to aid them on the quest of lifetimes – the path of Nirvana. To the souls that have lived more bestial and senseless lives, they will incarnate time and time again, often times being born into unfavourable circumstances, until they have suffered enough to undertake the task of perfecting the soul under the direction of the Self.
By Jachin Qeshot