Beyond Matter | The Kybalion #3

Written by on May 30, 2021

“But even many who are not so closely bound up with the

idea of personal raiment stick closely to the consciousness of

their bodies being their “Me.” They cannot conceive of a Self

independent of the body. Their mind seems to them to be

practically “a something belonging to” their body—which in

many cases it is indeed.”


In researching for my book on rational and pragmatic reasons to believe in the idea of a soul, I felt my identity shift from thinking of my body and brain as “Me” and began to realize that the mind, the thing that thinks, feels and experiences, is me, or is much closer to the true me, than the body. I always believed the mind was a product of the body and the brain, but the more I looked at backing that idea up, the more I saw that we have no good scientific or physical explanations for consciousness, the sense of self or our unified subjective experience. Our bodies are still a major part of who we are, but they are a part, not the whole. The body is like a filter that all our sensory data pours in through. We actually don’t directly experience things in the world. When you see a chair, your mind is not directly experiencing that chair, it is a secondary experience. What your mind is in direct experience of is the sensory data that is being sent from your eyes and other senses. Our mind then builds our perception out of all this sensory data. Each percept, compiling together to make up our perception, is able to be thought of as an object in awareness. It can be thought of as data, or a packet of information, which is what it is.


“But as man rises in the scale of consciousness he is able

to disentangle his “Me” from his idea of body, and is able to

think of his body as “belonging to” the mental part of him.

But even then he is very apt to identify the “Me” entirely with

the mental states, feelings, etc., which he feels to exist within

him. “


This was where I found myself next. I was identifying more with my mind than I was with my body. But this made me believe that my thoughts, feelings and experiences are what was fundamental. I studied Kabbalah, which helped me rise above the grip my emotions had on me. I became dominated by my thoughts after learning to rise above my feelings. Then I studied Zen and Taoism which helped me conquer or go beyond my dualistic thoughts and the intellectual side which arose to fill the vacuum and question “who am I?” They helped by showing how to switch the dualistic mind off. This leads to being able to rise above thoughts, feelings, desires, expectations, etc. When you can grab hold of that switch you are in a better place to observe your thoughts and feelings as objects, giving you the push you need to raise your identity beyond them both. Treating them all as more packets of information, or objects, entering into awareness. And if you are in direct view or experience of these thoughts, feelings and sensory data, then you realize that you are not the data itself, nor are you your thoughts or feelings, you are now able to begin identifying with that which is observing or experiencing these packets.


“He is very apt to consider these internal states as identical

with himself, instead of their being simply” things” produced

by some part of his mentality, and existing within him—of

him, and in him, but still not “himself.” He sees that he may

change these internal states of feelings by an effort of will, and

that he may produce a feeling or state of an exactly opposite

nature, in the same way, and yet the same “Me” exists.”


I enjoy this line because it shows how you cannot be your thoughts and or your states of mind, because you can go from one side of a mental spectrum to the other, from love to hate, fear to courage, happy to depressed, all the while the “you” or the “Me” persists. You are the thing which is traversing that spectrum.


“And so after a while he is able to set aside these various mental states,

emotions, feelings, habits, qualities, characteristics, and other

personal mental belongings—he is able to set them aside in the

“not‑me” collection of curiosities and encumbrances, as well as

valuable possessions. This requires much mental concentration

and power of mental analysis on the part of the student. But

still the task is possible for the advanced student, and even

those not so far advanced are able to see, in the imagination,

how the process may be performed.”


This is all about moving that identity from body, to mind, to the observer or witness. This is what Ken Wilber calls the centauric self, because it is closer to the center or core of your Being. But from here your identity is now working from outside of the system, rather than working from within, in a first person perspective. The observer takes its seat in a more third person, self reflective perspective. Imagine trying to navigate through a hedge maze, and how much easier it would become for you to navigate a top down photograph of the same maze. When you work from outside the system, you have a much better vantage point of the larger picture.