Mind & Consciousness
Philosophically, the rishis wiped the board clean. Everything is eternal, but some things are the Sentient Eternal and some are the insentient eternal. This was their conclusion. Then, over time, philosophies sprouted forth making distinctions between what is the eternal and what is not; what is the Self and what is not. But when you practice this discrimination, should you leave your Consciousness out of the picture? Why should you? There is nothing you can discern or discriminate away without the presence of Consciousness. So the ancient rishis experienced a great Oneness as Consciousness. On this solid philosophical footing they made their way to the Source, taking all things with them. Sarvam Khalvidam Brahman. All is Brahman.
The West studies inside the outer (physical body). But India studies inside the inner (the realms of the mind). Material science bases everything on matter, so going "inside" to them means studying the components of matter and assuming them to be the final cause. The erroneous conclusion, as many of us know and rue, is that matter is the cause of consciousness. But India takes mind to be the cause. Thus to fully understand both the gross and subtle worlds one must inspect the mind. One might object and say that western psychology studies the mind, therefore the "inside." But the brain is their field, and the brain is different than the mind. Mind is the receptacle of the "kingdom(s) of heaven within”.
If it (anything) is not in the mind, then you will not find it on the outside.
What you miss when you fall asleep without your consciousness is the secret of how name and form come about. And this is what the Seers do; they slow down the projection process. They freeze frame it, so to speak.
If we could freeze frame our mind prior to waking up we could see how we project the world. Or when we go to sleep, how we dissolve it. But it all happens so fast and we are not keeping our awareness attentive in the process.
If you were able to remain aware in deep sleep, you would see the Brahman effulgence.
Why do we come back to the waking/jagrat state? Is it desire and attachment? It is not so much a "why," but the state itself. There is cause in it, but no effect. If we could proceed one more step inwards, we would get into Turiya, which is beyond cause and effect.
When you dream, you enter into your subtle body. And when you die, you enter your subtle body and dream. Of course, you do not really die. Consciousness is ongoing and eternal, and you are that Consciousness. Birth and death are illusory; then; it is just a matter of your limited consciousness moving its location around the gross/waking state, the subtle/dreaming state, and the causal/deep sleep state. This is why Shankara says there is no death for you.
In our Tradition we teach our children we have three bodies, not just a fleshy body. The subtle and causal bodies form a key to higher awareness. In the West most do not possess higher awareness since they know nothing but the physical body.
If you believe in death, then you have reached the lowest hell according to the Indian seers. Allegorically they describe this predicament as a snake living in fear of a frog, when it should be having it for dinner.
Intelligence is the first emanation of Brahman, the first principle out of the gate in the manifestation process. Some think they want just the Bliss of Satchitananda, but what is it that you are getting so blissful about? It has to be your Intelligence.
These things [objects] out here are your Intelligence. They have just gotten dumbed down. What delusion is not possible for the originally all-powerful intellect that has reduced itself to thoughts of physics alone?
Sri Ramakrishna and Buddha both agree that when the individual mind is purified, God infills it. Pure mind is Buddha mind; Pure mind is God.
There are atoms in everything. The next step up is to recognize there is prana in everything. And then you can begin to see that there is Consciousness in everything.
There is a connecting force for everything, and prana is that force, enabling thought, action, mind and brain in their respective and relative functions.
Of all the gods, who is the greatest? This was the topic in the celestial realms once, according to the Upanisads. Each of the gods declared their especial importance. But Prana said, "No, I am superior to all, and I'll prove it." He then left and they all went with him. And when he returned, so did they. All then proclaimed prana as the king among divinities.