18 Spirituality Studies 9-1 Spring 2023 “Through His Consciousness one becomes conscious of everything” (1977, 615). In Hindu thought, the “mind is Brahman” (Chāndogya Upanishad 7:3:1). A corresponding idea was noted by Fu-Ta-shih (497–569) who stressed that “Mind is Buddha” (quoted in Abe 1997, 71). St. Nikitas Stithatos (c. 1000–c. 1090) writes “God is… Intellect” (The Philokalia, Vol. 4 1998, 139), and, as Moses Maimonides (1138–1204) also observed, “God is the intellectus” (1956, 100). This metaphysical understanding can be summarized as follows: “Brahman [note: is] mind: for from mind all beings have come, by mind they all live, and unto mind they all return” (Taittirīya Upanishad 3:4:1). Ādi Śankara taught the supra-individual aspect of cognition: “The universe is an unbroken series of perceptions [note: cognitions] of Brahman” (1921, 226). In the traditional or pre-modern world, there were modes of knowledge, with corresponding levels of reality, by which one could realize ultimate reality. Parmenides (515–445) acknowledges that to be is to know: “The same thing is there for thinking and for being” (2000, 57). Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav (1772–1810) has this to say: “The thought of man is his being: he who thinks of the upper world is in it” (quoted in Buber 1962, 13). The unity of the knower and the known needs to be realized through direct awareness (Izutsu 1994, 7): [M]etaphysics or ontology is inseparably connected with the subjective state of man, so that the self-same reality is said to be perceived differently in accordance with the different degrees of consciousness… the highest degree of knowledge is always achieved when the knower, the human subject, becomes completely unified and identified with the object so much so that there remains no differentiation between the two. Through metanoia or radical transformation, which appears in all sapiential traditions, we can restore the Intellect or “eye of the heart” to safely navigate the overwhelming complexity of consciousness. This was St. Paul’s instruction: “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Ephesians 4:23). However, we need to undergo a phase of purification prior to any abiding union with the Absolute; otherwise, our minds will remain akin to “a venomous snake or scorpion” (Shinran 2007, 47) according to the Japanese Pure Land Buddhist master Shinran (1173– 1263). This is how we can begin to make sense of that famous line by the English poet William Blake (1757–1827): “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite” (1906, 26). 8 Mind as a Mirror of Reality “In a pure mind shines the light of the Self” according to the Māndūkya Upanishad (3:1). Put differently, Meister Eckhart (1260–1328) points out that the goal is for “the human mind [note: to] be united to God” (1986, 76). Additionally, we read: “When the mind is silent… it can enter into a world, which is far beyond the mind: the highest End” (Maitrī Upanishad 6:24). The Taoist tradition states that: “When body and mind are both quiet, Heaven and Earth merge” (Cleary 1999, 520), and the Psalms declare: “Be still, and know that I am God” (46:10). When the mind is not anchored in the transcendent, it cannot properly discern the nature of its fluctuating thoughts or unstable states. Jung once asked: “By what criterion do we judge something to be an illusion? Does there exist for the psyche anything which we may call ‘illusion’? the psyche does not trouble itself about… categories of reality… It is highly probable that what we call illusion is actual for the psyche” (1933, 72–73). For this reason, “distraction is the cause of the intellect’s obscuration” (The Philokalia, Vol. 3 1995, 182) and “if you do not put an end to delusions prompted by external things, you will not overcome those that ambush you from within” (The Philokalia, Vol. 4 1998, 179). Accordingly, we need to remember that no matter how sullied our consciousness may appear to be, there is always an indwelling connection to the Spirit that can never be erased. Every human being, no matter what their circumstances, is born with an innately pure mind. The following passage from, the Buddhist philosopher Aśvaghosa (c. 80–c. 150) is instructive (1967, 50): Mind, though pure in its self nature from the beginning, is accompanied by ignorance. Being defiled by ignorance, a defiled [state of] Mind comes into being. But, though defiled, the Mind itself is eternal and immutable. Only the Enlightened Ones are able to understand what this means. What is called the essential nature of Mind is always beyond thoughts. It is, therefore, defined as ‘immutable.’ When the one World of Reality is yet to be realized, the Mind [is mutable and] is not in perfect unity [with Suchness]. Suddenly, [a deluded] thought arises; [this state] is called ignorance. An integrated mind sees both the mirror and the images that are reflected in it, as Zhūangzi (Chuang Tzu, c. 369–c. 286) notes: “[T]he perfect man employs his mind as a mirror” (1889, 97). Frithjof Schuon (1907–1998) writes, “when the mind is perfectly calm – or perfectly simple – Truth is mirrored in it just as objects are reflected in calm water” (2007, 162). Eighth-cen-