The Principle of Mentalism
“The Universe is Mental — held in the Mind of THE ALL.” — The Kybalion
There is a very old argument that can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle in Ancient Greece, about the fundamental nature of reality. This argument has evolved over time and it was brought up in its more current form by Rene DeCarts, but it basically boils down to this: how does the immaterial soul, or mind, affect the material body? Which can also be looked at as: is the world material, subject to unyielding laws, or is the world mental, or immaterial, which may be subjective and mutable?
There was a recognition very early on that the forces of the mind, or the immaterial, do not appear to interact very well with the forces of the physical, of the material. This is the mind-body problem that you may have come across in your intro to Philosophy class. How does the mind, an immaterial thing, interact with the body, a material thing?
If you think about it, it is an odd problem. Mainstream science seems to come from the stand point that everything is physical, therefore your mind is little more than a software program running on the hardware of your brain. In this situation it is not your mind, but your brain, a physical object, controlling your body, another physical object, within the world, a collection of physical object.
The challenge with the world being a purely physical thing is that it eliminates cool things like freewill, creativity, or any continuation of life after the death of the body. The other issue with the world being purely physical, and much like a clockwork mechanism, is that it creates a world of separation and individual parts.
So, the other side is a purely mental universe, which has its own issues. If everything is mental, then nothing is physical; it also means that reality would be extremely malleable. There is little to separate the experience of dreams, delusions, and waking life. Our daily experience is one of continuity that is shared by all, or nearly all, and it is hard to fit in a purely mental universe how that continues to work within our experience.
Yet, many of these apparent dichotomies would be reconciled if we imagine that all of reality exists within an Infinite Living Mind. This would be a perfect, living, infinite mind of which each and every atom would have the mental energy and attention of an infinite and all powerful mind. This is exactly what Hermetic Philosophy says, all of reality is mental.
Now, placing all of reality in the confines of an Infinite Living Mind means that law is no longer subjective, but absolute. There is no longer a separation between the apparent immateriality of the mind and the apparent materiality of the physical. There is no longer some huge gap between the mind and the body, or dreams and waking life, or even life as we experience it and death. This continuity of reality can be easily inferred by an observation by quantum mechanics within physics.
There have been studies in quantum mechanics which has observed and measured an odd phenomena called the observer effect. What this means is simply put: what the observer thinks is going to happen during an experiment, does happen. The intentions and prejudices of the observer means that it influences the results on the quantum level. This has also meant that no observation can be made without affecting that which is being observed. This goes well beyond the psychological filtering that may occur when you are looking for a specific result.
This shows to me, scientifically, that the world is mental. If the thoughts and prejudices of the scientist is influencing the results of physically measurable phenomena, that points to a clear line of correlation from the mind to the physical. A person’s thoughts are having a real and measurable effect on the state of reality.
In this context, everything is connected, everything is interrelated, and there is a seamless connection from one object or event to another. The Universe is Mental, which creates a continuity of experience that makes sense of so much of our daily experience. The chain of causation remains unbroken and much larger than might, at first, be imagined.
From this view point, we can look down at reality as a series of interrelated levels, or frequencies. The causal chain remains in tact and elevated as a supreme principle, as we will see later. If the mental, what appears to be immaterial to physical experience and the five senses, exists and originates from a higher level of reality, a faster vibration of energy and substance, then there is no longer a mystery as to how the mind and body interact.
Is this not our experience of life? Are not the beliefs and thoughts we harbor on a daily basis dictate our experience? Do not our supposed limitations define our daily experience?
In this way, all of reality, the entirety of the Universe, is but a conception within the Infinite Living Mind. Does this contradict, in any way, the conception that God, that the Divine, is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omnisentiant? If anything, it makes this imagining of God, the Divine, the Infinite Living Mind, that much clearer.
Let us assume, for just a moment (for there are many more arguments that can be made for and against such an idea) that the Universe is Mental and see what kinds of conclusions we can draw from this truth.
If the whole of reality is mental, that would mean that there is no greater human endeavor then mastery of self, specifically one’s thoughts and words. This would seem to be in alignment with many esoteric teachings found around the world. Your thoughts become the foundation of your experience of reality, reinforced by your words (being the next step in thought), and being acted out through your action (being the step beyond words). This makes your thoughts, words, and actions the most powerful force on the planet, on an individual level. Think about that for just a moment: where do you give your thoughts?
This very thought seems to also be in alignment with the Law of Attraction, as seen in the book and movie The Secret. What you think manifests in your world. What you think attracts that experience to your life. Which would also mean: what you resist (i.e. give many thoughts and emotions to) persists in your life as well. Therefore, the ability to be self-aware, that is aware of every thought and and feeling, would be of paramount importance within the understanding and experience of one’s life.
This is a subtle truth, mostly because it is something that takes time and patience to see reflected in one’s own life. It takes time and dedication to change your thoughts, reinforce those changes through your words, and strengthen those choices through action.
Understanding this Law of Reality leads, very easily, to what I said in the last article, alchemy is ultimately a mental experience and mastery. Mental transmutation is changing your very thoughts into something that better serves you. It is taking that judgement of another, and turning it into love and compassion. It is taking that negative, destructive thought, placed upon another and turning it into a blessing. It is turning that thought of “not enough” or “limitation” to one of freedom and abundance.
This is not an easy practice and may feel like a lie when you first start practicing mental transmutation on a daily basis. Yet, you have to “fake it till you make it.” Changing your fundamental thoughts and patters of thought is not something that happens quickly. It take a lot of time, a lot of digging, a lot of patience, a lot of forgiveness of self, and perseverance. Creating mental patterns of behavior takes years and the patterns that you may be endeavoring to change will take time to turn such a long standing tide.
My challenge to you, for those of you who wish to see if this works in your own life, is to begin to become aware of each and every thought and emotion that comes up within you. In the beginning this will seem and sound overwhelming. There are so many thoughts, so many emotions, throughout the day, how does one possibly keep up!? Again, this takes time and patience. Just begin to become aware of those thoughts and feelings that arise within you.
After some time, or when it feels appropriate, you may want to begin challenging yourself to transform, or transmute, those ideas that no longer serve you, to begin to create the world you want to experience, into something new.
Some of these concepts may sound obvious and natural to some of you. Others may struggle with the concept all together. I encourage you to sit with it, think about it, just for a bit. If you see some value in this idea, may trying applying it to your life. See what changes, experiment in the laboratory of your experience.
Written by: Iam Bloom