Isis, the Egyptian Goddess of renewal, symbolized by the Hindus as Rama, Vishnu and Shiva. Rama is the creator, Vishnu the sustainer, and Shiva the transformer or destroyer. The cycle of creation, the circle, the symbol of perfection for the Buddhist. Beyond the circle, within the circle, the Ten Thousand States of Mind that one passes through during the rounds of birth and rebirth.
The information I'd like to discuss with you today is a little bit different. It's not so much the startling esoteric stories of past lives remembrances, but it's the esoteric awareness of being eternal. There are two sides of self-discovery, as in most things. An outer more popular side, and an inner side. The popular side presents a more simplified form. Most teachers of self-discovery for example, have two types of students: exoteric students and esoteric students. General truths for daily life are presented the exoteric students, and the esoteric truths are usually presented to a smaller group of students.
For example, a teacher might have hundreds of students and he or she will instruct them in methods of prayer, meditation, ways to improve their lives. Then, there might be 20 or 30 students, or maybe 12, a smaller number, whom the teacher instructs in the deeper mysteries. Now, it is not that the teacher wants to exclude anyone, but rather, the inner-teachings are only presented to people in a form that will best aid or benefit them. That's the purpose of the teachings. Naturally, you don't teach quantum mechanics to someone who is in algebra one. Nor do you teach algebra one to someone who working through quantum mechanics. In the same sense, the deeper inner teachings, the esoteric teachings are presented to very few, because very few would understand them, and be able to make use of them, while the exoteric teachings are presented to many. Today I would like to tell you about the more esoteric aspects of reincarnation. You can read about the popular aspects in different books.
Reincarnation presupposes a few things: there is an eternal ultimate reality, which is always present. You can call it God; you can call it Nirvana; call it anything you want. There are two primary aspects to that reality. One aspect is the unmanifest reality, which is usually called Nirvana. Nirvana is the undifferentiated reality, that which is really big, that which is Enlightenment, that which cannot be described. There is no resemblance to anything in your current perceptual field.
Then there is Samsara, which is the world appearance, the cycle of rebirth. In other words, samsara is the physical manifest Universes and states of mind which you perceive through the medium of ego. There is a sense of I-ness. You exist as you listen to me, and that being or sense of perception that is perceiving me is you. As long as you exist, you are aware of the manifest Universes to a greater or lesser degree through the senses, through feelings, through mind. You see the worlds around you, you feel it, you touch it, you taste it, you think about it, and you interact with it. There is also a sense of separateness: you are separate from the Universe, therefore you experience it. Nirvana, or the realization of Enlightenment, is a step beyond that. It's not simply you experiencing the Universes in a nicer, happier, more direct and pure way, but rather it is the dissolution of the ego in the self. You dissolve into the Universe, the Universe dissolves into you, until there is no longer a difference. There is no sense of individual self as perceiver. In other words, you are not sitting around watching TV. You are gone, dissolved. You've become everything. There is no sense of TV, and there is no sense of you, there is no sense of anything in particular. There is no sense of time, space or dimensional planes. It's something else, that we call Enlightenment, Nirvana, whatever. There's no way to put it into words: it is a condition beyond mind as we define mind normally.
Aside from Nirvana, we have the Samsara, which is a sense of self. I exist; I've had past experiences; I'm currently aware of whatever I'm aware at this moment, I will have future experiences. Continuity in change – that's the idea of self. Everything around us is shifting and changing all the time. The continuity of awareness is your perceptual field. If there was no one here, no one to perceive any of these, it would not exist. Existence occurs only through the act of perception. When we become aware of something it exists. Our awareness creates life; life does not exist independently of perception. Reincarnation is the idea that everything has always been in one form or another. All of existence exists, always has, always will. But it takes different forms.
Reincarnation is a process in which a finite being, goes through a series of transmutations and it perceives different things. Everything is God let's say, everything is infinite awareness, and then from infinite awareness something comes forward, and that's a sense of infinite awareness, and finite awareness. That perception is the birth of a being: as soon as there is someone around to say, "Wow look at all these, far out, look how big the Universe is, look how small and finite it is. I can see a tree. I can see all Universes, all planes of being, all realities and beyond them." While there is a perception of either the very big or the very small, the one who is perceiving is alive. You've got to be alive in order to see and feel.
When you die, while you might not remember this at the moment, the same process continues at death. You pass into inner worlds, and you continue to perceive. That's why I say that death is not the dissolution of the self, or whatever you prefer to call that part of you that is, that perceives. Death is rather just a change of perception where you perceive something else. Then you will be reborn, meaning that you will come from the inner into the outer again, and you'll perceive something else. This process goes on indefinitely, with the exception of those who dissolve their bodies of perception completely and are absorbed into what we would call Nirvana.
It's really hard to talk about reincarnation because you've always been and you'll always be. You just experience different things in different ways. People get tired of that round of continual perceptions because they feel that it is limited. They feel that the perception of the finite Universe over and over in variant forms is an unhappy condition because they never get the whole thing, and it doesn't last. Whatever you are perceiving in this life, will end at death, and then you will perceive something else. Perception becomes attached: you start to like things, you reject other things, and this condition eventually causes pain. Attachment always causes pain, aversion, and suffering to the perceiver. You like this life and you don't want to die, and that's unfortunate. You like pleasure, you don't like pain. When you experience pleasure you are happy; when you experience pain you are unhappy.
All of this comes around because of individualized perception. Those who seek liberation or Enlightenment want to go beyond individualized perception. The essence of their being wants to dissolve back into the cosmos, into the cosmic hole. They no longer want to go through these experiences, while other beings continue to go through them. Let's think of a huge ocean: this ocean has always been there, it will always be there, it goes on forever. There are waves on the ocean. These waves move continuously. Some slap against the shore, then they fall back against the ocean and they move back somewhere else. Others are just continuously moving through the ocean endlessly forever. As they move through the ocean they change. The wave is not exactly the same. It picks up some new water drops and the water changes shape, but the wave continues on. The only reason we think of the wave as continuing on is because we think. The wave continues on, but if you weren't around to look at it, and say, "Gee that's the same wave that existed before," it wouldn't be. If the wave didn't perceive of itself and say, "Gee I'm the same wave, I might have changed a little bit, but I'm a little bigger or a little smaller, but I'm the same wave that was around before. I'm still moving." Then there is a sense of time. When there is a sense of time there is a sense of change. When there is a sense of change, there is a sense of life and death, and rebirth. It is the perception of time and space that creates the illusion of incarnation. That's a level of perception. On the other hand, when that illusion is shattered, that is to say, when you are not looking at the wave, the wave is no longer conscious of its current past or future state, then there is no such thing. Everything exists only in the mind.
So then, from a structural point of view, the way reincarnation works is as follows: The Universe which is infinite in nature, and mysterious, and just plain awesome, created you. It really didn't create you: You are the Universe; you are an aspect of it. You have several different bodies. You have a physical body with eyes. You have a mind that thinks and perceives, senses that comprehend the world, feelings and so on. But in addition to your physical body you have two other primary bodies: a subtle physical body and a causal body. These are non-physical bodies that are composed of energy, and that are not visible to the senses. But those who have developed their psychic ability can see these bodies as clear as you can see a physical body with sense perception. The subtle physical body is the body made up of energy and it has about the same shape and size as the physical body. The subtle physical body is made up of luminous fibers, and when people talk about the aura, this is the outer surface of the subtle physical body. It is made up of energy; it is not solid as the physical body is. It changes its shape more that the physical body does. Now, we know the physical body is energy, atoms, protons, neutrons, energy moving around. But it seems to hold a pattern, more or less. It changes from time to time. The cells renew themselves and change every seven years, and all of that sort of stuff. It's born and it dies.
The body of perception, which is the subtle physical body, does the same thing, and it is made of energy, fibers, and chakras – the energy centers that we meditate upon. The subtle physical body protects the body's physical health, and it protects the mind. It is the radiant energy or life-force that is you. When you get sick, when something happens to you, it is because there is a problem with your subtle physical body. When something goes wrong with the body of energy that surrounds your physical body it will later show up in your physical body. The problem always starts in the subtle physical, and then it manifests in the physical.
Beyond the subtle physical body, which is more interesting when it comes to reincarnation, there is something called the causal body. The causal body is the part of your being that lives from one lifetime to another. Again, it really isn't the causal body, it's the awareness of incarnation that exists from one life time to another. But let's just say for the moment that the causal body sticks around. The causal body is like the DNA and RNA. It is the coding which determines your level of evolution.
Right now you are in a certain level or state of mind. You are also in a certain kind of body. You are in a human body as opposed to a cat's body. You are on the planet Earth as opposed to Mars. You are in a certain dimension as opposed to others. Within this dimension, within this structure of the Universe, in this planet, in this body, in this current lifetime, you are at a certain plane of perception. This is determined in a very orderly way. There is a coding, just as the DNA and RNA have caused your physical body to grow in a uniform way. You develop feet, arms, head, and so on; you just didn't grow into an enormous blob.
There is something that controls perception, or your inner evolution – that's the causal structure. The causal structure determines the rate and method of evolution, the level of intelligence or awareness of the Universe. Reincarnation can be compared to the process of going to school. We go from first grade to second grade; maybe we stop at the end of high school; maybe go to college; maybe we go to graduate school. But there is a sense of progression – there is a type of progression that occurs through the cycle of reincarnations. We evolve, and there are different cycles in reincarnation. There are different levels of mind. All inner structures are not the same. The cosmos is a very big place with lots of different types of beings, and they follow different evolutionary patterns.
The essence of your being is everything: the part of you that exists from one life time to another is composed of all things. You are the energy of the Universe, we call it the Dharma-kaya, or the clear light of reality. The ultimate intelligence of all things is your essence. Your mind is the Universe; your body is all things. But yet, the cool thing about the Universe is that it can format itself into tiny little manifestations that are not totally aware of all aspects of life. We call them sentient beings, beings that take incarnation, as opposed to Nirvana.
There are these little waves which are whipping around and changing and going through different formations forever, that are sentient beings like you, people you see and perceive: these are all waves, and they go on forever. So you go on forever but just as the wave whips across the ocean and changes shape from time to time and so do you. But there are laws or forces that govern those changes, and those are manifest by the causal body – the same way that your body grows in an orderly fashion, matures in an orderly fashion and decays in an orderly fashion. The causal body is the determining factor in the changes that occur within your structure or growth rate.
According to the theory of reincarnation, everything you do now, will lead you into what you will be. The wave that is moving across the top of the ocean has a certain formation. The reason it has that formation, is because of what it has been through up to this moment. What it will go through will cause it to change form. You are a wave of awareness, and you are in this world, and you are aware of a certain amount of consciousness. If you wish to become more aware then it is necessary to do something that you haven't done. Because if you just continue to do the sane thing, it will only make as aware as you are now. If you don't do as much as you have been doing, you will become less aware. Eventually you will die: when you die you become aware of other things.
Your next incarnation, the level of awareness that you have in it, is dependent upon what you do in this incarnation. Your awareness in this incarnation is dependent on what you did in your last incarnation, and so on and so forth. But things change, so if you change your focus in this lifetime, it will affect your next lifetime. Naturally it also affects this lifetime. If today you eat a lot, tomorrow you weight a little more. But if you eat a lot everyday for the next six months, you'll weight a lot more in six months. So six months from now, we can look at the tremendous change that took place. But the day to day changes which are occurring don't show up as much, so we tend to miss them sometimes. At the time of death, whatever you have focused on the most will determine your next life.
The evolution of your awareness is something that is taking place moment by moment. The esoteric understanding of reincarnation is that reincarnation is not something that occurs at death: it is something that takes place every moment. The exoteric explanation is death and physical rebirth. The esoteric explanation is that death and rebirth are occurring at every second. But sometimes we notice those changes more than others. Whatever you focus on, you will become in your next life, within this life. You'll become it in this life meaning that, we can go through the process of reincarnation without really dying.
We can change ourselves and become a completely new person in this lifetime. At the time of death, you are not going to magically die and be reborn in a different life. You pick up exactly where you left off. Let's say for example, in the early part of your life you watch a lot of television, and the level of intelligence that is projected into your mind, and your general level of awareness is not very evolved. If that's all you do all your life, then your next life would be at the same level. But if instead you start to develop your mind through the practice of Zen, and you become more aware of the Ten Thousand States of Mind, then at the end of this life you'll be a lot more aware, you'll be in higher level of attention. You won’t be so limited.
Then, in your next life that awareness will come back to you. Even as a child you will be drawn toward more refined things. Naturally you will be influenced by the environment, by mental conditioning, and by people around you. You could have had a very evolved awareness field in your last life and then, if in this lifetime you surround yourself with unevolved people, it could make it more difficult for that evolution to come out. But eventually it will. The same thing can happen in this lifetime. You could have lived in a very refined state of mind and suddenly you surround yourself with a lot of unrefined people. By that I mean people who are not as aware. If you interact with those individuals, then you will lose some of your evolution, if you interact with them exclusively.
The Tennis Pro
The tennis pro is a hot tennis player who plays competitive tennis. Suddenly the tennis pro becomes a teacher, and he teaches fairly basic students. After a while his tennis play will diminish, because he is not doing anything to continue maintaining it at a high level. If he continues to compete and also teaches tennis, then he may advance. If you want to advance you play with someone who plays a better game of tennis than you do, and that's how you learn. You have to stretch yourself. Whereas if you play with people who don't play as well as you do, it is unlikely that your game will improve.
What you focus on, determines what you will become. If you spend an hour or two a day meditating and focusing on light, then you will eventually become light. If you work on developing your mind, then you will gain a strong mind. If you work on developing your body, then you will gain a strong body. It isn't that it will happen at a later date. Every time that you do a sit up or a push up, your body gets a little stronger. You may not see the muscles bulging yet – that may happen over a period of time – but it does not happen all at once. A little at a time the wave changes. If we look at it an hour from now, we see that it might become a tidal wave, but the effects are happening all along. We just don't see them until they become more apparent to the eye.
The esoteric teaching of reincarnation is that it is happening all the time: at every moment we are going through a change. Our being is not solid. It has a certain codified form which is held in structure by the causal body. But it changes all the time, not just at death. Reincarnation is happening now, your awareness is changing now, and we will see the larger effect perhaps at the time of death or in the next life. Your next life will be a summation of whatever you've done in this life, and this life depends upon a prior life, and so on and so forth. Every moment gives birth to the next moment and influences it – that's the chain of perpetual being. Getting out of that chain of perpetual being, where one moment leads to another, is getting off the wheel of birth and death; that's Enlightenment – stepping outside of that pattern, because that pattern is endless. The wave can never get away from itself. It changes. It always has that continuity of change.
Every moment leads to another moment. How can you get out of that? Naturally, you might ask, "Why do I want to get out of that? I exist, I'll always exist. Isn't that pretty neat?" Well, yes it is. You will always exist and you now exist, and you are a changing wave. You'll never be as you were before. At every moment you are changing. Yet within an individual incarnation it doesn't seem that you change that much. For example, at about age five or six the personality forms, and you will develop certain character traits, and those traits will probably stay in place. Some of those traits are carryovers from previous states of awareness, from your last life and preceding times. Some of them may have been developed in this lifetime.
The reason that they stay in place is because you have a certain idea of yourself that develops as the ego becomes aware of its surroundings and the world. Through the experience of memory you recall what you've done, and you therefore attach yourself, and perceive yourself through prior experience. This is how come you get stuck. For example, as a kid, you fell down a lot when you ran. Now you don't run because you think of yourself as a person who falls down a lot when they run. You see, you are new at every moment. You are an extension of a previous moment of your awareness, yes, but you can completely and radically change, if you can unhook yourself from what you have been. Granted you will still be in a body of perception that you can't get rid of, unless you can move beyond the level of perception.
The Ten Thousand States of Mind that we talk about in Zen are all levels of perception. Right now you are in one of those Ten Thousand States of Mind. That means that you are perceiving life in the world, in the Universe, in a certain way. You can think of each of the Ten Thousand States of Mind as a different dimensional planes. Right now you are in a certain dimension. If you had Excedrin headache number 99, the whole world would look different to you. You are in a different dimensional plane, a different state of mind. Love is a state of mind, fear is a state of mind, and so on. There are lots of them. You may not have experienced all that many in your life, but there are ten thousand. Each one is a completely different state of mind. There is no resemblance to the others. Your awareness, that which you are, moves from one state of mind to another.
Reincarnation is the process of your awareness. The awareness factor is what perceives or feels the feelings, or has the memories, or anticipates the future. But that which feels the feelings is what you are. That's you – you are perception. You are that which perceives. The rest changes all the time, but the perception remains – it continues. You, the perception factor, perceives the Ten Thousand States of Mind. Now each state of mind has lots of permutations, and it goes on forever, not dimensionally in any particularly direction; it just always is. Perception is a wave, but the wave changes. You change as your perception of something changes. You define yourself as merely a reflection of whatever it is you happen to perceive. All perception is merely the perception of a state of mind.
If you are in a fun house and there is a mirror that makes you look fat, you'll look fat. Another mirror makes you look skinny, and you'll look skinny. Let's say that each state of mind is a mirror. There are ten thousand different mirrors, and in each mirror you have a different shape, and your entire life, all of your life is simply a process of standing in front of a mirror looking at yourself. Your self is the Universe and you are perceiving the Universe through a state of mind, and one state of mind leads to another. You can stay in a state of mind for a long time. In other words, your mind is a mirror, and it reflects life. But it reflects life according to the curvature of the mirror. So you are perceiving life in the Universe according to a state of mind. When you change from one level of mind to another, the world appears to be totally different, and in fact, it is. Because what creates difference is perception.
Every time you change states of mind, it's all different. It strictly depends upon perception. There are ten thousand realities, and they move in and out of each other constantly. Your lifetimes are spent as perception in one state of being or another, perceiving the Universe in those states of mind. But that's all there is, and it goes on forever.
There are some beings that reach a point where they no longer want to move continually, endlessly, through the Ten Thousand States of Mind, because there is something else, and that's Nirvana. Nirvana or Enlightenment, is outside of the fun house. Some of the things in the fun house aren't fun. It certainly isn't fun to look in the mirror that makes you look real fat and makes everything look terrible. It might be more fun to look in the mirror that makes you look thin, and perky, and bouncy, and beautiful. All of them are illusory, in that none of them give you an absolute clear view of what is. They all distort life slightly. All states of mind do. Therefore, everything is considered to be unreal. That's how it's discussed in the esoteric philosophy. Meaning that, when you see a couch, you don't really see the couch. You see the couch as perceived by a state of mind, and you can see the couch in any of Ten Thousand States of Mind, and you'll see ten thousand different couches. Which couch is the real couch? Do you want to walk through door number one, door number two or door number three? Should you take the box or the money? The mystery box. It's hard to say.
You can get stuck in one state or in a general area of mind for a thousand lifetimes. Some states of mind afford better views than others, but they are still states of mind. Outside of all of the states of mind, there is something that cannot be described. It cannot be perceived by any of the states of mind. Some states of mind are more open to it, and some are less open to it. The more evolved states of mind are more open to Enlightenment. The less evolved states of mind are less open to it – they are afraid of it. And some of the most simplistic states of mind, don't even know it exists and would deny it. That's just the level they function on. They can't perceive that there could be something else. Some of the most simplistic states of mind can't even perceive that there are other states of mind, other than the individual state of mind that is having the perception.
You see this with certain people. For example, some people can be in a state of mind where they feel that their religion is the only religion; there aren't even any others; anything else is just crazy. Others would see that there are a lot of other religions, but may not want to practice them, because they might not be very good, but they see others. People in yet another state of mind, say, "well, yes, there are as many religions as there are people, and each one and each one is as good as any other." But none of those states of mind could see that there is something beyond religion. In other words, they see religion as a way of seeing God and truth. But none of them actually take their minds and merge them with God and see what God sees. They can't handle it, because then their ideas of religion would fade away, since religion is just a perception of the human mind. Religion is an orderly way of trying to understand spirit. But from God's point of view, or the Infinity's point of view, there aren't even religions, there aren't even worlds, there aren't even people. What does God see? God is the Universe.
Some people are more liberal than others; some have better views. There are big houses, and there are small houses. There are rich neighborhoods, and there are poor neighborhoods. There is variation in the Universe. There is variation within the Ten Thousand States of Mind. There are different states of mind, and at any given moment you are in one of them, and you are perceiving life, the couch, the wave, your existence, pleasure or pain, loss or gain, past, present, and future. Reincarnation is the movement from one state of mind to another. Ultimately that will culminate in a physical change. You are in one type of state of mind; you are incarnating in a certain Universe, in a certain body, in a certain world, with a certain level of perception. Those are the outer reflections that have to do with what we call karma, which is the law of cause and effect. But ultimately all karmas are dependent upon state of mind.
You can get into a state of mind in which you no longer want to be in the Ten Thousand States of Mind. That's the joker in the deck, and that's when you look for Enlightenment. Seeking Enlightenment means, that something in you wants to go beyond, to not just look through mirrors all the time, but to perceive the reality, to be free from this endless round of perception. Enlightenment is that. If you were enlightened now, you could sit down and meditate, and go beyond the Ten Thousand States of Mind; that is Enlightenment.
You visit a country and that country is bound by certain laws. But let's just say that you have diplomatic immunity. You can go in and obey the laws or break the laws – it doesn't matter. Others visiting the country who don't know that you have diplomatic immunity will assume that you are bound by the same laws as they are, and they think that if you commit a crime you will go to jail, but you won't. But they don't know that. You look, to the person who doesn't know that you have a different status, like everyone else. An Enlightened person lives in the world, passes by the Ten Thousand States of Mind, but they are not bound by those states of mind: they can step outside of them. They can go beyond perception.
Enlightenment does not put an end to awareness, but it puts an end to limited awareness. It doesn't necessarily put an end to incarnation. It puts an end to reincarnation in that once you obtain that status, once you break through the Ten Thousand States of Mind, you will never again be limited by the Ten Thousand States of Mind. If you are born into another lifetime, you remain enlightened; that which is your essence is beyond the Ten Thousand States of Mind. It may take a while for that to surface again, from one lifetime to another, but it is there anyway, even if your individualized mind doesn't perceive it, the Enlightenment is there. All beings exists ultimately in a condition of inner Enlightenment. Enlightenment is in all things.
The path of reincarnation, then, is simply the path of changing awareness. What you are reincarnating into are different states of mind; that which reincarnates is the awareness which perceives each state of mind. That's reincarnation. The whole show is on the inside. It really doesn't matter that you change bodies from one lifetime to another. That doesn't really change anything. That's really just a change in location, not in you. The memories will fall away from your last lifetime: they are not really necessary in this lifetime. You might remember past lives. For example, let's say that you remember meditating in another lifetime. That's interesting information, and if you are meditating in this lifetime it is probably true. Because that's what you were doing before, and it carried over in this lifetime. In other words, you are not different in this lifetime, than you were in your last lifetime. This lifetime is simply a continuation of your last lifetime. As your last lifetime, was a continuation of your last lifetime.
Death doesn't change anything. It just gives you a new location, some new clothes, but you wash out the memories. The physical mind dissolves and doesn't return. But the overriding state of mind that you die in is the state of mind that you are born into. There are other things that we call karmas: they will determine the location, the type of body, how much money, if you are born into a wealthy family, or a poor family, and the opportunities that will be presented to you throughout life. But the inner aspect of reincarnation, which is the important part, has to do with where you put your mind, and the more expansive the state of mind you enter into, the less suffering there is. Because the more expansive states of mind of the Ten Thousand States of Mind are less attached states of mind – they perceive more light. They know more about the Universe and the way it works. Ultimately they are still bound states. They don't reflect life perfectly, but some mirrors reflect the way things look more accurately, some less accurately.
Reincarnation is a process of moving from one state of mind to the other. Whether you are in a body or out of a body, it is immaterial to tell you the truth. Disembodied beings are in a certain state of mind. Embodied beings are in a certain state of mind. The disembodied beings stay in a certain state of mind that they were in when they were embodied, unless they do something to change that when they are out of the body. You move in a cycle – this is inner reincarnation – from one level of awareness to another. We talk about spiritual evolution in the sense that spiritual evolution is a movement from the mirrors, or states of mind. But even if you hit the ten thousandth state of mind, that reflects life most accurately, that is not the same as Enlightenment. It's a more enlightened condition, but Enlightenment is when you smash all the mirrors, and whatever is left is reality. When there are no more mirrors, you break perception itself – the prism of perception breaks. That's Enlightenment, when the light just flows through and you realize who you really are.
Zen is the study of the Ten Thousand States of Mind, and that which lies beyond the Ten Thousand. You are the sum total of your perception, and if you want to move into better perception fields, you need to waken your mind. As you awaken your mind, you become free, happy, and powerful. Anything you might want to become is around somewhere, and you can become it, if you would like to. You just have to get into the state of mind that allows that to occur. In order to do that, you need to learn the ways of mind. Because there are specific ways to do that. The casual body holds the structure. The casual body is the coding. You are not just scattered across the Ten Thousand States of Mind. The casual body is the linkage that holds together the different states of mind. Just as the subtle physical body holds together the physical body, the casual body holds together the awareness. It's the body of awareness. Normally, that body of awareness changes in a linear progression.
We are looking at 50 states of mind in a row, and at the bottom of those fifty states there is one that least accurately reflects life. Then there is one that most accurately reflects life, and there are 48 in between. Normally, you move from one state of mind to another, at a slow progression, but it is possible to move through those states of mind very quickly, and that's Zen. Zen is a very quick movement. Let's say that you are incarnating and that you are in a very low state of mind, and it might take you, ten thousand, or one hundred thousand lives to move from some of the lower states of mind to some of the real higher stages of attention. It is only from the higher stages of attention that you can move eventually beyond the Ten Thousand States of Mind. In other words, you have to hit the highest – you have to get up to that ten thousandth state of mind. If you get to that one then you can jump, potentially, beyond the Ten Thousand States of Mind to Enlightenment.
The problem is that it's a long climb up to ten thousand, and it is not necessarily so orderly. It is possible to go up and then go down, because there is a certain force of gravity that pulls you back. That's why a lot of beings never become enlightened – it's not an automatic process. If someone tells you that it just takes a certain amount of lives to get enlightened, that's not true. Not at all. But in order to reach Enlightenment you have to be able to get to the ten thousandth state and even that is not a warranty. From there you have to make the big jump, but it can be done. Others have done it; you can do it too, if that's what you choose.
An Enlightened being comes into a world to help. They walk around in the world like everyone else but there is something strikingly different about them. They are not bound by anything that happens here. When they die, their next incarnation, where will they end up, will not be determined by this one. They are not bound by the laws of experience here because they are liberated. They will experience different states of mind and in those states of mind, they will suffer, know joy, and so on. But ultimately, they are free from all of that. In other words, that doesn't stay with them as it stays with you.
The best way out, is to find someone who is out and listen to them, because they have obviously figured it out, and they can explain how to go through the Ten Thousand States of Mind, and how to get to the one where you can make the big jump.
Enlightened beings are rare in the Universe. They are the joker in the deck. They are outside of the circle. They can't be born and they can't die even though they can take a physical incarnation. Their bodies will be born and die, meaning that birth and death does not affect their stateless minds. Yet, what they will go through in any incarnation is similar to anyone else. The person that has diplomatic immunity still eats and sleeps, they can still stub their toe, but there is something different about an "Aqua Velva Man" right? Does she or doesn't she? Right? Only the Zen Master knows for sure and he is not telling. You get the idea.
The Universe is pretty cool. You'll always exists in one form or another: you are a wave and you are moving from one level of attention to another. But if you are not completely crazy about where you are now, this state of mind that you are currently perceiving as perception, then you should do something to change it. That change will come about gradually, yet all at once. Each aspect of it happens all at once as you do it. Every time you do a push up you are stronger.
When you really start to meditate, you start to take the Zen program on, or whatever form of self-discovery you use. If you really stick with it and progress with it, then you will see, over a period of time, tremendous changes in your mind, and state of mind. Those changes came about because each time, at each moment you did something that caused you to move in a certain direction; that's reincarnation. The wave is choosing its own direction. Whereas most people don't do that. Most people don't understand how any of this works. They are just scattered around through life by desires, they chase their desires, and they run away from their fears. They have no idea of how they get from one state of mind to another or even that other states of mind exist, other than the one that they are in right now, because they tend to forget everything, all the time.
Once you were rich, and now you are poor, and if that's going to make you feel unhappy about your current state, then what good is it going to do you? If on the other hand, it reminds you that you were rich before, and you can become rich again, because somewhere inside you know how, and that inspires you to try, then that remembrance is worth while. Again, this is all just a certain perspective in which the most important thing is raising your level of awareness. If you are interested in the esoteric aspect of reincarnation then you should study karma – the physical aspects of reincarnation. But this is what goes on within – these are the secret teachings.
Ultimately, you have to be practical, and you need to go do something, and you need to do something that will bring you into the next state of mind, and you get some evolution going. Then life can be pretty wonderful. When you don't do that, and you lie to yourself, and you drag down to the lower states of mind, life can be very uncomfortable, very painful. But there is something beyond all states of mind my friend, and it's the best. It's better than the best! Better than dutch apple pie – and that's Enlightenment. It's worth striving for; it's worth doing something about it. It's worth becoming. Again, that's the perspective of the Enlightened.
Is there life after death? Is the moon made out of green cheese? What is really happening anyway? Where are these states of mind? Who am I? What's going on? How did I get here? What world is this? They gave me a travel brochure, and they said: "Earth, right? Enjoy it" I'll never use that travel agent again. It was clearly an outdated brochure. What a place! What an incarnation! I don't know about you, but I'm getting out of here soon... Oh diplomatic immunity is great ha? But you still have feet. In this place you have feet; in other worlds you don't have feet; there are other worlds where you don't have bodies. There are states of mind where you don't have a mind. I mean there is a lot of stuff. The Universe is very big. Right? Keep meditating – you'll get it. Just keep meditating.