Sweet Mother, what is meant by “the substance of the mental being”?
My child, the substance means… how shall I put it?… it means the stuff of which the mental being is made. It could be said, for instance, that the cells are the substance of your body. It is not exactly matter, the mind is not quite material, but it is the very thing of which the mind is made. If there were no mental substance, there would be no mental being. It would be only a vibration; and even a vibration needs a medium to manifest itself.
But if your body were not made of material substance, you wouldn’t have a body. This is what is called substance. It is the thing of which something is made. And precisely, what is important is that people usually think that mind is just a mode of activity, whereas there is a mental substance as there is a vital substance and physical substance. And as there is a substance, there is a corresponding world with an autonomous existence, that is to say, there can be a mind without any physical support. The physical body may disappear and the mind can continue to exist. It is here that it is important to understand that there is a mental substance which, obviously, is much more… (Silence) how to put it?… immaterial than physical matter.
Some people use a rather unclassical word, “rarefied”, but I don’t think it has exactly this see. Well, you see, we say that substance has different deities, and the more material it becomes, the denser it is, the farther it moves away from matter, the less dense it is. But it is a substance all the same. There is even an etheric substance. I don’t say that this conforms with scientific theories; I don’t guarantee that I am not talking scientific heresies! But this is a cosmic fact. (Mother laughs.) It is exactly – I think I said this when I spoke about occultism – I said the first thing one must know before being able to practise occultism is that the different states of being have a different deity, and they have an individual independent existence of their own, that they are existing realities, that they are truly real substances, that it is not just a way of being. There can be a mental being and mental activity and, for instance, a thought that is completely independent of the brain, whereas the materialistic theories say that it is the brain which creates mental activity. But this is not correct. The brain is the material transcription of the mental activity, and mental activity has its own domain; the mental domain has its reality, its own substance. One can think outside one’s brain, think, act, make formations outside one’s brain. One can even live, move, go from one place to another, have a direct knowledge of mental things in the mental world, in a word, absolutely independent of a body which, indeed, can be in a state of complete inertia, not only asleep but also in a cataleptic state. And moreover, it is quite certain that so long as one has not understood that one is made up of different states of being which have their own independent life, one can’t have a complete 0control over one’s being. There will always be something that escapes you.
(To a child) Do you have something to ask?
It is outside the book.
Eh? Not from the book? If it is interesting it doesn’t matter!
Mother, what is the significance of this abrupt change in the programme?¹
Oh, but that – it is something altogether personal!
Well, I can tell you: it is different for each one and it is for you to find it out in yourself. And if you find it you will have made some progress…
(To a child) Something to say?
(To another) You, do you have something to ask? No? No! You are dreaming! (Laughter) Nobody has a question? (To another) You?
When one wants to concentrate, why do all kinds of thoughts come, which never come otherwise?
What did you say?
When one wants to concentrate, why do all kinds of thoughts come which never came before?
¹ The reference is to Mother’s having stopped the morning “Blessings” which she used to give to the students and to some disciples.
Perhaps they came and you did not know it! Perhaps it is because you want to concentrate that you become aware that they are there. It may also happen that there is an element of contradiction in the consciousness and that when you want to be silent, something says, “No, I won’t be silent!”
I think that many of you have an inner contradiction like this. When you have resolved to be good, there is something which would like to push you into being wicked, and when you want to be quiet, there is something which pushes you into being agitated, and when you want to be silent, immediately thoughts begin to wander. It is a contradiction inherent in man’s nature. It may be this; it may be what I said: that all these thoughts are there but as you were not paying any attention to them, you were not aware of them.
It is quite certain that to create absolute silence is of all things the most difficult, for many things of which one was not aware, become enormous! There were all kinds of suggestion, movements, thoughts, formations which went on as though automatically in the outer consciousness, almost outside the consciousness, on the frontiers of consciousness; and as soon as one wants to be absolutely silent, one becomes aware of all these things which go on moving, moving, moving and make a lot of noise and prevent you from being silent. That is why it is better to remain very quiet, very calm and at the same time very attentive to something which is above you and to which you aspire, and if there is this kind of noise passing like that around you (Mother moves her hands around her head), not to pay attention, not to look, not to heed it. If there are thoughts which go round and round and round like this (Gestures), which come and go, do not look, do not pay attention, but concentrate upwards in a great aspiration which one may even formulate – because often it helps the concentration – towards the light, the peace, the quietude, towards a kind of inner impassiveness, so that the concentration may be strong enough for you not to attend to all that continues to whirl about all around. But if suddenly you say, “Ah, there’s some noise! Oh, here is a thought!”, then it is finished. You will never succeed in being quiet. Have you never seen those people who try to stop a quarrel by shouting still louder than the ones who are quarrelling? Well, it is something like that. (Mother laughs.)
Your brain is like a recording instrument; something comes and strikes hundreds of cells, each thing must strike a small note. Things will strike the brain convolutions – a remembrance, an impression, all kinds of tiny memories – it depends on your condition. But you have the control, ideas follow each other in accordance with a certain logic; there is also a mechanism which puts memories into movement through contagion, and the movement through contagion is made according to logic (what you call logic). But when you sleep, that faculty usually goes to sleep, so all those little cells are left to themselves and the connections – like the connections of electric wires – don’t work any longer, things come the wrong way round or in any direction at all. You must not look for a meaning. It was a contagion… your logic works no longer. And you have fantastic dreams, absurd dreams.
“The mind is an instrument of formation, of organisation and action.” Why? The mind gives a form to the thoughts. This power of formation forms mental entities whose life is independent of the mind that has formed them…. There is a mental substance just as there is a physical substance, and on this plane the mind can emanate innumerable forms. These forms can be objectivised and seen, and that is one of the most common explanations for dreams…. When you are asleep, your eyes are closed, the physical is asleep and the mind and vital become active.
On the mental plane all the formations made by the mind – the actual “forms” that it gives to the thoughts return and appear to you as if they were coming from outside and give you dreams…. Some people have a very conscious mental life… these people have mentally objective nights. But most people are incapable of doing this; it is their mental activity going on during sleep and assuming forms, and these forms give them what they call dreams.