Dr. Jeffery Martin: The Mind Layer is essentially one’s interface with the world.
Before Fundamental Wellbeing the mind was intertwined with the Narrative Self, and what remains after transitioning is essentially the same cognitive structures and capabilities with the Narrative Self removed.
Because a lot of people initially transition to the Mind Layer of Location 1, it can often feel like on one hand, not much is different, yet on the other, something has profoundly changed. This is where one hears people say things like “nothing is different but everything has changed”. Basically, someone was in the Mind Layer before the transition, and their dominant experience may still be centered in the Mind Layer, but with the sense of fundamental discontentment and incompleteness removed.
So the same architecture in the brain is still there, with its same tendencies and patterns. Some examples of the mind’s qualities and tendencies include:
- Active, busy, noisy
- Attached to thinking, emotion
- Describes, analyzes, reasons, strategizes, conceptualizes
- Concerned with meaning and purpose
- Worries about one’s life, makes plans, and implements and worries about the plans
- Insistent, dominating, believes it is right, believes in its own importance, wants one to stay at its layer
- Yet simultaneously, not at all confident
- Reactive, volatile, highs and lows
- Pulls one in
- It is all consuming – blocks perception to other layers
Assuming someone wants to be functional in society, and isn’t going to the cave, access to the Mind Layer really matters. However, this is often not what feels most natural to Finders, and the result is that they are generally trying to escape the Mind Layer. Nonetheless it is still responsible for language, thinking, memory, planning, acting, social skills, labelling, describing, analyzing, reasoning, conceptualizing, etc.
Because most people spend their entire lives before Fundamental Wellbeing operating at the Mind Layer, this layer contains the most conditioning and capacity to suppress peace for Finders. Consequently, many Finders (and many of the traditions that target Fundamental Wellbeing) carry a lot of judgement around the Mind Layer, and tend to shun it. Unfortunately, there is a high price to pay for taking this position in terms of effectiveness in life (of course, if someone “goes to the cave” this is less of a concern, and a lot of the reconditioning other Finders have to do at the Mind Layer may not be relevant, because those cognitive processes won’t need to be reactivated).
The catch with the Mind Layer is essentially that it occludes perception of higher layers. The activity covers over the stillness. This is especially so in Location 1, where the Mind Layer is the default.
Expressions of the Mind Layer across Locations
- In Location 1, the Mind Layer is the default, and is likely still quite active, reactive, there are positive and negative emotions, the peace is in the background, etc. It is like the normal mind with the Narrative Self extracted from it. This can be frustrating for people, especially if they’ve absorbed a lot of beliefs around what Fundamental Wellbeing should be like. After transitioning, they find it’s still noisy, there is all this conditioning, the peace is in the background, they feel like it’s not stable, and so on. But usually it is stable. It’s just new, and the deconditioning cycles haven’t worked their way out yet.
- In these cases, it is important to realize that even having a subtle experience of Fundamental Wellbeing means the person can be certain that the wiring is there, so it is just a matter of tipping the balance in that direction to allow it to deepen further. This means shifting what they allow their system to pay attention to, and sinking in to whatever experience of Fundamental Wellbeing is there for them, even if it is in the background for now. This is the single most significant thing anyone can do to deepen in Fundamental Wellbeing.
- In Location 2, the Mind Layer can be the default, and is usually still highly accessible, but can be made less accessible if someone works at isolating at a higher layer. There is generally more space, clarity, and equanimity at the Mind Layer than there was in Location 1, the peace is more in the foreground, and the experience of emotions becomes increasingly positive as someone deepens into Location 2.
- In Location 3, the Mind Layer is definitely no longer the default, but is usually highly accessible. This combination of a high degree of access to the Mind Layer and a very loving, compassionate, joyous disposition, make Location 3 people great to be around, and a bit of an exception to the issues around social functioning and deconditioning that other locations can present over time.
- In Location 4 the most distinctive quality of the Mind Layer is that it is experienced as functioning autonomously. There can be a meta-awareness of what is happening at the Mind Layer, but there is no way to engage with it like in previous locations, which can have less than ideal consequences in terms of social deconditioning. Memory is usually very effected by this point. Self-referential thought and any existential concern with meaning or purpose disappear by Location 4. Most systems that target Location 4 tend to hold a belief that the Mind Layer is something to get away from, and as someone deepens it does tend to become less accessible.
- In Location 5+, the Mind Layer increasingly recedes from perceptual awareness, especially on the Path of Freedom, where more or less past Location 6 a person’s access to the Mind Layer is diminishing. Like in Location 4, it functions autonomously, and in the case of later Path of Freedom versions, functions outside perceptual awareness, despite continuing to impact behaviour.