These are the layers:
The Physical or Gross Mind: This picks up the signals of the body about hunger, pain, desire, the urge to procreate.
The Sensory Layer: This is concerned with sensory impulses such as touch, the feeling of fullness, pain, sound, taste and sight.
The thinking layer: This is concerned with logic and the ego. This works out actions, devises plans and is the layer that gives us our sense of who we are as individuals. This is the part that is affected with its ego is bruised.
The empathy layer: This deals with compassion and a love for others in a non contractual way. This is the one that looks at “dharma” – to do unto others as you would have them do unto you – and is not limited by thoughts of what you get in return.
The special gifts layer: This controls creativity and gifts like special memories, clairvoyance. This layer operates when it is free of the clutter of thoughts and ego of the above layers but it is the layer that operates its gifts without understanding.
The Wisdom layer: This is the mind that can see the past/present/future. It is connected to the cosmic mind and has all its power. This is the layer that, when accessed, allows you to live in bliss and understanding.
How to get there like a puzzle box, you have to open layer after layer till you reach the wisdom one. Most people don’t get past the first three and spend centuries trapped in the pain caused by their own ego and thoughtlessness. You need to get to the fourth layer of empathy to be able to even peek into the other two.
My own “eureka!” moment came fairly early in life. It seems trivial and perhaps unconnected but it was a turning point in my life. I was in the third standard in Bangalore’s Sophia High school. The junior school had its building right in front of the gate and the third standard children were the topdogs. I really thought I had reached the pinnacle of power and knowledge – until I was promoted to the fourth standard and became part of senior school. The first day I saw an entirely new entrance, building and world with so many wonderful things that I did not even know existed. The wonder of that moment has stayed with me and it opened the door in my brain to the realization that amazing things exist that I am not even aware of. That was when I think I made the leap to thinking and then empathy very quickly. The next two levels need a teacher – and though life has thrown a few my way, I have not crossed the barrier as yet.
Are you empathetic? Do you have the ability to stand in another’s shoes? The first and most logical thing to do is to stop killing. e.g. to become vegetarian.
Though scientists have demonstrated that fish, chickens and all animals feel pain, every year billions of these beings are brutally slaughtered for your consumption. “In order to eat the flesh or milk of a once-living being, we need to disconnect, psychologically and emotionally, from the truth of our experience. We need to “numb” our authentic thoughts and emotions, to block our awareness (i.e., we must think that we’re eating “meat,” rather than a dead animal) and our empathy for the animal who became our food - and awareness and empathy are integral to our sense of self. When we eat animals, we violate our personal integrity. Integrity is the integration of our values and practices. For most of us, our core value system does not condone gratuitous violence toward other sentient beings, so when we consume the products procured by their bodies we are acting in opposition to our deeper values. That is what stops your mind from proceeding further.
The second is to be proud of your non killing status and to thank the gods for having allowed you to make this decision. This immediately opens up an entire field of consciousness: what you wear, what you want, what friends you make. And suddenly you are free of so much anger and hurt and ego that comes with centering on the self. Suddenly you have this tingly feeling that comes with love and excitement. I know. I walk around with it too. Imagine if everyone in the world were to strive to be empathetic – no more wars, food and water and clean air for all, lots of forests and happy children, good neighbours… all from the transition to level four of the brain
Are you empathetic? Empathy does not mean that because you feel the pain of a drug addict, you give him money for more. Or that you drown in someone else’s problems so that you become the sounding board for everyone. It does not mean that you are psychic and interpret someone else’s mind. Or that you suddenly go out and distribute all your money to the poor.
It is the narrow band dictated by the saying “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Think: would I like this person to be rude to me? Would I like to be asked for a bribe? Would I want my legitimate work stopped? Would I like to wait hours for medical treatment? Would I like to be stepped on like an ant or torn apart like a chicken, or strung upside down in a slaughterhouse? Would I like to live in a chawl with no water? Would I like to have false cases on me? Would I like to treat badly my boss? If not, then don’t do it yourself. Do not do anything that you don’t want to happen to you. That is called respect and that translates into empathy. It changes your behaviour and goals. And it opens your brain to the magic of the next layer
Some people call this the opening of the heart chakra: to experience of the weave of reality. We are not as separate as we seem. Feel all the love that has ever been given to you, and feel and see all those who have ever loved. Include animals, who are great teachers of unconditional love. I believe that when you know how to empathize with others, you will be able to succeed with just about anything that life might bring your way.
- Maneka Gandhi