Mind - the principle of Thought - is embodied in the individual person or entity as the capacity for thought and the formulation of concepts, exists on many different levels.  Here are some.

The Physical Mind

The Physical Mind - as embodied in the Mental Body - confers an intellectual understanding of things; the faculty of rational thought and understanding.  In Jungian typology, this constitutes the Thinking, especially the extravert- and sensation-thinking. Faculty.  This is the body of thoughts or intellect proper; the "Concrete Mind" of Theosophy, and the "Physical Mental" of Sri Aurobindo.  It is in part equivalent to the "Ego" of Freudian psychology; the psychological principle which functions through and interprets dualistic physical reality.

 Philosophy, science, and rationalistic philosophies all derive their existence from the Physical Mind.  There is very little intuition here (intuition pertains to the higher faculties), but well-developed reason.

 The Physical Mind constitutes the lowest expression of the Spirit or Pure Intellect or Ideation; incarnate in matter, and reduced to a limited, sceptical, and self-defeating understanding of things.  Although still within physical reality, because of its subtlety it experiences itself as seperate from the physical body; a disembodied spirit so to speak.  Hence the mind-body Dualism of Descartes, summed up in the phrase, "I think, therefore I am."

REASON (reason) Linear logic

The Psychic Mind

In itself, the Psychic Mind - the Mind of the Psychic Universe - confers a more sophisticated understanding, and approach to the mysteries of existence, through the presence of reason combined with intuition, than the Physical Mind.  The subtle intellect as a whole is more open to higher light and inspiration, than the Physical intellect.  Hence, spiritual faculties which are only poorly developed in the Material-Physical Intellect are much more powerfully developed, and better able to express them-selves, because they are less bound by the restrictions of the material consciousness.

 As far as psychological typology goes, the person with a strong Mental psyche is very much an "Intuitive-Thinking" type.  If you have a strong imagination and tend to live very much in the world of ideas, or if you are attracted to the study of various esoteric teachings, or are a creative and original thinker, you are an intuitive-thinking type.  In general, serious occultists and imaginative philosophers tend to be intuitive-thinking.

The Noeric Mind

The Noeric plane represents the Causal octave of Mind-proper, including Ideational hierarchies, consisting of pure creative Thought and spiritual Imagination (the Ishraqi world of Malakut, Kabbalistic world of Beriah, Sri Aurobindo's Spiritual strata of mind (excluding the Overmind)).  This very Subtle region of mind constitutes the transpersonal intellect that is far beyond the emotional, psychic, or egoic realities.  Hence here we are dealing with realm of esotericism, higher occultism, and spiritual revelation


The Noetic/Divine Mind

This totally Cosmic and transpersonal level of Mind is very rarely atatined.  It is Mind merging with the consmic Consciousness (or "Overmind" in Sri Aurobindo's terminology)

Grades of Mind

This diagram is based on Sri Aurobindo's teachings and shows the levels of Mind according to Sri Aurobindo's philosophy (Sri Aurobindo being one of the very few esoteric teachers to develop a really decent psychology - indeed his integral psychology is in my humble opinion greatly superior to most contemporary western psychologies)
levels of mind according to Sri Aurobindo

And the following table shows one possible interpretation of various strata and octaves of mind and mental consciousness
Noetic/Divine Universe
Higher Noeric Universe
Noeric Universe ideation of physical ideation of psychic pure ideation angelic/divine ideations
Psychic Universe thoughtforms relating to/ determined by physical pure psychic/ imaginal thoughtforms spiritual thoughtforms higher spiritual/ angelic/ divine thoughtforms
Etheric plane lower mental body
[physical mind]
subtle mental body
[imagination, artistic]
higher mental body
[spiritual intuition]
higher spiritual/divine mental bodies
mundane plane physical somatic mind (body consciousness)  imaginative-intuitive somatic mind  spiritual-intuitive somatic mind illumined somatic mind
chthonic plane trivial mental subconscious (old mental associations etc) imaginational mental subconscious higher subconscious illumined  subconscious
gross octave
subtle octave
spiritual octave higher spiritual/ angelic/divine


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page uploaded 4 September 1999
modified 30 September
& again 16 January 2000