The mental body is the body of miracles, and the mental plane in which it exists is the favorite refuge of magicians and mediums. The mental or fourth body is in some systems called the higher mind, and given that it is also a prerequisite for interacting with the external reality, the name does not contradict the Truth. Of course, as with everything that is higher, the mental body is quite starkly different to the ordinary mind. For a start, it does not use words. The language of the mental body is a language of symbols, and it is symbols that are the principal form of existence on the mental plane. But form, as you understand it, plays a very important role in general, and on the mental plane in particular.
The fourth body is practically inactive in the average person, it exists in him like an embryo, like a potential that has yet to be realized. Sometimes it is activated due to extreme situations—like clinical death or being struck by lightning—and at that point we look to the latest medium or fortune teller. Breaches of this kind alter a person’s perception, enabling him to use the abilities of the mental body and the center it is connected to, usually called the third eye. This is the Ajna chakra, or sixth center, which is directly connected to the mental plane. The Heart is connected to the Creator, and the third eye to the plane of Creation, because what happens on the mental plane is made manifest in some shape or form in physical reality.
It is not for nothing that the mental body is called the higher mind—that which is thought within it normally then happens. There is an analogy with the mind of God, which can alter worlds with a single thought alone, but this is a further simplification. It is more that He alters them through his gaze.
It is particularly difficult to do justice to a description of the fourth body. We can really only talk about it obliquely, by enumerating the functions and abilities that it possesses. A similar approach is used in dhikr, where it is impossible to speak of Allah directly, but you can mention His qualities. It is like this: the fourth body possesses skills of telepathy, clairvoyance, foreknowledge of the future, and because of it, one may see other levels and dimensions of Reality. In addition, through this body one can perform certain actions on the mental plane which will have a direct impact on the physical world and alter it. In other words, all magic—both good and bad—is connected to the fourth body. Given the total opacity of the issue, to a lot of people it seems like magic is a collection of rituals which operate by themselves. This is a bit like an indigene like Don Juan musing on a TV remote—true magic! An effect is produced upon a material object with no contact, instantaneously. The truth is this: no rituals will work if you have not at least partly activated the fourth body or if you are not connected to the relevant egregor. Power over matter which now has now given us science, has always been one of the principal aims of magic. And power over people, too, of course. And it is important to make one thing clear here: simply possessing a developed fourth body does not give a person any particular spirituality. This body is mortal, it changes, and like the other three lower bodies it can be trained and energized, but for all its abilities, it cannot give to those who possess them any spiritual advantage. You have only to look at the mediums and spiritual healers to understand this. They remain in thrall to the power of the Downward Stream and follow their desires. Totally altruistic though these desires may appear to be, they all feed the ego and what Sufis call nafs. The concept of nafs goes well beyond ego—it includes almost all the requirements of man’s animal nature, while ego concerns only the mind. And so, entering the fourth body in no way weakens the nafs, and even strengthens it (as it does the ego), because attaining one’s desires them becomes easier. Nevertheless, any magical intervention is limited by the neutralizing effect of the laws of our world, and even God cannot ignore them, if He suddenly wants to intervene in our affairs. The world rests on them, and no one has the power to disturb the existing balance. There is a Pattern, it is the Plane of Creation, there are Streams of its manifestation, and even if some madman should suddenly manage to make a serious alteration by following his own desires, the first person his actions will cause harm to will be himself. God cannot keep track of all worlds, and there would no sense in that when they are all designed to always come back to some kind of harmony and balance.
It is possible, by acting through the mental body on the mental plane of our Reality, to influence events and situations on the physical plane. This is essentially what all magic is for. It is not for nothing that magical practices are forbidden in most religions, or at least the conditions under which magical methods may be used in work are strictly laid down. Magicians always go against the Will, wanting to change the world for themselves, and if every idiot starts realizing their own idiotic desires with the aid of magic the world will come crashing down. This is why the system of counterbalances is totally robust, and this is why no one has yet destroyed the world.
Nevertheless, it is via the mental plane that activity on the physical plane is carried out, and it is those same forces, which we label as Higher, that carry them out. This is where the egregors are formed, and where all great changes begin that lead to the rise or fall of civilizations. Here, on this plane of Being, the Sufi tradition continues to exist and it becomes possible to communicate the Knowledge that lies in store for those who are ready to accept it. Although again, without the necessary experience, it is almost impossible to understand it. Our space and our time do not exist on the mental plane, though a certain space and a certain time do exist there. Via the mental plane you can affect any point on the physical plane; distance in kilometers makes no difference here. In the same way, our time also presents no obstacle on the mental plane. Yet as long as you remain within the confines of the physical body, you cannot escape the effects of time on our plane either way. Time indicates the speed of the world’s destruction, while on the mental plane it works differently, and this is why anyone who manages to crystallize the fourth body lives within it on the mental plane for much longer than they do on the physical plane. But there are not many such people.
The mental plane can be activated (or awoken) quite easily, but to fully crystallize it requires special powers. There are exercises which accelerate this process, but they cannot do much without parallel practices in self-awareness. Charging the fourth body with energy without disengaging from desires and mechanical psycho-emotional reactions is practically impossible. After being crystallized on its own plane, the person’s mental body takes on a form corresponding to the path that person has taken; in magicians it normally takes the form of predators—panthers and other such animals. The search for powers leaves its mark on their crystallization. No one on the mental plane retains their own personal image, because the physical body and crystallization in a body with different qualities are two different things. As I have already said, the emergence of each egregor is pre-empted by the appearance of a symbol on the mental plane, and there are a number of such symbols, and egregors too, and we see the signs of them around us every day. Of course, the symbols do not only surface on the mental plane as a result of people’s actions—it is much more common that they come from the Higher planes in the process of the carrying out the Will and manifestation of the Pattern.
With the development of the mental body, the sixth center becomes a door to the mental plane, and it is capable of both receiving information and emitting energy and causing an impact. The sixth center represents the mental plane on the physical plane, but the third eye itself cannot interact with the physical plane. The information it receives has to do with the other planes. And this is entirely logical, when we have been given two ordinary eyes to receive information from the physical world. But we see everything in a very selective way with them, due to the dependence of the mind and its projections; our perception of reality is always corrected by dreams, recollections, and news stories. This does not happen with the third eye, but when a person does not possess a sufficient level of awareness, quite often he will perceive his own dreams and projections of his personal desires as a true vision arising in the sixth center. People manage to completely hypnotize themselves and keep up that self-deception; only dogs have the same capacity to wait for that which will never come—and never could. But dogs just copy the behavior of the people they live with; the social instinct of dogs immerses them in that particular form of servitude which you will recognize only after living for a long time under the same roof as your immediate family.
Activating and developing the fourth body quite often leads a person to a difficult choice. This choice lies between Darkness and Light, the two forces representing both Streams of Creation and the abilities they possess. Some do not choose at all, and until the moment when the fourth body is activated, this choice essentially does not exist. And I have seen a number of people choose Darkness as their leader. I cannot say that this choice is always taken consciously, but you could not call it entirely mechanical either. Normally, the dark side chooses those that fear it and want to placate it. And at the same time to gain powers which may be used to frighten others. This choice is frankly no better or worse than the others, only the person begins to vibrate energy through different channels, that is all. Those who choose Darkness remain within the Downward Stream and this choice shuts off the homeward path to them. They are bound to life in all its manifestations, but the desires and the energies that they are left to conduct often drive them to madness—in the broadest sense of the word. Darkness gives them power but gradually destroys them, starting with their reason, and strips them of their grasp on reality. Darkness sustains a person’s unconsciousness, intensifying his servitude in terms of desires.
Light destroys a person no less than Darkness. Such is the nature of these higher powers—they are not very helpful to a person, and anyone seeking self-preservation and procreation would be better off not getting involved in the mystic Path. But Light kills the mystic within the Upward Stream, which is generally entirely justified and even useful in terms of inner transformation. In any case, the mental body develops differently, depending on which side is chosen. And what we call destiny also changes quite drastically. It is important to remember in all this that people who have chosen Darkness may be perfectly pleasant, caring and even decent people from the perspective of ordinary morals.
And people who serve Light may, on the other hand, seem like the enemies of everything that lives. This is not about the criteria of commonly received values, but Darkness would see to it that everything in public culture and our ideas around this question would be entangled. By remaining within the Downward Stream, man is doomed to suffer, and no force can change that. Transformation and the transition to the Upward Stream also comes about through suffering, albeit those that are consciously brought on, but ultimately they liberate a person, rather than immersing him within still greater dependency, or leading him to madness. And in fact, therein lies the difference in the choice between Darkness and Light. This choice, as I have already said, is not implemented by all mystics by any means, and more often than not, magicians and mediums refuse to do so. A mystic who is intent on reaching their limits will see no point in intermediate definitions like this. However, the transition itself from one Stream to the other inevitably morphs into an encounter with the manifestations of both these forces, and sometimes these manifestations are entirely sinister. In any case, anyone striving for the higher Truth or towards fusing with God, should leave both Darkness and Light behind—by becoming attached to either of these powers, he will lose the ability to move further along the mystic Path. Light may become an obstacle on the path to Truth; a very pleasant obstacle but an almost insurmountable one. Works written by people stuck within the Light and the illusions it generates continue to be published to this day and may be found on the shelves of all bookstores. Anyone going to the limit, to the ultimate, all-out experience, will leave both Light and Darkness behind wherever they can. And they will leave everything else even earlier.
It is important to remember that transfiguration is a non-linear process and there is no strict sequence in terms of the development of the fourth body and, for example, the opening of the Heart. That is to say, the Heart may be closed, but the mental body developed, and vice versa—the mental body may only just have been activated, while the Heart is already open and the person is close to Surrender. In other words, these processes work to a certain degree in parallel and independently. But then opening the third eye without first activating the fourth body is impossible, and those seekers struggle in vain who think that they can turn themselves into clairvoyants by practicing magic, so that for whatever reason they can see people’s auras and talk to the dead. Those who rush receive, for their pains, a selection of their own fantasies and occasional “hits”, divinations of the future and past, and a heap of misses, when the mind substitutes an absence of any vision for fantasies. Basically, just watch any TV show on mediums and you will understand the whole thing. Or almost the whole thing.
The sixth center is a door into the mental plane and helps you gain a pretty clear understanding of Will. The fact is that Will is almost never revealed in words—it does not reach the lower mind, but rather the energy of an impulse of the Will coming to the Heart may—like a message—be examined with the third eye, and then the person will be able to see that much better and become conscious of all the nuances in an instruction to action. Because the sixth center is connected to the mental body, it is through this that any work takes place over a distance—be that the delivery of a barakah or the combined practice of a group over a distance. It is when that practice is being performed by everyone in the group that the activation and development of the fourth body begins. And practices of this kind have the most significance for advancing along the Path and for carrying out mystical Work.