Plato: Limited Mind of an Infinite Soul

Enchanted we are by the colorful swirls of mind, just as we are enchanted with the evening sunset; except in the case of mind, we fear what happens when night falls and the colors begin to fade. And that is how our monsters are born and continue to live in mind, inside our days.

The Limited Labyrinth of Mind

Plato’s dialogues are a labyrinth of the possibilities of mind, but mind is a limited energetic system. It can only comprehend so much and in so many ways. That means that the patterns it uses can be mapped, understood, detected – and manipulated by sources both outside and inside. The simplicity of the mind is concealed by its sheer imagination and its ability to reflect the truth as a mirror reflects the true face. Plato’s works are an attempt to give us that mirror, so that we can see our illusion more clearly, more wondrously, more precisely – for the purpose of letting it all go. Plato’s dialogues are of such depth and beauty that the philosopher, Alfred Whitehead, once said:

“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”


There is literally nothing that you can think that does not have its paradigm in Plato’s dialogues.  And there is nothing stopping you from mastering the nuances of your own mind, enough to free yourself from its powerful spell, a spell that makes you think the problem is “out there” or “in here”; the spell that thinks you “can’t survive” or “deal” with something. The spell that says you are “unworthy” or “not smart enough”. The universe is infinite and so are you. Your soul is an unstoppable, ever present force. But your mind? It is always limited and it will keep you limited if you live inside of it, at the expense of everything else. Unfortunately, most of modern mankind lives in the mind and lives in the limitation of mind. And it’s only fear? Is “trespassing” over its own self-imposed limitations. Yes, we are a strange bunch. We self-harm by means of the mind and it is the mind that we are afraid to violate by ceasing our self-harm.

That is because you trust the mind. And the tricky thing about your mind, is that it can convince you it has all the bases covered – that you have “everything handled”. The mind, after all, imagines it can talk about the “whole” or “unity” or “love” or “self” simply because it has a definition of it. But the mind also has definitions of “half” or “separation” or “fear”, simply because it has to. The mind cannot really see anything as whole because it always has “half” to accompany it. It cannot understand any black without white or any loud without soft. And when we live in the mind, we will have to ride those waves of up and down, in and out, without any rest. When we find love, we will find also fear. When we find dark, we will find light. We will feel unstable. And we will be unstable. That is why, Socrates says:

How strange it seems to be, men, this thing men call pleasure: how amazingly it grows into seeming to be its opposite, pain; yet, for the human being, both never occur together at the same time; if someone should pursue and seize one, they will always be required to take the other as well, as if both, though two, are bound to a single source. And it seems to me, he said, that if Aesop recognized this phenomenon, he would have put together a story like this: The god, in being unable to make the two enemies friendly with each other, attached both of their heads to the same head, and because of this whenever one would emerge, the other one follow later. At any rate, that is how it seems to be to me: For there appeared to be pain in my leg from the shackles, and now pleasure has arrived in its turn.

Plato, Phaedo, 59c

The See-Saw of Mind

All of our suffering in life is caused by our attachment to mind in some fashion or form. We are constantly taken on a thrilling ride by its see-saw, of one extreme to the other. And inside this polarity of opposites, we formulate our opinions and judgments of acceptance and avoidance. One minute we like someone, the next minute we don’t. We become confused, unstable, and unable to be constant in our relationships to others or ourselves. It all might feel chaotic and often times depressing or exhilarating, but it is not chaotic. The mind is at work here and the mind always follows rules and the rule in particular, is the rule of polarity. It is the rule of polarity that makes us afraid to reach out and commit, for we know that we will suffer the opposite feelings soon enough. We are ecstatic one day but soon we fall into disappointment. This is what causes most people to give up on their dreams, their hopes, the true destiny.

Identity as Prison

Plato refers to the mind as prison of noetic (noos, mind) or mental laws.  To learn about these laws you can refer to the Seven Hermetic Principles. For the purpose of this article, the best way to begin to understand what Plato means when he talks about mental prisons is to watch young children playing. They can pretend they are doctors, but they can do this in full awareness that they are just playing. They are enjoying the imagination that their mind fashions for them without attachment. When they stop the playtime, they go back to being empty of those playful/false identities. Meanwhile, as we age, we begin to formulate identities that stick. These identities are formulated in the mind. We start to “know who we are” and in this certainty we find a bit of strength and independence. We are told, after all, that “knowledge is power” and so we figure “self-knowledge” is absolute power. We begin to say “this is not me” and “that is me”.  However, that independence and strength is an illusion created inside yet another polarity, me vs. them or self vs others. We are not really knowing who we are. That self that is outside of “others” is an illusory self. It becomes a prison of our own making. We are only knowing what our mind says we are, and we are surrendering to it. Before we know it, we are approaching aged fifty, and we have become a paradigm of habit, hardened opinions, and unresolved dreams and anxieties. And if something happens in the world that forces us to release ourselves from habits, we feel as if we were a drug addict separated from his or her drug.

The mind is a mechanism for spell-casting and illusions. It can shape and mold our mental patterns, and so our emotions, and our entire lives. It is at its most powerful when we, as human beings or as friends or as countries or as clubs or religions, agree with each other. When we agree, the spell is nearly impenetrable except by those who have great mental power and conditioning to withstand the “herd”. The bird who strays from the flock will have to take on the challenge of cultivating his or her own will, to reach deep within to find their own true direction. Every one of us has that innate ability, that birthright to self expression and absolute freedom and bliss. The only reason we doubt that we have access to bliss is because we are trapped and addicted to the life that mind has cultivated for us.

Mind as Addiction

In the modern world, we are completely ruled by the mind. But this hegemony of mind in the modern world is simply an imbalance, a kind of indulgence similar to our indulgence in pleasures such as entertainment or food and drink. The mind, like food and drink and entertainment, is not a bad thing by itself. The mind is a tool for sorting, estimating, organizing, knowing. We cannot function without the mind and its ability to categorize and understand. But Plato, in the mouth of Socrates and throughout many of his dialogues, describes knowledge as being a like a boat that works for a while. But he cautions that we should always be on the lookout for a better boat. In other words, the search for knowledge should continue. We should not stay in one boat or identity forever. This is why philosophy means “the love of wisdom”. We are not the possessors of wisdom, but always the seeker; forever the seeker. The lover of science or the lover of art should always make sure to keep seeking the true, the good, and the beautiful. To stop doing this is to fall into the illusion of mind, back into the prison, back into the polarities.

And the modern world loves its illusions and feels “alive” in its illusions. We love excitement and business and stimulation. We have a very low tolerance for neutrality, peace, quiet, slowness. We instead prefer to be addicted to a world that loves to make impressions and loves to make itself popular, known, heard, and wanted. We find power in the busi-ness of mind. We need to find a way to market ourselves or make what we have popular in order to achieve money, fame, relevance. We live inside the mind, not only in our waking moments, but in our dream-time and in times when it would be best to not be in our mind, but to be perhaps in our hearts or our bellies.  We are very fearful of leaving our minds and we are very possessive over what we think we “have” in them. It doesn’t matter whether the mind is working in the subconscious or the conscious. It doesn’t matter if you experience feelings or ideas. It is all from the same place, the fluctuation of the mind. In the Yoga Sutras, it is said that:

Union or wholeness (yoga) is restraining the fluctuations natural to the mind.

Yoga Sutras, 1.1. Patanjali,

And it doesn’t help you that people around us are also in their minds and think that what their minds contain IS them. When we reach out to each other, we are mostly doing it in terms of the way the mind can understand and assess. Is this person “good for me”? Does this person have “what I want”? What should I say? In a digital world, this becomes even more apparent, as we are no longer interacting energetically with each other or through the heart-space. We are simply reading or hearing words/speech most of the time and as we are doing that, we are just processing, assessing, judging, ignoring, taking note. We become disheartened, or obsessive, we desire and we fear, we feel pain or pleasure. Rarely are we able to just be, to just enjoy another’s company or our own without experiencing the drama, the see-saw of polarity that the mind is addicted to and finds comfort in, the chasing and making things happen, the running and the fear of things happening at all. We do all this, and never really find powerful intimate connection. We just bump into each other, and fall away from each other and move on along, as if nothing significant happened. We don’t see the birds or hear the rain or hear each other. We are just pushed along with the tides, occasionally glancing at scattered memories and vague impressions.

Neutral in the Heart Space

So many people feel alive in these dramas of mind. A sense of peace and neutrality would actually scare them. This is a sad affliction because inside that neutrality is where we find the holy grail: unconditional love and acceptance. It is where we are closer to our hearts and our divine nature and the divine itself.

Some who read this might think that they are different, especially those who think of themselves as being spiritually awakened. But much of what is considered to be spiritual is just more of the mind. The mind is the seat of the imagination, of any kind of comprehension whatsoever, the “knowing” of the divine or the human things. The psychic or the seer “knows” things.  Now, there is nothing wrong or false about this kind of seeing, but the distinction must be made. Are we knowing what mind is telling us, or are we knowing what the heart is telling us? How many know the difference? Some seers will say that “they just know or they have a feeling”.  Actually, all of us speak this way. But feelings are undifferentiated and undistinguished mind-games. How do you know that you are not just expressing an impression of mind?

One way of knowing whether or not you are sourcing from mind or heart is to determine whether or not you are in a state of neutrality. When you are neutral, you see or hear or know things despite your opinions, tastes, desires, fears, and expectations. When you see from the heart, you see it with complete openness and acceptance. You cannot tell a lie. You don’t say things in order to please your make yourself look powerful. Even the feeling of being powerful, is a sign that you are in a delusion.  Ask yourself, if your powers of insight were gone tomorrow, would you feel bad about yourself? Would you be neutral? If the answer is “neutral”, you are seeing from the heart.

However, even when we see from the heart – and we always have those moments – it is easy to quickly slip back into the mind as soon as you start assessing and judging. That subtle slip back into mind is like a cloud that suddenly conceals the light of the sunny day. Socrates, the philosopher in Plato’s dialogue, represents this Zen state of consciousness. He doesn’t ever react to those who speak with them. He doesn’t become enraged or disheartened. He actually usually doesn’t want to be talking to anyone at all. The Republic, for example, begins with Socrates just wanting to go home. He is not interested in selling his philosophy or his powers of intuition. He is very, as Nietzsche said, “boring”. Socrates is the one balancing in the middle of the see-saw, always attempting to lead both sides to balance, no matter what they hurl at him. He is always neutral, almost in a state of bliss, that is beyond the comprehension of most people. Phaedo remarks about him, at his deathbed:


Truly I experienced wondrous things while I was there. For although I was present for the death of a man dear to me, pity never occurred to me: the man appeared quite happy to me, Execrates, both in his manner and his words; and he came to his end so fearlessly and nobly that he seemed to me to be going to Hades by divine fate, and when he would get there,  he would do quite well if indeed anyone ever could.

Plato, Phaedo, 58e.

The Way out of the Prison

The way out of the prison that is mind, is to allow what is in mind to come to an end. To put a ceasefire on the addictions, the desire to be loved, the desire to be seen, the attachment to one’s own powers, the need for excitement, drama, and feelings of empowerment. Zen Buddhists might talk about the thoughts of being like clouds in the sky. You can watch them, but you must learn how to let them pass. You must learn how to let the false-self pass. Do not attach yourself to it. Each time a cloud passes, you might look at it, and even engage in it, but you must also, if you want to remain free and happy, let them go. This “letting go” might even feel like a death if the attachment is strong. In Plato’s Phaedo, this death is called teleusis, an ending, perfection, completion. In our modern world, we would call it “ego-death”. But I don’t like the concept of ego-death, because there is no death or end of the ego. The ego itself is simply a mental construct, a way to understand ourselves inside a particular branch of knowledge called psychology. To understand yourself as an ego, is not going to help you to let go of ego, because you are still in the mind, fighting the so-called ego – which doesn’t even exist.  The only way out of the prison of the mind is to learn how it works, just like the only way out of a labyrinth is to pay attention, do not succumb to fear and desire, learn how it works, to remember the patterns and the wrong turns.  You can see these patterns if you spend time in occupations of the mind: logic, philosophy, computer programming, the sciences, music, the arts, rhetoric, story telling, dream analysis. All structure, all plot, all story relies on patterns, logic, simile, metaphor, and/or demonstration in order to be convincing. Practice catching the mind in the act. The more you do that, the more you start to feel and experience the self that is you. For you are the consciousness that is watching mind and its tricks and is actually separate from it. You are the one who can change,add, subtract from the presentation of mind. You are the conductor, the maker of your own world, the sound of your music.

So to become Zen or neutral does not mean you shouldn’t experience polarity or excitement or disappointment. It just means that you attempt to avoid becoming attached to the polarities. You can use the presence of a polarity or an extreme to alert you that you should come back into balance. Coming back into balance means being able to be the child at heart. To be still in bliss even as the world is falling apart; to see the sun when the rain clouds arrive; to love unconditionally when all seems to shun you. You realize that you are powerful with the tool that is your mind, instead of being a victim of it, and so you are able to create with more depth, power, and wisdom than you could have ever dreamed and with a peace and control of presence that is as powerful as the shining sun. For your soul is who you actually are; the unlimited infinite soul that is not the mind but uses the mind; you, the pure light of consciousness who love unconditional, and holds a presence that is as free and sure as the space that is all the universe.

When the attributes cease mutative association with awareness, they resolve into dormancy in Nature, and the indweller shines forth as pure consciousness. This is absolute freedom.

Yoga Sutras, Patanjali, 4.34

Phaedo: Socrates, the Master of Linguistic Transmutation

Language is magic. But like so much else on the planet, including ourselves, we have lost touch with that fact. For not only is language magic, it is divine magic, and it is that which enables us to be the masters of our own world. The Platonic dialogue, and the Phaedo in particular, is designed to teach you about the magic of language, which is completely accessible to every single human on the planet. But we are not just talking about letters and words. Letters and words, are the means, but they are not the essence of the magic. Letters and words can actually be detached from the magic, just like bodies can be detached from the soul when they die. Even though we need them to express divine magic on this plane, they are only instruments or encapsulations. The actual magic behind the words is light energy. It is in fact divine energy. Words are extremely powerful when the energy behind them is present. They are not powerful when it is not. That is why some people are effective writers, and some are not effective. It has to do with how they harness the energy behind the words, whether they are conscious of this or not. Those who are conscious of it can become incredibly powerful.  This is one of the secrets in mystical teachings throughout the ages. Nikola Tesla remarked that “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” In the case of words, it is no different. It is no mistake that the name, Phaedo, means “bright, and shining”, and that the god Socrates mentions in the dialogue is Apollo, the god of light and the sun.

Ancient Greek, the language Plato used to write his dialogues, was never a spoken language. It was a so-called ‘literary’ language.  What did that mean? Did that mean that it was a secret code for intellectuals? Not quite. It was no more secret code that Egyptian hieroglyphics and Sanskrit, both of which used language to express the divine on earth. In that sense, language is used to manifest the divine on earth. That is why, in John 1:1 it says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”. The word in this case is the logos, the very same word that Plato uses to express speech that goes beyond ordinary chit-chat type of speech.

The logos is the energy behind the words and the letters. Words and letters cannot create anything. The logos creates everything. You can, if you harness that kind of energy, literally create your world. Hard to believe, isn’t it. Well, it isn’t when you consider that you have already done it, are doing it, and will continue to do so in the future. The question is not can you do it, but can you stop and get a hold of those wild horses before they continue to run you into the ground? Can you be the driver here of the logos, or are you going to continue being the one who is unconsciously driven to believe that your world isn’t something you have created?

In my translation of Plato’s Phaedo, which will be available at the end of the year, I am attempting to help English readers comprehend the magic in Plato’s language, which is designed to help you access your own.  Words in Ancient Greek are like trees, with roots, branches, and leaves of various colors, depending on the season, the author, the work. The beauty of Ancient Greek is that it preserves these trees as they are. For example, in English the word ‘truth’ seems pretty straightforward. How would you define it? Something that is real? Something that is honest? Something that does not deceive?  In Greek, there is no such word for truth. The word in Greek is alethēia, which means unforgetting, or remembering. The root of the truth is –lēth– which means forgetfulness, as in the River of Lēthē, the River of Forgetfulness. The truth about truth is that it is always something we remember. It is not something that we get from outside of ourselves at all.  It is not even a ‘thing’, but is a process of uncovering what is within ourselves. That is it. The English word allows us to place ‘truth’ on anything we want and so we can conceptually remove ourselves from the process of truth and remove ourselves from the responsibility of unveiling that truth. The Greek does not. The word is quite specific. You don’t seek truth. You don’t uncover the truth. You just remember. If you do not do this, you remain in the same state, which is false, pseudē, from where we get our English prefix, pseudo-. This is why Socrates talks about the non-philosopher as being one who lives a lie. The same is also said of the one who does not practice yoga. For the one who lives in lies is the one who lives in ignorance and ego:

Ignorance is taking the non-eternal for the eternal, the impure for the pure, evil for good and non-self as self.

Egoism is the identification of the power that knows with the instruments of knowing.

Patanjali, Yoga Sutras 2.5-6

The instruments of knowing are the mind and its judgments. Both are not of the soul, but are instead instruments of the ego. In other words, it is not an instrument of our true divine nature. Plato’s language as logos is an instrument of the divine. But he goes one step further than the logos. The logos is the divine energy of speech as it comes out of our mouth, but the dia-logos or the dialogue is what allows for the transmutation of energy from one frequency to another. In Socrates case, he always transmutes from a lower to a higher frequency. In fact, you can actually read the Platonic dialogue at different levels of frequencies. This is no easy task, and it is bit like dialing into different radio frequencies. You can get very confused very quickly if you do not do this with consciousness, because if you jump around to much without control, the stations start to sound as if they are on top of another, mixing one frequency with another in a very unharmonic way. And most of us don’t need a Platonic dialogue to get confused like that. We get confused all the time! For example, if we say “all is one”, it makes no sense on lower frequencies. But if we say it on higher frequencies, it has substance. This is why political speech rings false most of the time. It confuses the frequencies and pulls them down lower. You can tell they are lying because the energy behind the words is too low. They end up sounding distorted.

Now when you read a dialogue, there are passages that are more geared towards the high frequencies and they are very difficult to understand if you are dialed in at a lower one. Or if you are dialed in too high, you will have difficulty hearing the lower notes. But if you try to jump back in forth, forget it, you will get very confused. It is not that you can’t do both, like a symphony orchestra, but you just have to get the rhythm and timing correct. And that, as Plato says, requires some musical education. The true reason why musical education was important to Plato and why Socrates constantly refers to music in the dialogues is that Plato saw that if we do not each learn how to play our own proper “instrument” as directed by the divine, the we will not be able to find peace and beauty in the symphony that is our world.

But back to dialogue. So “dialogue” in Plato doesn’t mean just “conversations”.  It means transformation so that conversations are possible. And you are not the only one who is asked to take this roller-coaster ride up and down the frequency scale of language. The characters are there to help you along, as they too are mystified when they begin with one opinion and end up having a new opinion they couldn’t even have imagined before. Its like they started with a violin and ended up with a tuba, or as if they started as a tenor and ended up soprano. Some start with the music of fear, and end with courage. Some begin with arrogance and finish with humility. Most of the time, they relinquish their original opinion that they started out with, because Socrates – unbeknownst to them – turned up the frequency dial to a part more suitable to them! And they are happier for it, because when we cling to our false opinions they generally become great and painful burdens, not only to ourselves, but to others. Our opinions, the ones that are not able to withstand the test of the divine symphony of the dialogue, are the ones that get put aside, especially the ones that don’t play well in the symphony of the whole.

So it is the case that whoever speaks with Socrates ends up finding that Socrates has been able to turn his logos (opinion) to the opposite polarity or to a completely different frequency of consciousness. If you, as the reader of a dialogue, follow along with your own opinions (logoi), you will find that what you once thought was true beyond a doubt, is subject to more doubt than you thought.  Socrates is a master of alchemy, and at the highest levels. He uses something that goes way beyond natural language in order to transmute the most difficult personalities into pussycats. He is able to transform the darkness into light, the pain into pleasure, the chaotic into the calm. The truth about the divine logos is that is not something that can actually be written in a linear way. At the end of the dialogue, all the speeches are getting along, and nearly sound together like a symphony of sound, a frequency of friends, despite their differences. I suppose you could say that Socrates, in addition to being a great alchemist of light energy, was also a great conductor of music. After all, that is what he says, in the Phaedo, the god told him to do:

…The dreams went something like this. Many times, the dream would occur throughout my life, appearing in different ways and in different aspects , but saying the same exact thing, “Socrates”, it said “make music and make it your work.” And during all that time, the very thing I had been doing is what I assumed it was encouraging and commanding me to do, just as those who encourage and cheer on runners in a race. And so, I assumed that what I was doing was that which it commanded, namely, to make music, and philosophy is the greatest type of music, which is what I was doing.

Phaedo, Translation by Anastasia Harris, 60e

So how does he do this? Well, In the Phaedo, Plato has Socrates talking about music and magic and spells. He does this throughout the dialogue, serving as clues to those who start to become aware of the nature of Socrates’ powers. As Tesla says, all things are energy and all logos is energy. There is in fact a language that is behind all languages, modern or ancient, an this is language is of a higher vibration than anything we can ever physically write down. Some people call this “light language”, and it is still something I have been exploring during my deeper meditations. Light language is something that is not conceivable by the mind. It is experienced through the soul. Most creatives do not realize that they are receiving light language, but that is exactly what they are doing, when they receive “information” that is neither concept, word or anything in the conceivable universe. In fact, the experience they have is “I don’t know where it comes from” or “it came from a god”. You can say it came from the Quantum field, or light language, or source, or whatever you want to call it in our earthly tongues, it still remains to be the same thing: logos at its deepest levels is energy. The dialogue of Plato is at its deepest levels the manipulation and transmutation of that energy. And finally, Plato’s intent at the deepest levels is to show us how to find the power of that magic within ourselves, for he saw personal responsibility, personal knowledge, and inner strength and truth to be the only way out of all unhappiness, all suffering, and all evil in the world.

Truly, Echecrates, so many times I have marveled at Socrates but never as great as I had at that time.  Now to already have what he was going to say was nothing out of the ordinary, but I most of all marveled first how he pleasantly and with calmness and with respect, received the argument of these young men, and then how keenly he sensed what we were suffering due to their speeches, and then how well he healed us and as those who have run away in fear and have felt defeated, he called us back into courage, and encouraged us to walk with him and to as a group look at the speech.

Phaedo, 88d, Translation by Anastasia Harris