The mental plane is often depicted as being above the causal plane, but both are
really aspects of the same realm of the mind.  What we call the mental plane is simply
the higher aspect of the mind - the region of pure thought - as distinguished from the
lower mind which is associated with our past and future experiences.  Because the
mental plane is the highest level of existence conceivable to the human mind, it is
often regarded as the ultimate spiritual realm and the true home of God.  
Growing up a Christian in the Lutheran church,
I was taught to believe that God is up there
somewhere in heaven watching everything,
rewarding good behavior and punishing bad
deeds.  Leading a good Christian life would
result in a place in heaven at His side in the
afterlife, made possible by the sacrifice of His
son, Jesus Christ.  Like many doctrines of the
major religions, the belief in good and evil, sin
and redemption, God and Satan, etc., is based
on mental concepts.  Therefore, religious
beliefs such as  the supremacy of good over
evil place that religion's heaven on the
mental plane. (This is not to say individual members of major religions haven't
transcended these doctrines and achieved higher states.)
Disaffected with the Christian teachings, I left the church
at 16 and became an atheist.  I decided to hew to the
secular belief that nothing was real or acceptable unless
it could be measured and proven with scientific methods.  
I knew there was scientific proof for electro-chemical
activity going on in my brain cells, stimulating thought and
emotion, and that there were immutable laws of physics
and mathematics which all reality is based on.  What I
didn't see at the time was that I was still placing my
"heaven," or my idea of the source of all creation, on the
mental plane.  Whether I saw it religiously as the abode
of God who loved me but judged me according to
accepted norms of good and evil, or scientifically as
the origin of the laws of physics, mathematics,
evolution, etc., I continued to revere the mental
plane.  I regarded the mental plane as the ultimate
because I didn't know any better and also because it
made me feel good.  The belief that the mental state
is the highest comforted me because I felt I could
understand reality and make sense of it logically,
providing assurance that I knew the mechanics of
creation and had a measure of control over them.  
However, when I stumbled across the
teachings of Light and Sound I came to realize
the mental plane is not the ultimate source of
creation.  I learned it is merely the highest level
of the lower worlds -- the top of the realm of
duality.  In my subsequent studies I heard that
the mental plane is associated with the color
blue, and that it is the region of pure thought.  
But what did it actually look like?  Was it a
nebulous, bluish world where thoughts
mysteriously coalesced out of the swirling
ether to take on shape and meaning?  
At first I thought so, but then I did a spiritual
exercise in which I projected myself above my
head and looked down on my thoughts.  I saw
them flowing through my mind like a broad,
stately river.  It made me realize the "stream" of
thoughts is the conduit of Divine Spirit flowing
into the lower worlds from the higher worlds.  
The mental plane, with its concepts, laws,
opposites, etc., provides the mechanism by
which Spirit splits into duality and flows into the
lower worlds.  Given the mental plane's proximity
to the act of creation, it was no wonder I had
originally thought of it as the ultimate heaven.
Further studies revealed that the mechanics of
creation in our own individual universe are that we, as
Soul, contact energy fields, or matrices, on the mental
plane by directing our attention to them, i.e. "thinking"
of them.  The flow of Spirit channeled by Soul's
attention imbues the matrices with additional energy in
direct proportion to how long and how intensely we
focus on them, regardless of whether the thoughts are
positive or negative.  Any strongly held thought or
belief becomes a dense energy field that attracts more
energy, similar to gravity or magnetism.  
This additional energy is mostly supplied by us and others
via imagination and feeling.  We "picture" what we're
thinking about, and we attach feelings to our thoughts and
beliefs.  At that point the energy field grows dense enough
to where it becomes visible, or "manifested" on the astral
plane.  If we continue long enough, and/or intensely enough,
to add energy to the matrix with our thoughts and feelings,  
the energy field's increased density makes it manifest in our
life on the physical plane as matter or action.  With the
physical plane being the densest state with the highest
proportion of matter vs Spirit, it usually takes relatively huge
amounts of energy to make a thought or image manifest as
physical reality.  This inertia is why there is often a lengthy
time lag between the inception of a thought and its
manifestation in the physical, if it happens at all.
Besides inertia, there are any number of reasons why our
thoughts and imaginings may never manifest in the
physical. Competition from opposing desires of others who
share our living space could be one.  We exist within a set
of agreements we call our family, community, country,
planet, and plane, and if what we desire requires a change
in one or more of these agreements, manifesting our wants
could take more energy than we alone can muster.  Another
reason is that we often work at cross-purposes with our-
selves.  We consciously want one thing and subconsciously
create something else because of fear or feelings of low
self-worth, etc.  Only when we bring all our energies in
alignment can manifesting wishes seem effortless.
Trying to manifest ideas or desires from the human consciousness can also be
frustrating because we don't always know what all the ramifications of manifesting our
desires might be.  There could be some decidedly negative consequences we didn't
think about.  I believe it is for the latter reasons that progress on the spiritual path
beyond the mental plane always involves giving up the desire to manifest things from
the human state.  Instead, we learn to surrender our creative capacity to a higher state
can know all the ramifications, whether we call it our higher self, the Inner Master,
Spirit, Divine Guidance, etc.  (More on the higher self on the
soul plane page.)
After learning all this, the question still remained in my mind:  what
about those electro-chemical reactions in my brain?  If the act of
creation in our lives is facilitated by this flow of force (or this
aggregation of energy) from the Soul state to the physical state, what
about the reverse?  Does not the condition of our physical body often
influence our feelings, and our feelings influence our thoughts, and our
thoughts in turn determine where we, as Soul, direct our attention?
I took this question into contemplation, and in response
the master showed me a giant double helix made out of
light.  One strand of the helix represented the downward
flow of Spirit from the higher worlds, and the other the
reverse flow of force from the lowest world to the highest.
The flows were intertwined and connected at all points.  
My interpretation of this symbol was that we are indeed
subject to a reverse flow of energy where each lower
plane or body influences the one above it.  It is no
accident that the DNA of living beings looks like a double
helix.  We are creations and representatives of this dual
flow, to the point where the core of each of our cells
reflects this symbol in its double helix shape.  
The concept of "flow" in creation cannot be overemphasized.  
Everything is based on flow.  In the physical, blood flows in our
veins, food and drink and oxygen flow into the body while waste
and sweat and nitrogen flow out.  Another way of saying it is,
energy flows into the body in one form and flows back out in
some other form.  If any of these flows are interrupted for
significant periods of time, the body dies.  If any of these flows
are significantly out of balance or of poor quality, our health
suffers.  On the astral plane, energy flows through us in the
form of feelings and pictures.  Again, if this flow is out of
balance, we'll have emotional problems which eventually
influence our physical state of being as well.  "Out of balance" in
the astral can mean being either overly emotional or being
emotionally repressed.  It can also mean going too far on the
As mentioned above, on the mental plane we
experience this flow as a stream of thoughts.  
Thoughts flow into our mind - whether from
Spirit or from other sources - and normally flow
back out in some rational form.  We know that
when people are mentally unbalanced the
symptoms may range from mild delusions to
full-blown schizophrenia.  However, we can also
be mentally unbalanced by refusing to accept
any new or different thoughts, or by being too
attached to a particular idea or set of thoughts
(which is really the same thing).  One only has to
watch people heatedly discussing politics or
religion to understand attachment to a set of
ideas.  Attachment interrupts the flow.  One has
to let go of one set of thoughts to allow another
set to come in.  This doesn't mean that one
can't hold specific views, but detachment means not to hold them to the exclusion of
others.  Thoughts, doctrines, ideas, etc., are not truths in themselves; they're just
different ways of looking at things.
Last but not least, Spirit flows unceasingly from the divine source to sustain all existence
in the lower and higher worlds.  For more on the higher worlds, click on the next page,
soul plane page.

On the macrocosmic side, I haven't had many experiences on the mental plane, but in his
book "The Tiger's Fang" Paul Twitchell speaks of Mer Kailash as the major city, with the
foremost Golden Wisdom Temple named Namayatan.
Learn more about the spiritual worlds in "Warriors
of the Sound Current."
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negative side with one's feelings or too far on the positive side.  Huge swings in either
direction are usually a sign of being emotionally out of balance.  Generally, we associate
a spiritual master with a state of serenity, a middle path, where emotions are
experienced but not in their extremes.