Are the First and Third Minds mutually exclusive?

Initially the answer is no. The middle way between First and Third is the Second Mind. The Second Mind is the waning of the First Mind, but the First Mind is still present—that’s the only way the individual activity can function. These are the sages we see. At this stage, the answer to your question is no—they are not mutually exclusive because they are integrated at this level.

The mind that continues further and is predominantly in the Third Mind configuration we won't see much because it will not be interacting much in society. It will either happen outside the confines of society or it will generally happen out of sight. As the Second Mind approaches the Third Mind, the First Mind can longer be engaged. In this stage, the answer to your question becomes yes—they are mutually exclusive. Therefore, such minds either periodically shift to the Third Mind then back to the Second Mind, or they remain as Third Mind and the body will drop off.

Anoop Kumar, MD, MM is board certified in Emergency Medicine and holds a Master’s degree in Management with a focus in Health Leadership. He practices in the Washington, DC metro area, where he also leads meditation gatherings for clinicians. He is the author of Michelangelo’s Medicine and the upcoming book Is This a Dream? He tweets @DrAnoopKumar.