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..:: The Organism ::..


Alan Schneider


             The human manifestation of consciousness is of the highest order of complexity – what we see in our case is a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual factors that combine to form a gestalt, a whole that exceeds the simple sum of its parts through dynamic interaction.  The term customarily used in science to refer to this structure is the human organism, and it is the function and form of this organism that are the subjects of this essay.  

            If the evidence of the senses is to be believed at all, we appear to be composed in, or in association with, a relatively dense physical, biological structure of some kind that we call the body.  Based on other extended observations of other life on this planet, we also appear to have structural similarities to other organisms, particularly to the class of organisms called primates, but more obliquely to many other organisms as well.  And the fossil record, again if it is to be believed at all, displays additional historic similarities among life forms that have been held by some as evidence of the more or less orderly development of sequences of species through the process referred to as evolution.  In the opinion of this author, Creation was and is accomplished by a Divine Force acting on the universe through this medium of evolutionary development, culminating at the present observational moment on Earth in humanity and the human condition.  Such is the nature of the physical edifice of consciousness, and its ultimate purpose is to provide the opportunity for subsequent mental and spiritual evolution.  

            As can also be readily observed by all but the most befuddled among us (regrettably including certain individuals possessed of advanced academic certification) we also possess and demonstrate awareness of our condition and circumstances.  We know from moment to moment that we are involved in internal and external interaction resulting in personal change in both areas.  As I sit here typing this essay, I am conscious of my internal thought processes in composing it, and my external behavior in expressing those thoughts through the electronic media of my computer.  I prefer to use the term consciousness to describe this portion of my personal organismic gestalt – the interaction of my mental and physical states resulting in this essay.  At this stage of consideration,  my gestalt only involves two of the three areas of interaction defining my humanity – the spiritual dimension has been left out for the time being.  We are all fairly certain of the existence of the mind and the body, although the link connecting them is still a matter of hot debate in academic circles, not to mention that, beyond this, some even deny the existence of the mind at all, relegating our behavior to a Black Box of conditioned responses.  (To this latter preposterous contention I say “If you do not exist as awareness, who or what has come to that conclusion?!”) I believe that it is the consideration of the third element of spirit in the human gestalt, whether of myself or others, that holds the potential explanation of the linkage between mind and body, and between both of these and the spiritual realm that is the most tenuous of them all, and most open to debate for that reason. 

            The simple fact of the matter is that life either is the result of arbitrary chaotic influences that have no meaning or purpose at all, or results from the direction of an unseen intelligent force that guides human and other events according to an intentional design.  Carl Jung has gone so far as to term this force, as represented in consciousness, the Primal Self,  and has suggested that consciousness itself exists and extends beyond the boundary of the physical body.  His Theory of the Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious is as close as science has come to postulating and describing extrapersonal influences intelligently structuring human affairs, and stands as a landmark in spiritual investigation.  More recently, Einstein has postulated the Unified Field Theory as a demonstration of the existence of an orderly, intelligent universe, and many aspects of Schrödinger’s Theory of Quantum Mechanics also support the suggestion that an orderly, intelligent design lies behind the surface chaos of superficial physical events. In consequence of these and other scientific developments, today there is a race on to find the Holy Grail of consciousness – a single theory of existence that will tie all of the others together into a unitary perception of conscious awareness. 

            All of the advances and tenets of science – the best, most productive investigative modality developed to date – rely on the phenomenon of the observation of events, using the structured scientific method of enquiry in that case.  The role of the observer is central to this, and the many other, perhaps less scientific, approaches to our living existence – whatever we do, and however we do it, we must inevitably conduct observations as the core process of life.  I know of my body because I observe it both internally and externally.  I know of my mind because I observe it internally in terms of noticing my many internal mental states, and additionally observe the external consequences of those states as demonstrated in my behavior.  And, even though they are more difficult to observe, I can also note my unconscious mental processes as symbolically revealed in my dreams, visions, and fantasies, including the Jungian Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious already noted.  Science today has discovered that the role of the observer is absolutely crucial to the nature, content, and outcome of any observation, regardless of how well scientifically controlled it may be.  At the quantum level, where observation of the most minute of phenomena is attempted, the role of the observer can completely alter the phenomenon observed – the wave of light becomes a particle simply through the attempt at observation! 

            When we attempt to observe the observer (i.e. ourselves) in the act of observation, a very interesting event takes place – the universe which we have presumed to be so permanent and omnipresent progressively vanishes, to be replaced by a void in perception!  When we go looking for ourselves, we find that, at least in terms of our conventional definitions of existence, there’s apparently nothing there.  How can this be? Surely the “I” that has been taken for granted at the center of “my” consciousness cannot be a fictional creation!  If there is no “me” then what exists to make the observation that seems to be occurring?  Is behaviorism correct?  Is there nothing at the center of consciousness but external conditioning?  

            If “I” continue to press the self-observational attempt, and subsequently observe the void where once “I” was,  the entire process of conscious begins to shift to an entirely different frame of reference.  This is what occurs in the phenomenon of internal self-observation known as meditation – the observational nature of the observer evolves through a series of stages of manifestation once the initial identification with the social self (the ego) is released.  This is why meditation is one of the most important human processes – with the release of the ego and its attendant acculturation, we have the opportunity to be genuinely free observers manifest in successively higher states of conscious expression.  

            These stages of conscious expression have been the subject of numerous SYNERGY essays, but perhaps a brief synopsis will be of use in the context of this current effort.  The basal awareness of the objects and processes appearing as distinct from the observer, and primarily observable through the senses is referred to as the condition or expression of the Physical Plane in the Mystery Theories, and is considered the most fallen form of conscious expression because it is the perception of fragments, not whole states of being.  

            Although accounts and theories vary considerably, the next, higher level of conscious expression is generally referred to as the Astral Plane, and is considered to be accessible in dreams, meditation experiences, fantasies, and various other “altered” states of perception – altered from the “normal” experience of waking consciousness controlled and defined by the ego, and present in the senses.  The Astral Plane is the beginning of spiritual experience, although that experience may be of any range of expression from quite low to relatively high.  The Jungian Archetypes are initially present in the Astral perception in many personalized forms determined by the residual ego observers waking (but often unconscious) social conditioning.                       

            The next level of observational expression is the Mental Plane, a region of significantly deeper involvement customarily accessed through meditation, and the home of the Jungian Primary Archetypes – Thought Forms exemplified by such concepts as spirit guides, archangels, and verbal totem animals.  The term verbal is significant here, because the observer is most often involved in direct verbal interaction with the thought form(s) – receiving occasionally complex guidance and instructions for worldly conduct on the Physical Plane upon return to that level of conscious involvement.  This is the last level of psychic apperception prior to the full presence of the Soul in perception, and frequently involves advanced social consciousness and training.  

            The Soul comes into manifestation as the observer on the Buddhic Plane, analogous to the Heart Chakra of Yoga practice, and the Sephirah Tippereth in Cabalistic theory.  This is the first truly spiritual level of involvement, one in which the moral consequences of our existence become focal objects in perception as a function of the Souls involvement.  The hallmark of the Atmic Plane is the development of compassion and selfless love.           

            Beyond the Buddhic Plane is the Atmic Plane, and there is considerable difference of opinion regarding which is first or next in the sequence, or whether they are even distinct levels, or what they should be called, based on their presumed distinctions.  I prefer to leave the Atmic following the Buddhic, because the Buddha Mind – the nature of the observer at that level – is a universal state of consciousness that transcends the personal Soul.  On the other hand, the Collective Soul can be thought of as essentially the Buddha Mind in universal expression.  The two levels are obviously very closely related to each other in any case.  The Buddha Mind is the supreme source of buddhi – transcendental wisdom and knowledge that exceeds everything that has come before it in terms of subtlety and depth of meaning.  The Buddha Mind is also the source of spiritual instruction referenced in the condition of the bodhisattva – one who attains Enlightenment, but refuses to Ascend permanently until all sentient beings have received this gift. 

            Beyond the Atmic Plane is the Monadic Plane, the sixth level of conscious expression, and the observer function here is the Monad, a “family” of twelve Souls released directly from the final Plane – the Logoic Plane – with a common spiritual bond and vibration to perform specific related tasks on the Planes below.  The Monad is a very high vibratory level of observation characterized by the perception of the Divine Light, visions of future events (i.e. from the perspective of the ego back on the Physical Plane), and spiritual insight into the deepest possible sources of meaning that can be perceived while there is still any separation remaining from the Divine Precept on the Logoic Plane.

            The Logoic Plane is the ultimate destination of Ascension, and the observer on that level is the merged consciousness of the Soul and the Logos – as God, the Divine Precept.  Consciousness at this level amounts to a unified perception of Divine Love, Holy White Light, and the I AM Presence in one manifestation as the Supreme Absolute Truth.  No higher condition of consciousness can be known though any means or to any end – God is complete unto God.  At the level of SAT, we are all One Being united in Love and Light beyond any limitations of space or time.  In fact, this is what we really are, and all of the lesser states are misperceptions of SAT, caused by various levels of ignorance and spiritual blindness.  

            Thus, what is possible, and required to be fully awake on the Physical Plane (as was the Buddha) is this perceptual journey through all of the translations of the nature of the observer just mentioned.  Obviously, this is a mighty big “bill to fill” for anyone, but history is still full of examples of individuals who have made the grade through devotion, discipline, and self-sacrifice – the Saints and Seers of all spiritual traditions have left ample guidance to light the Way.  And all of them were still present on the Physical Plane as flesh and bone, deliberating, behaving organisms, with all of the apparent suffering and limitation that physicality implies.  This is the spiritual condition of Karma, the destiny of the Soul during incarnation, and is transformed into Dharma – spiritual insight – through the Wisdom of Enlightenment.


                                                                                   - With Love, Alan -

                                                                 (Copyright 2009, by Alan Schneider)


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