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..:: Liberation III / Control ::..

By

Alan Schneider

               

             Located as we are in the material condition of the body (at least according to the evidence of the senses), and confronted by the ego, we must all deal to some extent with the issue of control over our personal and social affairs, specifically, where the locus of that control will be, and by what it will be exercised.    

            What is control, as experienced from the human perspective?  Put as simply as possible, control is the ability to make and carry out decisions.   Some of our control is accessible to us without much external interference – we can all decide on a more or less independent basis what we will eat, how we will dress, where we will travel, and so forth.  I say here more or less, because all of the these categories are subject to some degree of social influence – in this country, we will possibly eat vegetables as opposed to insects, and will wear some clothing, as opposed to none, and may travel in a car (as opposed to on an elephant, perhaps) to a store or work or friends as intended destinations, as opposed to Astral or Mental consciousness, or Yogic or Tantric perceptions as “destinations”.   In fact, the “me” who presumably makes these decisions as an ego is very much the result of social processes itself, without which it would not exist as an independent entity. 

            And if this ego does not really exist as the locus of control that it appears to be, what, then, does?  What is actually in control, if anything?  There are many possible answers to this inquiry.   Chaos theory maintains that even evidently random events are still influenced by strange attractors located beyond the threshold of phenomenal observation, and it is these attractors that shape events as they emerge into manifest form.  Freud asserted that the unconscious mind exerted subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) influences on the ego and waking conscious perception, determining what we believe, and even choose to experience from the great inrush of the senses.  Jung took this a large step further, claiming that the archetypes of the collective unconscious (themselves a variety of chaotic strange attractors) generated the forces that determined external conscious perception and subsequent behavior.  Sometimes, these archetypal forces generate perceptible symbols of conscious content, symbols of an incredible variety and extent, manifest both in the unconscious processes of dreams, and conscious processes of visions and ideas.   Jung postulated that the source of all psychic manifestation, including the archetypes, was an enigmatic structure at the core of the Psyche that he termed simply the Self.   Presumably, this Self is also symbolically observable in deep meditation, and (admittedly subjective) witness accounts occasionally confirm this. 

             Although it is still highly theoretical, and open to much criticism for that reason, the Jungian system is the most scientifically plausible one that allows for extra-personal, i.e. spiritual, loci of control.   The Freudian system allows for somewhat extra-personal loci, but this is relegated to the personal unconscious region of the Psyche, the Id, and is specifically not represented as having any larger psychic, or higher spiritual, significance.   Jung has given us our best picture thus far of where God – i.e. the Self – might be found, and what might be the effect of that phenomenon on individual and collective human affairs, acting through the agency of the archetypes and archetypal symbols.  

            How then does the Self function as the primary locus of human control?  What is its intent for human beings?  Is it linked to other quasi-chaotic phenomena, and if so, how?   Let us investigate these questions further.   If Jung was correct in his supposition, then the Self is the origin of all consciousness, including control-oriented consciousness and behavior seen for better or worse on the material level of perception.   The Self presumably achieves control through a series of secondary levels of intervention associated with, first, the primary archetypes and symbols (which are somewhat subject to cultural interpretation – as also is the Self), then a much wider variety of secondary archetypes and symbols (all of which are increasingly subject to more cultural interpretation), then a layer of purely cultural filtration (i.e. even more interpretation accompanied by censorship) seen in the ego and personal unconsciousness, and, finally, in the apparent physical manifestation of material form and function of what remains to be perceived at the end of this process.   There are several things that can sway the outcome of this admittedly complex operation, not the least of which are Karma and its primary vehicle on the Physical Plane, behavioral conditioning.  

            As has been exhaustively described in these essays, Karma is the essence of manifestation of physical form and process.  Karma is the Self expressed in the movements of the senses and sense perception.   Karma is God manifest through the Soul as human behavior and experience.   This behavior and experience is, more often than not, determined by the outcome of conditioning, as the basic condition of the pure Soul (certainly at least an aspect of the Self) is subjected to the Divine Will (also an aspect of the Self) as Karma.   This is the first layer of control, and it is largely unconscious, the result of many years of early childhood (and also subsequent adolescent) conditioning and reinforcement, as the shape and characteristics of the personality are cast over the pure consciousness of the Soul, thus clothing it in a personal identity.   

            Depending on the nature of one’s Karma, it may be possible to recognize the conditioning process for what it is and then either convert it to positive ends, by reversing the most negative elements present within it, or otherwise terminate it entirely.  This decision represents the access to the second layer of control, wherein one can make certain life-changing decisions about one’s destiny, and subsequently implement them.   Many people do not reach this stage in the control spectrum, spending their lives instead in the grip of their Karma and conditioning, blindly striving for goals that they may or may not ever reach, while the essence of love, life, and truth is left unrecognized in the dust of daily battle.  Such is their Karma, however, and we must respect this as the Divine Will of the Self.  

            If one does begin to realize the deep nature of existence present beyond the superficial physical events and stimulation of materialism, the second layer of control can be expanded upon to encompass the full process of enlightenment, leading us through the vast array of the archetypes and archetypal symbols toward the Self.   This represents the third layer of control wherein one can gain the understanding that there is one fundamental choice before us in life – to direct our consciousness upward in enlightenment, or downward in ignorance.   As the upward journey of Soul consciousness continues (and there may well be backward steps aplenty along the way) toward the Self, the realization becomes possible of the true nature of the Self as Love, Light, and Presence, the fourth and final level of control.  At this level, the Self is known as the only real source of any and all control manifest anywhere in the entire preceding sequence of perceptual events, right back down to the material level of sensory experience.  We have returned to the Truth of Consciousness.   

            In the process of asserting second stage control over the generally wild, unruly, and massively resistive ego, the observations of Yoga, Tantra, and Buddhism become invaluable.   Here we have the spiritual tool kit that can eventually subdue the eternally restless mind and permit access to the great expanse of the collective unconscious with the Self at its center.   It is the misguided ego that holds perception in the illusory continuum of desire objects and gratification focused on the material plane.   Why is this condition illusory?  Because it is the most absolutely superficial, transitory mode of experience, rooted in sense addiction, and all of the time we spend in this way, whether Karmic (and necessary) or not, is ultimately futile.   We only begin to grow and develop as higher conscious beings when we finally look beyond the material into the deep waters of spiritual realization and make the decision to dive in.   Without the discipline of Yoga and the Yoga lifestyle of Asanas, Yamas, and Niyamas this decision is very difficult to make and maintain for any length of time.   The same observation can be made of Buddhism – the Noble Eight Fold Path requires discipline above all for success.  

            Once positive control has been supplanted for the negative conditioning that frequently represents the starting place of Karma, the balance is tipped toward the Self and Self Realization, the goal of all spiritual growth and consciousness.   As we advance toward this goal, and the accompanying completion of the process referred to by Jung as individuation – the full integration of the Psyche as a functional, non-neurotic whole expression – a complete being – we experience the burgeoning awareness of inner grace and bliss, the joy beyond material manifestation and intellectual comprehension.  We are on the way home to Paradise!

                                          - With Love, Alan -

                         (Copyright 2009, by Alan Schneider)

 

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