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..:: Liberation VI / Ascension ::..


Alan Schneider


              We have noted many aspects of possible liberation from the interment in what Yoga refers to as “The Mind Trap” in this latest series of essays, highlighting several of the more effective approaches to the question of consciousness from psychology, spirituality, and metaphysics.  The matter remains to be considered of what is to be done in the Western world, particularly in the United States – the undisputed citadel of materialism – to cope with the fundamental obstruction to higher consciousness – the problem of glamour and ego aggrandizement that effectively blocks the full perception of our true nature as attainable through spiritual Ascension.   

            Here in the West, the body is viewed as absolutely real, and the senses that display that body as the absolutely final standards of the proof of everything.   Our culture is infatuated with material objects and concepts, great and small – an obvious addiction to those few of us who have seen beyond this condition – and we firmly worship the principal of aggression that we believe without question has provided us with the elements of that addiction.   We generally do not recognize our addictive behavior for the fallen condition that it is, preferring to glorify and glamorize it instead, and the pernicious combative behavior that necessarily accompanies and supports our fall as well.  Seldom is much personal thought given to the ultimate fate of the organism – death – that awaits us all eventually, nor to the implications of this fate for the living – that the material condition is a phantom that is quite fleeting, and our actions – physical, mental, and spiritual – are the defining elements of our consciousness during the time of incarnation, not our property.  We pretend to shelter the meek while honoring the mighty – and the assumption that might makes right – as long as we are in possession of the most powerful and destructive military machine in the history of the world, of course, while we define as evil anything that dares to defy our supremacy and the accompanying material imperative.   This essential state of things remains in place even as our economic system is disintegrating under the load of greed that drives it forward, and is threatening to take the rest of the world and human race with it in the process.  

            In such a blindly ignorant and misguided society, those who do not participate run a perilous route indeed – the inherent paranoia of the macro-culture never rests – day and night – in the surveillance of every detail of human social interaction locally and internationally, searching minutely for even the hint of a potential threat to the hegemony of materialism that is so fervently worshiped within its prevue.   This is the reality with which we are faced when we step out of line and off the path today – or if we even dare to question the path or its validity as a human undertaking.   But, the truth is that this system is doomed and dying as this is being written, and we must find another way of being that will be more valid than which has preceded it.   

            This begins with a coldly honest assessment of who and what we are as a species.  Although the wave of life continues to move on through history, the individual constituents of that wave – we human beings, and the myriad of other living creatures on Earth – do not.  All is mortal, mutable, and temporary in the universe before us and around us.   Rather than teach each other to ignore this essential fact and become addicted to the pursuit of material objects and glamour, we must make the impermanence of life a fundamental tenet of our consciousness and education.  Because this runs contrary to the distractibility of our nature only makes it all the more necessary – our nature is what we must overcome if we are to survive the coming world socioeconomic implosion.  

            While it cannot be argued that we are at least in part material ourselves, that part must be deemphasized in favor of the spiritual aspects of our identity and consciousness, along with our fixation with acquisition, profit, and creature comforts.   All of these latter have at least one fatal flaw – they distract our consciousness from the pursuit of the higher mental conditions that ultimately culminate in spiritual Ascension, a goal that requires our full time application and devotion to attain – to even progress toward at all.   All of the time spent in desire and glamour is time wasted in this life from the spiritual perspective.   No matter what we gain, it is lost at death, and the mere hope of the continuity of any form of consciousness thereafter is justification enough to turn away from the material illusion during life.  Thus, Ascension, even if it appears to be a phantom and a daydream at first glance, is more real than the unenlightened materialistic life that is the alternative.   

            As the world material resource base wanes, we all find ourselves confronted with the need to pursue what amounts to minimalist lifestyles that are ecologically focused, and this supports the goal of spiritual development as well.   Along with this minimalism comes the need for renewed self-sufficiency in all areas of life – we must reduce our dependence on all externalities, and generate as much of the reduced physical resources we consume as we can by ourselves.   Rather than go out and buy it, we must make or convert it from native raw materials found at hand, and strictly discipline ourselves regarding the distinction between what we want and what we genuinely need to exist.   As one who grew up in the lap of American material affluence, no one knows better than me how truly difficult and challenging this transition is, but I am firmly convinced that it represents the wave of the future, if there is to be a future at all.   

            Continuing in the vein of self-imposed constraint, there is perhaps no area of life where the need for restriction is more pronounced than that of human reproduction.   Our planet is woefully overpopulated, generating a burgeoning squalor that is rapidly overtaking every urban center.   Yet, we continue to breed capriciously and irresponsibly in most parts of the undeveloped and underdeveloped planet.   This, to my mind, is the single biggest threat to ongoing life on Earth – life itself!   Hence, the need for sexual discipline is more pronounced than any other kind.  If we cannot halt and then reverse our birth rate, then the alternative will be to increase the death rate to compensate for this – something that nobody but military organizations is interested in, and even most of these will pale before the needed level of extermination to achieve the required balance.   Again, it is our own nature that has become our enemy, and must be brought under control for our own good.   The shift in emphasis from material consciousness to spiritual consciousness is one of best ways to accomplish this lifestyle transition.            

            The shift away from materially defined reality and toward spiritually defined reality represents the best trend of which we are capable as a biological species.   This is true even if the elements of ego-based linear logic argue against the premise.   This is a matter of survival, not literal evidence or substantial “fact”.   It is a matter of the Heart and compassion, not accuracy and exactitude.   If we confine ourselves to the rationale of logic alone, then we are lost and isolated from each other and all the other elements of the universe, enslaved to material acquisition, and doomed to perish as consciousness at the moment of death.   Paradoxically, no sane person would choose this alternative, which is the logical outcome of literal material sanity!   Clearly, there must be a better way... a way out of the material maze.  

            But, what is that way?  To begin with, we must find another method of conducting observations that exceeds the ego, the senses, and the body.   In addition to this, we must go further still – we must locate and develop a collective realm of conscious perception that completely supersedes our limited personal perception.   If this cannot be done through sensory experience, then we must turn away from that experience and journey inward into the unconscious mind in search of the answers we seek.   This is what is afforded by Yoga and meditation, the twin vessels of liberation.   By following these principles, these systems, of Self development, the truth of collective perception is eventually revealed to our consciousness.   This revelation is the initial step along the path of freedom and release form the Mind Trap in which we all too often spend our days and never suspect how lost our condition there really is.   

            Thus is the Truth of Consciousness progressively revealed to the blind human being, enabling us all to see with new eyes, hear with new ears, and feel through the Heart first, and the senses thereafter, establishing the order of priorities that has the most survival value for our species, and creating at least the possibility of a world of experience that transcends our apparent physical limitations.   Indeed, these barriers are really only of the most superficial order of magnitude, belied by the deep and abiding experience of our rich inner state of being, if we will but trouble ourselves to look there.   As simple and prosaic as this may seem to be, that is all that is required to attain liberation.   We are challenged to break down the walls perceptual ignorance, blind greed, mindless lust, and vain glamour in this quest – the elements of an illusion to which there are such magnificent alternatives if we can only rise to the occasion.  

            I have myself personally made this passage, and can attest to its worth for humanity, as I have done so in these essays, and I would unhesitatingly recommend this path to anyone as the best (if admittedly difficult) way out of our present predicament.   We must evolve into a new order of consciousness beyond self-absorption with our little toys on our little transitory plane of the senses, desires, and ego, and embrace a new world of extended possibilities that includes us all as each other’s brothers, sisters, lovers, and true friends.   Let us take this journey together, even if we begin it in separation!


                                                                                   - With Love, Alan -

                                                                 (Copyright 2009, by Alan Schneider)


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