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..:: Enlightenment III / The Mind ::..

By

Alan Schneider

                                                                                                                               

            If we accept the premise that the body, physical senses, and Freudian Ego account for the great bulk of waking conscious experience, we are left with a certain quandary.   How then does the action of the Superego – i.e. our conscience – come into play in consciousness, and where does it come from? 

            In the theme of simplification of otherwise abstract and esoteric concepts, I am going to suggest here that human consciousness essentially exists in two realms of perceptible influence – the higher and lower minds.   The lower mind is dominated by physical experience and sensation, driven by emotion and appetite, and occasionally bridges into higher mental functions such as rational thought, although this thought is most often oriented toward the successful completion of desire action or ego gratification that is ultimately physically referenced to the body and senses.    The higher mind is usually aware of the lower mind but is referenced first to the more social consequences of action in the physical realm – as opposed to the immediate personal ones – and thereafter to an extended series of increasingly abstract circumstances and conditions that can only be experienced through various “alternative states” to Freudian waking consciousness, including dreams, extrapersonal visions, hallucinations, and epiphanies.   The Superego forms only the initial manifestation of the higher mind in consciousness, frequently representing merely the matrix of social conditioning in many cases – the balance of higher mind in these instances is dormant until awakened by some personal or environmental circumstance.    This is the region of the archetypes of the collective unconscious referred to by Jung, lying beyond the sexual observations and theories of Freud, and often at odds with them.   Jung referred to the “personal or environmental circumstance” just noted as the synchronicity – a meaningful coincidence that triggers a numinous, or psychologically commanding, condition in consciousness, causing a sequence of further investigation and eventual increase in awareness in its wake.  

            The goals and methods of the lower and higher minds exist in fundamental conflict with each other, and, once the awareness of both realms has been established in conscious perception, an uneasy dissonance takes place within the Psyche – the total  field of consciousness that both Freud and Jung (as well as most of their psychological “descendents”) subscribed to.   One can never again bask in the indolent comfort of physical gratification once the chain of synchronicities has begun to manifest!   

            The conflict between the two minds can be quite destructive to the Psyche if the ego cannot accept and balance them through the order of some kind of system of priorities of experience, even resulting in psychoses, severe neuroses, markedly antisocial behavior (including many obsessions and addictions), and – in the most dire results – suicide and self-mutilation.   In one of his lesser-known masterpieces entitled The Wild Duck the famous Dutch playwright Ibsen (writer of A Doll’s House) postulates the Vital Lie as the animating (i.e. enabling) principle of life.   This is the rationalization (in Freudian terms), or complex of rationalizations, that we tell ourselves to avoid direct contact with the naked truth of existence – that we are born into a turbulent and transitory condition that we seldom understand, and which consumes us eventually as physical beings.  In this work, one of the primary characters is an impressionable young girl who commits suicide as the result of a confrontation with her vital lie provoked by another character.   Clearly, the Psyche is nothing to be trifled with – follow our synchronicities we certainly should, but with wisdom and caution always.   Whether physical life ends or not, there is no cause to rush exuberantly into Death’s cold embrace which comes soon enough to us all... 

            At the foundation of the conflict between higher and lower mind is the conception of levels of truth.   The best description of this series of levels of which I am aware is the Hindu Chakra system, fundamentally composed of seven stages of understanding of what truth is, and how it manifests.    Again, for the sake of simplicity, I will say that the first three Chakras are primarily concerned with worldly, physical operations and understanding – survival and occupation, sexual activity and relational bonding, and social power and influence.   This is the essence of the Freudian system of consciousness, and it is all focused in the lower mind.   The forth chakra is something of a turning point, where concern becomes focused through synchronicity events on the genuine concern of moral living – beyond the social reality of the Superego – in the experience of the selfless love and universal compassion present in the Soul and experienced as the Sacred Heart.   Obviously, a considerable experiential gap exists between the social self of the third chakra and the Universal Self of the forth, and, bluntly, the price of crossing this gap is frequently the experience of much suffering, culminating in a Leap of Faith out of the prison of thought and linear logic – the Mind Trap of yoga.  And, even though there are three more chakras beyond the Heart, that one is the central focus of higher mind while incarnate.   What can be said of the additional stages has been the subject of much spiritual discourse, both Eastern and Western, but the essence of my contention is that we can really only know about this existence here and now – however engaging and stimulating the considerations of esoterica may be, we live in the flesh, and the higher mind is still grounded therein.  

            Thus it is that things must be satisfactorily resolved in the first three chakras before work can be fruitful in the forth – home, love, family, society – all must be achieved with some adequate degree of stability.   Provided this can be and has been done, the individual is then positioned for the transition into the Heart, if this is the Karma, or destiny, involved.   Perhaps the process stops at chakra three – as it does for the very many people – such being the case, we can and must only say “So be it!” out of respect for the Divine Will active within the higher mind.   Not everyone can function in the Heart, nor should they.   The key to understanding this lies with synchronicity

            The Jungian synchronicity is the Voice of God calling to the lower mind to awaken the Sacred Heart and the profound spiritual potential to be experienced there.    Once more, for the sake of simplicity and clarity of meaning, I will refer to this phenomenon as the Voice of the Higher Mind calling the lower mind to know the Self at the center – i.e. the point of origin – of the total mind.   This is the process of spiritual development and revelation expressed in the most scientific terms possible.            

            Consciousness is a quantum phenomenon.   The total mind referred to above cannot be seen, weighed (certain New Age assertions to the contrary), measured (certain scientific assertions to the contrary), or otherwise quantified, yet it clearly is observable and does exist – as a massless, formless, Presence having a focus of expression from which it emerges – the Self.   What is massless is by definition weightless, and if it yet exists, it must be an extradimensional quantum field as the sole remaining scientific possibility.   Extradimensional here means that (in particular) the Self as the manifest source of the field lies beyond the threshold of observation in a state of pre-manifest chaos out of which all subsequent manifest form emerges.   In Jungian psychodynamics,  those forms are the archetypal symbols being driven into perception by the archetypes themselves, which also lie within the pre-manifest region of chaos, but are presumably less focal than the Primary Archetype of the Self.   The Self is the core and origin of the higher mind, and lies beyond the body in a condition of quantum existence, while the ego is the core and origin of the lower mind, and lies within the body at the center of the physical senses.   The Heart is the bridge between the two – in traditional psychic terms, the Antarkarana, or spiritual bridge, connecting the body with the spirit.   

            The construction of this psychic bridge has always been called the Great Work throughout history, and is the known or unknown cause driving all of existence as we know it.   Without the Great Work, the Freudian ego remains incomplete, existing in doomed isolation, and the Jungian Self remains obscure, irrelevant, and unattainable.  Every human thought, word, or deed has this motivation at its core, however mundane these might appear to be.  The scientific term for the Great Work is individuation, coined by Jung as one of his many contributions to psychological investigation, and, as it implies by its semantic construction,  it involves the making-fully-personal of something (i.e. an archetype or archetypal symbol) that was not quite so individual and personal prior to the experience of this process.   The individuation process and its clarification will form the content of the remainder of this essay, since it includes and eclipses all other forms of spiritual investigation, including meditation, chanting, visualization, and contemplation.   Individuation is the key to the scientific construction of an integrated Psyche and complete consciousness – the total mind

            Individuation is accomplished by, in fact is the natural outcome of, another fundamental Jungian process – realization.   Once again, as this term implies, it involves the making real and personal of something significantly less so when initially encountered in the Psyche – the archetypal symbol, which emerges into perception driven by the exclusively extra-personal mechanism of the underlying archetype.   As the symbol in question is interacted with by the ego within the total mind, it becomes more and more “real” – i.e. an integrated part of that mind and consciousness.  

            Paradoxically, although realization is an interactive process, it is, like psychological involvement in general, not pure science – nothing is weighed, counted, or measured in an objective sense.   Realization entails the discovery or identification of a mental symbol of interest (often a subconscious one),  followed by a frequently prolonged series of interactions with it, all occurring on fundamentally higher, subtler planes of expression existing beyond the physical one.   In the process of realization, the imaginary becomes the real from the point of view of psychological interaction, and it must be noted here that, after all of experience is said and done, psychology is reality.  We are our minds and mental processes – even the body is ultimately experienced as a construct in and of the mind, if a very persistent one.  We experience in the Newtonian context, but perceive that experience in the Quantum field of consciousness.  Jung felt that the archetypes and archetypal symbols were more real than physical experience in their numinousity within the Psyche, and that their origin in the Self superseded and eclipsed physical existence. 

            The essence of the realization process is dependent upon what symbol is being realized, and there is an apparent hierarchy of many such symbols descending in an elaborate and convoluted sequence from the Primary Archetype of the Self.  And the Self may be realized as well – the well known Self Realization Fellowship of the great Indian Saint Paramahansa Yogananda being a specific case in point, although the Jungian Self is arguably even more inclusive than the Yoga Self of Yogananda, and realization is more effective than meditation alone as a spiritual development approach.    And, although the Self lies beyond the threshold of observation in an undefined quantum field state, it can be directly experienced – or realized – through the attainment of a sufficient degree of detachment on the part of the observer.   Among other things, this requires the detachment by the observer from being the observer, in fact from being anything at all – even from expecting anything or knowing anything at all – but once this is accomplished (and it can be accomplished in deep meditation used as an adjunct to the realization process) the Self becomes attainable to the mind, as the mind, without the mind in a state of pure non-dual ecstasy and Presence.   Lesser archetypal symbols require less effort to realize (the realization of the Self requires the complete sacrifice of everything) and one must begin somewhere – e.g. an archetype like the Child is much more attainable for realization without such extreme sacrifice being required.  In any event, the realization process remains: symbol identification, interaction, and finally bonding.  

            Interaction may take place in many ways and on many psychic levels.   One must bear in mind that, if Jung was correct, the archetype driving the symbol is in control of the process, and we are not.   In fact, there are so many different ways that this may occur on an individual basis that they are almost innumerable.   The Self is universal, but it appears in human expression through the multiplicity of individual, personal forms.   This was once expressed in the Hindu documentary 360 Million Gods.   As it so happened, 360 million people was the estimated total population of India at the time, and each person had accepted the responsibility for developing  personal knowledge of the Divine, along with a personal relationship with God!   Hence, we must all come to know the Self (Jung’s equivalent expression for God) on an individual, personal basis, through the Great Work of individuation as accomplished through the realization process.  

            Meditation has been mentioned in a preceding paragraph as an adjunct to the realization process, and it is a most useful adjunct to be sure, occurring under precisely the correct conditions of mental balance and heightened internal receptivity.    As often as any other spiritual “laboratory technique”, meditation yields realization as an outcome, up to and including the “death before death” mentioned in the last essay, Enlightenment II, as the goal of Buddhist enlightenment.   If the Self exists in a functionally nonexistent realm of chaotic pre-manifestation, then the only conceivable way to approach It is to cease personal ego existence,  a goal that would seem at first glance to be contradictory to the individuation process touted by Jung, wherein we apparently become more present through archetypal realization.  But, consider this – what are we realizing and individuating but the contents of the collective unconscious, all of which originate with the Self.   Once again, what Jung was saying with his theories was that it is the physical expression of consciousness – the body, senses, and ego – that is fundamentally unreal and the seat of mental dysfunction inevitably represented by lower mind, and the individuation process creates reality by bonding with the Self and archetypes through interaction with the higher mind in this final stage of the realization process.    And all of this takes place in the Sacred Heart as the spiritual center of human consciousness.   The Heart is the gateway to the Self, the Light, and the Truth of Consciousness – that we are all One Being United in Love.   As we become more and more fully individuated in the higher mind, the isolation and mental disarray of the lower mind is dispelled by the Divine Grace of the Self.   

            What this all comes down to is the consideration of who and what we really are as living organisms perceiving an existence.   Body, senses, ego?   Yes, we all are at least basically these elements of lower mind.    Heart, Soul, Self?   Once again, we all are at least potentially these archetypal elements of higher mind, if we choose to develop them within the total mind.  In the utterly complex and deceptive matrix of the Post-Post Modern environment this remains the challenge of human individuation – to scientifically realize the Truth of Consciousness as the living Self in the knowledge that we are all each others brothers and sisters under God.

                                           - With Love, Alan -

                         (Copyright 2010, by Alan Schneider)

 

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