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..:: Enlightenment IV / Influences ::..

04/30/2010

- Alan Schneider -

                                                                                                                            

            On one occasion in the past, I attended a live theatrical production called Equus which concerned, among other things, a psychiatrist’s attempt to understand and treat a young man’s obsession with horse worship.    One thing that struck me in the course of viewing this play was the psychiatrist’s observation that, while psychiatric science knew very well what the outcomes of many mental illnesses were, and how to approach their treatment, what remained largely a mystery in human behavior was the mechanism of perceptual selection.  How, amid the enormous flood of stimuli that inundate the organism in every second of every day, do we select which one’s to attend to?   How do we choose which ones to make the conscious or unconscious themes of our lives? 

            From the scientific perspective, human behavior is determined by nature and nurture – that is, by heredity and environment, with the latter represented principally by social acculturation.   Heredity consists of predetermined, inherited genetic characteristics ultimately decided by our DNA molecular makeup, and this undoubtedly is a potent influence on our perceptual selection activity – we are genetically preconstructed to perceive along certain lines, and subsequently choose along other, related ones.   This human characteristic very probably extends from the individual to the group, thence to the nation, and finally the world, as whole cultures and zeitgeists are molded along genetic trends and influences. We absolutely cannot exceed our evolutionary capabilities, and will always express them through our cultures beyond that.   Thus, nature creates nurture after all is said and done.   The sole exception to this rule is the environmental “accident” – the apparently random occurrence of chance Newtonian events on the macroscale, and of mutations in the DNA germ plasm on the microscale.   These events are of chaotic origin, seemingly manifesting from nowhere, or at least very spontaneously, and presumably without intervening structure.   But, are they – and how can this phenomenon then be scientifically investigated?   

            Chaos is the portal from which we all are manifested, and into which we all are reabsorbed eventually in that greatest mystery of this turbulent existence – existence itself.   And it remains mysterious to the end; however, chaos science has managed to make some inroads even at this extremity of non-observability, many of which have been mentioned often in these essays.   One such case is well worthy of mention again here – the oft noted strange attractor – the hidden determinant of premanifest events potentially present before they occur.    There is every reason to suppose that an enormous number of such attractor influences exist on “the other side” of the portal of chaos, beyond space and time as we know them, yet somehow structured by something, and, in turn, structuring the random events mentioned earlier that partially shape our behavior and perception.    The names given in common parlance to this complex of influences in the West are often “destiny”, or “fate”, or perhaps “providence”, but the East has a summative descriptor for them of deep significance – Karma – the endlessly unfolding map of human predispositions and actions experienced in life, and from life to life in some theories.    In the Hindu conception, Karma is the spiritual work we come into existence to perform until we attain the realization of its presence as a hidden operator.   As that realization develops, we can begin to achieve the companion process of Dharma – the attainment of Enlightenment regarding the true nature of existence and our reality in the eternal cosmic manifestation.    For the devout Hindu, the random events of this life are at least potentially filled with deep and subtle meanings and messages pointing to personal transformation and liberation.  

            Certainly, the presumptions of Karma and Dharma lie beyond scientific verification – i.e. beyond measurement and analysis – and well beyond the boundary of chaos, but they are such effective explanations of events in this life that they must be considered anyway.    If the strange attractor exists, then Karma exists as its outcome as well, and if Karma exists, then the possibility of Dharma also does.    In this sense, Einstein’s well-ordered universe that is postulated in his Unified Field Theory is a reality, as is Schrödinger’s system of Quantum Mechanics, at least up to the limit of Werner Heisenberg’s famous Uncertainly Principal.    In both cases, we simply collide with the absolute limits of human observational capability currently in evidence, and must resort to logical supposition thereafter.  And it is absolutely logical to conjecture that some organizing influence is active in the background of existence – how else could we have accomplished anything beyond the animal stage of development?   Because we think and organize points to the preexisting principals of thought and organization present in the universe, and residing in the chaos beyond direct observation as strange attractors.  

            This is the progressive development of the influences that tend to shape existence outlined for the scientific observer, from chaos into scientific micro and macro observation, from the cosmic genetic mutations that produced Mozart to the Big Bang that birthed the universe itself.    We are all born with Karma that influences even our DNA, perhaps especially our DNA, and all of our decisions and perceptions thereafter, subject to the leavening of external coincidence which is itself very probably the result of intelligent design as well.    Even the existence of free will depends on the ratification of this phenomenon by the individual – those who affirm it, observe it, while those who do not – or at least affirm significantly less of it – don’t tend to observe themselves as free agents, and this in turn also tends to be heavily influenced by individual genetic predispositions, ultimately pointing back to the predestination of Karma.   Does this mean that we cannot effect our lives independently?   Certainly not – it just means that the extent of our independence is dependent on our coefficients of Enlightenment and the attendant ability to perceive Dharma as the ultimate meaning and outcome of physical, material existence.  

            The observational manifestations referred to here as the higher and lower minds are both very much influenced by the system of determination just described in the previous paragraphs.    A person cannot be any more or less than they are at any given point of consideration, and cannot be any more higher or lower motivated than they are.    Until the necessary confluence of synchronicities, environmental events, and genetic developments occurs, meaningful change cannot occur, and here we have a deeper phase of the primary Karmic influence that determines human affairs – the Self as the focus of higher mind, and the creator of lower mind.   As the primary Jungian archetype at the center of the Psyche, the Self determines all events emerging from the portal of chaos because it is the portal of chaos – consequently expressing all potential and literal manifestation everywhere as the Karma that we perceive as thoughts, words, and events occurring in the world and universe.   

            That phenomenal (i.e. perceptible) world is, in fact, composed of quanta of light vibrating at a very high frequency within the Self as Pure Love, and literally can be perceived that way through the application of the many practices of higher consciousness, particularly meditation and chanting.   These quanta of light are forms of cosmic ideas, all subsets of the primary Divine Idea of Pure Love that is the Self’s identity as the I AM Presence.   Expressed in more conventional, familiar words, God Is Love.   It is the outpouring of this Love that creates the universe and its contents as perceived by the senses, and possibly beyond the senses in an infinite range of additional extrasensory expression, all of which can be accessed by turning away from mere sensory perception to plumb the depths of the Psyche revealed in the higher mind.   

            The ancient Mystery Schools, Eastern and Western, knew and know these techniques and methods of investigation very well, but have generally jealously guarded them from possession by all but a select few high level Initiates.   The absolutely bewildering array of terms, jargon, and practices used by these social institutions defies description and almost defies comprehension and sanity – or does defy both – but all of this can be considerably simplified for the lay investigator who sincerely desires access to the Love and Grace of God without the ego aggrandizement of mystery involvement.   Let us respectfully proceed toward this humble goal.  

            Initially, it must be said that there is absolutely no reason why anyone should pursue the attainment of higher mind at the expense of lower mind – the two are the inseparable partners of consciousness within the Psyche – which hence forth will be referred to as the total mind – and they need each other for the creation of a complete existence.   By the same token, there is no excuse for neglecting the development of the higher mind for the sake of the sensory distractions of the lower mind.   Thus, what is needed here is an evolving combination of activities which reconciles both to each other – work, play, meditation, study, and service directed to self expression and Self Realization.   In times gone by, this range of processes was called the Great Work, or just the Work, but I will simply refer to it here as The Balance.   This will doubtlessly be a different combination for each individual – there is no set formula for the attainment of Enlightenment – everyone is unique in their needs and abilities, and the serious aspirant may have to look for quite a long time, experimenting with many modalities until the right combination is found.   This is part of the spiritual path, and cannot (and should not) be avoided, but rather accepted as gracefully and patiently as possible.  

            Since The Balance is an evolving condition, it should be expected to progressively  change across time, as the aspirant’s spiritual perception and coefficient of Enlightenment continue to expand and improve.   What worked well at one stage may not work so well further down the road – life is eternal change.  One of the most fascinating characteristics of the Enlightenment process is its nature as integrated goal and practice – the goal is the practice and the practice is the goal as the Self is approached as the One Being of Love and Light.   Because the term “Self” was used by Jung as a scientific description of the Supreme Consciousness, I will use that term hence forth in preference to “God”, or “Christ Consciousness”, or “Buddha Mind”, or “Dao”, or “Ahura Mazda”, or “Yahweh”, or “Allah”, even though these terms are equally as representative of the state of Being referred to.    My goal here is to 1) remain as scientifically grounded as possible, while 2) demystifying the material presented as much as possible, including the “mysticism” (and elitism) of scientific and technical jargon!   The time has come to bring the Truth out of the obscuration of any kind of doctrine and into the clear, compassionate light of simple reason through functional spiritual practice.  

            Thus, the key to uniting the higher and lower minds into a cohesive total mind is the application of The Balance to attain Enlightenment.   This process involves body, mind, and spirit in a whole and interactive condition of conscious manifestation, as we become all that we can in the here and now of existence – an expanded moment that embraces the infinity of the Self.   And if some do not or cannot except or understand any of this so be it – this is their Karma under the Self, and must be respected... 

            In keeping with the Jungian psychodynamic model of perception, the Sphere of the Psyche depiction of consciousness will be used as the basic map of human consciousness.  I simply know of no better, clearer depiction of mental events, relationships, and potentials.   All that we can know or experience through any possible means of investigation is represented on this sphere – waking ego awareness shown as a bright spot floating on the surface, surrounded by a ring of personal unconscious expression, and the great expanse beyond of archetypal depth with the Self at its center.   In the essays to follow, various aspects of the total mind of the Psyche will be explored with reference to this model, and several techniques of exploration known by this author and others to be effective ones will be explained in detail using plain language and simple, straight forward examples.   Enlightenment is the right and entitlement of everyone as the gift of the Self to human consciousness.   I give you all this gift! 

                                           - With Love, Alan -

                         (Copyright 2010, by Alan Schneider)

 

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