“There are more things in heaven and earth… than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” William Shakespeare
If we smother ourselves with philosophical assertions that stimulate the intellect and with contrived images that elicit our emotions, when the intuitive consciousness reveals itself, we might not recognize it for what it is, having based our certainties on the illusions before us.
It has long been asserted on many levels that the universe in which we exist is illusory; what this means exactly depends on which philosopher, physicist, or theologian it’s coming from. For some, it is a simple conviction that there is more to consider than what we are able to perceive with our senses; and therefore, what we perceive is incomplete in what it reveals to us.
There is the assertion among others that this plane of existence, i.e., the physical world in which we exist and the environment that we perceive with our senses, is transitory; we are merely passing through. ‘What was’ no longer is, and ‘what will be’ is not yet; and since the present is no more than a fleeting moment in time, we constantly confuse it with images and assertions of the past and of the future.
Of course, this leads to questions about who we are and what we are doing and why. This is all subject matter worthy of scrutiny and discussion; and we must always remember that, for the moment, there cannot be any one correct answer.
There are a great many truths about who we are and what we are doing and why, perhaps as many as there are ‘us’; but when we set out in pursuit of those truths, we cannot help but get caught up in the cycle of using our senses and our intellect. The senses receive the input from the external environment (the images, sounds, smells, etc.), and the intellect utilizes programs in our brains (some inborn and some acquired) to analyze, sort, translate or interpret, and to store that information. The flaw in this process is that it is all based on an illusory prospect.
Of course, one may choose to believe that the universe is not illusory; in which case, one presumably finds sufficient value in the philosophical assertions that stimulate the intellect, and one presumably finds enough contentment in contrived images that elicit the emotions. Perhaps, also, there is no intuitive consciousness, or perhaps it is not so important. What is the intuitive consciousness, anyway?
Before we attempt to answer that question, let us be clear about those presumptions. It would seem that some people do not find sufficient value in the answers they extrapolate, nor are they finding enough contentment in the visual inspirations they see.
It is for these reasons that people seek security in wealth and are driven to greed. They look for comfort in one another, and they are driven to lust, envy, jealousy, and other complications of the human condition. Some people search for relief by consuming or ingesting, and they are driven to gluttony and over-indulgence.
I am referring now to the would-be-criminal aspect of humanity. And, in order to continue in these compulsions of extremes, people have to rely on deception, trickery, fabrication, and, worst of all, denial. When we are in denial, we are essentially lying to ourselves; in the state of denial, we create the illusion, and we accept that illusion as part of the reality.
When we refuse to acknowledge that things are not as they seem, we leave open the possibilities that we are not who we think we are and we do not act as we think we do. And who or what we really are, we often wave aside in our denial; and how we really act, quite often, is a lie we tell ourselves and believe.
When you look in a mirror, you see your body. But is that really ‘you’? Is that all there is to ‘you’? Is there not also a part of ‘you’ that likes the image and a part of ‘you’ that doesn’t? Is there not a part of ‘you’ that resolved to get up in spite of the stiffness in your body and the brevity of sleep, and a part of ‘you’ that decides if it’s a nice day or not?
Besides that body, clearly visible and tactile, is there not a part of ‘you’ that senses, judges, ponders, rationalizes, and determines? This part of ‘you’ is not visible or tactile, but it is able to do all these things; and the body has nothing to do with any of it except to serve as a receptor for information.
To put it in a more simplistic way, there is a part of ‘you’ that is the vessel (the body and brain); and it is very machine-like. And there is a part of ‘you’ that is thought, and it is very much like the flow of information in a computer. There is also a part of ‘you’ that senses on an emotional level.
Many people deny their emotions; emotions can be very uncomfortable. It requires effort of a sort to deny one’s emotions, and all that is accomplished is that we sometimes turn disappointment into anger or sadness into false levity; and when we are uncomfortable with our anger, we turn it into resentment or hatred of others. In the matter of our emotions, the reality of our illusory universe comes very close to home.
These aspects of the self, including the intellectual and the emotional ‘sides’, are of the physical universe. The intellect deals in thought, and the emotions are sensual and reactionary; but it is all about the world in which the body exists.
If and when we have acknowledged and recognized these various aspects of the self, for some individuals, it is enough; there is certainly plenty there to ponder. So far, there is no such thing as an intuitive consciousness, and there doesn’t seem to be any need for one.
Is it possible to observe without thinking about what we are observing or without having any feelings about it? If one has never done it, one’s answer might be no. Others have that familiar rationale that anything is possible; and they might try to observe something without thinking or feeling, find it almost impossible, and eventually give it up, finding no real purpose in the effort.
Herein lies the biggest illusion. Consciousness means cognizance, awareness, perception – this is the very core of the self. But most of us are never taught to think of these words as ‘part of the self’.
Look at something. Your eyes are the lenses; they simply let the image in. Your brain receives the image, analyzes and identifies it. Your emotions associate the image with a memory or a projection of some sort and compel you to like it or dislike it, smile or frown, or view it with disregard. But a separate aspect of you observes it all happen, almost as if it is something outside of yourself.
It is not uncommon to hear people make statements like these: I am pretty. I’m a mess. I’m smart. I’m an idiot. I am ecstatic. I’m angry. I’m sad. These are things that relate to the body, the intellect, or the emotions, and we have no trouble incorporating them into the individual sense of being. But any psychiatrist, therapist, or clergy-person will tell us these are delusions – we are telling ourselves that we are the qualities we possess or the emotions we feel.
Try saying ‘I am conscious, I am aware’ or ‘I am cognizant’. You ‘are’ your consciousness and your awareness and your cognizance; it isn’t just something you do.
With the proper training, it is possible to still the body, and to silence the mind, and to balance the emotions; what remains is awareness. And, at some point, that awareness can turn on itself; and the consciousness begins to know the self. From training to practice to this ‘inner-sight’ takes time and patience.
One of the first breakthroughs in this endeavor is the observation of one’s mind, as it continuously goes from one thought to another. In these initial observations, the mind is often compared to a 2-year-old child; it is seemingly tireless, it focuses on its own little discoveries for brief spurts of time, and it is more about frivolous activity than analytical purpose. It has a very short attention span.
Much like the undisciplined body, the undisciplined mind is prone to play with itself. If one stands, sits, or lies and just observes the mind, this is all one will see – the intellect as a frolicsome child or a meandering butterfly. This is not to say that the intellect can’t be focused; it requires conscious effort. How well we are able to focus the intellect determines whether we are A students or B or C students.
In another area of observation, one can learn to identify the individual emotions; one can learn the causes and the effects of the emotions on the body and on the intellect. And one can learn to own one’s emotions and to direct them in a constructive way. For those who do not go through this learning, life can be painful, deceptive, and problematic; and it can also be harmful and destructive to oneself and to others.
It is one thing for a child to say ‘I hate you’ or to break something during a tantrum; it is quite another for an adult to berate or abase others or to act out one’s anger or despair.
So, with the intent and the will, one is able to observe one’s body from within, to motivate it and to utilize it; and one is able to quiet the body, to withdraw one’s awareness from within the body, and to observe the body from without.
One is able to observe one’s intellect; in doing so, one can study the natural and the logical processes of thought, and one can still these processes and see what lies beyond thought.
One is able to observe one’s emotional aspect, a curious, often annoying, facet of the senses. Our emotions run rampant along the neural conduits, they can affect the body and the processes of thought; yet, they have no physical substance, nor do they have the sustainable energetic constituency of thought. One can be overcome by one’s emotions, but one is not one’s emotions; and one can list and observe them most objectively.
But who is the one who is the observer? There is still an aspect of the self that remains unidentified and undetected. This is the one who can look at the body from within and from without, the one who can still the mind and stop the flow of thought, the one who can override the emotional programs and redirect their energy.
Without need for the physical sensors, or the intellectual scrutiny, or the emotional surges, the intuitive consciousness senses what is, knows without understanding, and assimilates the emotional energy. It is this aspect of the self that gives us a sense of right and wrong, good and bad, decent and vulgar; and it gives us a conscience.
If and when the time comes, it will be the intuitive consciousness that will set us apart from the machines.
Some of us spend a great deal of time in the study of these different aspects of the self, and we undergo the training that leads us to the practice that leads us to the recognition and the realization of the true self, the intuitive consciousness, the very soul.
One thing we know is that the intuitive consciousness aspires to be recognized and realized; it wants very much to emerge into the human field of awareness. And it will eventually, with or without the cooperation of the other aspects of the self.
Am I implying then that there is some sort of conflict taking place between the different aspects of the self? Actually, I am asserting it. As I said, the intuitive consciousness wants to be known; but we continue to smother ourselves with philosophical assertions that stimulate the intellect and with contrived images that elicit our emotions. How do we do that?
Here’s one example. I publish some things on the Internet; in addition to articles like this one, I also write stories and poems. Most people, and we are talking in the hundreds of thousands, are more interested in the who’s-who or who’s-doing-what in sports, or fashion, or entertainment, or politics. The allusions to health are as much about ‘looking good’ as they are about having enough stamina for the continuity of sex.
Here’s another example: If you spend any time on any of the social channels, you will see a constant stream of colorful images and depictions, messages from the sages about how great we are and how much we can do, messages about the beautiful and wonderful world we live in; we make ourselves smile and laugh, we slap each others’ backs, we share music and philosophies, and we show each other pictures of flowers, bunnies, rainbows, kittens, unicorns, and puppies…
We continue to smother ourselves with philosophical assertions that stimulate the intellect and with contrived images that elicit our emotions; and it would probably be safe to say that many of us glut ourselves at the same time.
The corporeal self and the intellectual self and the emotional self are very much attached to the physical world; they are transfixed by the illusion. If and when the intuitive consciousness emerges, it will bring with it revelation and conscience. We will begin to see through the illusion, to see the world as it really is; our conscience will then be moved into making changes, but those changes will impact the perceptions of the body, the intellect, and the emotional being.
And so, when the true self, the intuitive consciousness, the very soul, reveals itself, we might not recognize it for what it is, having based our certainties on the illusions before us.