Consciousness and Awareness

In my last post, I referred once again to an apparent contradiction, or paradox, that has bedeviled some readers of The Chrysalis in the past — that a distinction must be made between consciousness and awareness. These are different states, although the terms are ordinarily treated as being equivalent, interchangeable, or synonymous.

But this is yet another example of the present confusion of the mental-rational, and of a reductionism or fundamentalism now becoming, not just dangerously close to a loss of discernment, but even worse, complete dissociation. It is this condition of apparently increasing “dissociation”  that I have referred to as our present “epidemic of the crazies”. “Dissociation” is just another term for what Jean Gebser has referred to as the “dis-integration” of the mental-rational consciousness structure, of what Erich Kahler (in The Tower and the Abyss) described as “the breakdown of the human form”. “Dissociation” is also an adequate term to describe William Blake’s images of the fragmentation, and the loss of integrity, of the primal “Adam” into the Four Zoas.

Among the anecdotes I have used to illustrate why we must differentiate consciousness and awareness is the seemingly minor article that appeared recently in The Guardian about Christmas shopping, in which the writer, Patrick Fagan, referred briefly to a study which purported to show that, at any one moment, we consciously attend to barely 40, or 0.0004%, of the possible “11,000,000” factoids within the horizon of our possible perception (“Eight reasons why you’re only 0.0004% in control of your Christmas shopping“).

These numbers are somewhat meaningless, really. They are symbolic or philosophical numbers. “11,000,000” corresponds to what the Taoists refer to as “the 10,000 things”, which means everything that exists or the phenomenal world —  “Myriad”, as I call it (but which Blake calls “Ulro”) or “Legion”. So, the 11 million factoids, or potentially perceptible events, has the same significance as the Taoists “10,000 things”.  The precision or imprecision of the numbers is quite beside the point, despite the fact that there are plenty of people who might want to make of it an issue of exacting evidence, and quibble about the accuracy of the numbers.

The issue being highlighted by these philosophical numbers is that, amongst the near infinity of phenomena for our possible perception, only a very, very miniscule spectrum of events is selected for our conscious attention and focus. Our perception is very selective, and also very, very narrow. It is so narrow in fact — the 0.0004% — that one can barely speak of there being “consciousness” at all, and something closer to the condition of an automaton. The principle of selection is regulated by the self-interest, and also in a way that is not conscious, but simply mechanical, routine, and habitual.

It is William Blake’s conviction that this condition is something new in human affairs, and this accounts for the urgency of his message. Early man, he asserts — and this is very contrary to the current wisdom — was far more conscious and aware than he is presently.

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narow chinks of his cavern.

This “closing up” corresponds to the growth of the Selfhood or ego-consciousness (the historical development of which was masterfully explored by Jean Gebser in The Ever-Present Origin). The corollary to this “closing up” or contraction (which describes narcissism) was “the discovery” of the so-called “unconscious” in a double-movement.  In Blake’s terms, something we now call “the unconscious” does not and did not exist as a thing, but is a consequence of consciousness now closing itself up within the skull (or the mental-rational), a narrowing to a mere point and angular perspective which he refers to as the culture of “the Eye and the lens” (that is, focussing) or mere point-of-view-line-of-thought consciousness.

And corresponding to this narrowing is the expansion of that realm called “the unconscious”, but which Blake simply calls “ignorance”.  This envelopment of the ego consciousness, in which the mental-rational approaches the condition of an automaton, is what Blake refers to as “the dark Satanic mill” of the realm of the Ulro.

The double-movement here is that “development” is simultaneously an “envelopment”, and this engulfment also gives rise to that condition of anxiety that is formally called “Angst” — a free-floating sense or atmosphere of dread.  The word “anxiety” is related to the word “angle” — a narrowing — or, as Blake put it, a “closing up”.

I’ve discovered concrete evidence for the justice of Blake’s views (and also the significance of his remarks on the self-limiting culture of “the Eye and the lens”) in, of all places, a peculiar illustration done by Rene Descartes himself, in which Descartes attempted to communicate the meaning of his metaphysical dualism,

Metaphysical Dualism Illustrated by Rene Descartes

Metaphysical Dualism Illustrated by Rene Descartes

Here in Descartes’ own hand and conception, following the prescription for perspectivising perception after da Vinci,  is perfectly depicted that “double-movement” of “Eye and lens”, or of simultaneous expansion of sensation with a contraction of perception.  On the one hand, we have the perspective eye opening up the world of space — the res extensa or “extended world” — literally extended in the form of a pyramidal cone of sight with an ever-expanding base.

Simultaneous with that, however, there is an inverted pyramid-like structure within the larger frame which narrows to a point or focus, and moves in the exact opposite direction of the eye. This is Blake’s “lens”. The double-movement here is that sight expands, even while vision contracts.

In his manifesto “There is NO Natural Religion”, Blake takes aim at this contraction of vision (which he calls “Single Vision & Newton’s Sleep”) by insisting that we are aware of far far more than we allow ourselves to consciously perceive.

Man’s perceptions are not bound by organs of perception; he perceives more than sense (tho’ ever so acute) can discover.

Here, in a nutshell, and with the testimony also of Blake, is our justification for discerning between “awareness” and “consciousness”. The so-called “unconscious” is not unconscious at all. It is the ego-nature that is the increasingly unconscious factor, tending even towards obliviousness, which it then tends to confuse with engulfment, envelopment, or being devoured, but which is really its own narrowing and self-enclosure.

We can state therefore, that a condition of dissociation exists between awareness and consciousness without being too obscure. There is part of us that is completely aware of everything in the realm of the “11,000,000” factoids, while another part of us — the ego consciousness or the self-interest — restricts and limits our perception to a mere few grains of sand of the whole beach. But it is this discrepancy that makes self-transcendence or self-overcoming possible.

It is this state of dissociation between the awareness and the consciousness that lends to Goethe’s “two souls” its meaning,

“Two souls, alas, reside within my breast,and each from the other would be parted. The one in sturdy lust for love with clutching organs clinging to the world, the other strongly rises from the gloom to lofty fields of ancient heritage”

These “two souls” — or awareness and consciousness — in dissociated state are also addressed by Nietzsche, too, as “Self” and “Ego” in the passage from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “The Despisers of the Body“,

“Behind thy thoughts and feelings, my brother, there is a mighty lord, an unknown sage—it is called Self; it dwelleth in thy body, it is thy body.

There is more sagacity in thy body than in thy best wisdom. And who then knoweth why thy body requireth just thy best wisdom?

Thy Self laugheth at thine ego, and its proud prancings. “What are these prancings and flights of thought unto me?” it saith to itself. “A by-way to my purpose. I am the leading-string of the ego, and the prompter of its notions.””

The lament of Goethe and Nietzsche — the sense that Self and Ego exist in a condition of mutual antagonism and conflict — is the condition of dissociation of awareness and consciousness. The proper relation of awareness and consciousness is summarised in Seth by his statement about “the You of you”, or the “energy personality essence” that is the source and root of the ego-consciousness itself.  There are not “two souls”. There is no real separation of “mind and body” or “soul and ego”, etc. These dualisms attest only to the condition of dissociation. The Buddhist practice of “mindfulness” is the attempt to overcome the condition of dissociation, and often the intent alone, even more than the practice, is adequate.

The state of dissociation is called “narcissism”, and is the entire meaning of the parable of the Prodigal Son.

I would like to see this polarity of “conscious” and “the unconscious” done away with entirely, for it is highly misleading and distorted. But, it seems we are stuck with this idiom for the time being.

Advertisements

28 responses to “Consciousness and Awareness”

  1. Bryony Smith says :

    Hi Scott.

    Thank you for that post (I’m Sharon’s daughter).

    This issue of defining “awareness” vs. “consciousness” comes up a lot at the Insight Meditation Society (the 38-year old Buddhist meditation retreat center in MA), where I work. One of the best things I have read about Awareness, comes from the wise Buddhist monk, venerable Ajahn Sumedho – a free PDF of his book Intuitive Awareness can be found here http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewBook.php?id=11&ref=deb.

    I’d love to know what you think of it. My teacher, Phillip Moffitt has a recent dharma talk on this very topic, which I find quite helpful and clarifying http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/139/talk/21446/.

    Finally, with a life-long exploration into psychology and spirituality, I understand for myself that meditation helps makes the “unconscious” conscious. Many people, as you know, use spiritual practice for spiritual bypassing…..not acknowledging their shadow sides….which for me, IS the unconscious. It takes diligent, honest work to reveal those aspects of self. Don’t you think?

    • Scott Preston says :

      Hello Byrony. Thanks for the post. I was just on my way out the door for a few hours away, but I’ll read your links and reply to your comments when I return.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Many people, as you know, use spiritual practice for spiritual bypassing…..not acknowledging their shadow sides….which for me, IS the unconscious. It takes diligent, honest work to reveal those aspects of self. Don’t you think?

      ‘Morning Bryony. I’ve listened to Mr. Moffitt’s dharma talk, and have read half-way so far through Ajahn Sumedho’s very amusing, very enjoyable book of talks (of which I’m becoming quite fond). Thank you for connecting me with them.

      To your observation about “spiritual bypassing”, yes. I do know a group of 9 women who I call “the nuns”. They travel everywhere together… to every Buddhist retreat possible, which is many in a year. They spend a fortune on such jaunts (sometimes to the despair and distress of their husbands… or, at least, those among them who still have and hold husbands). I came to realise that it is this fellowship they crave and seek, not their “practice”, which seems mostly ceremonial and ritualistic. And while we might call that “spiritual bypassing” (or what some call “spiritual tourism”), they may discover what they seek within this fellowship itself, according to the Christian principle “where two or more are gathered in my name”, etc, or “I take refuge in the Sangha”. What they call their “practice” is just ornamentation or the ties that bind and even a diversion. The real deal, however, is the fellowship. They could wake up within it and realise their intent through it. The would then realise that, as a group, they perform the Sangha, and they don’t need to bankrupt themselves chasing the Sangha around the globe.

      But, as they say, “all paths lead to God” eventually, and maybe they’ll have to chase their tails and come to realisation in their own weird way.

      Most of what I enjoyed about Mr. Moffitt’s talk occurs from 56 minute mark onwards, and that is where he addresses this issue of “intent”. What is called “practice” is really only a vehicle or medium for intent. There are no real methods or procedures, which is why Christians speak of “the gift of grace”. (Or we might say equally, everything can become a practice). One of the funniest comments I ever heard was from a Buddhist who realised that all the hard work, methods, procedures, practices were almost never followed by the men who taught them! They had had their realisation come to them quite unexpectedly — aha! — and then cast about retrospectively for a “method” by which they could transmit it to others. A prime contemporary example of that is Eckhart Tolle. He wasn’t (consciously) looking for “enlightenment”. It just happened to him in a moment of personal crisis. Now people look to him to teach them a method or practice or “the Way”. But “practice” can itself become a form of clinging, a form of the “mind-forg’d manacles”.

      Mr. Moffitt speaks during his talk of consciousness and awareness in two aspects as “attentional” and “intentional”, and yes, these two modes can be considered the inhalations and exhalations of awareness, as it were. To me, his most significant comments come towards the end when he speaks of “the joy of awareness of the path itself… this joy of being on the path. What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is remembering. Remembering what? My intention to be on the path”. If you know some of my previous posts on this notion of “re-membrance”, you will know that I hold “remembering” to be the overcoming of a condition of dis-memberment, or distracted existence.

      That’s it. The intention to walk the path rather than the “path” itself. If you are familiar with Castaneda’s writings, you might recall what don Juan said about “paths” — they all lead nowhere. The trick is to find a “path with heart” and the intent to walk it. “Practice” is only the expression of that intent, the vehicle of that intent. But that intent itself may well form its own “practice” or “path” as an expression of its inherent creativity. “Hard work” might well be one of its chosen paths because it loves challenges and obstacles and riddles to overcome. But in a lot of cases, no “work” as such was done at all and it came as a pure “gift of grace”.

      The simplest practice is “letting go”, of course. Mr. Moffitt mentions this and Ajahn Sumedho’s talks are all about simply “letting go”. Mr. Moffitt mentions someone (Sumedho himself maybe?) who gave up all “practices” and for two years did nothing but remind himself to “let go” — he formed this intent, vocalised and verbalised in the form of a “mantra” — “let go” — and this intent itself carried him like a wave to his goal. His intent opened the path he needed to walk. In native American cultures, the expression of intent is simply called “crying for a vision”, in which case, crying becomes the bearer of the intent, the “practice”, as it were. It’s feasible, I think, that one can equally intend “laughing for a vision” as well, in which case, laughing would become your “practice”. But your intent must be unmixed. It must be “sincere”, otherwise it can bring about undesirable circumstances which, nonetheless, can also be part of “practice”.

      The very best anecdote about awareness and consciousness (or somewhat parallel to this, intent and will) is Castaneda’s description of when he first saw “energy as it flows in the universe”, which was the culmination of his apprenticeship. The most shocking thing to him, however, was not that he suddenly perceived “energy as it flows in the universe”, but his realisation that he had always seen it this way and just didn’t know it. To put that another way, his awareness and his consciousness were dissociated. He had simply forgotten what he always knew — what we all know already, but have forgotten that we know.

      So,”letting go” is also letting go of our indulgence in this forgetfulness, our confusion, our self-importance, even our “practice” — or maybe just our clinging to forgetfulness and confusion and self-importance and practice. Or, maybe paradoxically speaking and more to the point, letting go of our willfulness so our intent can be realised. These things tend to get clumped together as belonging to domains of either “Self” or “Ego”, but that is just a conventional way of speaking, although useful to some degree.

      If anything, “practice” is simply the purification of intent, because mixed intent (which is entangled with self-doubt, guilt, etc) can realise itself in quite undesirable ways: as they say “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it” or “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”, and so on). So, “practice” is a kind of alchemy, turning lead into gold as it were, but is substantially “letting go” of those factors that tend to interfere with, or inhibit, the full realisation of intent.

      • Scott Preston says :

        I could summarise all of the above by simply saying, the ego-consciousness with all its developed faculties is a useful servant, but it makes a terrible master. I’ve found that most of the references to “servant” in the book of the Christians is, like the Prodigal Son itself, a reference to the ego-consciousness. So, “letting go” is, in effect, a kind of abdication, which “submission” is the meaning of the name “Muslim” too, but which seems only realised in the great literary treasures and wisdom of the Sufi masters — (ie, an ironic turn of phrase, actually — the master is the faithful servant).

        But that’s the way it is with the “spiritual”. It always seems to be in inverse order to the “natural” way of looking at things, which is why Blake and Buddhism, too, refer to this world as a “mirror”. In nature, birth precedes death; in the spirit, death precedes birth, and the “master” is the servant, and the conqueror is the one who surrenders.

      • Scott Preston says :

        Seems I’ve opened a can o’ worms for myself, since now I have to clarify some things after reading a bit further into Sumedho’s book. He uses the term “nature” in ways uncommon to the Westernised “common sense”, as it were, and in much the same way Zen might speak of “Zen Mind, Natural Mind”.

        In the Western view, “nature” corresponds to the cyclic and the realm of time — the wheel of birth and death. In the Western mind, “nature” is the fallen state of Creation, which has fallen into mechanism coincident with the “fall of man”, or in which the understanding of “natural” is “mechanical”. This is Paul’s statement in the New Testament about how the created world “groaneth and travailleth until now” — that is, until the coming of Christ as Redeemer or Saviour, as the second Adam.

        This isn’t necessarily how “nature” is understood in Eastern traditions. The Zen koan “show me your face before you were born” refers to “natural mind”. But in Blake, for example, “natural mind” is precisely the fallen mind, and which has assumed the form of mechanism or “dark Satanic mill”, for this is how Blake understands the present fallen state called “nature” or “natural”. Thus his manifesto against “Natural Religion” and “Natural Reason”, and similarly, Hobbes’ understanding of “nature” as being “red in tooth and claw”. In the Western conception, “nature” and “natural” is exactly what Buddhists call “samsara”, the realm of birth and death.

        In Eastern tradition, on the other hand, “natural” is taken as meaning “spontaneous”, but now corresponding to what might be called in our terms “impulsive” or “instinctual” and therefore (in our terms) “unreasonable” or unconscious, because of the association of natural with the mechanical or deterministic, or precisely that which is called “the conditioned” and “originated”, while in Eastern thought, it seems, “natural” means precisely the contrary — what is unoriginated and unconditioned.

        Lots of opportunity for confusion there.

        • Scott Preston says :

          Hoo boy! That now brought to mind Gebser’s “ever-present origin”. Does one take this origin as “natural” or “unnatural”? In Gebser, this is the source of nature, but is not “natural” itself. This can get pretty hairy and muddy.

          Space and time, the physical order, are the “natural” in Western thought, and the natural is contrasted with the infinite and the eternal, therefore the “supernatural” and otherwise referred to as “the substantial” (the ultimately real), whereas in other usage “natural” is used for what is the ultimately real.

      • Bryony Smith says :

        Thanks for all of that, Scott. Lots of food for thought. Yeah, I remember that Castaneda wisdom – we already know it but have forgotten. That’s why I, personally, find week-long intensive meditation retreats helpful – clears the lenses, so to speak. Reveals “reality” – energy, thoughts are just thoughts…..just being. It’s pretty amazing what a week of silence and watching ones mind will do! Better than drugs.

        All of this reminds me, too, of one of my favorite quotes, “What we are looking for is that which is looking”, something like that…..Awareness, in my experience, has a benevolent quality to it – observes all with loving-kindness (if you get quiet and really sense the essence of “it”). There’s no personality there – just clear, bright, spacious awareness.

        • Scott Preston says :

          “What we are looking for is that which is looking”, something like that…..Awareness…

          yes, it is something like that, although it can get quite twisted about as “God sees into the heart” and then becomes a matter of constant paranoia (mind beside itself). Nietzsche thought of that as being “indecent”, as he put it.

          That kind of paranoia, too, can be thought of as a symptom of the dissociation of consciousness and awareness, in which the awareness comes to be treated even as an object of consciousness rather than the imminence of awareness within the consciousness structure, which might even come to be felt as an alien presence or force. (Whereas in truth, it is the the conditioned ego-consciousness that is the — relatively speaking — alien presence or “foreign installation”).

          I hope I’m making some sense. Terminological difficulties and all.

        • Scott Preston says :

          By the way, I’m reading the book of Sumedho’s talks for about the third time. I’m quite enjoying it! Very wise. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

          • Bryony Smith says :

            That makes me very happy, Scott, that you are enjoying Ajahn Sumedho. There are free dharma talks of his on dharmaseed.org, also.

            I have to say these Thai Forest monks and nuns exude more joy, awakeness and lovingkindness than any other humans I’ve been around. Phillip Moffitt is a student of Venerable Sumedho’s (who is retired now – yes, monks retire, funny as it sounds) and it is he who is mentioned in Phillip’s dharma talk. I can also recommend free publications from Ajahn Sucitto who recently taught at IMS (he has been a monk since 1976).

            • Scott Preston says :

              Don’t know if anyone is still following this thread, but this very interesting article on mindfulness appeared in today’s Guardian

              http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/11/julie-myerson-mindfulness-based-cognitive-therapy

            • Bryony Smith says :

              That Guardian article on Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy was wonderful, Scott. Very impressive.

              I’ve heard this so many times from friends and people inquiring about whether they can “handle” a meditation retreat (they fear too much boredom, too much silence, too much restlessness). In that article Julie Myerson says, “I was bored, restless and (of course) had to fight an impulse to run from the room.” But, she stayed.

              Why is it we humans find it so hard to just sit still and be quiet, free from distractions?

              When she stuck with the 6-week meditation course she says, “Most importantly, I seemed to be developing a whole new relationship with my thoughts.”

              Did you, by chance, read Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight? In reading it I was waiting for her to recommend to the reader that there are ways to “achieve” states of spacious tranquility without having a stroke to silence the left side of our brains – namely, meditation. Finally, at the end she gave a nod to it but the single most important lesson she learned was to pay attention to how we talk to ourselves. That voice inside our heads has a lot of power – if we are unmindful and live on automatic pilot, we’re robbing ourselves of a potentially rich and vibrant existence.

            • Scott Preston says :

              Yes, I did read Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, and very interesting it was too. Have you read A.H. Almaas’ book “Luminous Night’s Journey”? I highly recommend that, too.

  2. amothman33 says :

    In the realm of spirit death precedes life, this recalled to my mind the following verse. Is he who is dead and has been given new life and endowed with light to walk with, among people, is like one who lives in darkness and there no sign showing he is leaving it, It is a flash of recognition, a moment of revelation. It is a question of association and disassociation , even the moment of leaving the analytic mind to intuitive awareness is a moment of grace. There are so many factors and processes involved, attention, intention ,surrendering, contemplation, chanting , but the most important is to have faith that there is a universal power that activate everything and this power is behind the human conversion and all other activities in our vast ,ever expanding universe.
    on the question of consciousness and awareness, I feel consciousness is the realm of the divine and awareness is the realm of the human who very often falls in ghaffla, leaving his awareness that connect him TO CONSCIOUSNESS. Yes there are so many unhealthy concepts floating around that need to be corrected or discarded among them the unconscious. The universe is alive and it is ungrateful to negate life to any aspect of it .

    • amothman33 says :

      This also recalls Sartre saying , do not say , I am conscious but consciousness in me. We do not say god is aware but he is the ever present consciousness.

    • Scott Preston says :

      on the question of consciousness and awareness, I feel consciousness is the realm of the divine and awareness is the realm of the human who very often falls in ghaffla,

      That sort of inverts the relationship I’ve given it here, but no never mind, as the words are simply pointers or placeholders. Normally, “consciousness” is the word we use for everyday, ordinary attention, or medical definitions, even for thinking or vigilance, while for most “awareness” is the problematic issue, because somewhat more indefinite and vague, although “consciousness” and “awareness” are more often than not, treated as synonyms.

      In cases of people in comas or under anaesthetics, who are nominally “unconscious”, it has been suggested by some research (and some anecdotal evidence) that though unconscious in the clinical sense, they are yet aware of what is happening.

      “Ghafla” was a new word for me, and I had to look it up. Interesting. It means “heedless”, and so would be the contrary to “mindful”. That’s a good word to know.

  3. amothman33 says :

    The three basic components of the process of knowledge are the knower, the known and the knowledge, and all other interpretive extensions go back to that basic premise. The main characteristics of the Arabic language are polysemic, synthetic. derivative and give precedence to the verb in its structure and it avoid getting submerged in analysis and details that is why we find difficult some time to translate so many of the English words or concepts in the Arabic language, some time even boring to translate all the unnecessary descriptions and this goes for the words under discussion. What make the communication a little easier is the meaning. To know is the basic root word in both the sensual realm and the mental realm irrespective of the the doors of entrance, however the intuitive and re velatory doors are very important. Alef lam meem is the way to descend the divine knowledge to the human sphere. This leads us to understand the two knowers, the divine and the human the absolute and the
    limited and the necessity to activate the limited by the absolute through evotion, remembrance, imagination and contemplation. It is a crisis of faith where analytical thinking chased out the intuitive awareness from the field of knowledge, a crisis which you see its ramifications everywhere. When the human negates god the light from his life he negates himself , throwing it into darkness. This is exactly what Scott is writing about in all his posts. A commendable task that need to continue until we die, despite all the lies and the falsifications, and this is the path of all messengers that have passed as we
    shall pass. I hope I can participate in this process of clarification and shed some light on the darkness for those who want to see, because it will be very sad to be blind in this one and in the one after. In conclusion I like to quote verse 19 chapter 13 which says, Does the one who knows what you have
    received from your Lord is the truth is like the blind who see not, this a reminder for those seekers who are after the essence of things.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Alef lam meem is the way to descend the divine knowledge to the human sphere. This leads us to understand the two knowers, the divine and the human the absolute and the limited and the necessity to activate the limited by the absolute through evotion, remembrance, imagination and contemplation.

      Thanks. That seems to reflect much of William Blake’s meaning as well.

      The meaning of “Alef laam meem”, which opens the Qur’an, is discussed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muqatta%27at

      As can be read there, the meaning of the Muqatta’at are matters of controversy and mystery, but might well be what are called “mantras” or vocalisations of sacred syllables much like the Sanskrit “aum mani padme hum” or simply “Aum”.

      “Alif” corresponds to the syllable “aleph” or “alpha”. So the Muqatta’at seem to be like mantras for inducing certain moods or states of mind or conditions of receptiveness or preparation for insight.

      On the corresponding significance of the “Aum” or “Om” syllable,

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aum

  4. tony says :

    Thanks Abdulmonem. I appreciate your Sufi insight and look forward to reading your posts as much as I do Scots.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I was surprised to hear from you, tony. I thought you had long since shaken the dust of the Dark Age Blog and the Chrysalis from the soles of your feet.

      • tony says :

        You must be joking, its my lifeline to sanity. Ill be reading your blog till my dying days, if you would be so kind as to continue until then.

        I hadnt commented for a long time because I simply didnt think I had anything of worth to add, but the issue of language and how it shapes reality had been playing in my mind for some time. Ive heard people with two mother tongues say that they change personality when they switch from one language to another, and also to a certain extent how they perceive the world. Ive often wondered how Abdulmonem was able to successfully convey a spiritual message in a language that wasnt his own, and there is obviously a level of intuition involved.

        Just to add that another contributor is missed. Infinate warrior, if you are reading this, a return of your thought provoking comments would be more than welcome.

        • Scott Preston says :

          InfiniteWarrior dropped out. I believe she has started her own blog (not entirely sure of that). Or maybe she just decided virtual reality games were where it’s at. She loved those things.

  5. LittleBigMan says :

    The image illustrated by Descartes of “Metaphysical Dualism” has been a favorite, yet puzzling, image which I have seen on The Chrysalis for some time. You hit the mark exactly by realizing that the meaning of the depiction may have been lost on some – very much so by myself. I am very thankful that you took the time to explain it further. I believe I do see the contradiction between the expansion of sight (consciousness of the ego-consciousness) and the simultaneous contraction in the vision (awareness).

    If I understand it correctly, then, the expansion into the material world (i.e. sensation) is necessarily connected and bound to a limitation or contraction in the level of ‘awareness’ which is Seth’s statement is the “You of you.” In other words, consciousness is and will always be a subset of awareness.

    In the Guardian article, it describes “Thoughts” as the “”events” that arose in the mind.” This understanding of ‘thoughts’ – as events arising in the mind – is remarkably illuminating.

    Therefore, thoughts have as much visibility within Seth’s “Framework 2” as actions have within “Framework 1.” This corroborates Robert Monroe’s descriptions of his thoughts and feelings being accessible to other entities he encountered during OBEs.

    A thread filled with wisdom and much to ponder.

    • LittleBigMan says :

      Pardon my error……I meant to say ‘which [in] Seth’s statement is the “You of you.”

    • Scott Preston says :

      If I understand it correctly, then, the expansion into the material world (i.e. sensation) is necessarily connected and bound to a limitation or contraction in the level of ‘awareness’ which is Seth’s statement is the “You of you.” In other words, consciousness is and will always be a subset of awareness.

      This problem is exactly what engaged Wm. Blake, particularly in his manifesto “There is No Natural Religion” and his attack on “single vision & Newton’s sleep”.

      “I. Man’s perceptions are not bound by organs of perception; he perceives more than sense (tho’ ever so acute) can discover.”

      This statement, more than any other, emphasises the point I’m trying to make in this post — that consciousness and awareness must be distinguished to a certain degree. Consciousness (as I’m using it here) is tied to the sense organs. Blake denies that the physical sense organs are any kind of limiting factor on awareness. This reduction of awareness to sensory consciousness alone is what he means when he writes (in the Marriage of Heaven and Hell) that,

      “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.
      For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narow chinks of his cavern.”

      The ‘narow chinks of his cavern’ are, of course, the physical senses, which to “single vision” appear as the only valid source of knowledge or consciousness. Blake denies that this is the case here, and asserts that, in effect, man’s consciousness has narrowed to a mere point (the “point of view), which is what is depicted in Descartes’ illustration of the functioning of the “cogito” or ego consciousness.

      The ego consciousness is, in effect, “the mortal self in time”, and insofar as man’s consciousness becomes identical with ego function, he feels his own impermanence and mortality most painfully and acutely, which is what Buddhism calls “dukkha” and “samsara”, and thus delusional. Blake also understands this identification of self with the physical body or senses as delusional. He calls the body a “cloud” or a “cloak” or an “image” of the soul as it understands itself within the spatio-temporal framework. You find this also in Seth.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        Very clearly put. Thank you. This has been very helpful to my understanding of Descartes’ illustration of the Metaphysical Dualism and quotes by Blake and more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: