As I mentioned in a previous chapter, from the energy polarity of ideation and form the metaphysic of ecstasy identifies further five subjective and seven objective modes of psychic experiencing. These refer not to any peculiar manners of experience, such as the "psychic" experiences of popular parlance, but rather to the normal activities of the human psyche. They include the full range of ordinary, day to day mental activity experienced by all human beings in normal health.
The five subjective modes I have termed the faculties of memory, reason, action, apprehension and inspiration. The seven objective modes I have termed the abilities of loving, thinking, willing, knowing, inspiring, expressing and forming.
In the Sanskrit literature the faculties and abilities are termed the five pranas and the seven shaktis respectively. In the Apocalypse they are termed anemoi (winds) and brontai (thunders).
Readers familiar with Vedic myth and doctrines may object somewhat to this interpretation of the pranas and the shaktis. You may argue that I have interpreted them too mentally, whereas I ignore the traditional role of manas and the indriyas as they are interpreted by Sankaracharya.
In this interpretation of Vedic metaphysics I follow closely that of James Pryse in his Restored New Testament. In general, the Upanishads speak of all these psychic functions in a rather simple physical manner. This suggests that all are being treated in a straight metaphorical way. Further, Indian metaphysics generally makes much less a distinction between mind and body than western thinkers. Thus, the western problem of the mind/body dualism hardly arises in the east.
If, indeed, mind and matter are merely two ways of looking at the same event, which is one of the basic tenets of the metaphysic of ecstasy, there should be little objection to my use of the terms prana and shakti. This point is further supported by the interchangeability of matter and energy as discovered by researches of modern physics. It is a well known contention in the Vedas themselves.
While Sankaracharya includes most mental functions within manas, the Apocalypse itself follows much more closely the interpretations of the Samkhya and Yoga schools by treating buddhi, ahankara and chitta as wholly separate. Correspondingly, prana and shakti assume an expanded role. Bear in mind, as well, that the Apocalypse was composed nearly 800 years prior to the birth of Sankaracharya. So it reflects a much older understanding and interpretation than those of Sankaracharya.
Interestingly, the Hellenistic era corresponded chronologically with the rise of the Yoga school in India, the crowning point of which produced the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Apocalypse may be legitimately viewed as the metaphysical crown of the Hellenistic period, when ideas of east and west mingled to produce gnosticism and Christianity, orthodox and otherwise. As a literary work the Apocalypse ranks with the best products of classical antiquity in terms of both style and ingenious composition.
While the exact dates of Patanjali remain uncertain, estimates range from 400 B.C. to A.D. 400. Putting aside the extremes as unlikely and judging from the rise of popularity of the Yoga school, which peaked in the first century B.C., a good guess would place his lifetime sometime during the years corresponding to the early part of the Hellenistic period, perhaps 300 to 200 B.C. Whatever the precise dates may be, it is certain that throughout all the centuries of the Hellenistic period in the west, the practice and ideas of yoga, which Patanjali codified in his system of Raja Yoga, were on the rise in contemporary India.
It should come as no surprise that the Apocalypse, written in the latter half of the first century A.D., based upon much earlier source material, shows the influence of Raja Yoga. It does so. Pryse has shown this clearly. It also shows the influence of the dualism of Samkhya, as does much of gnostic metaphysics and speculation.
Indeed, the Apocalypse presents an amazing synthesis of east and west in its combining of the elements of yoga and kabala. Furthermore, at its most profound level of understanding, the Apocalypse exhibits an extraordinary similarity to tantra. Once the many pervasive influences of Indian monism are removed from the teachings of tantra, that system appears identical to the metaphysic of ecstasy.
According to the metaphysic of ecstasy, the five faculties enable the human personality to internalize psychic reality into subjective observations and experiences. The seven abilities enable the human personality to externalize psychic reality into the experiential events and percepts that comprise its world of experience. This is not to say that the external world has no real existence. What it says is that your experience of the world is determined by your perception of it.
Memory refers to the storage of information, which includes not only events but also feelings, conclusions and perceptions. In so far as the individual is concerned, information may be filed either with ordinary awareness in the active memory or in some manner other than with ordinary awareness in the passive memory. In general, material stored in active memory may be recalled more or less at will. Most information in the active memory is associative and relational, meaning simply that recalling one item often leads to a chain reaction of other items that are related either in meaning, value or form. The art and science of mnemonics makes use of this structure of memory to assist recall.
Material stored in the passive memory can seldom be retrieved by a mere act of will. Yet apparently the structure of passive memory remains associative and relational. Events and chance associations often unearth passive memories. Free association may also bring material into conscious awareness. The most common means, however, of accessing passive memories is through dreaming. There material enters into awareness by means of symbolic images and events. The meanings of the symbols are generally personal, although some symbols may possess more universal meaning.
Passive memories may also arise in the form of unconscious behaviours or physical ailments. Often repressed memories of traumatic or unpleasant experiences show themselves in the form of inappropriate or exaggerated responses to events.
Often behaviour patterns or types of attitudes adopted as a young child become embedded in the passive memory where they recur in adult life in totally inappropriate and even self destructive ways. Adults frequently find it difficult to accept that the source of much of their behaviour lies in their own infantile past.
Western psychology spends most of its time and effort trying to unearth passive memories. As well, most new therapies attempt to help individuals redirect the psychic energy inappropriately sidetracked by passive memories into more positive and psychologically growth enhancing channels.
Memory stores all personal events and experiences, however trivial or inconsequential or important they may seem. Nothing is ever forgotten, in the sense that it is lost forever. Much of memory may be repressed, however, especially if it fails to support one's current self image.
Reason refers to the wilful processes of all the logical operations of reflection, including deduction, induction and inference. Deduction generally involves drawing conclusions regarding specific ideas or events based upon universal and/or collective considerations. Induction is the reverse process, moving from the specific to the universal. And inference sees commonalities between ideas or events which possess similar premises, specific elements or results.
Philosophy usually follows the process of deduction, beginning with generalities and concluding with specifics. Science, on the other hand commonly follows induction, beginning with the data gathered from specific empirical experiments and leading to general conclusions. Both philosophy and science utilize the process of inference to expand the results of deduction and induction.
In common usage the word thinking is often equated with the specific process of rational and logical thinking. But in the metaphysic of ecstasy a sharp distinction is drawn. Since all of existence is viewed as the thought process of consciousness, rational thinking forms only a small and very specific portion of the whole.
Action refers to the quick and firm assessment of values and their resultant commitments based upon feelings and the assertion of will. Such action may be illogical in the sense that logic and reasoning play no role in the decision. It may also be entirely unconscious in the sense that an individual may act with no personal awareness of doing so. In situations involving grave personal risk, such as accidents, disasters or combat, unconscious action often plays a significant part.
Unconscious action also occurs in common situations almost continually. So-called "body language" is really unconscious action. When your words and conscious actions say one thing, but unconsciously your body language says the opposite, you will probably find it difficult to get people to believe you.
For instance, I am not likely to believe you if you tell me that you sincerely trust and care about me, while you are unconsciously shaking your head "no." I may not even be specifically aware that your head is saying no, but that is what I am hearing. Your shaking head belies your words.
That is why we often say that actions speak louder than words. You may say what you please, words come easily, but you must work very hard at controlling your body language. It usually speaks the plain truth. Body language speaks from behind your ego consciousness.
When action is tempered by reason, the assessment and commitment may be reached more slowly. But generally, such conclusions and commitments form the basis of belief or will for the individual for long periods of time and are held very strongly.
We may get emotionally carried away with something or someone at times. But our enthusiasm may pass as readily as it arose. When that enthusiasm is backed up with careful consideration and convincing logic, we will adhere to it fiercely.
Apprehension refers to a totally nonlogical or intuitive "grasp" of a situation, idea or necessity to act. It refers also to the discernment of an appropriate course of action when such discernment is unavailable to logical means. In such situations, one simply "knows" what to do and does it.
In both cases there is generally insufficient information present for reason to be utilized with confidence. Where reason plods and seeks additional information, apprehension leaps. However, reason may be called into play after the fact, either to support the conclusions of apprehension, or to modify or to justify them.
When understanding of an idea or concept is involved, there may be an initial leap of knowing, followed by a logical deduction or inference that supports the initial conclusion. In a broad sense, apprehension never makes a mistake. But in usual experience it may.
Hence, especially in the realm of ideas and beliefs, we often fall back upon reason as the final arbiter. This is unfortunate since given sufficient practice and regular exercise apprehension can be made as reliable as reason.
After all, reason is not always correct either. Yet we trust it as if it were. We are simply more comfortable with it.
Inspiration refers to a holistic "leap" of understanding and total commitment to the commencement of appropriate action. It compels one to creation and expression.
Inspiration infuses one with great enthusiasm and dedication. It is often accompanied by extraordinary animation and emotional excitement.
More subtly, inspiration provides the energizing force to carry out the objectives arising from it. It imbues feelings of commitment and compulsion with fervour and stamina. When you are inspired you tap into a hidden source of energy that you never knew you possessed. You suddenly find yourself capable of things you never imagined you could do.
Loving refers to all aspects of the experience of the creative force specifically as love and sex but also in its pure or nondifferentiated state. Nondifferentiated in its mode of activity, loving underlies the creative force in all its various actualized forms.
Thinking refers to active thought, reflection and speculation. Thinking includes but is not limited to all rational thought and learning. In the metaphysic of ecstasy, in a general sense all physio psychic activity is considered to be thought. Thus, all such activity is included within the power of thinking even if a specific activity is involuntary.
Willing refers to the assertion of and the carrying out of a purpose or a plan. Willing implies deliberate choice, but on a more subtle level it may include involuntary elements as well, or even exclusively. Often our passive memories provide the motives for willing, although we will usually attempt to rationalize a conscious motive as well.
Knowing refers to a certitude of knowledge based on personal and first hand experience. It is the clear and certain perception of the truth of a thing through knowledge of the thing itself. Knowing supplies a stronger conviction of knowledge and certitude than does the hearsay evidence of others, for instance, or logical deduction, induction and inference. For these may always be contradicted by our own experience.
Inspiring refers to the infusion of knowledge with intent and purpose to action either in general or in a specific manner. It is the active force utilized to actualize an idea or an intention.
Expressing refers to the actual manifestation of creative purpose or intention either in general or in a specific way. Expressing prepares the way for the actualization of an idea or intention.
Forming refers to wilful intent or purpose in general. It is the force of actualization in its most general and least differentiated form.
In addition, the seven psychic abilities also manifest themselves in seven corresponding modalities. These seven modalities are: fixed, fluid, expanding, penetrating, enveloping, balanced and causative.
The modalities are termed in the Sanskrit the tattvas. They are termed in the Apocalypse the pneumata. Their meanings are fairly straight forward and require no special elaboration here.
I do not intend that the foregoing meanings I have ascribed to the five faculties and seven abilities be taken as more than suggestive. They should certainly not be taken as complete, limiting and restrictive. A clearer and fuller understanding of the full range of meaning of these various psychic operations will in due course emerge throughout the remainder of this essay.
In addition to the five faculties and seven abilities, the personality exhibits four generalized areas or domains of psychic functioning. These generalized domains of human psychic functioning have been fully described by Carl Jung and have been termed by him sensation, feeling, thinking and intuition.83
Briefly, in Jung's view, sensation and intuition both pertain to psychic perception. This is the gathering of information. Thinking and feeling on the other hand pertain to the drawing of conclusions. This is the making of decisions. These four work together to enable the personality to orient itself and to act both within itself and in the world around it.
Sensation, which is often called the "reality function," admits the perception from physical stimuli from both inside and outside the physical body. Conversely, intuition perceives stimuli from the immaterial or inner psychic world. Intuition comprehends the intangible aspects of relationships, subtle matters and possibilities in general.
Thinking permits one to attain to conclusions based on abstraction and logical thought or conceptualization. Feelings, on the other hand, guide one in the establishing of value and relative importance, allowing one to arrive at accurate and meaningful judgments.
Compare these four general areas of psychic functioning as described by Jung with Plato's four faculties of the soul and their corresponding degrees of knowledge.84 According to Plato these are eikasia (sensation), pistis (belief), dianoia (reason) and noesis (intelligence).
Despite their slight superficial differences, the four general psychic functions of Jung and the four soul faculties of Plato clearly correspond to each other and describe the same human phenomena. The differences are due merely to the different points of view. Plato speaks from the point of view of philosophy, while Jung speaks from the point of view of science.
According to the metaphysic of ecstasy, these sets of corresponding descriptions of normal human psychic functioning represent the four arenas or domains of the expression of self consciousness in the realm of finite phenomena. This, if you will recall, constitutes the metastate.
The five faculties and the seven abilities operate as a group within each of these four phenomenal domains of expression. To distinguish their operations in these four generalized ways, I have variously labelled the faculties and abilities.
In the domain of sensation I have termed the faculties traits and the abilities functions. In the domain of feeling I refer to each of them respectively as the drives and the impulses. In the domain of thinking I have termed them respectively the motivations and the motives. In the domain of intuition I have termed them respectively the dynamics and the forces.
As the faculties and the abilities total twelve altogether and are each operative in four distinct domains, there are a total of forty-eight differentiated energies. If we also include the underlying polarity of consciousness, which is ideation/form (pneuma), there are forty-nine.
In its general sense as the basic underlying force of the metastate, pneuma is termed in the Sanskrit prakriti shakti. In its specific role as the underlying force of each individual personality it is termed kundalini shakti. Both of these forces, in turn, are considered derivatives of prakriti, which is the creative force of consciousness.
Finally, the four domains of self expression in the phenomenal realm correspond to the four main somatic divisions of the physical body. These are the genitalia, abdomen, thoracic cavity and head.85 Thus, each set of faculties and abilities specialized in the domains of self expression (the traits and functions; drives and impulses; motivations and motives; dynamics and forces) corresponds to a specific somatic division of the physical body. Each set of faculties and abilities is said to have its "seat," or centre of activity in the corresponding somatic division of the physical body.
The specific activity, however, of each group of faculties and abilities is not limited to any particular area of the physical body, nor even to the physical body itself. The assignment of a physical seat to each group of faculties and abilities, I suspect, is a carry over from an earlier time when the body/mind duality had not yet been introduced.
Each of the groups of faculties and abilities serves the specific requirements of being human. All are necessary. The details of these functionings need not detain us here.86
Ancient writers often ignore this fourfold division of the body, as does Plato himself. Plato assigns the four faculties of the soul to only three of the somatic divisions. He has the head corresponding to noesis and dianoia, the thoracic cavity (thumos or phren) corresponding to pistis and eikasia, and the entire region below the midriff (epithumia) corresponding to akolasia, comprising the emotions, desires, appetites and passions.
Akolasia was not considered by Plato to represent a faculty of the soul, but rather the power of animal instincts. Thus he considered it to be unworthy of serious philosophical consideration. For him soul was part of the immaterial and superior realm far removed from the world of the mere senses.
This is not to say that Plato did not adhere strictly to the fourfold system. He certainly did. He simply ignored what he considered unworthy of study. Others such as Philolaus,87 however, give the full fourfold account.
The four element system of water, earth, fire and air that pervaded most of ancient Greek philosophy is directly analogous. It is simplistic and erroneous to think that these four referred merely to the physical elements from which they drew their names. They were also metaphors for the human condition, just as their counterparts in the Upanishads.
The four element system was an attempt by the ancient writers to describe and to relate as directly as possible the microcosm of man, and the macrocosm of the world at large. The Emerald Tablet of the Hermetic tradition sums it up as "whatever is below is like that which is above, and whatever is above is like that which is below." These correspondences may be summarized thus:
The brain is the physical organ commonly associated directly with the ability of thinking. It is, however, the organ utilized to receive and interpret and thus coordinate all incoming information whatever its source and to regulate all outgoing expression. This inclusive function of the brain is readily confirmed by the deleterious effects on various physical operations of the body and self expression that even relatively minor damage to the brain causes.
Metaphysically, the brain is very properly the "seat" of the dynamics and the forces of intuition, whose physical analogue it is. The brain's all inclusive range of operation demonstrates this analogous nature. Just as the brain functions as the main control room of the entire physical body, so too intuition operates as the master faculty of all the psychic functioning.
We may understand the domains of sensation, feeling and thinking as simply limited aspects of intuition. The hierarchy implied here is not one of value but of function. The forces and dynamics of intuition are very nonspecific in their operations. When acting in the domains of sensation, feeling or thinking they become more specific. By becoming more specific they become more limited by necessity of operation.
The traits and functions may be properly thought of as the dynamics and the forces of intuition operating in the domain of sensation. Likewise, the drives and impulses may be seen as the dynamics and the forces of intuition operating in the domain of feeling. Finally, the motivations and motives may be understood as the dynamics and forces of intuition operating in the domain of thinking.
In an analogous manner, the spine and the physical body appended to it may be understood as limited aspects of the brain. Again, I do not refer to a hierarchy of value here, but to one of function only. The brain acts as the generalist in control, while the other specific parts of the body act as the specialists in action.
Please remember that when I say "limited" here I do not mean to say of less value or importance. The hierarchy is one of function and not one of value.
Recall that when consciousness becomes self conscious it becomes limited, simply because of the very nature of expression. Expression must be limited for the simple reason that it is specific.
The limitlessness and eternity of the fullness of consciousness can only find its expression within the limitations of space, time, knowledge and specific activity. But again, these are limitations of function, and not value. Consciousness without expression would be meaningless.
Intuition, which is the experience of the fullness of consciousness, can only find expression in reality in the sensations, feelings, thoughts and insights of being human. In the sense that each of these domains is more specific, and only in that sense of meaning, we may consider them limited. They are all of equal value.
Similarly, when I say that the physical body is the limited aspect of the brain, I am not concurring with Plato that the body below the head is of less value. I am certainly not advocating that we do away with our bodies and attempt to function as severed heads or brains! Or as unfeeling and cold intellects! The physical body is the expression of the human brain by the same analogy that the complete human being is the expression and experience of self consciousness.
Being specific expressions, both are limited. But without expression consciousness, too, is limited, as would be a disembodied brain, which could not live at all without the life support system of the body.
Metaphysically speaking, the chest or heart cavity, the thorax, is the "seat" of the motivations and the motives of rational thinking. On the other hand, however, the heart is commonly associated with the drives and impulses of feeling, whose proper "seat" is the abdomen.
The genitals are the "seat" of the traits and functions of sensation. They are commonly so associated.
The concept of the "seats" of all these various forces may seem alien to our way of thinking. But such expressions as "opening your heart," "feeling something in your guts," or "being stuck in your head" hark back to just this notion. It is only our familiarity with science that has rendered expressions such as these anachronous. And this only because science until the middle of this century was dominantly mechanistic and dualistic.
As I noted in a previous chapter, when consciousness begins the process of individualizing itself through self expression its integrity is set aside. The details of this temporary loss of self awareness require no lengthy elaboration here. But a brief outline is necessary in order to gain a more complete understanding of the relationship of the four phenomenal domains of expression and the course of their development.
The proper faculty of integrity is intuitive insight. We might define this as the immediate comprehension of the totality of whatever is under consideration or observation without recourse to thought, sensation or feeling. Intuitive insight is an immediate and spontaneous grasp of a situation that brings with it a flash of understanding that immediately transcends thinking, sensation and feeling. It may then include them as well in the experience, but may not. Insight will not contradict any related factual evidence feeling, sensation or thinking may present, although it may contradict any currently held opinions and conclusions.
In its deepest and fullest sense, the immediate comprehension grasped by intuitive insight applies to the knowledge and awareness that the self has of the fullness of consciousness. But of necessity, in order to express itself at all, consciousness must become limited. What becomes limited is integrity and its psychic power of intuitive insight.
Thus, the initial stage of the process of individuation results in the temporary loss of integrity. This in turn brings about an absorption in the process itself that is so intense and total that consciousness enters into a state of awareness analogous to its condition in the hyperstate. Consciousness exhibits no subjective or objective awareness of itself.
In the condition of the hyperstate consciousness is simply lost in the unconscious, in the sense of totally unselfconscious, contemplation of itself. This is the ground condition of its unlimited and unformed, and as a result, unrealized potential.
In the beginning of the process of personal individuation consciousness becomes lost in the unconscious, but only in the same sense of being totally unselfconscious, contemplation of its own thoughts and impressions. These are the dynamic mental objects it has created for its own experience. In the first phases of the process of individuation, it is as though the power of integrity has been turned in upon itself. This results in bringing about its opposite effect, the total unawareness of self.
This lack of self awareness and the dreamlike condition it produces represents a fusion of consciousness with its thoughts and psychic powers. The metaphysic of ecstasy considers such a state to be unconscious precisely because consciousness does not exhibit awareness of itself. Its identity is wholly perceived in the objects and experiences in which it has involved itself.
There is a subtle difference here between the state of fusion and the assertion of monistic idealism that existence itself is an illusion, meaning that it is nothing but an hallucination. Being unselfconscious brings with it the ignorance of the true nature of things. The "things," however, are still real, simply misperceived. The "things" are consciousness, self consciousness and its thoughts and related powers of thought and action. These are not hallucinations at all.
Metaphysical realization destroys this ignorance of the way things really are by awakening consciousness to the self conscious awareness of its fullness. This enlightenment does not strip away the "illusions" that ideal monism postulates. For these are not really illusions. Instead, reality is perceived as it really is.
"Unconsciousness" here does not mean that there is no awareness or experience of involvement. Quite the opposite. During the fusion phase of individuation consciousness exhibits an intense and intimate awareness and total involvement with the sensations and feelings of the moment. But very little or no sense of continuity or objectivity carries over from one moment to the next.
This state of unconscious fusion represents what we may term a sensory motor functioning of the mind. I have previously identified this type of functioning as the Sanskrit manas and the apocalyptic false prophet. This state of fusion of consciousness and mind simply reflects the ultimate reality that all experience derives in and of self consciousness and its psychic functioning. It further expresses the truth that ultimately self is really all there is.
As sensory experience accumulates during the process of individuation there comes eventually the dawning recognition that some experiences are pleasant while others are not. There then follows immediately the intent to avoid the unpleasant ones and to seek the pleasant.
This tendency results in the very gradual development of memory, which in its initial stages is simply the association of pleasure and pain with specific experiences. In the Sanskrit this trait is termed chitta and in the Apocalypse the red dragon.
The tendency of self consciousness and the mind to seek out pleasure reflects the ultimate reality that the nature of self consciousness is unbounded joy and ineffable bliss. The tendency to seek pleasure expresses the ultimate truth that self is ecstasy.
Through the development of memory there soon comes the realization that conscious identity is not just the sum total of momentary experiences. If some can be avoided and others precipitated by conscious will, then identity must consist of something more.
Thus, arises a sense of personal continuity within the constant flow of transient events. This realization of a continuity of conscious identity manifests finally in the phase of individuation that we may here term ego self consciousness. This phase marks the beginning of the veiled awakening of the maturing individuality to its true nature and identity.
From this we may conclude that far from being the despicable trait that so many so-called spiritual teachings label it, the development of human ego marks a major milestone towards true self realization. In fact, according to the metaphysic of ecstasy, the inability or refusal to develop a strong sense of personal ego actually retards realization.
At this stage of its development, the individuality begins to objectify much of its experience as external to itself. The feeling of a personal continuity within the flow of events results from the withdrawal of the unconscious identification with all experiences. The individuality now begins to identify itself only with the more proximate elements of its awareness - its own psyche and its powers of expression and experiencing.
The psyche produces the various psychic faculties and abilities that provide for the individuality the growing sense of personal continuity through the constant flux of seeming random and momentary events. These psychic percepts shape sensations, feelings, thoughts, desires and memories.
Please recall that memories consist of anticipations and recollections of pleasant and unpleasant experiences. By developing the ability to remember, the developing individuality takes the first step towards identifying itself. For it begins the process of separation.
The separation of experience into self and not self, and the resulting identification of self with its own psychic powers of expressing and of experiencing is what we understand in western psychology as the ego. The ego sense of identity brings with it self reflection. In the Sanskrit this sense of ego identity and resulting self reflection are termed collectively ahankara and in the Apocalypse the beast.
The identification of self by the individuality with its mental vehicle of expression and experience - the human psyche - and the tenacious sense of I-ness that results from this identification reflect the ultimate reality that self is totally unique and individual. This identification expresses the ultimate truth that self consciousness creates all experience.
With the development of the state of ego conscious awareness begins the process of what we may term conscious and deliberate thinking. This process we can understand simply as the wilful discrimination between an experiencing subject and an experienced object.
Until the development of the power of discrimination mental functioning has been limited to the autonomous and instinctual workings of the sensory motor mind and memory. Both of these mental functions operate in the main unconsciously. Both carry on largely in a non self conscious manner. This is precisely why they are considered to be unconscious in the metaphysic of ecstasy. Remember that in the metaphysic of ecstasy it is the lack of self awareness that defines the state of unconsciousness.
By discriminating between a subject and an object, mental activity becomes to a certain extent conscious, or self aware. When we create thoughts consciously we do so with a sense of I-ness. The sense of I-ness brings with it a complementary sense of other-ness.
I-ness and other-ness are really all that the subject/object duality represents. They are a perceptual phenomenon. In the understanding of the metaphysic of ecstasy subject and object are simply different aspects of perception. They represent two ways of looking at the same thing. Like the wave/particle duality of the nature of light.
When we think we are acutely aware that "I am thinking." When we observe events going on around us we are very much aware that "I am observing," or that "I am seeing something that is happening." When we feel threatened, we feel that "I may get hurt." When we feel safe or secure, we feel "I am OK.
This is the sense of I-ness that I am talking about. This is what ego consciousness is all about. What ego consciousness is about is simply this continual reference to I or me.
The significant questions for ego self consciousness are two. How does something or someone relate to me? How do I fit into and feel about this specific situation?
We even say about someone who reflects in this manner excessively that she or he is "self-conscious." By this we mean that the person is too acutely aware of separation or relationship to the immediate object or situation. The "self conscious" I refer to here is not the same as the self consciousness of the metaphysic of ecstasy. The self conscious I am talking about here is ego conscious. It is a step towards the final self consciousness of realization, but it is not the same thing. It is very important to keep in mind that it is not the same.
With the development of the power of discrimination between self and not self more and more experiential material becomes objectified. In psychological terms, material that is objectified becomes conscious.
This is why in the metaphysic of ecstasy the activities of the sensory motor mind and memory are considered to be unconscious. In identifying with its own mental activities, the maturing individuality renders those activities unconscious. Conversely, in separating itself from them by discriminating between self and not self it renders them conscious and thus creates an objective reality from them.
In the state of ego conscious awareness, self consciousness through individuality continues to identify with the psyche and its developing personality. Because of the self's continued identification with the psyche, which as a vehicle of self expression and experience is finite, temporal and impermanent - that is to say mortal and perishable - the self as an individual begins to experience fear of annihilation.
The first step of self realization, ironically, is the knowledge that the vehicle of consciousness is only temporary. And because of its identification with its vehicle, consciousness experiences and believes itself to be perishable.
The initial consequence, thus, of ego consciousness is the knowledge of personal death. In a vain attempt to protect itself from its inevitable demise, the awakening individuality struggles for security, power and acceptance. It creates imaginary scenarios of continued life after death in order to cope with its new knowledge.
The individuality tries to deny its mortality by imagining heavens and hells, reincarnations and states of disembodied immortality. Further, it fabricates gods and religions simply to avoid facing the truth of its own perishable nature.
The individuality misconstrues its own infinite and intangible good for that which serves to protect and preserve the psyche, with which it has become identified. It also mistakes as good whatever serves to protect its sense of identification with the psyche.
The self consciousness that underlies the individuality is really beginning to sense its own infinite nature. But because of its identification with the psyche self consciousness can not yet see itself clearly. Self sees instead its own veiled image in the mirror of the psyche.
Yet even this apparent predicament is part of the process of growth. It is a stage of development through which self consciousness must pass on its journey to maturity. Only by knowing first what it is not, can the self finally realize what it really is.
Because of the continuing frustrations self experiences trying, always without success, to satisfy its longings for infinite good within the very finite confines of its psychic capacities, self consciousness gradually awakens further. Finally, through the quickening of the agency of intuitive insight, the apocalyptic lamb (arnion), the newly awakening individuality begins to perceive that its destiny is greater than its own little personal and psychic world and its preoccupations with survival.
Incidently, for those who believe that the process of awakening brings only happiness, wealth and health, all the New Age pablum, this will come as a bit of a shock. The aggravations, frustrations and failures of life drive the self towards awakening. Prior to a certain point in the development of self awareness, contentment and success in life serve only to lull the self into a state of deception about its awareness.
Thus climaxes the first half of the process of individuation. And at this halfway point the human race as a whole now finds itself.
Here we stand, then, our psychic powers fully evolved but still only partially under conscious control. Intuitive insight stirs within us, awakening from its long slumber. We know and fear death but at the same time sense something greater beyond.
We create comforting theories to cope with the fact of personal death, from heaven to reincarnation. On the other hand, the great metaphysical traditions of the orient seek to rob death by annihilating individuality itself.
We can not yet accept that death represents a real end, except in the nihilist sense of the materialists. So we fail to comprehend that only in understanding death and accepting it for what it is can we come to true knowledge and realization.
But that is no reason for us to despair. For the curtain is only now rising on the second act of the great drama. We are about to enact the climax of the great drama of self consciousness! Only if we persist in viewing ourselves as entities rather than conscious events can we see any tragedy here. Self consciousness is maturing and coming to a realization of its fullness. That process is us!
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