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AGREEING TO CONSCIOUSNESS
am 23. Juni 2000
The most impressive fact in man's spiritual, intellectual, and poetic experience has always been, for me, the universal prevalence of those astonishing moments of insight which a great philosopher called "cosmic consciousness". There is not really satisfactory name for this type of experience. To call it mystical is to confuse it with visions of another world, or of gods and angels. To call it spiritual or metaphysical is to suggest that it is not also extremely concrete and physical, while the term "cosmic consciousness" itself has the unpoetic flavour of occultist jargon. But from all historical times and cultures we have reports of this same unmistakable sensation emerging, as a rule, quite suddenly and unexpectedly and from no clearly understood cause. To the individual thus enlightened it appears as a vivid and overwhelming certainty that the universe, precisely as it is at this moment, as a whole and in every one of its parts, is so completely right as to need no explanation or justification beyond what it simply is. Existence not only ceases to be a problem; the mind is so wonder-struck at the self-evident and self-sufficient fitness of things as they are, including what would ordinarily be thought the very worst, that it cannot find any word strong enough to express the perfection and beauty of the experience. Its clarity sometimes gives the sensation that the world has become transparent or luminous, and its simplicity the sensation that it is pervaded and ordered by a supreme intelligence. At the same time it is usual for the individual to feel that the whole world has become his own body, and that whatever he is has not only become, but always has been, what everything else is. It is not that he loses his identity to the point of feeling that he actually looks out through all other eyes, becoming literally omniscient, but rather that his individual consciousness and existence is a point of view temporarily adopted by something immeasurably greater than himself.
A special state of consciousness, a SUPREME state of consciousness, wouldn't you say? Don Miguel Ruiz shows us one path to the exploration of conscious energy, simply and candidly.
But how do we get ready for it? First of all, in order to reach the more silent areas of consciousness we have to get beyond the noisy regions of our minds in which we spend so much of our time. This necessitates a control over our thoughts. We may then be able to reach that silent area, which is the dwelling place of the Spirit, for I know of no better definition of the word Spirit than that it is pure Consciousness devoid of all thought and words. Do you agree? The attainment of higher levels of consciousness is closely related to certain religious practices and more particularly to the practices of meditation and contemplation. These are the first steps to the disciplining of the mind, which in course of time may lead to an acquirement of higher levels of consciousness. Meditation is also the gateway to a new and a much more direct way of knowing, a way in which the "known" and the "thing known" become one and the same thing. It is a difficult path to tread because our attention is repeatedly being caught again by the ceaseless chattering taking place in our heads. But eventually we may, for a short time, succeed in reaching a state of pure consciousness without thought, a state in which truth is revealed to us DIRECTLY and without the use of words. In those moments we see rather than think, and it is only afterwards that we start to fumble for words in which we try to express what was revealed to us. There is nothing "personal" or even individual in the direct knowledge that comes to us in a HIGHER conscious state. Our individual consciousness merges with a much wider consciousness, which we feel to be Universal. So also are we aware of the presence within us of something much higher than ourselves. Do you feel it? It's something which, for lack of any other name, we were forced to call God. Higher states of consciousness may, or may not come, as a reward for the self-disciplining of meditation. Although they never last for very long, during them we seem to be dwelling in an "eternal now". But soon the intensity of our new sense of "being" weakens, the level of our consciousness drops, our personalities reassert themselves, and we are back again in the world of time and of inner chattering. All that remains of what has been is a sense of gratitude for what has happened. Then life swallows us again and we disappear...
But we are unlikely ever to forget what has happened to us. Our experience of an altered state of mind, of higher consciousness, remains for us the most important psychic event in our lives.