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Saturday, November 25, 2017

the inner consciousness - a truly invincible summer

I'm often reflecting on the experience of the inner consciousness -- what it is, how it operates, how it feels to be acting (and reacting) from that deep, inner knowingness, rather than from the surface levels of the mind or even the heart.

the mind, as the Eastern traditions so colorfully remind us, is a monkey, at best.  it jumps around, from here to here to here, branch to branch to branch, looking for entertainment... and is mostly unstable, easily influenced by external forces and people, and is an incredibly UNreliable gauge of anything deep, or true.

no doubt we've all had the experience of having deep emotions or inner soul feelings stirred up in almost indescribable ways, listening to a moving piece of music or through reading/hearing a piece of poetry that transcends the mind, or slips through the cracks of the normal cognitive processing, and almost catches us by surprise, in the intensity of that stirring inside.  it wasn't only the words that moved us, it was something almost 'between' them.  it wasn't only the music, it was -- some ineffable quality of color, of movement, of sound, that created an inner resonance in us... beyond the capability of the mind to understand or process exactly how that happened.  (but it did.)

this deeper inner self is what great art -- of all kinds, whether visual, aural, performance, or written -- is speaking to -- art is communicating with that part of us that is beyond the words, beyond the comprehension of the mind.

it is also what the process of meditation is involving -- going to a place far deeper than the surface cognition, touching the inner silence, the inner consciousness, deeply.  and -- in the case of a regular meditation practice -- on a daily basis.

through meditation, we are learning how to enliven the conversation, as it were, between the surface mind and level of life, and the deep, silent, expanded, unbounded, inner consciousness.  again, and again, and again, diving deeply into that infinite reservoir of inner silence... coming out each time a little more refreshed, a little more infused with that silence, and able to have it more operational in and through us, as we go about the daily task of living.

after a certain point, after years and years of serious meditation practice, and spiritual processes, and deep experiences of supernatural healing and transmitting, it becomes clearer and clearer that the inner consciousness becomes more dominant, as a force and undercurrent, in daily life, than the desires of the heart or surface mind.

I suspect this is something along the lines of what Jesus was referencing when he counseled his students to be 'in the world but not of it.'

the physical structure of a human being, the body and identity (name, life story, occupation, relationships, etc.) is still functioning in the world of forms and people and society -- but the inner awareness is both paying attention to the physical realities while mostly located Elsewhere.  it's a little like being in two places at the same time, but one of those realms is largely unperceived by the natural world we inhabit.

why is this useful? why would this matter?

I'd offer that this is far more than an esoteric concept -- the consciousness experience, inside, as a constant state of infinite energy, resource, awareness, and link to the divine cosmic, is a practical tool in everyday life on a number of levels, especially in terms of creating peace, happiness, and healing around us.  once a person is solidly established in the consciousness, it really is only that energy flowing through them, no matter what they are doing, and there is so much of it, spilling outwards in so many directions at once, that the energy sort of splashes on anyone within range.... and the ripple effects of that energy are going outward, outward, outward, all the time, helping to purify, soothe, illuminte, inspire, and calm down, the world around us.

when I teach meditation to beginning students, I often invoke the metaphor of the ocean as an example of what is possible in meditation -- the surface level of the ocean can be experiencing a total storm, with huge waves and dramas and turbulence raging there... while the inner depths of the ocean, all the way down towards its floor, are simply still, quiet, unmoved.

in the model of meditation, the dramas and upheaval going on on the surface of the ocean represent our mind and our unbridled emotions, while the silent inner depths are the calm inner consciousness that doesn't care at all about the tempest raging on the surface.

in the experience of the consciousness, it's a similar phenomenon -- the ups and downs of the relative world, of the surface life, can be playing out however they do, full of waves and dramas, but the inner consciousness, the precious inner spark and flame that is the human innermost link to the cosmic, is utterly unmoved by all of that.  it simply is, in itself, an unwaveringly peaceful, simple reservoir of light and calm.

after a long time of training, spiritual discipline, and experience, then, we're presented with a kind of choice -- where are we putting our awareness, our consciousness, at any given moment?   are we embroiled in the dramas and all caught up in them?  are we more in the Observer place, watching the dramas and feeling their impact, but staying a bit separated from the emotional impacts (or working at staying separated, maybe through some technique we've learned)?  or are we utterly identified in the inner consciousness, detached completely from the dramas, appreciating them like so many waves on the ocean, without experiencing any inner disturbance at all?

this kind of choice-making, and paying attention to the inner consciousness state, has been a big part of my research, of late.  do I have this perfected?  not a chance.  but the process of going through a day, examining events and my own consciousness with respect to them,  yields its own wellspring of rewards and insights, on a daily basis.

the beauty of it is -- we're all human, able to develop our own inner capacity to such a degree that we CAN observe, step back, identify our inner realities, and choose accordingly, at any given moment.

somehow, just knowing that there is truly an 'invincible summer' inside, and having a few clear experiences of it, constitutes a powerful first step in that consciousness-developing direction.  glimpsing the inner self, even briefly, gives us the strength, encouragement, and inspiration to keep the focus on that place, rather than succumbing over and over again to the constant dramas in our lives, and the more empty, painful suffering that inevitably accompanies them.

once we've tasted that inner truth, it's hard to go back to the everyday reality and fully believe in it. at that point, the invitation to keep going, deeper and deeper inside, to keep meditating, to keep purifying off the layers of the mind and the emotions that don't really serve us, becomes irresistible.