A Being of Unity: PART II
by Fr. E.S.Q.S.
CONTINUED FROM PART I
The World of the Object Being Observed
Another factor that is very rarely considered is the world of the object being observed. If we are “Observing” a feeling, then we must also be aware that this feeling is a part of its own “Space”, its own world – namely, the emotional world (48). We must learn to see how the tool of observation (the envelope), the object being observed, and the world of the object being observed are related. That shows us why tools are necessary. As it has been said in the literature, “Without a physical envelope, man has no sensations – he cannot sense; without an emotional envelope, man has no emotions – he cannot feel; without a mental envelope, man has no thoughts – he cannot think; etc.” These tools, these envelopes, are part and parcel of their worlds. We must never forget that. Nothing exists in a vacuum by itself. That is a very common misconception.
All of this is just a few basic divisions. Probably it must seem a bit of a paradox: “How does one become a ‘Being of unity’ by discrimination?” Indeed! That is a good question! The whole of it relates to the work for self-consciousness, which means self-identity. If we are honest with ourselves, then we must eventually come to see – by way of our exercises – that we are not self-conscious. We are rarely conscious. We are nearly always mechanical. We are nearly always robots. To put it another way then: we are not one. We are many. We are a divided being – hence, it is said that man, “Can do one thing, say another thing, feel yet another thing, and think something else entirely.” He is all over the place.
Part the explanation for this is that each envelope has its own kind of consciousness, its own kind of collective consciousness; likewise, each molecular kind in the envelope has its own kind of collective consciousness; every habit, every complex, every “Personality” has its own kind of collective consciousness. Man is made up of all of these. Man is made up of countless little “I’s”, countless little lives that live separate from one another, or are united into complexes and “Personalities.” Somewhere, in the midst of all of this madness, is the “Self.” The work at discrimination is about trying to sort out the “Self” from the “not-Self”, what we are from what we are not. It is significant to note that this work is not purely theoretical in nature. Theory is not enough; in fact, mere theory will get you nowhere. Actually, it will make things worse. You cannot study your way to self-consciousness. You must practice. You must exercise. You must observe, and learn to see it all for yourself. Reading about it is a good first step, but soon enough you must practice; elsewise, at best, it will remain just a bunch of words; at worst, it will encourage self-delusion.
In truth, the work for self-consciousness practically revolves about identification/non-identification, or – put another way, “Identification and liberation.” From the human kingdom onward, conscious development is a process of identification/non-identification, or “Identification and liberation.” This process begins with the acquisition of self-consciousness. The lower three kingdoms, which do not even have the possibility of self-consciousness, cannot practice intentional identification/non-identification. They have no reference point; they have no self-consciousness. Man is different. Man can become self-conscious; more than this, man must become self-conscious sometime. How he becomes self-conscious is, in many ways, a down-scaling of the process to be used for the acquisition of higher kinds of consciousness. That process has been called, “Identification and liberation.”
Acquiring self-consciousness (starting in 47:3) is hard work. Anyone who has started that work, if they are honest with themselves, will tell you as much. It is not “A walk in the park.” It is a path of (nearly) constant failure. Any man who thinks that he is “Just so great”, let him try – even for a moment – to remember himself. That will prove much. That will prove he is more the neophyte than he thinks. It is difficult. What is so difficult about it is that we are not used to it. We are not used to being “Present.” We are used to “Being asleep”; we are used to mechanicalness. In a way, mechanicalness is (awkwardly) “Comfortable” to us. I say, “Comfortable” in quotations indicating that even the suffering mechanicalness brings us becomes somewhat “Normal” to us. In a way, we adapt to it. It takes more and more suffering to wake us up.
The point of suffering is to wake us up. The point of suffering is to get us wondering about the cause of our suffering, and how it might be alleviated. One part of that work is the work for self-consciousness, which is to say the work for consciousness, the work for wakefulness, the work for presence, etc. Thus, “Evil serves good.” Suffering serves good. It wakes us up. It makes us want to strive for something different. Soon enough, the suffering becomes “Uncomfortable.” Soon enough, we must move. Thus, even laggards are moved (to action)!
This “Movement” has often been described somewhat like climbing a ladder: you go up one rung at a time. You cannot skip rungs. There are no short-cuts. There are no other ways around. That “Ladder” is the ladder of conscious development, psychological evolution. That “Ladder” is built into the very cosmic organization, itself. To be in the cosmos is to be “On the way”, to be “Climbing the ladder.” Men like to think that they are very far from the bottom and are very nearly at the top; however, it is actually the opposite case: man is very nearly at the bottom and very far from the top; in fact, mankind is at the very first rung, properly speaking. The lower three kingdoms could not do it on their own. They could not climb the ladder, seeing as the prerequisite is self-consciousness. Man is the beginner. That is the humbling reality.
The process concerns identification/non-identification. We move forward by:
A. Identifying with higher kinds of consciousness and
B. Non-identifying with lower kinds of consciousness
What is important to note here is that “Higher” and “Lower” are relative. What is higher/lower to person A is not the same as what is higher/lower to person B and person C. The “Ladder” is certainly very real (though it is not a literal ladder); however, we are all at varying stages and levels of conscious development. Thus, higher/lower is different.
The same can be said about ideas like “Enlightenment.” Higher and lower are relative; so, too, is “Enlightenment.” It is not a one-time thing. It is not like hitting a light switch. It is a process; it is the process of conscious development. What is “Enlightening” to person A is not “Enlightening” to person B and C. Some people have higher kinds of consciousness already. To them, our “Enlightenment” is darkness. They are far past that stage and level.
Thus, let us turn our attention back to man, and to the work of man: the work for self-consciousness, or the work to become a “Being of unity.” We must strive to identify with causal consciousness (the highest kind of consciousness for man), and strive to non-identify with lower kinds of consciousness (i.e.: physical consciousness, emotional consciousness, mental consciousness; the kinds of consciousness there are in our envelopes). We must strive to become a second self and not a first self. We must learn to non-identify and treat the envelopes and their consciousness as tools. We must learn to see ourselves as something else, somewhere else. And that is why the work for discrimination is important. A motto: “I am not the first self. The first self is my tool.” Remember: we are not our tools, any more than the plumber is his wrench, the carpenter is his saw, or the mason is his chisel! Remember: our tools (envelopes) have particular functions (activity), and work at particular products (objects), in particular circumstances (worlds). Connect the dots. See the big picture.
We must identify with causal consciousness; likewise, we must non-identify with lower kinds of consciousness (especially lower feeling 48:5-7 and lower thinking 47:6,7). Higher feeling and higher thinking is useful. They help us to activate causal consciousness – not least of all because the activation of higher feeling and higher thinking must be intentional. They cannot be mechanical. We must make efforts at higher feeling, and we must make efforts at higher thinking. Making efforts is the very opposite of mechanicalness, which abhors effort. Thus, it can be said, “If it seemed effortless, then it was (likely) mechanical.” Another related thought: “If you find thinking to be easy, then you are doing it wrong.” All of this is about mechanicalness versus intentionality. Intentionality is not self-conscious; however, it is very close to self-consciousness, and can lead to self-consciousness if we make an effort for it while we are being intentional. While we are intentional, while we are focused on our self-chosen task, we should strive to remember ourselves. That is a good practice. Even now, as I sit and write this, I am practicing. Self-remembering does not “Get in the way” of the work; in fact, it makes the work better. It makes the work the very best that it can be. Self-remembering is a higher state of consciousness, not another function.
Thanks for your time,