Monday, April 16, 2012
The formation of being
Science can identify the cause-and-effect properties of matter with great precision; yet it is unable to offer any legitimate fundamental insights into the nature of man's emotive process, or how feeling causes us to paint paintings and build cathedrals. Even biologists as prominent as Edward O Wilson, who is a bona fide genius, are unable to understand this process, believing that reductionist explanations will help us know how to feel—or create.
Science, for all its great promise, has failed to deliver anything other than the ability to manipulate the material around us; and what good has that done us? We use the abilities we gain in this area to destroy in far greater measure than we do to illuminate.The great technical minds of the 13th century built Chartres cathedral; the great technical minds of the 20th century built nuclear weapons. Unsurprisingly, science feels no shame for its failure to deliver anything better than this. It's not an emotive discipline, and it can't understand what lies beyond its own ability.
This is much like our personality, which occupies the same territory and has a corresponding penchant for destruction.
In the last post, I mentioned that personality is an accretion or concretion that builds up around the essence over the course of a lifetime. For me, it's useful to invoke a geological analogy in order to understand just how this takes place.
The conscious thread that runs down through the body from higher centers into the lower levels is a connective tissue that delivers a fine energy, a certain level of vibration, to the entire being. It is, in fact, the subtle force which animates the soul— that spark of life without which we are just dead tissue. It forms itself as an emergent structure over the course of the embryo's development, until, at birth, it can carry a sufficient current for a certain higher level of intelligence to manifest in the body.
This isn't a done deal. Although the body is an exquisite tool for the manifestation of this energy, and although the energy of consciousness has a definite aim and intention on inhabiting the body, the body itself has a need for a different set of tools in order to sustain itself on this level. The current running through the body begins to attract impressions through all of its sensory tools from the beginning, and layers of impressions begin to build up in exactly the same way that calcite builds up as water saturated with calcium carbonate creates limestone formations. If we understand this current of higher energy as water, we will see that the formation of personality is entirely a sedimentary process of attraction, deposition, and crystallization.
It begins to form as a protective layer, so to speak, but it soon insulates the living current in Being from its environment so much that it loses contact, thickens, and becomes an end in itself. Our personality is a thick, hardened layer which we experience as ourselves, but which actually prevents us from receiving the impressions and vibrations we should be receiving. It's rigid, and dedicated to its own preservation. Everything we inhabit in terms of daily life is already like that. We don't perceive that it is like that, because it is habitual. The hard outer shell of ourselves is taken for granted as what we are. It is even celebrated. We are here in the middle of it even now. This is how we are. We barely suspect how different the inner life could be.
Originally, spiritual practices and techniques were designed to prevent the thickening of this layer of personality over Being, but that was only useful in ancient times. By now, the process has become so automatic and habitual that preventive measures are no longer possible. Spiritual practices are now practices designed to thin, and perhaps even break open, the layers of personality and ego.
It's sometimes said that what is necessary is for personality—for ego—for ourselves—to become permeable. This makes some sense, but ultimately, we don't need to be permeable. We must become transparent. That is to say, the layer that stands between us, that is, our essential self and the higher centers, must allow everything to pass through it without attachment. The light from this outer world, which is real, but misperceived, must come into direct contact with the inner world, which has the capacity for comprehending it in a way that the intermediate structure of personality is unable to grasp.
I respectfully hope you will take good care.