Friday, August 15, 2014

Sensation and objectivity: the second mind, part I

Self observation becomes, in the end, a careful observation of my intentions.

If there is one thing I have learned from many years of relationship to an active sensation, it's that I can't trust my intentions. When I am aware of them — when any conscious mentation accompanies them — I see how self-serving they are, and how utterly uncaring of others they appear to be. Although there are parts of me that know this is wrong, still, the mechanical manifestation of egoism is relentless.

It's a strange experience to see that part of one wishes for what one knows is wrong. This is the kind of thing, I feel sure, that Gurdjieff was talking about when he spoke of actions unbecoming to three brained beings.

Yesterday, while teaching a class on in our yoga, I stressed the idea that sensation, the second mind of human beings, has an objective property.

This takes some explaining, I think, because the conventional understanding of sensation does not include the manner in which it becomes an active mind.The difficulty is that people think of sensation as a thing — that is, some kind of object. Remember, you can think of nothing, but you can't thing a think. Thought and material objects are quite different. Sensation is a form of thought; it just doesn't assume an aspect we are familiar with, so we think of it as a thing; that is, the associative part, the intellectual center, classifies it as existing outside itself and being of a different order, that is, not thought, and not a conscious mind, but some subset or aspect of thought and conscious mind.

 The premise that sensation itself is a form of conscious thinking — the conscious thinking of the body — is a foreign one. As is the premise that feeling, real and deep emotion, is also a form of thinking. We have compartmentalized our understanding of consciousness in such a way that only associative thinking is understood to be of the mind; and so the second mind (the mind of the body) and the third mind (the mind of feelings) are not just misunderstood, they are sidelined, devalued, and classified as entities inferior to the noble intellect.

 Take note, in passing, that these two minds — moving and emotional center — are both found in animals, whereas the intellectual center isn't. This is the probable reason for the overvaluation of intellect in man; and we do not see how it removes us from our essential nature by dominating.

When Mr. Gurdjieff gave his pupils the exercise of intoning, "I am — I wish to be," he presented it is something that we say, more or less, with the mind. That is, we understand it and say it with the intellectual mind.  And this is the only part we can take it in with, at least initially. The other parts — the body and the feelings — don't really enter into it at first. And so it has a flat, one dimensional quality.

We gain some inkling of what he was getting at when we read that he judged the man or a woman by where in the body they sensed these words while they were saying them.

Sensation, in other words, is the key component in understanding what these words mean to me. The words are meant to awaken a connection with sensation; and they only acquire depth in so far as this awakening takes place.

Teaching the class I was working with yesterday, it occurred to me above all that students of inner yoga need to understand just why the thinking mind is subjective, and the mind of sensation is objective; and what the implications for Being are, in regard to these two things. The question of why the second mind is so vital to inner work, and the very important connections it has to the question of the formation of the second Being-body, the astral body, are manifold. I'll pursue these greater length tomorrow.


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