Hieronymus Bosch, Fragment of a Triptych
Yale University Art Gallery
When I try to see who I am, from within this level — which is the level I must live on in this life — I have these three parts that can see. One of them is the intellect; and it has the whole box of crayons, that is, I allow it to color everything that it sees according to all the material it has already ingested and arranged in the way that it sees fit. This is called subjectivity; it's a personalized vision of life dependent on a manipulated set of values and ideas.
The emotions have some issues of their own. They have been bullied around since I was tiny, and came with their own deficiencies to begin with (just like my mind did); and so they have these automatic responses to everything that takes place, a direct conflict with the mind (which is constantly telling them to feel things they don't actually feel and probably cannot even feel), and a confusion about how to operate.
Of the three different parts that can see, the sensation is perhaps the most objective; it has the advantage of being part of the operating system, that is, it is very close to the instinctive parts and deeply connected, in its own peculiar way, to the intimacy that is needed in order to understand that I am alive. If I want to understand life, after all, I want to know that I am alive first, to know it in controvertibly and without any doubt, and to know it at all times.
If I don't know it at all times, then whenever I don't know it, I am asleep. I'm not conscious. And the consciousness of sensation is in fact the consciousness that can inwardly form a connection to this fundamental truth, which is needed in order to begin to understand life.
I ought to be waking up, as I have explained before, every morning looking for the connection to sensation so that I can have a fundamental understanding that I am alive; and from that understanding everything else can flow. For one thing, with that understanding, a tiny crack opens towards the inward flow of the divine, a higher energy that is attracted by this relationship to sensation. Once the relationship to sensation is formed, the relationship to life is formed; and life itself, at its root, springs from a divine source, so a conscious connection to the root of life is a conscious connection to the root of the divine. They aren't separated. This rich inward flow that can result from a connection to sensation is essential to understanding where one's work should begin.
Make no mistake about it, all of this discussion is about where one's work begins. This is not an advanced subject. This is not about higher levels; it is about coming into a fuller and more complete relationship with this level, before any of these other things are considered.
I've noticed that the longer people engage in inner work, the more they think they are at some advanced place where this kind of work isn't necessary anymore, whereas by and large, it seems as though everyone encountered it early on, batted it around some, didn't quite understand it, and then left it in the road and moved on to what were presumably more interesting things.
The understanding that a direct and permanent connection to sensation is perhaps the most interesting thing that can happen in life is thus glossed over completely.
Sometimes I think that this was the only thing my teacher wanted me to understand when she spent the 20 years we were together working with me. She knew that if this was understood, all the other necessary things would follow; and so at the end of her life, the last time I saw her, long after we had reached agreement on this subject and I did finally have some understanding on the subject, she was still bringing me back to this point of work, because it is where reality can be separated from imagination,—at which point some form of actual inner work can begin.
So it's this seeing of my life from within sensation that I'm interested in this morning. I will take that out into the day with me. It's kind of simple and stupid; it doesn't present any high ground from a philosophical point of view. But all day long, I know, with this action taking place within me, I will be asking myself: Who am I? What am I doing? Where am I?
This won't be taking place with words. The action will be within the sensation itself, which is already a questioning.