(I am involved in a quickening of a long deep study of consciousness which reaches much further than these strokes. In five parts, I will share my poetic interpretation of consciousness.)
PART I: EXPANSION AND CONTRACTION ARE HOW LIFE UNFOLDS. The moon and the oceans do so with exquisite balance. Sometimes we compare our experiences to riding waves. Other times bouncing atop rocky, confined seas. And even glimpses of being inside infinite oceans. It has been said that we are not just riding and being tossed by the ocean; but we are the waves and ocean as well. If this is true, let's consider what it means. As a human being.... What does this understanding have to do with consciousness? And why does it matter? How? If the waves were to subside, what happens?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? You can only perceive the true nature of any moment while it is happening. So the awareness that you are in fact in an expanding or contracting state, or that you are in or of an ocean, doesn't really matter; because you have already become distracted by interpretations. If you are gleeful or downtrodden about where you are on these spectrums, you have no ease and are distracted from full sensory saturation of experience. Problem is you arrive at such full perception only once you have removed everything you think you are, or anything is, or could be, from the wells of your being. So most of us have not really tasted true nature. Until then, there often seems to be no reality. Ever notice this?
If you are the waves, while you rise, crash, recede, and evaporate- your only reality is being; and rightfully so. Transforming continually and constantly. There's no lens to pull back and see what you are compared to the air, the fish, the horizon. Only receptivity. And further, no need to dissect nature in this way. For what? Yet you as the ocean are wholly influenced by the moon, the temperature, and all that happens on the earth. Expanding and contracting with no meaning beyond homeostasis.
PART II: BUT SINCE YOU ARE ALSO HUMAN with cognition and ego, you get obsessed with the air, the fish, the horizon, and your own appearance; why you are flowing and stilling; and if you are riding or being ridden. So you think about it. And you have stopped becoming. Because nothing happens in retrospect or in anticipation. It is relatively dead time; a ferris wheel ride you are feeding yourself..... In hindsight, you are never re-living an experience. You don't get to have/enjoy it again, if you did not the first and only time it happened. In the oceans, does the same wave ever reoccur??
Nor can you see something coming and accurately imagine anything about what it will be like. Try to find one example that contradicts this....
So by imagining things, you are not "manifesting" anything about your life. A vision is an experience, rarely in the pure form of only seeing or only hearing. But it is only a detail of your destiny- it is not changing it, just part of it. The ocean does not control itself. If you're convinced you've got life by the horns, I'm sorry, but all you are doing is setting up fantasy ego amusements, mind games that no one will stop you from playing, and the subsequent inevitable disappointments. But you do not have to do this.
You can be as exquisitely balanced and naturally unfolding as the cosmos. As a human being you have the opportunity and ability to dissect your own nature. When you ask the right questions, you can incessantly work at gaining the knowledge to understand this truth with.
PART III: WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH CONSCIOUSNESS? For the sake of this exercise, let's say consciousness is the pure intelligence of soul. Simultaneously everything and nothingness (if one is true; both must be true). You may ask then, how is it possible to be aware of this? It's not; you can only be it. Thus your awareness merges with it and you can no longer watch it and think about it. When you disappear into consciousness, the rest has been forsaken. It is not a choice or act of will. This is complete expansion. You have become so large, so subtle, that "you" disappear.
Ok, it's already sounding tricky. But let's add more. Consciousness is also passive; thus it does not give nor take anything from you. Remember, the waves, the animals, the plants, and all matter too are imbued with consciousness. Though they live intelligently, they are lacking self-awareness; so they can't ‘know things’ the way we do. So then what is the benefit of your awareness.... since you can consider it, I ask you, what then is swelling and receding- could it be just you or is it everything at once? What do we make of this ocean of experience we are having??
ANOTHER VIEW. Expansion and contraction are your own soul breathing through existence. Nothing is being forced upon your psyche by external forces, you inflict yourself with psychic interpretations. It is only you that is having your thoughts and feelings- at least until you accept every other soul's journey and our collective development/destruction as your own. Otherwise, contrary to this talk of 'we are all One,' no one is having the same experience with you, except mundane desire and repulsion. Your self is "IT" in your experience; and that is severely limiting.
So, what is the difference when we are inhaling or exhaling throughout experience? We often equate expansion and contraction with the breath, since we can manipulate our breath manually. Yet in the absence of such maneuverings, we still do it. Mental and physical shifts are causing both actions. But there is something else that can continue expanding through the inhale, the exhale, and the moments between. Wait. The moments between? What happens between the supposed expansion and contraction?? Is this at all interesting to you??
PART IV: WHY DOES IT MATTER? The waves are present in your life. Conditional expansions, which again contract causing suffering, because we do not understand what is happening. So, how do we open? Is this even desirable? If nothing ever contracted, there would be no manifest experience. From within these waves of moving in and out of wisdom, expansion is experienced by passing your whole self through the contractions with sattvic (honestly good, balanced, pure) response to anything presented to you. And this certainly takes practice and complete transformation.
Why? The extents of your highly conditioned and rather vague waking mind are paltry compared to the worlds buried beneath. The oceans are vast and can hardly be defined by the waves atop. Do you want to discover these worlds blindfolded or seeing?? Alternately struggling with passion and leaden by confusion? You can't release them until you have passed through them. You may have the option. But if you never learn to dive deeply into inward intimacy, unceasingly, you will continue living your patterns in complete ignorance, rarely recognizing that you are doing the same damaging thing over and over, with even less recourse to understand and bare your self through it.
HOW? The subtlest and gentlest actions will be true Self emerging. It is never violent or harsh, when soul intelligence emerges and inhales through you, as for the first time. I am sorry if the implosions and explosions have hurt along the way. But they are simply not real. You've been stuck in a fantasy; all of your life has been a dream that does not matter anymore. The subsiding waves as you become the shore, the air, the fish, and the horizon too, will indicate that you have cleansed your mind, cells, heart, and causal body.
PART V: WHEN THE WAVES SUBSIDE. We often say the oceans are infinite. But our understanding of them within geographic confines and as water molecules and salt ions is finite and defined- elemental. We also see ourselves as our bodies, minds, and emotions. As we remove these limitations, first you can see that your body is made up of molecules, then atoms, then more subtle electrically charged particles. Interacting not just with their own, but with mine and all others. Always responding.
Natural processes are taking place– growing, dying, shedding, and metamorphosing of cells. The mind too is enacted through matter; thoughts are actions and disturbances of energy. Emotions too are thoughts and physiological reactions. But is this us? It's just matter. You decide if it's you.
The body expands and contracts as breath passes through, as thoughts move, as feelings emerge and choices are made. As do we along with the cosmos. And with each other. You have made it so complicated, when really you are quite simple. If there's something else to it, something beyond these calculable communications; best to ask yourself what that might be.
There is gentleness, then stillness, on the other side. The ocean of life is harsh and unforgiving when you are caught up in a lack of meaning. It will tear you to pieces. You don't need pieces; you need to be whole. But consciously expand and contract with the breath and eventually you will find there are no gaps. Be relentless. Relentlessly loving, relentlessly gentle, smooth, soft, and opening. What happens when there are no more waves? Does this sound boring to you? I don't think so.... So so much to be discovered.
July 2nd, 2011