The pre-born, living within Mother, but increasingly alive, knows only the dual world of She-and-me. The new-born, finding itself in an undefinable aloneness yet reassured by a Mother now separated, clings to her now-externalised warmth and nourishment. But a dramatic change has taken place. There is an imprinting within consciousness of separation and the key to the rest of life will be the question “Who am I?”

The pre-born starts off not knowing there is such a thing as separation. Souls entering the physical life have no choice but to experience it. Mystics seek to return to the source and transform it and them at the same time…

The birth is a combination of organic life given by Mother as part of her life, plus the character of the infant, genetic and egoic, as that sense of self is slowly realised, consolidated and acted upon. We have come to expect that the word ‘ego’ will be used negatively, yet it is the most essential of things in the formative stages of life. Without the experience of the growing self, there would be no growth of capability in that life, since we would not be able to harvest and keep the fruits of experience.

Spiritually, there comes a time when we question the validity of that (till then) lifelong separation – ‘in-here and out-there’. Working backwards through what is sensed as the ‘false self’ we come to the base survival conditioning that is associated with the issues of fear and trust. If there is enough force in our search we can see something shining in those waters…

From the time we emerge as infants, our discovery of our world is a matter of relationship.

Pleasure, pain and fear are low-level, survival-based drivers and essential to our physical existence. Consciousness, such as we use the word in self-development, is seen as an ‘upward’ extension of awareness, but can also be seen as a growing-back movement from the edge of the circle of raw experience towards the centre of a circle. That centre is our spiritual goal, the core of our real self.

We are not speaking of regression therapy here. The adult mind is essential to this quest and needs to be held, like a bright torch, against the still-present fears that disproportionately coloured our early experiences – and hence our lives. Like re-examining the stuff of early nightmares, we come to see how trivial were those fears, and yet their effect persists in our egoic makeup.

All this is a journey of self-knowledge. There are no Gods in this path, save those we create for our own use. Real self-knowledge can come only when our world ‘speaks’ to us about our selves – and that is only possible through relationship…

Why, then, do our relationships not propel us, immediately and continuously, back towards the centre of that circle we seek? In the last article of the #Silenti series, we considered the way the human mind constantly identifies with the external objects it considers desirable, seeking to define itself externally. Such ‘objects’ may be people or things or beliefs or even states of mind. The world of ‘Object Relations’ is a key part of modern psychology, though approached from the perspective of stable personality rather than the search for the missing/forgotten ‘heart’ of a non-egoic self.

The reactive brain has spent a lifetime equipping us with personal history. That history forms the basis of a continuously-updated database against which we evaluate experience. Conditioned by the pre-processing of this historical patterning, we lack any freedom to actually experience, since our brain-selves are busy liking or not-liking what’s happening to us.

In other words, we constantly judge our experience based on a subjective edifice of pre-conceptions, shutting out our own precious reality – a reality that, alone, has the power to transform us.

Do we have the ability to shut down this edifice?

Those who have trod this path tell us we do, but it requires a revolution in our thinking. Instead of considering the world as separate, we need to come to see it as a reflection of ourselves – not our perfected Selves – that is something else at the level of the soul, but our egoic selves. By seeing our subjective confusion reflected in the world, yet not reacting to it, apart from truly seeing, we come to realise that this duality of life is false… and that there is only one life.

As Krishnamurti said:

“…however learned or however petty the mind may be, it is consciously or unconsciously limited, conditioned, and any extension of this conditioning is still within the field of thought. So freedom is something entirely different.”

Krishnamurti, J. The Book of Life

©️Copyright Stephen Tanham 2017


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