In Part One, we looked at how most of our daytime consciousness is made up of actual words that are spoken within. This can be quite a revelation if we have become used to them but never really observed the fact. This flow of internal language is busy narrating the events of our existence, our opinions and our reactions, as though we carried it as a kind of ‘robot’ in our heads.
This robot forms part of our self, but it is a lower part compared to what is available to us. Studying this robot can teach us a lot about how we live our lives; and particularly about how we react.
But our true ‘selves’ are not far away. The robot has created its reactive maze over our lives, but beneath this domain, in a place it cannot reach, is the realm of the Real.
The Real is our realm of Awareness, which we do not realise is a separate place from the spinning wheel of noisy and intrusive thoughts.
Awareness exists in many forms. We can say the most primitive cellular life-forms have awareness of their physical or chemical environment. There is a hierarchy of knowing above this base level comprising: Information; knowledge, wisdom and eventually something that the ancients knew as gnosis – an intimacy with the truth of a situation that is self-evident and powerful.
The world of gnosis, or self-evident and self-powerful knowing, lives beneath our world of thoughts and personality. When we are able to stop the flow of verbal thoughts, we immediately sense its presence. The quiet sweetness of this place is like a summer breeze. There is no hurry or need to do anything. We have entered a state of simply ‘being’.
The mind has always bothered itself with the stuff of our lives, and primarily, the product of the senses – the most important of which is the concept of the whole body. In that ‘sense’ the body is ‘me’.
And for many people that is enough. They accept that the body will one day die and ‘take with it’ the psychological personality that has sustained a sense of self through that lifetime. We may choose to believe in a religious form of death in which that personality – refined to its soul essence – enters another Kingdom, after a suitable period of review of the life lived.
For others, there comes a strong sense that what might survive death is already here; already part of our daily life – but not the personality. Many who have been raised in conventional religious backgrounds struggle to grasp what the non-Abrahamic ‘religions’, such as Buddhism, are proposing as the deeper truth about life. The essence of this alternative approach to consciousness-development is to get ‘beneath’ thought; to find that quiet place where the chatter stops.
We can compare ‘being’ not to the letter three, but to the zero. Zero, becomes the final part of our One-Two-Zero sequence. We are not used to thinking about nothing: literally no-thing. Our minds are used to a flow of subject-object relationships: I make the tea. ‘I’ is the subject; ‘tea’ is the object. It’s the way we use language and is deeply useful for the level of thought needed in everyday life.
But I can’t say ‘I make nothing’. I might get away with it if I mean it humorously. But apart from that, ‘nothing’ is not an object the mind understands. It cannot fashion or describe no-thing. Mind is the organ of experience, and none of its body-facing experience has been about ‘nothing’. As Jung said, only deep sleep has brought it into contact with the infinite.
And now some blog-writer wants your mind to think about nothing; no-thing. And it can’t. But the value of attempting to think about no-thing – or zero – is that it trips up the normal processing of the mind and makes it think about what might underpin the world it constantly describes in worm-word chatter.
I can’t have zero carrots. But if I had seven carrots and someone took all of them from me, then the accuracy of now having zero carrots – in view of the fact that I did have seven, is useful. Someone might now owe me for seven carrots, for example…
The mind is capable of interacting with far more than just the body. But the finer realms in which it can fly freely are not those those of daily life and its habitual thought processes.
Which is what we have been doing in these three posts…
The deeper and largely unseen secret nature of awareness will be the subject of another series of posts.
The ‘One’ exercise in Part One is aimed at showing us the truth of this realm that lies just below our regular consciousness. All we have to do is to suspend the regular flow of thought (and keep doing so) to enter its beautiful space.
You may think access to ‘being’ is a lifetimes’s work, but it’s not. It is right there, right now. The seeing that looks out on the world through the lenses of the personality is at the heart of both our body and spirit. All we have to do is to shift habit with enough force to get the beautiful mind to drink the zero.
To paraphrase the Sufi mystic Rumi; All you need to do to get to love (the joy of reality) is to remove the barriers you have carefully erected against it…
Other posts in this series:
This is Part Three, the concluding post.
©Stephen Tanham 2022
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.