Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Steps of Human Consciousness

 There's a teaching in Chinese mysticism that there are two levels of our consciousness. They're associated with the concepts in the I Ching of the "inferior person" and "superior individual". 

At every moment in space and time we have a choice of which of the two we associate with in our active consciousness, but most people in general associate with the inferior person. The inferior person is a collection of influences and conditionings based on your physical nature, your environment, and the influences of your past and present choices and people in your life.

The Superior Individual is your true nature, what is real about you behind all those things. But in point of fact most people are so disconnected from their true and essential nature that it feels like it is another person. In many rituals used to "communicate" with the Superior Individual, that division is so notable that it feels like the Superior individual is some totally different entity from "ourselves", which is why in western symbolism its called the "Holy Guardian Angel". 

This is also why when one is trying to shift the association of their consciousness from the inferior person to the Superior Individual it feels like dying, like the very essence of who were until now (or rather, who you thought you were) has to be destroyed for you to get to that true self. In a lot of cases, people's motives for getting to that true state involve desires OF the inferior person, so they realize that to get to what's real, they'll have to give up the fantasies of the false person they were, and that's very hard.

This internal conflict is mirrored externally by the struggle between (the inferior person) wanting to imagine one's self the center of the universe, and wanting to have a power that acts on the universe and get to impose its desires on the universe, and the (Superior Individual's) understanding that we are one non-divisible part of reality and are not the central actor but one small part of a very big picture in the vastness of Space and Time, and how this is not something that can just be reasoned out, but has to be experienced through meditative practice and the application of virtue to restore that Union with the Taiji (what in modern English we could call the "Singularity").

So in fact while most of these sorts of studies and articles and ordinary perceptions on the subject of "enlightenment" talk about a two-option process (unconsciousness / enlightenment), the work of spiritual Cultivation is actually a multi-step process of initial glimpses of waking up, initiation, developing discipline, achieving communication with the Superior Individual (in western magick called the "True Will"), working to change one's life and environment to better fit one's efforts at attainment and union, making the shift from general association with the inferior person to general association with the Superior Individual, engaging in teaching or other forms of applying Virtue in the world, attaining states of Union to reality, and finally manifesting that Union fully and becoming the Sage (Enlightenment). There are steps Beyond Enlightenment as well but these are generally not spoken of in lay contexts.

Of the above stages, the big three are:

- Initiation: the beginning of awareness of one's Enlightenment quality, and the start of serious spiritual cultivation.

-Adepthood: the shift into association with the Superior Individual

-Enlightenment: uniting to nature or space-time as a whole (which is to say, overcoming this false notion of separation between self and other, and the self-referencing nature of "thinking you're in the middle of the picture").


Finally, I'll note that the very notion that Enlightenment is some kind of separation from the World or one's humanity is ridiculous and disgusting. That's essentially either nihilism or solipsism, the heresies of the gnostics. You can't become "one with everything" by being less human, or less engaged. 

Anyone claiming to be Enlightened while pretending that they don't care about things, or feel things, or that there are certain normal human things that they just don't experience (be it anger, sadness, physical pain, or basic physical needs) are both arguing for Enlightenment being a kind of sub-humanity, and blatant liars.

Enlightenment requires, as my own teacher once said, that you Be More Human.

It's not about separating yourself, it's about Showing Up, being present in the active consciousness.
It's not about feeling less or caring less, it's about Totality. Becoming one part of the big picture, without trying to run away from that big picture, or trying to be right in the middle of that big picture, or trying to control that big picture. It's about being 100% of yourself in the here and now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

How to Master the I Ching

 In this latest video, I give you some guidelines as to how you should study the text and structure of the I Ching to maximize your ability to understand it!