Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Home Sweet Home
I recently engaged in some correspondence with an old friend of mine. He related to me how, for much of his life, he has felt out of place in this world; that he has been born in the wrong place or at the wrong time. This is an experience I am only too familiar with myself. The number of occasions I have been out and about, and felt like an alien, sharing little in common with the other people around me and the goings-on in 'the world at large'. I am a misfit who belongs in the stars, with the cosmos at large, not waiting at a bus stop while a parade of Highland drunks sways past, punctuated by groups of teenage girls laden with cheap clothes from Primark.
I replied to my friend, detailing my familiarity with this most uncomfortable feeling. I continued my letter, however, with two more sobering reflections. One is that this experience of being a misfit is actually based on 'perceptual selectivity'. When I look at the world around me as a whole - the plants, the birds, the sun, the hills, the stars - I feel very much at home and in the right place. It is only when I narrow my focus to the world of less-than-noble activities of average human beings, as Castaneda savagely refers to the mass of humanity, that I take on the guise of an alien visitor.
More to the point still is the reluctant realisation that, in terms of consciousness, I am in precisely the suitable place with precisely the most appropriate people. It cannot be any other way. Everything is, in a sense, completely perfect and as it should be. This is the inescapable and humbling conclusion to arise from seeing that consciousness is primary, the main determinant, and seeks out (or, less romantically, just turns up in) the circumstances with which it is familiar, and/or which it needs for the next stage of its sacred journey.
That consciousness is primary is, for me, a no-brainer. The contrary notion, that consciousness is a product of the material brain, seems to me stupid, as well as being coincidentally highly unscientific. While modern neuroscience is successfully mapping out a wealth of functions in different nooks and crannies of the brain, it has got nowhere in locating the place of origin of consciousness itself. That's because it's not there. Stack against this the plethora of reports suggesting that consciousness has a life of its own, independent of any current physical manifestation. Near Death experiences, verifiable reports of past lives, experiences in meditation and other technologies of non-ordinary states of consciousness, not to mention the testament from many traditions from around the world.
Consciousness is just that: consciousness. To consider that it is produced by the brain is akin to believing that television programmes are produced by a television set. The brain is more like a receiver or transducer of consciousness. This consciousness takes up temporary residence in a particular physical body, heading for the exit door when the time arrives. Only a science that is highly prejudiced and based upon fixed ideology - in this case of 'scientific' materialism - can fail to take this on board.
Consciousness cannot help but end up exactly where it should be - this is implicit in notions of karma and rebirth, for example, and is sound common sense. But this is, for me, a humbling realisation. All the silly stuff, all the apparently ignorant people, the entire parade of the surreal and bizarre at the bus stop, is precisely what I need for my own walk along the sacred path. It is not an accident or a cosmic mistake that I am who I am, where I am. I hereby confess my hubris, arrogance, and superiority. While part of me does indeed fly through the sky and swim with the moon, there is another part that truly belongs in the muck, the confused, the vicious - and the plain humdrum.
This life of mine on planet Earth can serve a twofold purpose. One is to, for want of a better way of putting it, seed the akashic field, the universal consciousness, with constructive, positive stuff. You may hardly see another person in your everyday life, but if you are really doing your mystical stuff, your life needs no more justification than that. But this life also serves as a great learning opportunity. Everyday living is like boot camp training - as Neil Kramer says, if you can survive planet Earth, you can survive anything. And this perspective adds a new, rich gloss to everyday life. No moment need be wasted: every experience, no matter how apparently trivial, provides an opportunity for growth. Every day presents a myriad of choices. Act from truth or untruth. With a sense of rightness or wrongness. With a caring loving heart, or a cold, sod-you attitude. In the mundane lie marvellous opportunities. And if, as I have often done, you feel that the world is crap, and you don't know why you've ended up in this cesspit, there's only one thing to do: stop sulking, get over it, and get on with it......