Thursday, November 10, 2016

Higher or Wider Consciousness ?

It could well be due to a "feet-on-the-ground" Earthy Grand Trine in my natal chart, but concepts such as transcendence, spirituality and higher consciousness bug me more than a little. An article by Norman Solomon, "No, Higher Consciousness Won’t Save Us", caught my eye a few years ago, when it had appeared on Common Dreams website. Back then, and there, a stream of comments by some erudite guys and gals proved to be as interesting than the article itself. Two clear camps emerged. The "feet-on-the-ground" types to whom I related most easily, and those who support the idea that higher consciousness (and there were differences in perception of its definition) could be a component in what might "save us", politically and/or physically.

The meaning of words, often a matter of individual perception, can sometimes cause huge frustration and misunderstandings. "Socialism" and "socialist", for instance. Higher consciousness is an expression similarly open to a variety of definitions or perceptions, meaning different things to different people. While no perception of it is quite as bad a misunderstanding as arises in relation to "socialism" in the USA, the differences can still cause problems.

Many who study astrology have aspirations towards what they see as higher consciousness. Articles relating to the end of the Mayan long-count calendar, in 2012, often referred to the likelihood of "a change in consciousness" supposedly due to happen around that time. One hoped that it would be an upward change rather than a downward one! As it happened nothing of that nature seemed to occur.

Higher consciousness, for some of us, can simply mean being more keenly aware of what is going on around us, putting less focus on self and more on the common good. That's my simple definition which, come to think of it, might be better expressed as "wider consciousness". Other definitions of higher consciousness can begin to sound uncomfortably elitist. As one commenter at the article mentioned above, described it: an attitude that "my consciousness is higher than your consciousness". This kind of thing can happen when an expression hasn't been clearly defined by those using it.

To be perfectly honest, I have no wish to send my mind elsewhere, higher or lower. There are more than enough problems to solve in the here and now plane of existence. Aiming for a more esoteric plane described in eastern philosophy might be satisfying on a personal level, but what exactly does it do for the world at large?

There's no getting away from the fact that there'll always be differences of opinion and perception of this subject. None is more correct than others. There is, in my opinion, space and a place for all.


mike said...

Higher consciousness might be the taming of that selfish-X gene. Less focus upon one's own needs.

Charlie Chaplin's performance, "Greatest Speech Ever Made":

JD said...

If you wish to understand consciousness, forget all the hippy drippy new age nonsense and turn to the research being carried out by Sir Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff. :)

Your 'feet on the ground' sensibilities are the opposite of Chaplin's utopian dreaming. Chaplin is saying that the solutions come from without yet the reality is that the solutions are within us.

"The caravan of life once wound through the ages like an endless procession, but nowadays it dashes along on high speed engines.
Mankind today is both hungry and haunted; hungry for a better and brighter age yet haunted by the heavy shadows of the past. The world seems willing to try every way but the right way.Troubled by prospects of another war, perturbed by the chaotic political conditions of every continent, it rushes hither and thither in the quest of the perfectly efficient formula which will solve its economic and political problems. But the one perfect formula, the one infallible formula, though within its grasp, is beyond its vision.
The crying need of the world today is not for a change of head but a change of heart. There is no lack of ideas among us - rather the reverse - but there is a lack of goodwill"
Paul Brunton; 'The Secret Path' first published in 1934.

Very definitely a must-read book!

Twilight said...

mike and JD ~ Thank you kindly for your thoughts on this, and for the link and the excerpt.

The "caravan of life" quote brought to mind one from my favourite Ed Fitzgerald translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam - that's about as high as my consciousness can make it, without a glass of something Scottish, related to one of Omar's regular vintage prescriptions! ;-)

"Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his destined Hour, and went his way."

(My book's footnotes tell that a caravanserai is an inn with an inner courtyard where travellers can rest. LOL! I used to think it was a battered old gypsy caravan or covered wagon.)

R J Adams said...

My belief system once led me onto the path of 'Higher Consciousness'. I've written about it more than once in earlier 'Sparrow Chat' posts. I believed life to be a spiritual journey - from the religion of one's childhood, searching through more 'mystical' revelations, ever hopeful of achieving the Nirvana of peace and understanding in later life.
I was right. The peace and understanding does come in later life, but really there's nothing spiritual about it - at least, not in any 'Higher Consciousness' sense. It comes with the understanding that we're all part of the great family of life inhabiting this planet, which in turn is part of the vast family of stars and galaxies that make up our universe. It comes with the knowledge that death is not a gateway to eternal life, merely an ending of our own.
It also comes with the understanding that it's all right. That the desire for 'something more' is mere ego, and ego tends to let go as life passes into the twilight of our years.
The real 'Higher Consciousness' doesn't come from 'out there' somewhere. It's inside us trying to get out - held back by hormones, youth, religious beliefs, and the physical act of just surviving. Age has it's compensations. Allowing the true 'Higher Consciousness' its freedom is one of them.
Mind, that doesnt stop me railing at Trump! ;-)

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Nicely put, RJ!

Using some less elegant words, and a phrase I've seen around online in relation to President Obama's last months as Prez, which could also be apt for those of us in, or past, the twilight of our lives....I sometimes feel I've got"no more fucks to give". Except, that is, when a ray of light like Bernie Sanders appeared....but then was snuffed out by others - then I had plenty left, but to little avail.

I'm strangely ambivalent about Trump's win. I didn't think it could happen, but it did. I'm waiting and seeing.

What was it that Desiderata told us?

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

R J Adams said...

What a different world it would be if we all lived according to the words of Max Ehrmann's poem. Thanks for the reminder, Twilight.

R J Adams said...

T - I'm having trouble posting comments to your blog. I managed to get the last one through after several attempts, but I keep getting "Error 400" message. Is anyone else having problems? It started before you enabled moderation, so that's not the cause.
(Hope I can get this one to go!)

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Sorry you've had problems posting comments, RJ. We had a power outage one day early this week - maybe that had something to do with it. Am away from home just now, but let me know if problems persist next week, and I'll ask Blogger about it.

I always have moderation turned on for comments arriving more than 4 or 5 days after date of post (to avoid having spam littered around, and to make sure I don't miss any non-spam ones).