"One's first step in wisdom is to question everything--and one's last is to come to terms with everything." ~ Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
It's About Time
And God said, "Let their be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning--the fourth day.
~ Genesis 1:14-19
Time is the movement of objects through space. How humans perceive the movement of objects through space is our time consciousness. A day is one revolution of the earth. A year is one trip of the earth around the sun. The time that each of us has on earth is measured relative to the movements of the sun, the stars and the moon. Life is all about time.
We instinctively feel that there is more to life than what we perceive yet have so much trouble identifying it. In the place of truly believing we put order and rule. Sometimes formally, but mostly informally, the rhythm of these objects moving through space affects our bodies, minds and souls as surely as they do the ocean tides. Just as individuals settle for order in lieu of transcendence, the collective must mature in a like manner. The stream of consciousness that is each individual life is a personal journey through the boundaries of perceptions seeking harmony within the greater flow that ties all objects together. When these streams flow together, great rivers of civilization are formed. Of course timing is everything.
Being mostly water, human bodies and minds are influenced by these natural forces, including gravitational, electromagnetic, chemical, and menstrual. Time is central to our being. The dimension of time allows us to integrate the physical, intellectual and spiritual segments of our being. The human perception of time is integral to how we organize our consciousness. Separating the light from the darkness is the basis of human struggle. It is good, certainly not easy, but good. This universal conflict is playing out on a magnificent stage during our time. Just look around.
As I age, I've notice that my perception is that time is accelerating. Days come and go faster. Everything appears to move faster because the fraction of my time thus far on earth that each day represents is becoming smaller. This is my perception of time. The time that we will be here on earth is fixed, a finite number that is my consciousness of time. This number is an unknown variable for most that keeps us from recognizing each and every day as a precious gift the same as every other day. Not knowing how long we will live is then coped with by many by ignoring the fact that one's days are numbered, so to speak. The people I've known who knew they would die soon most often seemed to be at peace.
Some wish to project this conscious energy created by our bodies into realms beyond our perception of the need for this energy source. I don't know if this is true, but it is possible while also being highly improbable. This may be my intellect standing in the way of my spiritual growth even as my journey continues. However, becoming conscious of our finite time on earth allows us to mature past the childish view that we will grow bigger and better forever using denial and self-delusion when it becomes evident that the facts suggest otherwise.
Consciousness of each other as individuals is waning in our society. Individual understanding is born from the union between our genetic traits and the experiences we have over time. We all have the potential to do good and/or bad. The limits of our perceptions are linked to our spiritual growth and measured by our ability to separate the light from the dark. We know in our hearts what is light and what is dark, but we must learn that we not only can separate them, but that we can be the light in the darkness. This is the journey from knowledge of what is to believing what is. This is an age old story told many ways in many times. "Luke, I am your father."
Physical growth is mostly automatic with no real thought necessary for us to reach physical maturity. People are born, get bigger and develop physically when given basic nourishment and water. Some people are able to skip right to bliss from here, but the "ignorance is bliss" path was repugnant to my ego. These people typically live long, happy lives though.
Intellectual growth requires more concentration and effort, but intellectual curiosity is common to even toddlers. This step is fraught with traps and snares. The limits of our perceptions mold into ceilings that appear just as solid as the rocks and blocks around us. Intelligence tends to limit spiritual growth. But when wisdom leads to bliss, the journey is appreciated all the more.
Spiritual growth follows the physical and the intellectual stages of human growth and thus gets the least concentrated effort and requires the most inspiration. To look outward or inward is the basic conflict when reconciling our spiritual perceptions with our spiritual consciousness. The journey requires both perspectives (outward then inward) to reach a mature consciousness. We must cross over the river to realize that we are already there.
The human spiritual world has become blanketed with a quilt woven of physical desires and intellectual fears. This blanket is the modern human ego. Egos are essentially the synthesized combination of human desires and fears. It can warm our hearts and it can smother our souls. The magnification of these desires and fears continues daily in our collective institutions. The individual's ability to separate the light from the darkness is being challenged ever more intensely by these institutions. For instance: institutionalizing slavery in our consciousness while fighting its perception with slogans about freedom. These manufactured messages can have a powerful influence over individual decisions. I believe the human spirit in each of us has the ability to shine through this blanket, but people who do not want help cannot be helped.
The crossing over the waters of conscious understanding is a path to Bliss or God. This stream comes from our realm into and through conscious physical planes. Like the edge of a bubble, these planes act as natural barriers to our further understanding of what is beyond the boundaries of those perceptions. The seedling must burst through the soil that is a barrier similar to what time and space are to us. Humans have repeatedly shown that we can grow beyond current understanding and wisdom though we return to the soil. This is imperative for the survival of the human species and, of course, the individual. Collective institutions can never really be conscious the way individuals can, but they can reflect growth cycles that mirror individual human traits. So where are we?
The five basic levels of human consciousness are:
1) What is. The physical: food, the earth, the foundation.
2) Doing what is. Perceptions of the air, the fire, the sun enter consciousness.
3) Knowing what is. The mental, the mind, knowledge, intellectual; still in touch with the physical.
4) Understanding what is. Wisdom, conscious understanding beyond perceptions. See the light.
5) Believing what is. Bliss, beyond physical conscious restraints, mystical, God. Be the light.
The five sides of a pyramid have been used to describe this order of collective mythos and keep it intact. The power encompassed and enhanced within this ancient structure that we thus far can organize into study and thought is unlimited. A new foundation will be needed to build future human formulas to communicate with the greater universe of conscious living structures of being and of thought. The light is always there, inside each of us, it's just that we have trouble letting it out. The point is to free our souls from the depths of our intellect. Too many search the world, even the universe, over for what was inside all along.
Some people ask for trouble while others find misfortune from birth, but we still have to choose tribulation for it to control our souls. Beware as trouble (the devil) can be disguised as many desires including women, money, fame and the power to influence events as well as fears of losing same. The devil is clever in dealing with human desires and fears. Some old notes about Faust I took down listening to a Joseph Campbell lecture on tape late one night put it succinctly.
"Faust had won the world that he had bargained for and breaks into song. He thought that he had fooled the devil and was quite pleased with himself. This is the story of a man's quest to do good with his personal sacrifice, to try to cheat the devil, and perhaps even receive redemption for it. But a poor old happy couple looses their home so that the 'larger good' could be accomplished. The construction of a tremendous housing development by Faust, thinking that he had tricked the devil by doing a greater good with the devil's gift; however it required the draining of an old swamp, a swamp that was the traditional homeland of an old couple's people. Faust believed he could turn the devil's money into good fortune and ended up destroying, forever, a homeland. The old-couple lose their home because of the devil's funds that inspire this monument to modern wealth to be built. This is the classic folly of human achievement. There is so much that becomes so clear, that we never saw before, once we see it. This is Bliss or God."
The folly of human material vanities is revealed over and over again by people such as Stalin, Hitler, Napoleon, Lincoln and Mao who have imposed their wills on so many others "for their own good." The individual is lost to the "larger good" that is imposed on them and thus undermines any good done. Faust belies basic human character references that we have all fought in our souls: the souls that all human beings have. Only some acquire the power to affect so many others with their schemes of greatness. We must all struggle to leave others alone even as we struggle to be with others. Be conscious of freedom beyond superficial perceptions of freedom. Simply put: it is best to mind our own business. We can not change the sun, stars, and the moon, but we can change our behavior.
Life is a breeding ground for the necessities required to reach the next level of consciousness in this step by step process. There are big steps and little steps, but we all have the potential to reach bliss both individually and collectively. The American Revolution was a big step in what can be called our collective consciousness, and we live during a time that is an even bigger step: the fall before renewal. America has come full circle in this collective process. Be conscious of our time and enjoy the show. Not with the nihilism of Nero, but with the humble wit of an honest person.
The key to the expansion of human collective time consciousness that will take us to the next level of social understanding comes from within every person. I believe that Truth, Love and Joy will prevail over Deceit, Hate and Sorrow over time. Like a coin that comes up heads, the tail is still there, though hidden or obscured. We must maintain a healthy respect for the forces that we have yet to understand, much less believe. The people who take time to reach into themselves will be able to reach out to others no matter what events may come. The so-called remnant is real. Strike-The-Root is evidence of this.
To reach this next level of understanding, we must all look deep inside of ourselves. The answers are there, though we may not see them. The expansion of ones' consciousness comes from a higher consciousness of ones' self. Seeing and feeling the sun, knowing of your existence, understanding that human struggle has eternal meaning and believing that you are the sun is a full life. We should all be so lucky. The effort seems Herculean, but the joy is worth it
So much of the universe is beyond the current social perception of the simple tribal systems that our mythological foundations have been built on. But the foundation of the individual within the family is strong. This natural order is why humans have been able to survive and grow after seemingly cataclysmic events have occurred so many times in our history. The time for universal change and expansion has come again. Each renewal in the ancient cycles of human history has led to higher heights than previously believed by all but the few.
The sun, moon and stars continue their movements with no choice in the matter. However, humans can make choices as to the path they may take even though they are influenced by the movements of those around us in subtle ways beyond our perceptions. The collective institutions we have created with those choices are crumbling under the weight of its sloth, debt and hubris: physically, mentally and spiritually. The system produces leaders that are deceitful, hateful and sorry. Old age is creeping up on the institutions that support our civilization and only rebirth can cleanse them at this late date in time.
Growth from physical to intellectual to spiritual understanding is an individual journey that culminates in collective understanding. Faith, the ability to really believe what you can not perceive, is a function of being the light that shines through the darkness transcending time. What an inspirational time to be alive. You got to love it.