Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Care taking again

It is always compelling when you read a book for a second (or X...) time to see what resonates now, different from the previous occasion both because what you attend to will have changed and the person who is attending will have changed likewise. As Heraclitus would say, you never step into the same book twice...

Re-reading Gary Lachman's 'The Caretakers of the Cosmos: Living Responsibly in an Unfinished World' (that I discussed here http://ncolloff.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/caretaking-cosmos.html), I noticed this time, more explicitly, the discussion of consciousness.

The book's central thesis is the world we inhabit is an unfolding development of the consciousness that brings it into being. It is a thesis that is seen from the perspective of the Western tradition both esoteric, poetic and of the marginalised philosophic and scientific. It is a view that would be 'standard' within the traditions of Buddhism, Taoism and Vedanta, consciousness as the 'stuff' out of which all is fabricated, the only reality we know, except for a contemporary 'twist' - that the consciousness that is unfolding is subject to evolution. Potentially our way of being in the unfolding cosmos is being deepened, transformed. Our sense of alienation from the world is being progressively healed in proportion to that advance in qualitative vision. It is not a question of stepping out of an 'illusory' universe, maya, into a stable eternal reality but of stepping deeper into a path of co-creating the fullness of a shared, transformed cosmos (as Sri Aurobindo would have had it). The difference is in seeing the material world not as an 'illusion' but as a material order that invites being uplifted into a new relationship with its informing spirit.

Advancing in that qualitative vision is to recognise (with William Blake) that we 'become what we behold' that we are invited to continual acts of imaginative completion (to use the phrase of Colin Wilson). How do we release the 'divine sparks', enfolded in everything, every encounter, such that the world revels, in its disclosure, as a place of loving being?

We might start by freeing ourselves from the dominant narrative that matter is prior (whatever that is as it floats on a sea of dark energy or hovers between waves and particles) and that we, our conscious, lived, qualitative experience is merely an arbitrary epiphenomena. On the simple rule of starting from where we are, we might notice that we what we fundamentally are is first and foremost our experience, qualitative, irreducible, mysterious - and allow to this the reality and confidence it desires. In that freedom is our first release from which other liberties will flow.

The liberty to notice that the world we inhabit is shaped by the consciousness and attention we bring to it and widening and deepening that attention transforms the world and its possibilities.

More than this is encompassed by many of the key esoteric and mystical teachings but perhaps the best place to start is in flexing the muscles of one's attentive seeing and so be drawn anew into a glimmering transfiguration of being. For Ouspensky, as Lachman notes, it was seeing anew the real potentialities of an ash tray (!) for the poet, Kathleen Raine, it was truly seeing a hyacinth.

The cosmos can caress us with its true beauties from many directions if we cleanse the doors of perception and step through them to truly create a new seeing.






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