Observe our self, know our self, and slowly bring order out of chaos.
Arnold Keyserling, Charles Tart, and others discovered that our own consciousness is the main hindrance to our realization of full potential. We are not only held back by weak thinking, but by our fragmented and constricted consciousness. We cannot answer the big questions and fulfill our potential because we cannot see the big picture. Since we see only a chaotic series of disjointed snapshots, and think poorly if at all, the meaning of life remains a puzzle. Without expanding and integrating our consciousness, and without clear thinking, we can’t make sense of our life, discover who we are and what we really want.
From these insights we know that the first step we must take in order to answer the big questions ourselves is to transform our consciousness. We need to observe our self, know our self, and slowly bring order out of chaos. We need to awaken from the trance. The many scenes will then start to flow together into a movie that makes sense. As our functions segregate and consciousness integrates, we can develop our thinking. When we learn to think critically and creatively, we can figure out how the cosmic Laws apply to our life. We can answer the big questions for ourselves. Thus, from a practical perspective, the Laws of Wisdom which must first be considered are the laws of our own consciousness.
Our inner world can be as chaotic as the outer. We experience a convoluted flow of thoughts and associations, feelings, and day dreams. The disjointed nature of our consciousness is one of the basic problems. To use thinking to sort out our inner world and start making sense of things, we must know the basic structure of our consciousness, the order underneath the chaos. The first basic law – constitutional principle of consciousness – which we need to learn to begin this process is the Law of Four. In consciousness we experience the fourfold ordering principle as the four functions: sensations, thoughts, feelings and willing. In time our consciousness emphasizes one or the other of these four.
THE FOUR FUNCTIONS
Willing means the following types of consciousness, the following experiences: action of all kinds; decisions; doing; determining; controlling; yes-no; on-off; accomplishing; effectuating; carrying out; implementing; working; ordering; intuiting; forebrain; deep sleep and attention.
Feeling means the following: love; emotions; affects; drives; fun; intensity; enthusiasm; exhilaration; moods; imagination; force; power; passion; sentiment; strength; laughter; joy; humor; playfulness; right brain; metabolism; impulses; and dreams.
Thinking means: reason; relate; rational; logical; analytical; discursive; ratiocination; order; consider; reflect; ponder; cogitate; dialectic; symbolize; conceive; connect; deliberate; either-or; both-and; enumerate; hind brain; breathing; language; and reflection.
Sensing means perception; observe; 5 senses; unprocessed information; intake; direct and immediate consciousness; discern; sensuality; left brain; sex and excretion; sense data; and waking consciousness. The Four functions are usually shown on a cross.
A basic law of life on this planet is that by the time you are an adult, the functions are disordered and of unequal power and capacity. Perhaps some day this law will change, but for now it is safe to assume you have work to do.
We integrate and make sense of the disjointed, chaotic nature of our consciousness through a process where we first disentangle and separate these four functions from each other. Once the four functions start to operate on their own, the functions strengthen and start to run smoothly. Then our consciousness naturally integrates and expands. This is a basic law of consciousness development which we can count on to get us out of the mess society and miseducating puts us into. In this way the hypnotic trance of our culture can be broken.
When our consciousness reaches a certain point of clarification and integration, it is easy to see the operation of the hidden fourfold order in consciousness. We can observe the distinct characteristics of the four functions in our self and others. The actor awakens and starts to make sense of his role in life. But at the beginning of this process when we are half asleep – deep in consensus trance, and our inner world is chaotic and our functions tangled, warped and weak – the differences between the four functions are not so apparent. Consciousness seems to be uniform, the inner world a bland, albeit chaotic, flow.
Still, with just a little reflection about your day as a whole, the four fundamentally different types of consciousness will be revealed. The biggest divide is the difference between your consciousness when asleep and when awake. This difference is as obvious as night and day. When you are sleeping you are not dead, you still are, but your consciousness is fundamentally different than when you are awake. When asleep you are either dreaming or you are in deep sleep. Dreaming consciousness is sometimes called “subconsciousness”. It emphasizes the feeling function, but can also include the other functions to a lesser degree. Deep sleep is sometimes called “unconsciousness”. It emphasizes the willing function, but again can also include the other functions in diminished capacity. When you are awake you are either perceiving or reflecting. In normal “waking consciousness” the sensing function dominates, and when in “reflective consciousness” thinking is emphasized.
Thus every day you have four fundamentally different types of consciousness: waking consciousness, reflective consciousness, dream consciousness and deep-sleep consciousness. Each of these stages naturally emphasizes one of the functions, but does not exclude the rest. Thus for instance while dreaming you emphasize feelings, but you still think from time to time, or make decisions and take actions. You can also still sense the outside world when in a dream, and sometimes even incorporate these sensations into your dream.
The same is true for waking consciousness. Although your five senses dominate, you can still feel, think and act. When you are reflective, you still have perceptions. You don’t go blind, nor do you have to close your eyes to think (although that can sometimes make it easier). Even in deep-sleep, you are not just in pure will, other functions occur: feelings, even sensations. If someone calls your name, even in deep-sleep you may hear and awaken. The consciousness of most people is so completely segregated, that even though they experience deep sleep every night of their lives, they have no memory of that part of themselves at all.
When we talk about disentangling the four functions we do not mean to separate the four types of consciousness, just the contrary. Separation is the process, not the goal. The functions are purified – separated from each other – so that the four types of consciousness can then be integrated, blended into one, a “super consciousness”. When the four functions are pure and clear, they can work together. The great difference between waking and sleeping consciousness will then be bridged. For instance, once you learn to really sense, without pollution from the other functions, you see things as they are, disentangled from preconceptions and feelings. Your waking consciousness is strong. Such a truly awakened person can then remember and blend with the other parts of them self. When awake they will still remember their dreams, their essential wishes and desires. They will act in accord with their thinking – walk their talk – in connection with the profound silence of deep sleep. As waking, reflective, dream and deep sleep consciousness merge, based on strong, pure functioning, a new type of “super consciousness” will develop. A holistic self encompassing and integrating all types of consciousness will emerge. We will begin to fulfill our natural human potential.
In the meantime we begin by recognizing and disentangling the four basic states of consciousness. We have already discussed thinking at length, and how to free it from the other functions. Although thinking is the function emphasized by us humans, it is not the base function, in other words, not the first function. The basic function upon which all consciousness is, or should be, based, is sensing. Sensing is the intake of data and perceptions, pure unprocessed information. Sensing is based on the five senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching It is the dominant function of “normal waking consciousness.” Without sensing there would be nothing to think about, nothing to feel, no basis for actions.
The development of sensing begins with birth as we slowly start to open our eyes and orient our self to the world. The development of the five senses continues at an accelerated rate for the first few years. Then it stops prematurely because the perception of most of the child’s instructors, the parents and teachers, is so limited. The child soon learns to ignore and forget the perceptions which are not verified and accepted by the adults. Soon the child altogether ceases to perceive in a “non-adult”, that is “un-stunted” way. They learn to focus into the narrow con sensual reality consciousness in which they are raised. The trance screens out all other perceptions.
Although our senses are somewhat stunted in childhood – how much so depending in large part upon our family and education – they are never killed altogether. All of us can still sense to some degree, and our senses can be reawakened and grow. The larger world we started to perceive in childhood can be revived. We can awaken from the culture trance. There are many exercises to do this. Art and music can also be used in this way. Many of the phenomena of “extra sensory perception” may actually just be the normal, un stunted functioning of the senses. We can all be much more aware than we are now. The seemingly incredible abilities of artists and athletes, as well as psychics, show this to be true. The singer with perfect pitch, the batter who can see the stitches on the baseball as it flies at him at 90 miles an hour, the quarterback who can see the open receiver in a crowded field, the telepathy who hears a thought, or the clairvoyant who sees a future event. All this hints at what is possible when our sensing is purified, trained and strengthened.
After a sensation comes, we can experience the feeling which comes with it, the power and energy of what is sensed. Feeling is the positive or negative response, the impact. Feeling is the world of desires, drives, emotions and dreams; the world of the instincts, pleasure and pain, likes and dislikes.
Our ability to feel is also stunted for much the same reasons as our senses. There is little or no place for our feelings in the adult world we are trained to enter. Very few feelings are acceptable in western culture. We are taught to turn off our feelings, the boy children especially. Some sedate feelings may be permitted, but the palate is quite limited. In general strong emotions of all kinds are suspect and forbidden. The subconscious, instinctual world is considered dangerous, especially feelings related to sex. Some children are abused, physically or mentally. They are subjected to strong negative emotions, deeply hurt feelings, and do not know what to do or how to handle them. Many cannot endure the pain and so turn from all feelings, becoming dry robots, autistic or schizophrenic. Even in the best of families we acquire complexes or neuroses of one kind or another. In today’s culture we all leave childhood psycho-traumatized to a certain degree.
The home of feelings, the dream world, is a forgotten area. It is given little importance by most of the adults who raise us. After some indulgence, we are encouraged to grow up, to put our fantasies and play behind us. Imagination is “kids stuff”, dreams are unreal or unimportant. So the indoctrination-education-program goes. We lose all touch with our dream world, our deepest desires and wishes. In today’s world of advertising, subliminal fill our feelings with new, acceptable desires and goals. In the United States for instance many of us actually come to believe that our deepest desires in life involve material consumption of one form or another. The pursuit of happiness becomes the pursuit of money and thrills. We find pseudo-happiness in consumption and entertainment, in movies and television. Our emotional needs come to be filled from the outside by observing the actor’s feelings. On the inside we become dead, hollow – the juices of our own feelings dry out. The function atrophies, and for some dies.
Again, this process can be reversed, feelings can be resurrected. The joy of play and imagination we knew in childhood can be regained. There are many procedures for this reawakening, you have only to find the one you like. For some it may be music, for some acting, for some martial arts, for others loving and hugs, for others sex. For many there are powerful traumatic events in their childhood which must be worked through. There is deep pain and emotional hurt in their past which must be overcome before their feelings can develop and grow, or before they can mature sexually. Many different psychological therapies have been developed to overcome this pain, including the pain of birth itself with which we all enter this world.
As we face and overcome the traumas and hang ups of the past, our feelings naturally strengthen, and our overall energy grows with the increased capacity to feel. Our dream world starts to communicate better with our waking selves. We start to transcend the advertising propaganda, to get in touch with our own desires. We start to find out what we really want out of life. We learn what we really love, what gives us real happiness and fulfillment. We learn from both our suffering and our joy. The dry sensations become charged. We awaken to art, to beauty, to sex. Our whole lives become filled with a new fire, with intensity and new feelings of all kinds. The purified feelings give our thinking a whole new dimension, our will a new power and force.
Willing is action, choice, control, deciding yes or no, movement. It is also the force of attention, memory and intuition. Again, the same sad story applies to willing as with the other functions. The baby has no trouble deciding whether to suck, no trouble crying out loud. Its will starts out strong, with a natural intensity and decisiveness. Then child rearing and education set in. For many the will atrophies, almost dies, sacrificed to a parent’s ill-conceived notion of discipline and obedience. We must all learn to conform, to fit in, to do what we are told, or else.
We all become entranced to some degree. After all, we are dependent on our parents for survival. For many children the adults make most of their decisions. They are not given the chance to choose for themselves. Eventually many forget how; they become weak and indecisive. Most of us learn to sit still in class for hours, to conform with what is expected to get the grade or our parents’ love. Again at home in today’s world we are encouraged to stare for hours at a television. We become conditioned to “short attention span theater”. Many lose the natural physical strength, agility and flexibility with which we are all born. We become fat and lazy, unable to focus our attention on anything for more than a few minutes at a time.
We learn to do exactly what we are told, and are conditioned to have no will of our own. This can be true even of the athletes among us who may otherwise be physically strong. Discipline is imposed on us from outside, from our parents, teachers and coaches. Our inner will, attention and self discipline may not be given a chance to develop. Then our will becomes dominated by another person, or by another function within our self, especially thinking. Psychologist’s say the average person talks to himself over 50,000 times a day. Much of the time we are telling ourselves that we can’t do something or another. This proves to be a self-fulfilling prophesy. The person with a weakened will gets cut off from their deep sleep self. They lose all connection with the inner depths, the world of the unconscious, the gateway to pure Awareness, to effortless, knowing action in the flow. Adrift from their depths, they lack spontaneity, freedom, autonomy. They are far removed from the creative world of action in tune with the Universe.
There are many procedures to regain a lost or weakened will. Even something as simple as changing the chatter in our head from can’t do, to can do, will do a lot. Thinking can help the will get started. It can encourage successful actions with a positive attitude. Thinking can help set realistic goals, in tune with our true inner motivations. When the first goal is met, we are encouraged to try for the next. The feelings can also empower the will, giving our actions force and intensity. Exercises of all types can help separate and strengthen the will. Not only physical exercises, but also psychological and spiritual.
Once our will is purified and strengthened, our attention also grows. This greatly facilitates the continuity of consciousness. Through attention, the unconsciousness of deep sleep is linked up to waking consciousness, and a kind of “super consciousness” is born. It comes from acting in touch with our depths. Through the force of attention we learn to maintain Awareness. Then we can act out of dynamic nothingness – a living intensity. We awaken from the trance, find wisdom and learn to act in accord with profound intuition. Night and day become one, the right and left brains are merged. The pure Awareness of deep sleep integrates with waking life. We act freely, spontaneously, autonomously, yet in touch with all and everything. We act in the moment, effortlessly yet effectively, in the flow of harmonious alignment.
The fourfold nature of consciousness is a basic law. Knowledge of this law stretches back to the dawn of history. Evidence of the apprehension of the fourfold-ness of our experience can be found in nearly every culture on Earth. In the West we have the tradition of the four elements arising in ancient Greece, if not before. Everything could be reduced to the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. Prematurity continued in Western traditions, both within Christianity and elsewhere. The basic symbol of Christianity, the cross, represents the four with one function emphasized, the feeling function of God as Love.
Even though the fourfold cross was the basic symbol of Christianity, Church doctrine favored the laws of the trinity (father/son/holy-ghost) over that of the maternity. In the West the most important traditions emphasizing the four continued outside of the church in the hidden or occult traditions such as magic and alchemy. The great twentieth- century psychologist Carl Jung has written extensively on the psychological nature of these occult traditions. He found that the psychological symbolism of the four elements was the basis of medieval alchemy. The Alchemists search for gold was actually a secret search for perfect integration of the four psychological functions. This spiritual quest had to be disguised as chemistry to avoid the inquisition.