By Jose Andres Arvide
Nov 9, 2014
In an age where ¨waking up, awareness, higher consciousness, illumination, ¨ are terms commonly used to denote the state of mind of somebody who is certainly mindful, it seems that achieving this is all we want. We refer to people as conscious, aware, or somebody who has woke up or illuminated, but essentially, what does these terms really mean? What does waking up and being more aware than I was yesterday mean? Is Marc, who discovered that the political party that was elected is corrupt more aware than Joseph, who studied the different options and voted for this political party thinking it was the best and most honest?
It seems that these terms are all misleading, just as any other term, for words are merely conventions and conventions as Alan Watts indicates in his book The Wisdom Of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety, are simply used depending on social convenience.
“What we have forgotten is that thoughts and words are conventions, and that it is fatal to take conventions too seriously. A convention is a social convenience, as, for example, money ... but it is absurd to take money too seriously, to confuse it with real wealth ... In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are "coins" for real things.”
-Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety.
Words to refer to a state of mind and consciousness are simply used in convenience to what it is being sought.
I think I am aware for believing that everything is an illusion of our own minds, whereas my friends aren´t because they think everything is real and in form of light rays. My friends think they are aware because they believe that everything is real and in frequencies of light, whereas I am not for thinking that everything is an illusion of our own minds. My parents think that my friends and me are entirely brainwashed and controlled by New Age Movement´s ideologies and all that comes with it. Once again, my friends and me think that my parents are simply slept by media and programed by old and conservative ideologies.
It is simply crazy. What does an ideology even mean? What is the meaning of a word? Is the word itself the best way to describe something? Can words really define and illustrate things, or are they only conceptualizations? Take for example the word change. The primary definition of change, as found in The Oxford Dictionaries is: Make or become different. When we say somebody is gaining awareness, it means that their ideas, believes and thoughts are changing for ¨good¨. But how can these nonphysical concepts change? It is certainly our minds that make the change over these concepts. If it is our minds that poses and control our ideas, believes and thoughts, then, where is the mind and the proof of its capability to change what it is supposed to posses? We have no scientific proof of the existence of our minds.
Again, we fall into a conventional term used for the convenience of humanity. The best way to stop a possible existential crisis and fear of voidness in life is to create The Mind. Certainly the mind is of convenience of humanity, for the meaning of mind, according to The Oxford Dictionaries is: The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought. It is nearly impossible to think about the human being as an animal without mind and consciousness. Having no faculty for our thoughts, experiences and feelings would be discouraging. That would mean that all that we experience in our minds would be merely brain processes and chemical reactions that have a direct stimulation in our senses, proinde the illusion of being a body with a mind and a consciousness. This would make human beings feel somehow purposeless and confused. All the metaphysics, spirituality, philosophy and psychology would have no meaning if the mind and its partner, the consciousness, wouldn´t exist. We have to acknowledge that not even the consciousness has a scientific proof. The consciousness puts a simple question without answer. An effect without cause. What we call an ontological question about consciousness and mind. Why is there subjectivity? Is Subjectivity the result of our consciousness, or the inverse? Can Consciousness be a cause? Where does the mind reside? Why and how? We come to so many questions that certainly have no answer, just as the proof of the mind and the consciousness, non-existent. Gildert Ryle wrote in his book, The Concept of Mind, the following:
“Minds are not bits of clockwork, they are just bits of not-clockwork. As thus represented, minds are not merely ghosts harnessed to machines, they are themselves just spectral machines. . . . Now the dogma of the Ghost in the Machine does just this. It maintains that there exist both bodies and minds; that there occur physical processes and mental processes; that there are mechanical causes of corporeal movements and mental causes of corporeal movements. I shall argue that these and other analogous conjunctions are absurd.”
-Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind.
As Ryle wants to illustrate, the mind as the concept and convention it is, is thought to exist as a ¨ghost in a machine¨. As any ghost, it is just a mysterious concept which we can´t really proof.
Ultimately we arrive to the statement that words are conventions, concepts and symbols that represent real things, real things that to be able to describe them, it takes more than words. It takes experiencing and understanding impermanence. It is just as how money is a symbol to represents wealth, and wealth is a concept that represents the abundance of valuable resources. Am I wealthy when I have one million dollars while living out in the mountains? What is a valuable resource then? Is money always money after it is destroyed? The particles will always be the same, but now the word that defines it is different, yet it is the same matter. It seems that words lose their meaning depending on the circumstances and the changes that occur. All this questions point at the same statement: Words are conventions, concepts and symbols that represent real things. Aren´t words misleading and only useful in a socialized and totally conceptualized ambient? Words would work perfectly in a controlled atmosphere were everything is regulated to the point where it never loses its ¨squareness¨. Just as physics, where this scientific discipline explains aspects of the universe and nature but only have real meaning in theory for in practice there are multiple factors that can´t be measured nor controlled. Id est, just as words, only useful in a superficial, fictitious, and controlled world.
We finally arrive somewhere. We arrive to a point where we have proved, with the examples of change of consciousness and lack of proof of the mind, that words don´t have real meaning. Terms such as illumination, waking up, awareness, higher consciousness are only real if we believe in the existence of the mind and consciousness without proof. These terms are real and totally subjective, used in convenience by people, just as any other word. Words and their meanings don´t change and react with the real things. Gaining awareness is just referring to an inexistent process, for the awareness resides on the mind and its consciousness, and we have proved that the mind and the consciousness is simply a ghost we try to find. So what is illumination, waking up, gaining awareness or achieving higher consciousness? What does these mean if the ontological question about consciousness and mind can´t be answered nor explained with symbols and terms? If we can´t even understand how we work, and why we are subjective in a world where everything would probably work better without our subjectiveness, how can we dare to say that we gain awareness? It all seems contradictory. We gain awareness accordingly to our convenience, but gaining awareness is an illusion just as our mind and our consciousness.
Light, here, means awareness-to be aware of life, of experience as it is at this moment, without any judgments or ideas about it. In other words, you have to see and feel what you are experiencing as it is, and not as it is named. This very simple ¨opening of the eyes¨ brings about the most extraordinary transformation of understanding and living, and shows that many of our most baffling problems are pure ilusion. This may sound like an over-simplification becouse most people imagin themselves to be fully aware of the present already, but we shall see that this is far from true.
Because awareness is a view of reality free from ideas and judgments, it is clearly impossible to define and write down what it reveals. Anything which can be described is an idea, and cannot make a positive statement about something-the real world-which is not an idea.
-Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety.
Can it be that we seek for illumination and higher consciousness as an indirect result of noticing that we live in a world of conceptualization, control and nonsense? Is the search for higher consciousness just a different way of defining life as when we live it purely in the present, without doubt of existence nor conceptualization? Is this the real meaning of illumination, waking up and these other terms? When we realize that governments lie, that the biological world deteriorates, that we are free and limitless, that we don´t know anything, that life can only be experienced and not illustrated. When we realize that saying rain means nothing, but feeling the rainfall on top of our heads means something. When we understand that pain means nothing but losing our beloved means something. When we understand that music means nothing but a singing bird means something. When we understand that love means nothing but the act of lovemaking means something. When we comprehend that we can´t know all and somethings just as our consciousness and mind will reside as a puzzle. This is when we gain awareness. When we see that life is much more than a group of words and terms, and much more than a conceptualizing mind and struggle of achieving higher consciousness, it is then when we are really gaining awareness. Life is not about enclosing things and running in circles. Life is about being, being in this grand mystery. And so this would only lead us to one realization: We will always be unaware, for awareness is merely a contradiction, and the only way to understand this contradiction is by living life without questions and in the present moment. In the present moment we see things as they are entirely expressed, and not as words and terms. In the present we find the awareness we need to discover and uncover life´s mysteries. In the present is the only place where more awareness really has a use and a final goal: To discover and enjoy life as it is in reality.
Mr. Davey will close this article with what he once said:
“The undiscovered is not far away. It’s not something to be found eventually. It is contained within what is right in front of us. The essence of reality is being born right now. It has never existed before. Reality is constant creation and destruction, and in this constant change is something unborn and undying, something that cannot be approached through the known or the past. It isn’t seen through striving to become something based on ideals stemming from former experiences. It comes to that which is being, not striving. In this state of being in the moment, without the known, without knowing at all, with neither past nor future, is a space that is not filled with time. And in this space, the undiscovered and ever-changing moment exists—a moment containing all possibilities, the totality of existence, absolute reality. Reality is now, and in the now, we can experience the true nature of the universe and the universal mind.”
And this is the real meaning of Waking Up.