Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Become the instrument and servant of a higher consciousness, a spiritual life

Notes From a Fellow Traveller Elliott S. Dacher, M.D.
author of Integral Health: The Path to Human Flourishing January 22, 2008
Mental and Spiritual Development
The great Indian sage Aurobindo divided psychospiritual development into 12 progressive stages. His work falls within the great philosophical and spiritual traditions, East and West, that identify an ascending development of consciousness reaching from a survival-based instinctual life, through progressive levels of mental experience to the highest attainment of direct spiritual experience. This final apotheosis transcends all previous levels of cognitive mental experience...
The Spiritual Experience
We have all had a glimpse at the spiritual experience. We’re given small tastes and touches whose significance we often overlook. That’s to say we have the experience but miss the meaning. This glimpse can occur in communion with nature, the first blush of romance, the peak of orgasm, in the arts and music, meditation, and the heights of athletic performance. It’s the moment of timeless presence when, for a brief moment followed by a quick return to ordinary consciousness, self and cognition dissipate revealing a spacious choiceless and open awareness unfettered by usual mental activity. But these are only glimpses of the real thing. They are neither fully developed, matured, or stable. So we cannot hold these experiences and they rapidly drop back into our day-to-day level of development. If we grasp or attach to these “peek-peak” experiences we end up with suffering and addiction rather than the liberation and enlightenment of the genuine and fully developed spiritual experience.
What is revealed in these brief touches of the divine is neither created nor constructed. This liberating open, non-cognitive awareness is always present untouched and untainted by obscuring and unceasing mental activity that hides us from our source. This place of inner peace free of suffering and custodian of the transcendent and permanent qualities of wholeness, happiness, love, and compassion is hidden not absent. These brief glimpses we have spoken of beak through the obscuring clouds of our active mental life and for a moment we see what has always been present and discover the key to the end of all suffering and the emergence of the fullness of human life.
To turn a glimpse into a permanent reality is to develop our inner life, expand consciousness, accurately understand the nature of mind, self, and reality, and progressively extend and stabilize this higher and direct level of human experience. It is not that we abandon the rational cognitive mind, but rather than we abandon our fixation on it, its misperceptions and afflictive emotions. The center of our life is lived from a spiritual awareness and our rational capacities to investigate and know the relational day-to-day world become the instrument and servant of a higher consciousness, a spiritual life.
If we do not understand the distinction between a higher mental life and a spiritual life our development will be frozen at the mental life. We may be wise but we will neither attain the final and complete freedom from suffering that is immune to life’s adversities nor the enduring and changeless qualities of the enlightened spirit.

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