Inner Worlds Within Worlds – Redux

Title: Self Awareness: Size: 21.5” x 30.5”x 1.75″: Media: acrylic, oil, collage & assemblage: Surface: canvas over masonite & board with wooden framework: copyright 2009 Lisa L. Cyr, Cyr Studio LLC,

“The only right and legitimate way to (a mystical) experience is that it happens to you in reality and it can only happen to you when you walk on a path, which leads you to a higher understanding. You might be led to that goal by an act of grace or through a personal and honest contact with friends, or through a higher understanding of the mind beyond the confines of mere rationalism.”

–Excerpt from a letter from Carl Jung to Bill Wilson – Jan. 30, 1961

Recently, I have begun to review some of my core postings here in John’s Consciousness, and in revisiting several of them these past few weeks, I have found that some of my insights and expressions have retained their centrality and sense of urgency even now. My experiences in the temporal world continue to point toward a synthesis of my many writings regarding the subjective experience of human consciousness, and my ever-expanding world within, when it is possible to attend to it directly, has benefited from the recent inclusion of serendipitous audio recordings of a kind of stream of consciousness that I have allowed to flow from within as I contemplate the stirrings within me. Central to these outpourings is a keen sense of longing to connect with other like-minded spirits out across the wider temporal world made available through modern technological advancements in communication and social media, and a much deeper personal and interior sense of longing for the kind of intimate sharing that can only result from developing a more spiritual worldview.

All of our longings, both temporal and spiritual, as well as the pain of new growth are felt both within and without. For me, the pain experienced within has always been the strongest and most difficult to endure. As an adult, I have come to understand more clearly now that something within me, long ago born and over countless centuries grown seeks acknowledgement in consciousness. As a youth, I felt this strange urge to express thoughts and feelings which burst forth without warning, and which I could not comprehend. Each time I would attempt to grasp the meaning of this inner force, bits and pieces of the curious puzzle would become clear briefly, and then vanish in the strictly-controlled religious world of saints and sinners and unquestioning obedience.

Occasionally, I would get glimpses of this inner world despite the pervasive atmosphere of strict controls and absolute rules, but could not sustain the thoughts and feelings long enough to make any significant headway. Looking back over the years, my whole being has now shifted from a traditional middle-class, religious upbringing, to a more unconventional and classless view of life that is a sharp contrast to the way it all began. Between moments of cognition in my inner realm, as rich and expansive as they continue to be, are extended periods of redundancy of obligation in the temporal. While most of these efforts represent necessary items that produce important results, it is often difficult to endure these gaps between meaningful awareness and dedicated efforts to sustenance, and it seems like endurance becomes more the goal than the means to an end at times.

Inner Worlds Within Worlds Art by Norman E. Masters

For some time now, the world outside of me has been at such odds with the world inside of me, that as I strive to maintain stability in both, I seem to be constantly shoring up the walls of one, deteriorating from neglect, and then racing back to devote my energies to the other. The subsequent chaos from running breathlessly between the two usually results in both alternately suffering to varying degrees. To complicate matters further, I have recently gained greater momentum in coming to terms with my inner world, significantly raising my expectations of achieving the goals I established for myself years ago. This hopeful progress, though uplifting, has created serious conflicts with my temporal existence. Thus far I have resisted abandoning my obligations for the sake of my work, and likewise refused to consider abandoning my work in favor of temporal considerations.

As with most esoteric undertakings, increasing comprehension precedes further progress. As my knowledge and appreciation of the complexities and subtleties of the evolution of consciousness grows, the many diverse and related theories begin to coalesce into a synthesis which is more comprehensive and quite beautiful in its depth and breadth. Human evolution, however convoluted or complex, has resulted in access to the penetrating self-awareness which characterizes human consciousness, and precipitated the development of human cultures, religions, and mythologies, as well as human psychology, philosophy, and a variety of sciences, all branching out like the veins of a large leaf, or a complex crystal formation.

The Psyche, according to Pythagoras “is the intermediary between two worlds: the Material and the Spiritual worlds. It is the Vital Energy that nests and inhabits in the matter”.

When we contemplate the astonishing variety of contingency necessary for human life to have progressed to this point, and to continue to progress beyond this point, it compels us to consider even some very unconventional points-of-view. How else can we arrive at such a distant destination in comprehension, as that of human consciousness, unless we remain open to alternative methods of enhancing our current comprehension, augmenting our current capacities, and altering our current level of consciousness? If the development of our ability to access higher levels of cognitive functioning, achieving an expanded intellect, and becoming self-aware, all were only just necessary adaptations for survival, and merely the consequence of natural selection, favoring those hominids with more complex brain architecture, there would be no compelling reason for consciousness to have progressed beyond a certain “survivability” level.

But if, as modern physics has demonstrated, we are all ultimately linked to the universal energies present in the early universe, and made from “the stuff of stars,” subatomic particles floating in the Higgs field, then it seems to me, that whatever forces govern the quarks, and hadrons, and leptons, and most recently, the theoretical “Higgs boson,” must be, in some manner, active within the wider universe of humans, planets, galaxies and super-clusters. All of existence, both temporal and metaphysical, must be a manifestation of and possess some degree of consciousness, only on a much grander scale.

If awareness of consciousness is an inevitable consequence of any evolutionary life process which produces creatures of sufficient cognitive ability and architectural complexity in the cognitive apparatus, then consciousness may well be what we can expect to find at the heart of the universe, manifested in an infinite variety of displays throughout. We will never know unless we expand our range of explanations to include every conceivable and inconceivable possibility.

marilyn connect to others

Reflection on these ideas has produced within me a greater expansion of the role of connection to others in my ruminations. Time after time, whenever a heightened sense of connection to another kindred soul enters my awareness, many of the ideas which have been percolating within me come (sometimes suddenly) to the surface, and I am occasionally intrigued beyond words at the prospect of opening up to a wider world of subjective experience as a direct result of these encounters. In the weeks to come, I hope to explore these connections more directly as they relate to this idea, and to seek a greater understanding of how these connections lead to a deeper sense of self.

–more to come–

2 thoughts on “Inner Worlds Within Worlds – Redux

  1. Dear John,

    I was fascinated with your depth of awareness of yourself and all of life around you. You have tapped into the level of thought that, I believe, has emerged from the universe. It would be instructive to have you reach out to me by reading my thoughts provide in an article titled, Does Consciousness Pervade the Universe? After reading your thoughts on the possibility of consciousness being an element at the very lowest level of matter, I found that we both share the same sense of the universe as having a purpose. The link for this article is:

    I look forward to a dialog with you.

    1. Nicholas,

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment on this very important topic. I appreciate your thoughts very much and have spent some time again this week reviewing your interesting essay, “Does Consciousness Pervade the Universe?” As I mentioned in my previous response to your other recent comment, there is much to admire in your writings on this subject, and although it appears we differ on certain topics related to the subject of consciousness generally, as I mentioned before, I admire your open-ended approach to your views, and your mutual respect for others who differ in their opinions regarding what you write. I’m going to have to spend some additional time reviewing your blog as time permits and look forward to sharing a dialog also.

      I have spent a considerable amount of time over many years investigating, reading, contemplating, and researching the subject of consciousness, engaging it from several different avenues of thought including philosophical, psychological, spiritual, and neuroscientific studies, and have been following along with the developments in the science of mind and cognitive studies being undertaken in recent years, and have found many indications along the way that my central theory regarding consciousness as a fundamental force in the physical universe is at least pointing in the right direction. While it is still considered somewhat controversial to suggest that atoms and molecules possess a degree of consciousness, commensurate with their tiny architecture and subatomic standing in the physical universe, it is quite a leap in my view to suppose that consciousness is a phenomenon only available to complex organisms with a sufficiently developed brain structure. Our unique ability to EXPRESS our awareness and to articulate our subjective experience of the world makes it much easier to confirm that such awareness exists within us, but it seems much more likely to me that we are tapping into the broad field or spectrum of consciousness, which exists as a fundamental force throughout the universe. There are many sincere and dedicated scientists and philosophers who are convinced that the brain generates consciousness and that we will one day figure it all out, but my many years of studying the subject have led me to a much broader and nuanced understanding that includes elements from a variety of subject areas.

      In the July/August 2009 edition of Scientific American Mind, Christof Koch acknowledges that the unitary experience of being conscious requires a “large scale functional integration in the corticothalamic complex” in the brain. Much of the writings one encounters these days seems to want to limit the discussion of consciousness to “the mind,” and what can be explained by neuroscience, but the broad spectrum of consciousness includes a great deal more than brain functionality. The same idea of large scale integration must surely apply in the broader sense as well, and trying to explain consciousness without integrating and including the many complex levels of being and subjective experience simply cannot be satisfying to anyone who seriously considers the subject.

      I would suggest that emphasizing only one aspect of the totality that is consciousness, no matter what aspect that might be, cannot tell the whole story, and plumbing the depths of myself and all of life around me has brought me to remain skeptical of any theory that completely eliminates any other possible explanation other than the one being emphasized. Your approach seems much more sensible and inclusive and that is something we have in common.

      Kind regards….John H.

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