“A radical inner transformation and rise to a new level of consciousness might be the only real hope we have in the current global crisis brought on by the dominance of the Western mechanistic paradigm.”- Stanislav Grof
(Editors note: This is a rather long post, but I feel it’s well worth the read, enjoy)
There has been a lot of talk lately on the net, about augmented humanity, how technology is improving our reality’s.
I agree that technology is awesome and that it has dramatically altered our day-to-day life, but we need to remember that technology is just a tool. We must not allow the tool to become our master, what’s more important is who is holding that tool.
Technology if used to its full potential could one day free humans of all monotonous labor. Currently we have a battle where corporations based only on profit are eliminating most jobs a person can do with automation.
Imagine if you no longer had to work? How would you live your life? Most people after the initial excitement would go stir crazy, because they don’t know how to be with themselves, how to be with boredom.
If you had everything and didn’t need to do anything to sustain yourself, soon you would find out that material wealth and sense pleasures will never give you the fulfillment and sense of freedom you dreamed about.
The great thing is that at this point many people would start to move inward, trying to find meaning in their lives, finding peace within themselves. People would really start making serious efforts of inquiring into the mysteries of their own psyche. Find out why we have lost our connection to the natural world, the spiritual world.
Once you conquer the material world and acquire every possible luxury, whats left? This was the reason that during the Greek Empire that so much advancement was made. They had acquired so much wealth, that the elite class had the luxury of leisure time, so they created mystery schools. Where people like Plato and Socrates flourished. This reality was only available to a very select few.
We need to create that type environment for the whole world. Technology could get us there if we could as a human race evolve to a state of being that is free of fear and greed, and more towards a system based on contribution. Unfortunately the powers that be, don’t want this type of world. They like having the few control the many.
I would like to see a world where technology freed people from basic labor, where technology provided the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter for everyone. But we will need a new system, one not solely based on profit to emerge.
One where it’s not based on constant consumption, planned obsolescence, and patents restricting innovation. One example is open source software, much of my favorite software is created by talented people who wanted to contribute for the benefit of all. Scientists and artists when posed with a problem will freely create, but most laws and politicians slow down human innovation.
More than anything we need an evolution in human consciousness. Right now man only exists as potential, we have not awakened to what we are truly capable of. Nature only brought us up to a certain point, now it is up to us, to understand ourselves, to change ourselves, to become conscious beings.
Right now the majority is unconscious, hence why we allow for many of the worlds ill’s to exist. We still live under fear and greed, our actions are simply reactive from this instinctive state of being.
Technology is not a substitute for human consciousness. Instead of being empowered by technology, I feel that the opposite is actually happening, that much of the technology that is becoming common place in our lives, is helping us to be further from reality, making us less human. We become concerned with purely trivial things.
Eric Schmidt of Google recently said that children now have two states of being, that they are either asleep or online. I hate to break it to Mr. Schmidt but not only children but the majority of humanity is asleep and even more so while being online, moving forward we will be going further into sleep, unless we do something about it.
Here in the East (South Korea), you see how the younger generations lives revolve around their cell phones. As far as technology being a part of their life, I feel that they are leaps and bounds over the average American. Technology is being incorporated into every facet of daily living, outwardly it may seem like advancement, but if we fail to become conscious beings, it will have terrible consequences in the future.
People make the mistake that just because they wake up in the morning they are no longer asleep. But if you observe yourself and others you will see that most of us live in a world that is predominately the product of our imagination. Day dreaming our day away, our dream is always one day away. We are very inattentive, and now with the proliferation of all our gadgets, people are completely ADHD. We are always looking for ways to keep ourselves entertained.
You may say whats wrong with this? That this is how it is? That everyone likes to use their imagination. That thinking uncontrollably is just part of our nature. Sorry to break it to you, it isn’t, you did not come into this world like this. You came as a blank slate of consciousness, and as you grew up you forgot what you are. They told you what you are.
Seeing The Madness of The Mind
Try this little experiment: For 15 minutes, try and remain present to yourself, just be here now, feel all the sensations in your body, but as soon as a thought arises in your mind, just jot it down on paper, don’t censor it. Don’t worry you don’t need to show anyone, you can trash the paper when your done.
Okay,…now are you afraid? Does this resemble more the mind of a crazy person? This is just to show that the mind is madness, also to show you how each thought is completely independent of the previous thought, but because we are always looking for associations we give it the illusion of continuity. We give meaning to random thoughts that have no connection.
All these thoughts arise from the various personalities we have, that are shaped by our likes and dislikes, many of them only imagined. If you study your thoughts you can see how they belong to several distinct voices. Yet we believe it is always one personality, this is how you are able to rationalize anything.
This will show you how fragmented we are, and I feel our current fast paced lives are making us increasingly fragmented. The more fragmented we become, the more contradictions we live with, the more contradictions, the more unconscious we become.
The 4 States of Consciousness
According to Hindu tradition we as humans can experience reality in 4 distinct states of being, of consciousness:
- There is “Jagrat” or wakeful state, this is our normal state, where we have “I” consciousness and is more powerful than our individual thoughts. We can choose where to put our attention.
- Next is “Swapna” or dream state, this is where our thoughts are more powerful than our sense of “I”, this is why for most us we don’t realize we are dreaming.
- The third state is “Shushupti” or deep sleep (unconscious state), in this state we have neither “I” consciousness nor thoughts.
- The fourth state is called “Turiya”, there’s no real modern psychological term for this state, this is simply a state of full awareness, where you have “I” consciousness but no thoughts. This is the domain of meditation, intuition, your creativity. The sages called it “samadhi”.
If you learn to bring more awareness into your dreams, then the quality of your dreams will change, you will be able to control your dreams. This will then also affect your deep sleep state. By bringing more awareness into your wakeful state, you will be more in reality, you will then also see the world become more dream like.
Just like when you wake up, you can then realize you where dreaming, now with more awareness in your wakeful state you realize that this reality is just part of the collective dream. Infusing your life with awareness then becomes a virtuous circle.
Right now because our awareness is very poor, when we are in wakeful state, our dream state penetrates it and thus becomes a day dream, all day long we fluctuate between these two states. From these states we simply live a life of reaction. We need to raise our awareness until it becomes our predominate way of living, then you will have true will power and the energy to change your life.
When you live in your imagination, you live through the various images in your brain, you are not in reality when you identify yourself to those images. All those images become your personality, become your ego, you identify your identity with all these images. We imagine all sorts of things, we distort reality every moment. We imagine and ascribe things to ourselves that simply aren’t true. We do this because we are not even aware we are doing it, we are not conscious about our inner processes.
We always project an image that is much larger than who we think we are to the outside world. And in our inner world we feel that we are smaller than what we actually are capable of.
This is how the advertising industry thrived, it understood people are asleep, so all they needed to do was create an image and attach certain feelings that every human desires to those images, and it would create the demand, even if the demand did not exist previously.
These images through repetition become ingrained in people’s psyche. This is why so much money is spent on advertising, first you create the demand, then you supply it. Economics as we have seen is not a science like they lead us to believe. Adams Smith’s Invisible hand does not really exist in our world.
Your consciousness becomes centered around ideas and concepts that are not actually existing in reality. You will see that you actually have no control in your life. You are a victim of all the various moods, personality’s, and emotions that you carry within yourself, which are always constantly changing, because your images are always changing. This is why you can never be totally at ease, be relaxed in life. You are always being pulled in hundreds of directions and pursuing things which you believe will satisfy you, will give a sense of deep fulfillment.
Image has become everything. Very few know what it is to exist in restful awareness. Where your attention is pure, not projected onto any inner and outer object. Just being alert to your inner and outer worlds, without becoming lost in either one. Just being a vitally alive human being.
I know that if you understand what I am trying to convey, you may become defensive, you will not want to accept what I am saying, naturally this would be your reaction. Observe any reaction you have, do it without judging it, without evaluating, just like an impartial witness. You will see how your habits control your life. Are these reactions really you? People who really know you, know what buttons they can push to get the reaction they want from you.
We have invested years and tremendous energy into these images. Your image as a Doctor, as a father, as a celebrity, any identity which you believe yourself to be. All artificial constructs of our society and our minds, naturally, seeking fulfillment in something that was artificially made, will never truly satisfy you.
You’re a human, there’s no such thing as augmented humanity, this is just colorful trendy language, this world, this life, is already a fact, how could it be improved? Any apparent improvement arises from what already “is”. This universe is perfect, even with all it’s imperfections. It’s not a matter of augmenting, improving, but of discovering.
Every human should experience the uncontaminated consciousness that is their true identity. If you can experience what I am saying, even just a glimpse is enough, enough to get you to move inwards instead of seeking fulfillment in your external world.
If you can find your inner bliss, free of all images, then you will learn to exist in this world and enjoy everything it has to offer without becoming attached or possessed by those objects. People will no longer be able to manipulate you, sell you that pie in the sky. You will be grounded in reality, you will know yourself.
Buddha called it living the middle path, being mindfully aware. If you can be aware, be totally conscious with what you are doing, then technology will be rightfully used. We will come up with better uses for it, more important than just ways to entertain ourselves.
This is the beauty of our world, we have our bodies to enjoy this material world, and by getting in-tune with our inner worlds, have access to a spiritual life. We don’t need to pick one, we can live a life that is both spiritually and materially fulfilling.
I know that what I am saying or pointing to may sound abstract, mystical, unpractical, but you can see for yourself if you just try.
Every major religion has pointed to it, they said you need to experience a state of being that is free of thought, being “mindless”. But you will be trying to understand this with the mind, with logic, with your prejudices, with exactly the thing that keeps you from experiencing truth. This is why every great master and their teachings gets distorted.
Life’s deeper mysteries are extremely paradoxical, incredibly subtle. Jesus said to be still and know. We can’t be still, free of all images, free of thought, therefore we can’t know. He said that unless you can become innocent like children, you cannot enter my kingdom. He was just describing the innocent state of “no” mind. This does not mean to be in a vegetative state, just being highly alert, living fully in the moment. Using your innate intelligence and not your memories to respond to life’s situations.
In the Tao, they say the Tao that can be spoken about is not the eternal Tao, the ultimate reality. This is because with language, with logic you can’t possibly comprehend the incomprehensible, it can only be experienced. For people who have had spiritual or out of this world experiences, it can become frustrating relating and explaining to other people, because unless you have experienced you will not understand. We will simply write you off as being crazy.
The more deeply you get into meditation sooner or later you will come to see the gap between your thoughts. The gap is you, then with continued practice the gaps get longer. As the gaps get longer how you perceive the world will change. Then a silence will start to descend on you, a silence that is not forced, that happens on its own. Then living in the moment becomes more real, the past and future become less real. Right now the past and future are more real to you, that’s why living in the moment seems impossible, is a lot of work.
This silence dissolves your ego and all your worldly desires, it liberates you so you can enjoy the grandeur that is our planet. In the end the liberation we are seeking is liberation from ourselves, from the little voice inside us that never lets us rest.
Heaven and Hell is not a geographical location, it is a psychological phenomenon. Being solely identified to your mind, to your ego, you will be in hell, being unidentified you will be in heaven. Sure thoughts will remain (much less) but you are no longer overpowered by them, you don’t give them unnecessary power. Thinking is then used a beautiful technical instrument.
As the brilliant J. Krishnamurti says, when you go through your psychological transformation you will experience a timeless mind. Jesus says that when you enter his kingdom time shall be no more. When you become integrated and dissolve all your illusions inwardly, you will be an organic whole once again, allowing you to experience a completely silent mind. You will see that psychologically you have become timeless and you will understand all the ancient truths.
There are many paths to truth, to experience the state of “no” thought. You need to see what type of person you are. If you are a highly feeling type, emotional type, the path of devotion may be right for you. Through deep devotion, a genuine surrender, you can experience being ego-less, being pure awareness.
If you are more of an intellectual type, then mediation, techniques to make you more aware, and reading the ancient sacred texts to gain the proper understanding can be a great start.
Once you become the master of your mind you can use your ego as you please, as a tool it is also beautiful, we need a reference point to function in society, if someone asked me… “hey… who are you? And I said “infinite consciousness”, things could get a little weird.
So to “augment” humanity, all we need to do is be human, which is to become more conscious, to live more from the “Turiya” state. As we are now, we are far from an augmented humanity, no matter how much our technology advances.
I am working on an ebook about all the ways to live a mindful life, and about which techniques I use to grow my awareness. If this is of interest to you sign up for my newsletter and you will be first to know what it is finished.
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