By Pradip Mukherji
Moving up the five levels of consciousness in the waking state we realize that nothing ever happened. This world is just a projection of the Universal Mind. But in the emptiness and meaninglessness of life we experience fulfillment and wholeness
When, I first heard the concept ‘Life is empty and meaningless’, I exclaimed: ‘Is that really so?’ This must be the conclusion of somebody who has never romanced life—had no joy, thrill or excitement.
Destiny, however, kept repeatedly thrusting the same concept in my face. Until I wondered, God, how can this be? Then, understanding dawned.
The concept says: ‘Life is’ not ‘My life is’. My life is definitely full of meaning, purpose, ambition, goals, freedom, responsibilities, family, society and what not. But what’s the difference between ‘Life is’ and ‘My life is’? How can life be if I’m not around?
And then came the understanding of the five levels of consciousness in the waking state. You are responsible is the first level of consciousness, where the individual holds others responsible for everything in life. Accusingly, his fingers are always pointing outwards, fixing blame, complaining. He’s a perpetual victim and believes in concepts like ‘survival of the fittest’, ‘there isn’t enough for all of us’, ‘life is a struggle’, and ‘everything is fair in love and war’.
He’s perennially at war with the world, trying to prove how great he is. He is into solving problems and gloating about his achievements. In victory, he has a superiority complex; in defeat, an inferiority complex. He remains a victim even in victory for, despite applause from the outside world, in his loneliness he experiences unworthiness. Most of humanity is at this stage. A poet says this is a society of dead people floating around. Why dead? Because they are so low in consciousness that they’re sleepwalking, unaware that their life is but an effect of stimulus and response. The individual is oblivious of his programing—partly genetic (physical) and partly environmental (mental)—that was done by the age of five and over which he had no choice.
In his insecurity, he’s constantly creating islands of security through knowledge, money, status, skills and relationships. He lives a life of survival and suffers from the ‘pressure cooker’ syndrome. The sages of yore recognized these dangers, so every culture provided release mechanisms through social, religious or cultural activities where people congregated and released pent-up emotions. Emotions are nothing but e-motion, that is, energy in motion. When the flow of energy is blocked by negative feelings, they create stress. This suppressed stress pops up in another area, at another time, in a distorted way, creating illness.
Life in this state of consciousness is a compensation game—compensating for lack of love, lack of worthiness, lack of self-confidence. Rooted in the ‘others are responsible’ mindset, the person attempts to ‘rearrange’ the outer world, thinking that this will make him safe, secure and lovable. Totally unconscious, he does not realize the futility of the game.
The second level of consciousness is: We are responsible. The individual understands and acknowledges that he has also been contributing to events around him. He accepts that the finger pointing outwards accusing others also means that three fingers were pointing towards him. Accepting his role in the state of affairs, he begins forgiving people for what they are and what they have done. He becomes more accommodative, lenient and compassionate. The journey from outside to inside has begun.
He becomes aware of his conditioning, realizing he was operating on autopilot. For the first time he’s aware of choice as choice per se, not an impulse of personality. Some sense of freedom dawns and he allows others freedom. He recognizes that his love had been conditional, manipulative and had more to do with survival, sex and strength than with the heart. He’s now willing to compromise, adjust, let go in relationships as well as in life. He is less antagonistic and more receptive to life. And just being in this positive frame of mind, miracles that he had least expected start happening in his life.
As he continues to dwell in the consciousness of ‘we are responsible’, there comes an urge to know—to what extent am I responsible? As the enquiry continues, he realizes that our experiences are shaped by our perceptions, the way we see and understand things and our understanding is shaped by our beliefs, ideals, judgments, values, superstitions—in short, our conditioning.
As the realization deepens, the third level of consciousness arises: I am responsible. He realizes that the outside world is an ‘occurring’ one. Three people have three different reactions ranging from ‘in favor’, ‘against’ to ‘indifferent’ or a combination of these three. The thought arises that our life is not about unfolding events, but about our relationship with events that shapes subsequent events. The same event can be perceived as an opportunity or a threat depending on our viewpoint. And this viewpoint depends on our conditioning.
One is now aware that the world around, the life one is living, is a function of one’s perceptions and has nothing to do with others. In the second level, the stiffness of the finger pointing outwards holding others responsible had loosened. In the third level, the outstretched hand loosens and drops. One becomes aware that the outside world is only a mirror reflecting one’s conditioning. If one doesn’t like the reflection, one need not change the mirror, but simply what’s being reflected.
But how does one change what’s reflected—one’s conditioning? This is a question that’s being explored for millennia. Religion explored it at the emotional level, psychologists at the mind level, biologists through genes and New Agers through the influence of conditioning at the energy level.
The attempt at each level is to replace the undesirable with the desirable, a failure with success, a breakdown with a breakthrough, unloveableness with lovability. The attempt is for transformation from the inside, not the outside.
The shift is impacted by raising the level of awareness about what’s happening, rather than focusing on interpretations. And raising the level of understanding about the nature of conditioning and how it binds an individual. Earlier slave to unconscious reaction, the individual now lives life through conscious choice. He chooses not to allow the past to intrude into the present. All transformation workshops are designed around the fundamental distinction of choice. One chooses love, not fear, freedom, not bondage.
Choosing to bring one’s life in order, the world around also falls into place.
Then one stumbles into the query: Who am I? A deeper level of enquiry transcends the personality and settles on the body and mind. Body is the gross mind and mind is the subtle body and both are conditioned genetically and environmentally. Over in childhood, the conditioning is thereafter reinforced with age. One realizes that thoughts are not one’s own, that they arise in a random, unpredictable, uncontrollable pattern. They do not even arise in the brain, which is mere hardware, but through some unseen power creating electrical impulses that trigger the neurons, which activate our muscles into action.
What one considers ‘his will’ is only a thought and so the arising and sustaining of ‘his will’ is unpredictable—the effect of his conditioning and circumstances which are beyond his control. One realizes that the moment-by-moment unfolding of events in one’s life is also unpredictable, and the future only reveals itself in the moment.
The new poser: ‘If I had no say in my conditioning, in the arising of my thoughts and no say in the unfolding of events in my life, if all I am is a programmed organism with no will, no choice of my own, just a mere puppet, how can I be held responsible for anything in life?’
One has now entered the fourth level of consciousness: Nobody is responsible. Everything is Divine Will and whether one accepts or rejects this concept is also the will of Consciousness. One realizes that the individual is one of the entities amongst billions from a species called humanity and there are millions of other species cohabiting the earth. The Source, Consciousness, God, Universal Energy or whatever it is called is playing this game—this Lila or Cosmic Dance—according to its own agenda. The individual entities are mere pawns on the chessboard called existence.
The individual now realizes there is ‘no free choice’—which was the foundation of the third level of consciousness. How can a puppet have a choice? Up to the third level there is ‘ego’, which is a separation from the Source. In that separation, lacking in personal recognition, the ego creates the personality and within the illusions of that creation, the personality assumes: ‘I have a choice.’
In that choice arise personal wants, expectations, agendas and personal doership giving rise to pride in accomplishment or guilt and frustration in failure.
In the fourth level of consciousness, in accomplishment there is no aggression to stamp one’s personal authority on an event, and in failure there is no escapism through blame or vanity. Here, the individual is not responsible—there’s just no one left to be responsible. All events become a happening through and around an individual. The individual becomes a ‘witness’ of the events in the outer world and the occurrence of thoughts, emotions and sensations in the inner world, witnessing the actions automatically happening through the mind-body organism.
Manifestation is the spontaneous arising of two interconnected opposites from the same Source. Therefore, there cannot be a saint without a sinner, no beauty without ugliness, no good without bad, no light without dark. Up to the third level of consciousness, the individual believes he has a choice. In the fourth level, he realizes that the moment you chose beauty, you’ve also chosen ugliness and the moment you deny ugliness, you also deny beauty because both are interconnected opposites. It’s just that one is in the foreground and the other in the background, awaiting an opportunity to come to the forefront.
Now there’s a realization that ‘nothing happens unless it is the Will of God’. One becomes a spectator of happenings. There is also the realization that the personality is merely an illusion—and an illusion can never know the Source. Ram can never know God, the personality can never be enlightened, the ego can never be at peace. The ego is the illusion that there is a thinker, a doer, a seeker.
The Universal Truth is ‘I Am’. In meditation, one experiences I Am as ‘the presence’, ‘the consciousness’, which makes one conscious of one’s presence. One can deny the existence of God, but nobody can deny he exists. This awareness of existence, not the personal presence of I Am Ram, but just the existence of presence, the impersonal I Am is the only truth. Up to the third level of consciousness, one says ‘I Am Ram’, and that’s when the problem arises. Ram says I like the saint, not the criminal. I want the beautiful, not the ugly. Ram chooses.
God has created ego or separation through Maya or Divine Hypnosis. The basis of Maya is everybody thinks ‘he’ is separate and all actions are ‘his’ actions. Maya means false identification with the body-mind organism as a separate individual. Unhappiness arises in trying to control our ego. When we accept the ego and surrender ourselves to the Source that created the ego, we surrender the ego itself.
When one accepts that no individual does anything, that actions happen through each body-mind organism according to the way it is programmed by God, then four beautiful things happen: no guilt, no pride, no hate, no envy. Life becomes simple. But even this acceptance, this surrender is not in our control and will happen only when God wills it.
Consciousness in rest is the Source or the Unmanifest. Consciousness in movement is the Manifest of I Am. The I Am is expressed through billions of mind-body organisms according to the script, gives appropriate thoughts and unfolds the events in line with the script and brings forth the reactions which becomes the cause for the script moving into the next frame.
In time, I Am becomes I Am Ram. A separation from the personal to the impersonal happens, ego or mind-intellect is born and claims personal ownership of all thoughts, desires and actions.
Ram says: ‘My thoughts, my desires, my actions.’ This is Lila—the movement of the Unmanifest to Manifest to Personality—held in place by Maya or Divine Hypnosis and sustained by Duality, the spontaneous arising of two interconnected opposites. When there is no ego, the I Am shines forth through a body-mind organism without personal identification. When the body-mind organism dies, I Am continues as I Am and expresses itself through another mind-body organism.
The final understanding is acceptance, that nothing is in one’s control and there is truly no Ram, that Ram is only an idea, a construct, a concept held in place by personal doership and ownership. As the understanding deepens, one rests more and more in the impersonal, in the presence that one is, in the silence and stillness. Life then becomes a happening, not given to goals and ambitions, to desires and aversions, but living in the moment, responding to the unfolding events spontaneously according to Divine Will.
With the annihilation of the ego, the separation, the being has transcended the first illusion of Ram or the personality. But the world is still around and he questions the validity of existence, as to how real the manifest world is, the world that he is experiencing in the waking state.
The enquiry takes him to another world, the dream world. He notices that the dream world is not created out of any building blocks, but is created instantaneously, is as authentic and solid as the real world and ceases to exist when consciousness shifts to the waking state. The two worlds differ in that in the dream world time and space are not linear, allowing one to switch from one event to another instantly. Besides, we don’t enter the dream world exactly where we left it, but we enter the real world waking up exactly where we went to sleep. The dream world has no continuity whereas the waking world does because time and space are linear here.
One intuitively understands that the dream world was only a projection of the mind, that the world that got created was a virtual world, created instantaneously out of nothing and that actually, nothing ever happened. One now questions the validity of the waking or the real world, reasoning that this world may be a projection of the Universal Mind creating a public dream as against the private dream created by the individual mind.
One is now on the threshold of the fifth level: Nothing ever happened. It is all a dream, a universal dream. This universal dream is Maya or Divine Hypnosis that has us all spellbound into thinking that all that we see in the waking state is real. Just as a master hypnotist can make a group of people believe whatever he suggests, so can the Divine Hypnotist have us believe that the waking world is real, just like a movie that we see in the theater appears to be real.
The shadow is real because it can be seen. It is unreal because it has no independent existence. The manifestation is real because it can be observed. It is unreal because it has no independent existence of its own. It is merely a reflection of the Consciousness within itself. In this level the understanding is that Consciousness is all there is. Consciousness has scripted the movie, produced the movie, is playing all the characters, is witnessing and experiencing the movie and the movie is happening on the screen of Consciousness.
This movie is already made, is already there, already complete for all time and cannot be changed. It is only unfolding frame by frame on the screen of time and space. If your role in the movie is to think ‘I have free choice’ then so shall it be. If your role is that of a ‘protector’ or a ‘serial killer’, then so shall it be. And if your role is to accept that ‘I am only a mind-body organism programmed and destined with no free choice or will and that everything is God’s will’, then so shall it be. The only thing is that a character who has realized he’s only a character does not care any more for enlightenment or freedom.
In the fourth and fifth levels of consciousness, life has no purpose, no goals, no ambitions, no agenda, nothing to accomplish, nowhere to reach, nothing to become. Life is lived in the now, in the moment, spontaneously, in full acceptance.
Life becomes empty and meaningless. In this emptiness one experiences fulfillment, in the meaninglessness one experiences wholeness. This article is a conceptual presentation. Do not accept it, do not reject it. Investigate and enquire how valid it is. And question: does it have the ring of truth?
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