By Pradip Mukherji July 2001 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 ha
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