Consciousness

Consciousness does not contain a complete copy of the whole human organism. At most consciousness reflects only a muddy outline of the whole, or a tiny piece in detail. How then could consciousness ever be in control?

Evil, no-evil

Night swallows day,
Sight fails in the inky shroud of black,
Knowledge withers and logic stumbles,
Imagination is tunneled down negative spirals;
A cave full of shadows,
Nothing is real but everything is a threat,
Leaking out on a world turned grey,
The core is poisoned,
The well springs empty,
Coughing, spluttering the seeker is lost,
A deep marsh of melancholy
For boots over-brimming with bitterness,
Hands seek to clutch and fists to lash
At the cruelty of life,
Suffocation – no air to breathe,
No possibilities in a world shrunk to a point.
Then comes the lightning strike-
Instant illumination!
If all is lost then only growth remains,
A new horizon spreading wings by the second,
Through parting clouds the moon shines bright,
A mirror to the soul long lost but un-tattered,
Sails filling up with sudden hope,
Lungs that breathe again like billows to the wind,
Hands no longer grasping round their own throat,
The noose falls away,
Evil recedes,
Thought and emotion tip back the scales of balance,
Imagination is freed and fingers stroke through long grass,
The mountain air clears the fog of war,
Above the stars, oh so many stars,
The spiral path loops ever upwards,
Day is born.
 
 
 

Western thought divides night from day, beautiful from ugly and good from evil. Evil is assigned to the dark; to that which we reject in society and ourselves. We lock away in jail those we judge to be evil, and lock away in our unconscious those parts of ourselves we are ashamed of. But any process of growth must shine the light of awareness into every dark nook and cranny, every shadowed corner full of the pale shapes of our shame and inadequacy. Many people spend their life trying to cover this up, to strengthen the mask, but always their nemesis is there to undo with wrong all they do with right.

In the East of the past evil was more rationally looked at as faulty thinking. This compassionate view saw the criminal as someone whose path through life has not taught him the lessons he needed to be good. His role models were men who tried to survive in any way they could, and so such a man he also became. The desperate, the weak, the afraid will always lash out. In this way we are no different from the dog that has been mistreated and mistrained by its owner. Chained to a lonely corner without discipline, without exercise, without love, it barks and snaps at any and all who pass by.

This does not mean we should open the prisons, that we should allow the street thug to attack us with impunity. To apply what we have learned about evil on others would be like the man who cast the stone before first freeing himself of sin. We must look within to explore the dark depths of our own minds, to bring light to the evil, the faulty thinking in ourselves. This is the only path that leads to stability, to strength, to a way of life that takes from its follower any need to lash out to prove himself to others. To fix the world, we must fix ourselves.

DOUBT

What a blow it is,
To have all you think you are –
Taken in an instant,
Those nurtured gifts,
That guarded weakness,
Cherished place in future’s isle
Snatched away by the hand of doubt,
No quick path’s to be found,
Only the sound of clumping boots in the mud
Slowly, carefully picking cockles of future worth,
Before the rising of the tide.
 
 
 
 
 
 
If a moment ago I was good,
Then now I stand on the shoulders of a giant,
That he never existed is irrelevant,
So long as I can leap to surer ground,
If his memory’s besmirched by mud and doubt
So be it,
The next standing stone rises up,
Even if I cannot see it,
Intuitions breath fills my sails,
Yet now I know not to worship her,
The wind is just the wind,
Of no more use alone than the planks of wood beneath my toes,
The creaking ropes or sweating arms of sailors,
Transporting this fool to a land,
Where he will no longer be a fool,
But see a hole in the mirror,
Through which the whole world makes sense,
And his own place in it
Is irrelevant, no – not irrelevant,
Just a ship at sea,
Much smaller is the ship but no less part
Of the sea.
 

On another matter completely…To those of you who read and enjoyed my post Rebirth, which was written for Elli’s competition, please follow the link below:

http://elliwrites.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/rebirth-april-contest-entry/

And vote by clicking on the number of stars you think it deserves. Many Thanks!

The Well of meaning

A building impatience,

Like a brook trembling free

Over boulders and stones,

Ever seeking a new path,

If not directed, its rage tempered

By strong banks,

It will dissipate itself over the landscape

Of possibility,

An endless bifurcation of chaotic meanderings,

An adventure of pure chance,

Great in extent,

But not deep enough to trouble

Even the sole of a shoe,

Let alone the soul of man,

Universal truths generalised to mere banalities,

Truisms exchanged like pleasantries,

What is needed is the deep well of meaning,

Mysterious in its dark depths,

Plumbed by an ever spreading light of consciousness,

Which grows wide and diffuse in its search,

And then sharp on features

Looming in the void,

Art on cave walls,

Ancient beasts once more freed to charge,

A wilderness unchained,

And let loose upon this tame world,

Changing all,

Or changing just one thing-

Profoundly

Living-Dying

Ever new and ever bitter,
Is the cut of mortal acceptance,
live like you were dying (Tim McGraw)
Not only are we  bound to die-
But we are already dead.
The narrowest of edges is our path,
A fate permitting no wavering,
Save the plunge into madness,
That steals consciousness and self-knowledge:
The painful cut of the blade is forgotten,
But not the finality of its end.
*
Such is the fate of the mind,
That lingers on ends and beginnings,
Never on the eternity in-between.
Let me be an inbetweener,
No longer intoxicated by scent of spring,
Nor the sweet decay of autumn leaves,
But ever basking in the summer sun,
Till winter’s morning steals frozen breath,
From lungs that never knew their end.
*
We are not living,
We are not dying,
We are living-dying.

The Red Fox Runs…

 

The light that shines too bright is no light at all,
Harsh, controlling, knife to the eyes that would see;
Negative, overexposed, a tyrant,
But deep in the wood a red fox runs,
Evading stumbling hunters
Who would rend it, shoot it,
Hang its dead carcass on the wall.
But ever its secret wisdom will evade them,
Down the rabbit hole to the deepest place,
Until the hunters woo their quarry he shall not be caught,
They must seek the fox within,
Now they hunt themselves.

 

Modes of thought

Image via Wikipedia

A writer quickly learns that he must think in a new way: a way that prioritises creativity at the expense of accuracy and technical completeness. When you are learning a new skill it seems obvious that you must improve your technical knowledge. But if continued ad infinitum this leads to a kind of paralysis.

Imagine that you are a general the night before an important battle. It is essential that you gain as much information as possible about the enemy – his position and weaponry, his likely strategy given the lay of the land between you, the weather forecast, the lines of supply you might cut, your own logistics requiring protection. As the battle begins this information demand goes into overload. The changing conditions mean that all information you gathered the day before is now out-of-date and needs constant refreshing. As the battle evolves some information becomes critical and other information becomes superfluous, distracting even.

We can extend this idea to life in general – how often do we get trapped in the past, or see others living as if nothing had changed in the last ten years? We are constantly in a mismatch between our expectations and reality, and this can be the cause of a great deal of unhappiness.

The problem is that there is too much information for the conscious mind to compute. However it has been shown that the unconscious part is far better at processing large amounts of information and coming up with the answer required. But even this has limits.

Consider the magic number seven. Our telephone landlines were traditionally only 6 or 7 numbers because any more than 7 and the mind has trouble remembering the digits. The point is that it is essential not to overburden the mind with too much information at one time.

For this reason, when Word highlights an error as I type I do my level best not to go back and correct it. If I did that my train of thought would be broken, and the destination that I have in mind (0f which I am largely unaware of), would be lost. This is very difficult, but the mode of thought I am trying to access operates only at high speed. Thinking out each word before you write it will never produce the creativity I am talking about. This is a creativity not owned by you or me: small cogs in the great machinery of the world, but is a creative mode of thinking that plugs into the whole world at once. It simultaneously knows the weather and the lay of the land between your army at that of your enemy. It produces what is needed at the time. Sometimes even it may be overwhelmed, then it is the job of consciousness to decide what information to look at; what to feed unconsciousness. Then this unconscious, non-personal way of thinking can learn to do better next time.

You will not see this at work as it happens, but you can be witness to the results and undeniably it does work. Its mode of thinking is a brilliant addition to the slower learning mode. Both are needed – for when I check this though I know my writing will be full of errors. But I also know it will contain ideas I didn’t know I had.

It took only about six or seven minutes to write the basic outline of this piece, and well over half and hour to edit it. This is the proper balance of time between the two phases. It is in the first phase that all the magic happens.

Applied to life as a whole, using this way of thinking can help you stay closer to the calm at the centre of the storm that is life, and keep a little more in touch with how things really are. Some loss of control must be acknowledged in the exact manner of expression and a technical minutia, for it is no longer the little ‘you’ that is doing all the thinking and making the decisions. But then it never really was, was it?

Letting go of our imagined control over the massive number of elements that make up the present moment is, in my view, one of the key requirements for a happier life. It certainly makes for better writing.

(C) Copyright Mark B Williams 2014
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