On Consciousness

'Learning how to learn' involves seeing to begin with that there are real experiences and then there are words and concepts. You can talk about mind or you can experience it. If you experience it, you may speak from experience, but if you don't experience it, all you have is words, like the shadows on Plato's cave wall.
So, recall Wilber's nondualism, and Krishnamurti's awakening of intelligence. See, directly, in front of you, Rinzai's solitary shining brightness, the light of consciousness: that is Mind. As soon as you begin to chop up immediate experience into concepts, into subject, object, observer and observed, beholder and beheld, this wholeness of mind is lost; he who knows cannot speak, he who speaks cannot know, the two states are exclusive, they must be transcended, to become the knower who does not know, and the speaker who does not speak. I know, but don't know that I know; speak but don't know what I am saying, the words are darts of light, scribbled squiggles from an airy hand that don't really reflect what I am experiencing, like the painted ocean which isn't a bit wet. Only my faith (which is knowledge that I do not know) that this ocean is within you emboldens me to speak at all.
When the children's mother calls for the young ones to leave the sandbox to return home for the evening meal, the children drop their games instantly and forget them entirely. Moments before they may have been strenuously arguing, empassioned about some road or tunnel which trespasses on their castle grounds, but all is left behind without a thought when it is time to go. Death is this way, or sleep, or samadhi (deep meditation); all our cares vanish, meaningless, things once seemingly so important. If we can penetrate to the core of life, to this primordial consciousness which hasn't chopped everything into rigid and instinctive categories (food, friends, foes, family, etc), then we are at the threshhold of true living, and clear seeing, 'with the simple stature of a child.'
This consciousness is never far from you, it is the base consciousness of every experience. As we focus on the philosophy and psychology and biology of consciousness and spirituality, try at all times to remember that direct seeing is the only real learning. Everything else we study is solely designed to remove prejudices and eliminate confusion, to see how empty all of our ideas are so we may leam to trust the support of the ocean around us.
It's a matter of being present when you think, not of trying to stop yourself from thinking, just as it involves not being attached to feelings rather than attempting to suppress feelings. Enlightened people are very passionate (and also think a lot); because they are not always restraining themselves, they let themselves go. They trust their being to organize itself, to learn naturally with all the rich resonance of immediate experience, and without the dry and boring rote learning of ancient lessons.
This 'being present' is called 'mindfulness' by Buddhists, and they practice meditation to attain it. Unfortunately for most of them, this 'meditation' becomes an end in itself, something to 'practice.' But it is mindfulness they should practice, not meditation, which is just a technique, not a 'practice.'
Between the wordless essential world and everyday reality is the instinctive programming, the world of archetypes. We can peer into the world of archetypes and determine our fate, and adjust to it. This is the world of dreams, of Alice Underground, the sweet space when we are drifting off far enough into sleep for all our cares to lift and still are conscious, self-aware. These dreams can give us insight, predict the future, provide accurate judgments, and generally enable us to walk that razor's edge between being and consciousness, dim-witted fools though we may be.
This is the real beginning. Of teaching you how to read, how to read reality, to see the archetypical building blocks with which you construct your world, "the" world. This involves using images which exist at a deeper level than words; where words describe (and can lie), archetypes construct the reality we see, and 'seeing is believing.' This reality can be deconstructed as well, and reassembled (closer to the Heart's Desire, of course).
The first step is through the gates of heaven, the Masculine and the Feminine principles, Heaven and Earth, the Creative and the Receptive, Consciousness and Being. Can you see how all the world is compounded of these opposites, like black and white pictures gain all their significance from contrasts?
Being conscious is itself a sacrifice (hex 17 line 3). Knowing that indulging the ego is futile as a way of achieving happiness is a sacrifice. Love is a sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice that is no sacrifice at all.
Terry Murphy