Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Part 6 - God as Consciousness; God as Joy
Science, technology, education and travel have expanded our view of reality beyond our nuclear family to include not just our city, county, state, and nation but the planet Earth! Indeed, we gaze into the heavens above and consider the possibilities of intergalactic travel. Similarly, the great preceptors of humanity have taught that Consciousness is a core attribute of God, the underlying substrata of matter. As our cosmos and as space would seem to have no end, so God, as Consciousness itself, is Infinite. There is no realm limited to our imagination and thought, neither time nor space can constrain our idea-mind. By our attunement with God, we, then, too, potentially have no limit to the expansion of our awareness. Thus it may be that by admitting the independent existence of mind, consciousness, and feeling (happiness) one has articulated synonyms for “God.”
You see, the innate sense of satisfaction, fulfillment and well-being which result from an expansion of our awareness and sympathies to include others are indirect testimonies to the existence of consciousness independent of matter and, by extension, then of God. When we are angry, resentful, jealous or vindictive we are upset and unhappy. The opposite is self-evidently true. It may be true that happiness and contentment “enhance” our chances of survival (though hardly a truism) but such actions are not rooted in mere (or is it “sheer”) survival. Instead, it is the deep memory of our latent or potential for transcendent awareness. For sure, it is happiness that we seek, not only mere survival. Born from the beginning of time out of the womb of God’s bliss, we are endowed with the silent, knowing memory that happiness born of perpetual existence and self-awareness is our nature, our birthright, and our destiny.
It is simply that the drama of creation cannot perpetuate itself if all beings could achieve this final state all at once or too easily. The nature of a good drama is conflict and resolution, good and bad, birth and death. As our true nature is eternal, the impulse of the creation is to perpetuate itself. But the nature of movement is that it swings back and forth, in and out, up and down, hot and cold and, like a perpetual motion machine, it is caught in its own machinations of movement. This is the nature of creation for it is Spirit cloaked in matter. Matter cannot recognize its dilemma, only Spirit, immanent within, can cognize itself. When it withdraws back into it-Self, matter continues more or less untouched. For now, it is not important to argue or explore duality vs nonduality, for that is beyond our subject. Suffice to see that the qualities inherent in matter and creation tempt spirit-incarnate to look for itself (like the Musk deer) in all the wrong places where it cannot be found.
I say to the agnostic scientific mind, you can just as easily contemplate countless galaxies, the history of nations, the infinitesimal world of quantum physics as to contemplate where you will go on vacation. The vacation may come and go soon enough but the galaxies remain forever (well, at least for a long time). The vacation is an unmanifested idea that has captured your fancy, while the distant galaxies are real whether you think about them or not.
Which, then, is more real? We must conclude that reality is a matter of personal interest and awareness. I am not saying that reality depends on your awareness, so much, as your perception of reality depends upon your interest and awareness.
The world teacher, Paramhansa Yogananda, taught that the joy of meditation is proof of the existence of God. That isn’t literally or logically true but it is intuitively so. The actual inner experience of a state of joy that has no outward source in pleasure, material or egoic fulfillment of any kind, and that can be experienced even in the midst of trials, tribulations, and pain shows that there exists a level of consciousness unaffected by matter. With practice and depth of intuitive perception, this strata of unconditional joy is experienced as self-existent, self-aware, and self-satisfying (needing nothing beyond itself). You need not take this on belief. Be a metaphysical scientist, and prove this for yourself.
But, there’s a catch! I cannot give this to you, like writing a check. One can inspire you; teach you; give you suggestions and counsel, but you must seek and earn it yourself, for it is within you. You have to know about it and want it. Living next door to an excellent restaurant but not being hungry does not give you the pleasure of its fare. Nor is this joy merely a product of an overactive imagination. Anyone who has experienced it would scoff at the accusation that this inner joy was imaginary. Indeed, it can transform your life. That’s reality, so far as you are concerned. And it isn’t a merely subjective reality if it helps you cope creatively, efficiently, and successfully with day to life and life’s up and downs. Nor is it merely subjective if anyone else, making a similar sustained and intelligent effort, can have the same experience. Millions of people now meditate and millions testify as to the consistent results. What more is the scientific method?
Stay tuned for our last section, Part 7 – Meditation & Freedom