Have you ever been underwater? You know; scuba diving, snorkeling, just swimming or holding your breath with your head submerged? There are, of course, marvelous sights to see underwater but even with one's eyes shut, it feels really good. It is very quiet. The barrage of noise and sound essentially stops. Even the near constant, internal dialogue of thinking and conversing with one's self, gradually slows down. The essential, true self that lies dormant, beneath the meticulous, apparently seamless, socially fabricated and installed persona . . . that has become you . . . begins to engage and perceive the world in silence.
What if the familiar you with whom you identify and believe yourself to be, really is not you, at all? The you that has a name, a profession, drives a certain car, dresses in a certain style, is a man or a woman . . . again, not you. To be more precise, it is not the essential you. It is the identity or form that the social order, the system, with all of its inclusive, meticulous, thoroughness has systematically fabricated, detail by detail since the moment of your birth. This superbly crafted, ultimately acceptable, approved, agreeable persona, crowned with an ego centered mind, has, like a finely tailored set of clothes, been fitted over your true energetic self. So well fitted and so exclusively apparent, that you and all who regard you, believe that it is you . . . the exclusive and only you.
The cloak can be removed while we are alive. The peculiar thing about the socially installed persona is that, in order to exist, it must be continually reinforced and renewed. It, rather ingeniously contains, within itself, a mechanism that tirelessly renews it and insures its continuity.
At the core of the socially created you is the ego centered mind. The mind's engine of self-perpetuation is reason. The primary activities of reason are thinking and talking. Thinking and talking cannot occur without words. Words name all of the items in the acceptable world. It is brilliant. If there is no word for it; it doesn't exist. The reasonable mind creates, maintains and controls the contents of the world. If an item is acceptable, meaning that it does not threaten or question the system, it is accepted as valid, real, true. Closed, self-monitoring, vigilantly censoring what can be admitted and declared real and true, the world of most people is a limited fiction, created and scrupulously maintained by the reasonable, ego driven mind.
Can such a seamless and self- enclosed system be penetrated? It can be ramped down and relegated to a lesser, more pragmatic role by simply stopping the continuous process of renewal, reaffirmation and perpetuation. Reasoning, thinking, calculating, discussing, debating, naming, talking; these are the mechanisms that keep it all going. They are also its weak spot, its achilles heel.
When the relentless internal and external, mental noise is interrupted, something begins to happen. A shift of emphasis from thinking, talking and calculating to silence ushers in a change. Turning down the volume . . . shutting off the incessant internal dialogue, opens the door, uncloaking and enabling the underlying, essential, universally connected self to awaken, emerge and ultimately prevail. . . . . to become the navigator.
Silence, a break from mental noise, allows the world to seep into us, to fill us in a whole, unbroken sense. We have been impeccably trained to perceive the world through the filtering lens of thought, to break it down so that our words, categories, judgments and agreements can safely and neatly wrap around it. We desire, at all costs, to be surrounded by a world that can be explained and understood, that is familiar, user-friendly and of course, ultimately controllable. To accomplish this, we apply reason to break it down into bits and pieces that nicely fit the preexisting template of our understanding and expectations.
Items that do not match-up or fit are rejected, discarded to the junk pile of nonsense, fantasy and the irrational. There are no mysteries, no magic, no phenomena, actual or possible that do not have a reasonable explanation. It is basically a very good system. It is simple. Of course, it has nothing to do with the real world. When we take off those filtering spectacles and stop the internal dialogue, the real world streams in.
Portions of this blog text have been excerpted or paraphrased from Joseph Carlisi's book, "Playing God on the Eve of Extinction, which is available from Amazon.
His paintings may be viewed at: http://www.josephcarlisi.com.