Last glimpse of the setting sun by gracious (http://www.trekearth.com) Copyright: Ho Tony (gracious)
Preparing to meet with darkness, as the light of day slowly recedes into the gentle evening, I am almost imperceptibly sliding into melancholy, mixed with a mild sense of relief to be without obligation of any sort for the moment. Regardless of being destined to return to the obligations waiting in the wings, there is a subtle hint of delight descending upon me in this moment, as I sit under the ever-deepening purple panorama of the night sky. Having spent the past few hours reviewing my working files and research papers in a folder labeled, “Contemplating Consciousness,” upon reflection, I am frequently struck by the power of my own words to myself.
Reclining slightly in the long deck chair, almost floating with my entire body off the deck surface, I allow my thoughts to simmer, and do not struggle against them as they slip in and out as they will. The air is cool, although quite mild for March, and as I languish in the last few moments of light on this day, the music player on the table plays a classical selection from Vaughn Williams. As Sara Chang divinely glides her bow across her instrument, in contrast to the otherwise ambient silence and relative solitude of this moment, my mind fills with a cacophonous mix of emotional and intellectual turmoil. As the time in my “momentary paradise” dwindles slowly, and inexorably leads to the return of the status quo, I find myself more powerfully driven to explore the emotional upheaval that accompanies such moments.
Recently, the awareness of the existence of several important “kindred souls,” and the encounter with the disparate effects each can have within me, has prompted me to explore the nature of our connections to others. The undeniable correlations between the various circumstances and the spiritual nature of the experiences that brought them into my awareness, challenge the notion of our existence being purely material in nature. The connections in each case were immediate; there was a sense of welcoming and invitation at the outset, and it was clear that given sufficient opportunity, combined with a mutual recognition and acceptance of the other, that a profound and deeply satisfying interaction would be possible.
Our sense of having a “self,” our awareness of our existence as sentient beings, and our abilities to contemplate what could be, or might be; to venture within ourselves and find that we have company; to travel to distant locations in our hearts and minds; to imagine, create, and mentally project ourselves outward in both time and space; all of our experiences both real and imagined, all cry out for explanation, in ways that our human science has not been able to satisfactorily provide. Our brain provides the raw material for memory, emotion, and a foundation for perception and awareness, in a way that facilitates the opening of “potential.” It is this opening, which exists always in the realm of infinite possibility, that allows for the unfolding of subsequent space-time events.
Sometimes there are powerful instinctive drives pushing us toward one outcome, and formidable human longings or daunting weaknesses directing us toward another, and the ultimate outcome is not reliably predictable with humans. It is with considerable trepidation that through these drives and longings, we may anticipate the possibilities of a deeply personal experience of connection, as well as the loss or deprivation of those experiences. My heart and mind seem to fly swiftly toward such souls in the isolated landscape of the human spirit, and although I cannot say with absolute certainty exactly how such connections are even possible, my own spirit floats effortlessly into the night, toward such souls whose very existence stirs my heart to flight. Though distant in time and space, we breathe the same air and feel the same sun on our faces. The sigh of exhilaration which fills my lungs with air, and my spirit with joy, can also come with a price. The disruption in the fabric of the soul can carry with it an almost reflective pain upon separation, and it is this disruption which can confirm even more powerfully the existence of such connections.
The power of our awareness of our inner world can enhance our everyday experience of existence and drive it beyond anything that could be hoped for without such awareness, and it makes the study of consciousness all the more compelling.