a reply to: FlyInTheOintment
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to write the OP. I found it to be an interesting read.
A few things come to mind and I'd like to share my thoughts with you if I may.
I'd like to make it clear though before I do that my thoughts are not intended to be dismissive or disrespectful. I do not claim that my view is right
and yours is wrong. I don't believe any one person can claim to be 'right'. I don't even believe necessarily that there is
an objective 'right'
or 'wrong', only ones perspective.
So, that being said, I'll get the less interesting point out of the way;
You say you have been in chronic pain for a long time. I am curious if this was caused by a single traumatic event or whether it is a result of an
underlying health condition?
It is well researched and understood that individuals who have suffered or do suffer trauma, chronic pain etc. can disassociate from themselves in
order to cope with their distressing experiences. Often this can take the form of perceived experiences of being someone else, being taken over,
travelling outside the body, hallucinations and delusions (for wont of less provocative terms) and a whole host of other unusual experiences.
Whilst I am not simply dismissing your experiences (they are very real to you of course, regardless of whether they are 'objectively real' - a term
which raises many more questions than it does provide answers) I am inclined to explore the possibility that your experiences are a kind of naturally
developing coping mechanism resulting from prolonged exposure to trauma and distress. Forgive the personal question and, of course, you are not
obliged to answer but, have you or do you suffer from any form of mental health problem (perhaps depression/anxiety or even psychosis, though I'm
inclined to guess at the former, not the latter).
Just because we KNOW something, FEEL something or THINK something (or, in fact, all three; which creates an enormously powerful experience) does not
make it true.
My second thought, which is less mundane perhaps, is in relation to perception, consciousness and awareness and is something you will likely be well
acquainted with due to your interest in taoism.
You talk about becoming aware of certain information without knowing how you might have come about it. The suggestion is that you somehow managed to
draw on experiences from a past life or from elsewhere.
The thing is, so-called 'human consciousness' at it's most basic is not the normal everyday consciousness that we experience or are generally aware
Our normal everyday consciousness functions as a kind of spotlight that we shine on whatever it is we are engaging with (either in the physical world
or the imagined world of thoughts, memories etc).
This spotlight is an enormously useful tool that has enabled us as a species to perform incredible feats, has led to all the wonderful (and less
wonderful) developments of the modern age, has enabled us to communicate in great detail with one another and to make sense of the word around us.
However, it comes at a price; we use this spotlight as a kind of a metaphorical knife; slicing the world into manageable chunks in order to order,
categorise, examine and communicate the world around us.
Because we use this tool all day every day we have become identified with this form of consciousness and have come to believe that that is who we are.
This is further compounded by the development of the ego (another slice if you like, another useful tool for interacting with the world) and our
identifying with this as the self.
The spotlight, the ego, the slicing up of the world leads to a system of symbols, representing the world around us. But these symbols are not the
world around us, they are representations. The world is not made up of pieces or things.
Now, the spotlight functions by, necessarily, largely ignoring
the world around is.
However, there is a 'layer' of consciousness beyond the spotlight that exists (you might call it higher, you might call it deeper, I prefer to call it
) and that can be termed the floodlight consciousness.
The floodlight is the most fundamental consciousness. It is who we truly are. It is the state in which we realise that we are not "me" or "I",
separate from the rest of the world. That the notion of "I" is simply another slice, another function of the spotlight.
The floodlight consciousness is aware of all things at all times. This is why we can be aware of an object travelling towards us and take action to
avoid it, even though we do not necessarily "see" it coming. It is also the reason we can "intuit" things; an experience which our everyday
consciousness might see as inexplicable or even mystical in some way. In reality, the fundamental consciousness is aware of ALL the data we are
constantly receiving, the spotlight (ego and all that jazz) simply filters the vast majority of that information without our awareness and distils it
down to a, radically oversimplified, picture of the world.
This is how I believe that it may be possible to "know things" without really knowing how you know.
Our fundamental self (all that there is) is fully aware, on some level, of all the information that there is (or was, or will be). However, to be
completely in the state of the fundamental consciousness would render us unable to function as a 'normal' human being in society. Hence, we have the
ego and the associated spotlight. The problem is, we have forgotten that that is not us, we have become bewitched by the tool, we have deceived
Incidentally, when people talk about trying to attain that kind of floodlight/fundamental consciousness (Christ consciousness, enlightenment or
whatever you'd like to call it) they are basically heading in the wrong direction.
There is nothing to attain because we are already fundamentally it
. Attempting to ATTAIN something, taking any ACTION, engaging in any
PRACTICE, simply takes you further and further away from your intended goal. In fact, as long as you still consider it a "goal" then you will never
"get there". The fact is, we have never left.
The key is to get RID of something... to pull the veil from over your eyes.. to realise that, no matter what you do, no matter what you DON'T do, it
makes no difference.
Whilst life can be hard, living is effortless.