Wholeness, Power, Being, Truth, and Freedom (7.11.12)
Although he had a favorable impression, he was left with ambivalence about "the complete detachment required and the lack of room for a deeper spiritual understanding beyond reduction of the worldly experience to neutral throbs and tingles in the body." As such, "it didn't take long for me to realize that a serious Buddhist practice wasn't for me, although it is comforting to know that such a path is there."
"My question remains, however, how does one access the ever fine line between faith and complacency?"
I'm not sure if I should dodge this question head on, or dance around it in a more oblique manner. I think the latter. What I'll do is just plant the question in the old unconscious mind, then go about writing this post in the usual leisurely way, and hope that the answers somehow get wefted into my warped response.
Because I've found that that's how life works. The thing is, you can do it in a consciously unconscious way, or in an unconsciously unconscious way, but in either case, you are going to harness primordial powers that are beyond the individual. Unfortunately, this can sound rather new-agey, but it really comes down to the application of will, only with one's totality -- i.e., "all thy mind, heart, and strength," instead of just with one's surface ego.
To a certain extent it's a catch 22, since this involves "willing with one's totality," when the ability to do so would, in a sense, represent the final end of the spiritual ascent -- which is to say, to be one, or whole, with no subterranean crosscurrents and mind parasites with agendas of their own: if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
Again, people denigrate the ego, even though having a coherent and stable ego represents a significant achievement for most people. This is why in the Coonifesto I noted that most regular folkers are (•••), not (•). To live as (•••) means that one's I is not single, and that one will necessarily be at cross-purposes with oneself and thereby dissipate one's power.
Furthermore, there is no way to "cure" this fragmented condition "from the bottom up," being that the "bottom" is fragmentation as such, while the "top" is where the Oneness abides. We want to be organized "from the top down," which is where aspiration, rejection, and surrender come in, as discussed in yesterday's post. To achieve this would be to live in conformity with the divine will, or to see "thy will be done on earth (i.e, at the bottom) as it is in heaven (at the top)."
All spiritual paths involve 1) doctrine, and 2) method, AKA "reality and how to know it" (or, to be perfectly accurate, how to be it, or to combine Truth and Being -- which can only be separated in the human mind anyway). In Raccoon parlance, we say that it comes down to the combination of metaphysical know-how with spiritual be-who, but both are necessary to avoid error on the one hand, and hypocrisy or mere barren intellectualism on the other. The point is, we need to activate the Truth in order to make it efficacious in our lives, or to "set us free."
Oh yes. I should always emphasize that I'm not pretending to be some kind of guru here, only describing how it works for me. But at the same time, I'm always trying to figure out the "general principles" that seem to apply to all cases, that is, the "deep structure" of spiritual growth. Why do I do this? I don't know. I guess I'm just built this way. All I know is that spiritual growth is no less real than physical or psychological growth. We know a lot about the former, and quite a bit about the latter (at least if we ignore academic psychology), so there is no fundamental reason why we can't understand the dynamics of spiritual growth.
Again, this is what was so liberating for me when I discovered the works of Bion back in 1985, to be exact. Let's reminisce a little bit.... I had just started my Ph.D program in the fall of 1983, so this would be about a year and a-half later. The first thing you notice about psychology is that, unlike, say, biology or physics, there is no organizing paradigm to make sense of it all. And to say that there is no organizing paradigm amounts to the same thing as saying that the science is in a primitive state. It would be as if physicists had no basic agreements, and just came up with hundreds of ad hoc theories to explain the appearances of things.
Science is intrinsically spiritual, being that it too involves the reduction of multiplicity to unity. I don't want to get too sidetracked here, but the problem is, they do this "within" their own narrow discipline, but not across disciplines, which is why there is no way, for example, for science to ever unify matter and life, or life and mind, or mind and spirit. This is where the Raccoon project comes in, as we can mischievously scamper across disciplines under cover of darkness (our "gnocturnal O-mission"), unlike the tenured, who work only "by day," if you catch my drift.
So the first thing I noticed about psychology was that it was clearly in a "pre-paradigmatic" state, with no one agreeing upon the fundamentals, let alone the details. (This, by the way, is one of the reasons leftists have been able to come in and take over the field; the absence of a paradigm is like an invitation to deconstruction, since there is no stable "construction" to begin with. The less coherent the paradigm, the more leftists are able to take over the discipline with "feelings" instead of proper thought.)
Anyway, Bion noticed the same problem back in the 1950s. Even in psychoanalysis -- which is a subspecialty of a specialty -- there were dozens of sub-subspecialties, i.e., various competing theories not only trying to account for the same phenomena, but creating phenomena of their own, which is what a theoretical paradigm -- good or bad -- does. In other words, to a large extent, percept follows concept; or to put it in the colloquial, "you see what you believe." Combine this with "never trust a fact without a good theory to support it," and you have a situation in which people essentially live in their own private idaho.
Long story short, that's why Bion felt it necessary to develop an abstract system of symbols, or "empty categories," to apply to the subjective mindscape and to bring unity to an otherwise hopelessly fragmented field. Being that no one else was apparently going to do it, I merely adopted the same approach to the spiritual dimension. After all, we have Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc., all claiming to have adequate maps of the spiritual dimension, plus efficacious means with which to get there. They can't all be right... unless...
So you see, the problem again comes down to the relationship between language and spirit. I won't even waste my time with someone who argues that spirit is "not real," for they are simply making an honest confession about themselves, which is why the Raccoon says, "let the dead bury the tenured," and "let Ray pleasure himself blind with his infertile nOnanism."
Now, here is what I've discovered. First of all, unlike euclidian space, the space of the mind is "hyperdimensional," meaning that it has more than four dimensions. This applies both to psychological space and to the spiritual space of which it is a declension, or a lower dimensional projection.
This is a key idea, being that a realm of lesser dimensions cannot produce one of greater ontological dimensions, which is why it has always been understood by traditional metaphysics that the realm of matter is the final precipitate, or "crystallization," of the involution of spirit (just as the lower animals are a "projection," or descent, of the Cosmic Man).
It is also why the "many" is located in the more material dimensions, whereas unity specifically abides at the top; the more we move up the evolutionary chain, the more the unity. Man is the vertical axis that spans the One and the many, and he can obviously go in either direction, depending upon a variety of factors. A spiritual practice is nothing less than a recovery of unity -- which is to say being + truth, in all their manifestations. The language of revelation turns out to be a form of symbolism that furnishes keys to knowledge of suprasensible realities, keys which are of the same "substance" as the eternal realm they describe. That's why they make for such nourishing and attractive meals.
Now, back to Kahn's question, which I've purposely forgotten, or "un-Remembered," so as to allow other forces to work on it: ""My question remains, however, how does one access the ever fine line between faith and complacency?"
Again, to become "whole" is to be organized "from the top down," or from the inside out. This is what we call O-->(n). The more one becomes whole, the more powers one has at one's disposal, for wholeness counters the dissipation and fragmentation of profane living. A Whole Person is always a powerful person, both as a cause and an effect. A Whole Person is also "charismatic," in that his words and actions will have an existential "heft," since they are not alienated from the fullness of Being.
So I suppose the question is, how does one achieve this wholeness without already having it? Again, I think it comes down to making a commitment on every level of one's being to make it so. I suppose, to a certain extent, I discuss this toward the end of my book, with the "Ten Commanishads and Upanishalts for Extreme Seekers." I haven't read them in a couple of years, so let me take a quick look, and see if I still believe myself....
Hmm... okay.... good... good... check... check... oh yes, very good... no argument there... yes... yes... yup.
I see there's even a helpful little summary on page 244: "In short, to paraphrase Mouravieff, the spiritual life involves making the transition from mindlessly willing for that which we uncritically yearn, to consciously yearning for that which we actually want (that is, enlightenment and liberation). In making this transition, it may appear as if our conventionally understood 'horizontal' freedom is diminishing, which is true. However, the point is to exchange it for a more expansive 'vertical' freedom that is relatively unconstrained by material circumstance, so that the old freedom is eventually regarded as a comparative enslavement."
Then what happens? Page 247: "Thus, in our properly oriented right-side-up universe, its unity and coherence are experienced from the top-down, in light of our source and destiny in the non-local singularity at the end of the cosmic journey." Blah blah blah, yada yada yada, I suppose you could say that the Buddhist paradoxically "cleaves through detachment" to emptiness, while the Raccoon has an unapologetic passion for wholeness and therefore eternal Being.