Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Benefits of Being Baffled

From time to time I have experiences I don’t understand.  Wow, wasn’t that cool!  Some incident that downright seems anomalous.  Events that seem to violate the habits of nature.  It’s easy enough to kick back and just revel in the wonder of something unexplained. But anomalies might be steps on the way to new ways of being in the world.


Here’s an incident that took place not long ago.  Nothing at all of great note but enough to get me thinking.   I woke up one morning, and immediately pulled all the sheets and pillow cases from my bed and took them down into the basement to the washing machine. 


This was already anomalous.  I have never and would never  begin my day by washing laundry.  It was not my conscious decision.  I recall the sensation of practically being directed to the basement.


When I went downstairs I was surprised.  The floor was all wet and I saw the sink was overflowing with water. I plunged my hand deep down and could feel that the mouth of the drain was clogged.  I cleaned out the muck and the sink emptied out.    I caught it just in time, and avoided a nasty flood in my basement.   Again, nothing earth-shaking but uncannily suggestive.


I was forced to infer that somehow a part of me was in touch with the danger below and managed to get me out of bed so I could do something about it.  Some deep aspect of myself must be aware of the world around me.  Once I assume this as a working hypothesis, it opens to a world of possibilities—of possible experiments.


There must be a way to engage with that hidden part of myself that can be more helpful, more actively involved in my creative life process.  Whatever we’re doing  in our moment to moment lives, more could always be made of the experience, if our full creative potential were active.


The various religions seem preoccupied with methods of engaging with this elusive greater mind that haunts and plays with us.  People in the arts often have ways of tuning into their source of inspiration.  My point is simple. There must be ways to explore these latent inner resources.


As our lives get more complicated and challenged. i, e., encroaching climate chaos—we’ll need to make full use of our basic human skills.  I think it important never to underestimate what may lie latent within us.


Nothing seems more creatively promising than a near-death experience  (NDE).  Much research on this phenomenon proves it can release an array of extended mental capacities.  They range from mystical to psychokinetic effects, and generally transform one’s personality. Very interesting, but most of us prefer not to have to nearly die to trigger an adventure of transcendence. 


There are less dramatic ways to explore the mysteries of higher consciousness.  Being near death is potent because of what it does to our normal consciousness. It wrenches us completely from our normal sensory consciousness and from our normal  sense of self. The hypnotic fixation on the external world is shattered.  A latent sphere of possible consciousness opens up.


Have a look at some less violent ways to access our normally unconscious creative  potentials.  A dream is a kind of near-death; a mental retreat from the external world.  The creative potential of dreams is well documented.  We can learn to dialogue with our dream life. (It takes practice.) We can deploy psychoactive substances to engage with the hidden dimension of our mental life. These tactics parallel what happens in the near-death state; they disrupt the normal habits of mental perception.  But in so doing they open us up to new forms of experience. 


There are purely physical things we can do to alter our relation to the creative unconscious.  Consider fasting, which is a kind of near-death gesture.  A withdrawal from our devouring self; a suspension of our compulsion to consume; a flirtation with the idea of angels that feed on love. And then there is breath, in Greek, psyche, the word for soul. Or what the Indian calls pranayama, controlling spirit, from the Latin for wind. To control the breath is a way to control the mind.  In yoga we stop, control, and manipulate our breath, a way of playing with death, and therefore of expanding consciousness.


So it’s alright being baffled once in a while, if it sparks a bit of self-exploration. My point is that many pathways are open to people curious about exploring their larger selves. There is room in us all to evolve in different ways.  Not a bad idea to ponder in light of the difficulties we are facing today, turning our beautiful  planet into hell on Earth.








Miguel said...

That incident you describe in which you inexplicably decided to do laundry first thing in the morning and, in the process, discovered and immediately fixed the clogged sink, strikes me as a perfect example of Rex Stanford's psi-mediated instrumental response (PMIR), a concept I first heard in one of your classes. That morning, perhaps before you were completely awake, you must have clairvoyantly sensed (psi) that there was a problem in the basement which somehow triggered your sudden impulse to do laundry (instrumental response) and, in the process, you averted a more serious situation.

Given the sorry state of the planet, one wishes that those in a position to do something about it would experience the type of PMRI or some other similar insight along the lines that you describe that would help put a stop to the current climate insanity. And, my goodness, we better do this before we cross the point of no return -- assuming we have not already crossed it! The thought that it is already too late is downright frightening.

Michael Grosso said...

Thank you for this illuminating comment, and yes, would there were more readiness to come to grips with climate change. As far as I can see, greed will cause resistance to making the necessary changes to reduce the climate chaos en route to overwhelming world civilization. I'm beginning suspect it will take a miracle--perhaps some form of intervention from the non-human entities that are swarming around our military installations. It would be nice if the ETs abducted moral imbeciles like Trump and replace his warped brain with the brain of a sane human being. Who knows what is yet to happen?

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