STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
THE EXPANDED STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS (HANANPACHA)
Understanding through Reason
We know that we live in a world interconnected by a huge communications network, aware of our interdependence on the whole of nature – organic and inorganic – but we still need to understand that this in fact means “unicity” or oneness.
Let’s suppose that a biologist wants to describe in a very detailed and precise the way the behaviour of a particular organism, perhaps that of a bird feeding in an orchard. He cannot completely describe the behaviour of the bird without also describing the behaviour of the trees, the seasons, the flowers and the fruits, the soil and the water, the propagation of plants, the insects, the temperature, all the fundamental elements, manifesting themselves together and in harmony with the behaviour of the bird. He cannot describe the behaviour of the animal without also describing the behaviour of the environment. The behaviour of the flora, the fauna and inorganic nature make up a single, systemic field of action.
The current state of the planet is indissoluble from the existence of organic beings – including agitated and restless humanity – as night is interdependent on day. In any radically different environment, humanity would only be able to survive if it became radically different.
When we mediate we see that in one way “individuality” is very real. However, from another perspective, it is an illusion. Buddha was right on this point! I am not necessarily limited by the interval between my birth and my death, because I am the result of a causal chain of extraordinary complexity, supposedly beginning with the “Big Bang”.
Getting to know oneself is essentially getting to know one’s limits and borders. However the more we look and examine, the more we see that the limits dissolve themselves in processes and relationships, and the more subtle the idea of “ourself” becomes.
My existence will have consequences that I myself cannot foresee, not only during my life but afterwards. Although I am mortal, my existence extends – though in an infinitely tenuous way – throughout all eternity. For better or worse, what we do will never be only what we desire to do.
What happens to me will affect you; and what happens to you will affect me. Just as the light from the moon or Venus or Mars reflected in our eyes, affects our bodies, minds and hearts (even though in a tiny way), what we are doing will affect all beings.
So my limits are not my skin nor the reach of my perception, unless I accept these things as being my limits, therefore also accepting the realisation of this vision. Our “truth” is to a certain extent a causal process connecting what we believe and think about ourselves with what we experience in the scenario of existence.
The connectivity which reveals and points to the oneness of all things – not just a union of different parts – demonstrates that the universe is an infinitely complex and mysterious network of relations and events. That however great our science is, we will only be able to understand very little of this immensity.
Connectivity also means that my concept of “I” in a certain manner depends on how I see myself: perhaps as a point of consciousness scattering perceptions; or maybe as a collection of organs and cells, a combination of molecules; or as a person living in society, and so on. All these visions are true, but none of them is complete and absolute; all of them are partial and incomplete, emphasising certain details in accordance with the focus of attention.
In a certain sense I can choose the limits of the “I” and become what I want through the act of directing my mediation, concentration and attention upon this or that.
In the Upanishads, in the “Brahad Aranyak”, the wise man try to informs King Janaka about the true nature of Brahma:
“Brahma, o King Janaka, can only be understood as knowledge in itself – a unity of knowledge inseparable from what is real. Brahma is beyond proofs, beyond all instruments of thought. Brahma is eternal and pure, not born, subtler than the most subtle thing, greater than the greatest thing – only by the purified mind can he be glimpsed. He who knows Brahma as the life of life, the eye of the eye, the ear of the ear, the mind of the mind – he really understands the cause of causes. In Brahma there is no diversity. He who sees diversity goes from death to death.