With heartfelt thanks to all who participate in this discussion at any time, but especially to those who devoted their cognitive surplus to this conversation!
and the conversation that led up to it!
(noticing the phenomena of sounds arising from within);
Prelude: I have relocated to a big old house near the beach, with a forest across the road. To honour the occasion, we had a fire ceremony at the beach on the evening of the 12th June. After enjoying the beautiful starlit evening we returned to the house, after I have settled my son I settle into sitting meditation on the mat in front of the altar.
I sound the singing bowl, chant Aum and then sit with my double dorje in my hands, contemplating the energetic nexus that it represents, and creatively imagining the dynamic structure which it represents the underpinnings of.
I begin to feel the arising of kundalini shakti, gently undulating through my subtle energetic system and up my spine, out through the top of my head with a tingling sensation and into the familiar fountain-like pattern of return to the overflowing pool at the base chakra where the flow continues up the central channel and back out my head. After sitting like this for some time I feel the need to surrender into savasana (corpse pose) however I am also feeling chilled as it is mid winter so I take my body to bed and continue my meditation there.
At this point my body begins to tremble and shake, to vibrate from a deep-down-phenomenon of silent sound arising in the very core of every atom and cell. I note my heart rate increasing, and breathing deepening and lengthening. I am surrendered, all action taking place now is spontaneously arising of its own accord, I am remaining in lucid awareness and observing.
With the deepening of the breath I note an expansion of the abdomen, accompanied by deep creaking and groaning sounds, my chest and throat are also expanding to the sounds of cartilage creaking. My vertebrae are aligning and stretching apart. From a place deep within my skull a secretion of cool, sweet liquid begins to flow into my throat and upper nasal passages. This flow of (?) seems to precipitate an intensification of the phenomenon.
I begin to feel pressure stretching me from the inside like a balloon being filled, the air flowing into my lungs seems to penetrate every organ, membrane and cell of my physical body beyond their capacity to contain it in their present shape. I feel like I am being tickled from within, I am laughing intermittently and potent “chemical” tears are streaming from my eyes. My hands move to hover over my sacral and solar plexus chakras, the hands are moving in rapid circles counter rotational to each other, the chakras feel like ‘solid’ balls of whirling energy. The trembling in my body intensifies, my heart rate is still accelerating and my breathing seems to have stopped at a full in-breath. Part of my mind is cautioning me about the possibility of having a heart attack or brain anurism because of the unusual conditions. I consciously make the decision to surrender and trust the experience, even if it means I do in fact die as a result (!).
At this point an impossibly bright yet cool light erupts in both my heart and head (witnessed in the third eye) which expands out to include my whole body. Now all my physical bodily components seem to completely liquify, there is a sensation of dissolving and (hard to describe what) I imagine being like a chrysalis undergoing the metamorphic process. The level of inner sound which is accompanying this event is tremendous yet also very difficult to describe, something like a howling storm perhaps (I will try to find an approximation on mp3 somewhere). My inner eye is registering myriad complex fluidic geometric structures dynamically interacting and energised by seemingly liquid light throughout my field of awareness, all emanating from the core of my being. My physical body feels like it is a writhing mass of system interactions from the cellular level through to the level of organs, tissues and bones. This is a full spectrum immersive experience of something extraordinary!
The complex “body of light” which it appears to my inner eye that I have become is expanding to fill the room, expanding out across the forest, across the ocean and encompassing the whole planet, the expansion continues, waves of energetic intensification continue, I now contain the whole galaxy, and continue to expand and absorb greater and greater spheres of (?) perhaps awareness of consciousness – I am the universal essence in all its forms for a ‘moment’ – it is almost totally overwhelming. I am not breathing and my heart seems to be stuck on full throttle.
Sound begins to emit from my expansive throat, a deep moaning nameless sound. The observational part of my mind is still restless and registering cautions about the possibilities of damage to the physical vehicle. I decide that I need to ‘ground’ the experience and that I can Aum with it as a means of fully embodying that which is flowing through me (rather than becoming fully disembodied by its raw power). So I begin to Aum, low and deep into the lower chakra triad, and then a higher tone, into the heart, and higher again into the upper chakra triad. I slowly begin to reintegrate and re-inhabit my physical vehicle. The toning is re-establishing a breathing rhythm, my heart rate begins to decelerate somewhat.
I find myself glowing and buzzing, it is as if I have just been born, My body feels like a fresh new organism, weightless for a while, tingling and throbbing with light and sound – I seem to be in psychic contact with every mind I have ever contacted, all of you are right here with me, I hear your voices and feel you in me. We are all connected to this vast and fathomless energy source which is still flowing through me, as me (and everything and everyone). My subtle sensitivities appear to have been enhanced, yet so has my capacity to accept being in such a state.
At the time of writing, 5 days later, I am still in this ‘renewed’ state. Speaking with the Goethe track group (16/06/2012) helped me ground the experience a bit more, thank God for these eminently qualified comrades. Many of the images which have sprung unbidden to my mind over the last 20 years are now relating to each other in my mind in ways that they have not done before – so many symbols of a pre-cognised experience which only now is unfolding – the whole concept of time and space is so plastic. And underpinning the whole experiential context – the sound which arises from within – what a revelation.
Conclusion: No amount of theory can adequately describe a knowing which only direct experience can deliver.
The lucid contemplative reflections continue….
Following up on my conversation with John Davis this morning, I have this to offer.
When I am learning at my best, it is like a flowing river. Receiving, effortless, gifting, nourishing, relational, with a source and a destination which are connected and continuous. The river itself has no agenda.
I have reflected upon the nature of flow before and this is what came through;
Energy flows in both directions at once.
Both out from the source as a result of the process of creation and back to the source from all that is created as a result of the centered, focused attention upon the source of the peripheral manifestations of its creation.
This Flow is the the underlying reason for the “all that is” coming into manifestation and for its going ‘out’ of manifestation again (as far as we can ascertain from our perspective).
When we become aware of the Flow, then we can become aligned with its nature and realise ourselves in relation to it, it flows through us, that is how we come to ‘be’.
In just being and allowing the Flow to move us we find that all is as it is meant to be, we can relax and enjoy life without struggling to adapt to each new thing that crosses our path.
We can become more open to spontaneous responses to the flow of events rather than seeking to control the situation, we realise that we are not in control and that it is not possible to be in control.
All events are a result of the dynamic process of the Flow, eternally interacting and creating us and all that we can perceive (and all that we can not perceive as well).
My aim is to create questions that may locate your perceptions in your perceptual space and then through proper naming, develop qualities and attributes that may be of use to you in your experiment.
I am quoting from your last paragraph and offer the following questions, staying as close to your language as possible. Please relax and enjoy…
“My aim is to now become much more aware of the factors surrounding the phenomena;”
J. And when my aim is to become much more aware of factors surrounding the phenomena, is there anything else about ‘much more aware’?
G. “much more aware” feels like pressure inflating a balloon – there is an increase in scope as well as intensity of perceived experience.
J. And when ‘much more aware’ how much more aware is that’?
G. about as much as is possible to sustain whilst maintaining focus on the phenomena, sometimes more – I experience peak states of omni-awareness, however, these seem to lose the original phenomena, and indeed all phenomena “dissolves” in this state (which may extend beyond ‘awareness’ I conjecture).
J. Is ‘much more aware’ on the inside or the outside?
G. when “much more aware” there is no “inside and outside” there is only that in which perception and phenomena arise, and in which experience is possible.
J. Does’ much more aware’ have a size or shape?
G. in my experience awareness is spherical, the “size” relative to the world of form and phenomena seems to vary significantly according to what may be required in any given situation.
J. And where does ‘much more aware’ come from?
G. the state of being more aware is definitely facilitated by regular meditation practice. It is probably an act of cognition in alignment with intuition – which I experience as a free flow of information through the context in which both myself and that which I am aware of are arising.
J. And when ‘much more aware’ what happens to phenomena?
G. phenomena seem to come into clearer focus, and at the same time they tend to reveal their transparency – depending on the ‘degree’ of awareness bought to bear upon them, their physicality can dissolve altogether revealing only the patterns of energetic interactions which support their arising (which strictly speaking are still phenomena, albeit of the subtle variety, just not available to be apprehended by the purely “physical” perceptual apparatus).
J. And is there a relationship between ‘much more aware’ and Goethe’s Way of Science?
G. as far as I can tell, Goethe’s method calls for a deep intuitive awareness to be bought to bear upon the phenomena being studied. It seems to me, as I experiment with fine tuning this perceptual apparatus for the purpose, that it will require self-awareness and discipline to control the various functions of perception and cognition in order to attain the ‘view’ suggested by his methodology.
Thank you John for encouraging this clarifying dialogue.
Sitting in the canyon just absorbing the sounds of the crystal clear water echoing off the rocks and trees, and reflecting upon the elements as they arise as “me”.
My observations this week of the phenomena, my son saying “mum” and my internal soundscape has revealed the slightly unnerving tendency for that which is focused upon to ‘disappear’. As I have been reading the article “Place, Goethe and Phenomenology: A Theoretic Journey” by John Cameron
of the University of Western Sydney, recommended by Steven Nickelson (http://www.janushead.org/8-1/Cameron.pdf) I have learned that there is a potential ‘obstacle’ to clear perception of phenomena in the form of what is called the “natural attitude”.
Miriam Hill described natural attitude as follows: Human experience abounds in unifying conditions and forces which are disguised by an aura of obviousness and implicitness. This situation of normal unawareness is called by the phenomenologist the natural attitude – a pre-philosophic dimension of consciousness which conceals the world and prevents close scrutiny. The phenomenologist works to circumvent the natural attitude and to undertake a fresh exhaustive examination of consciousness and experience. One result of this exercise is a clear sighting of the communion between body and world .
I am realising that the obviousness of the utterance “mum” and the implicitness of the arising of internal sounds (the foci of my experiment) are themselves that which needs to be overcome in order to truly study them as phenomena in their own right. This line gives a clue to approaching this in a lucid manner;
… the strength of the natural attitude and its twin concept, the ‘lifeworld,’ the “inner and outer dimensions of the essential phenomenological fact that people are immersed in a world that normally unfolds automatically”
These concepts also (in my mind anyway) relate back to the “naïve” interpretation of that which is perceived, and “taken for granted” or unquestioningly accepted on the assumption that ‘things’ are what they appear to be, all at a deeply unconscious level. A type of pre-filtered experiential context, so to speak.
So, my aim is to now become much more aware of the factors surrounding the phenomena; my responses to them, what is evoked in me, and how I am affected by them. In this way I hope to begin to overcome the obstacles and appreciate the phenomena in context with the embodiment that I bring into relationship with them.
This morning I was awakened by my son calling “mu-um” loud and clear, in my room. I opened my eyes and realised, he is not here, he is at his dad’s for the weekend. This started me paying attention to the quality of the sound that had awakened me – the phenomena was audible or it would not have woken me up, but it was not physically present – so where did it come from?
The intonation was not urgent, just a general call for attention. I kept my attention on my “inner ear” and in my mind I asked him “is everything alright?” but I did not get any more audible inputs, just a sense of wellness.
I wonder, is this an example of claireaudience? And if so, am I more amenable to it whilst asleep than whilst awake?
Philosophical Foundations. The Metamorphosis of the Scientist.
According to Karl Popper, the chief theorist of the hypothetico-deductive method [of science] … We can never know with certainty whether any of our hypotheses are valid.
I love this statement! I find it very encouraging and at the same time inspiringly challenging to the whole scientific paradigm upon which our modern civilisation has been built. It also helps me to hold my own working hypotheses of the nature of “things” more lightly
Khun made this point … that “in the final analysis it is the individual scientist rather than the current theory that is tested.”
Scientists are taught from the very beginning to see phenomena in a certain light, and phenomena not predicted by the paradigm are seldom noticed. These are deep dilemmas, to which there would seem to be no solution.
Perhaps a solution could be to combine deep honest self-inquiry and open intersubjective feedback as an approach to group depth psychology which encourages the thorough examination of assumptions and cognitive conditioning … perhaps this would entail an approach much more along the lines Goethe has developed than the methods which we find dominant in the hard sciences today.
… the growth of science resides neither in the accumulation of brute facts nor in the reduction of one way of seeing to another. Rather, it resides in the controlled development of new ways of seeing as such.
… for Goethe, the ultimate aim of science is nothing other than the metamorphosis of the scientist.
Goethe’s method is “mathematical” not in its formal abstraction but, rather, in its rigor. … In a geometric proof, for example, each step is self-evident because it is created anew each time upon the stage of our mind. We intend the relationship and participate fully in the process. As a result, nothing remains opaque. Goethe seeks to extend this mathematical transparency to the empirical sciences as well by developing a non-reductive, yet thoroughly rigorous approach to qualities.
This is the approach I hope to bring to the qualities of sounds. This rendering transparent the phenomena and laying bare the essential fact of sound as a variety of qualities which can express themselves in not only a sensory-to-the-ear manner but also as resonances received via the subtle body and images rendered to the inner eye.
Universal and particular each appear within and through the other – or, rather, the universal shines through the particular, while inseparable from it, as in a symbol. Hence, Goethe’s contention that inquiry should cease with the apprehension of the Urphänomen; abstracting further can only lead away from this fullness of understanding to reduction.
This fullness of understanding speaks to the wisdom of the ancients as recorded in various Sutras and Gitas from the Buddhist and Vedantic traditions. I intuit that these are universal realisations that can occur to the “transformed mind” of the Goethean scientist as much as to the spiritual aspirant.
Out of [..] pure activity, the particular subject and particular object are precipitated as moments of a larger dynamic. Thus it is the ground of a higher objectivity. And it is upon this ground that Goethe would found the proper activity of science.
Here he speaks to the unifying third which we have been navigating toward throughout the Magellan courses, and he asks science itself to take its stand upon this – for that to occur, there will be a team of intrepid pioneers to guide the way for those who would be willing to follow.
The freedom of the scientist, like the freedom of the artist, is active indetermination and, thus, perpetual revolution. (my emphasis)
The “not knowing” that allows for true learning and discovery to take place!
My observations so far in regard to sounds arising from within are mainly focussed on the form aspect. There is a faint whistling as air passes through the sinus cavities, a deep regular thrumming as blood pulses through the inner ear and a subtle creak and gurgle as food passes through the alimentary system. These all seem to hold a harmonious “choir” of life processes independent of my observations of them, and when attended to closely reveal a syncopated rhythm which subtly changes as the system slows during the relative inactivity of ‘sitting’.
The sound of the breath and the heartbeat interacting reveals their close relationship, they respond to one another almost immediately, when the breathing intensifies, it becomes louder, and the heartbeat follows almost immediately, becoming faster, stronger. It sounds like a drum playing by a river in the wind.
The pulse flowing through the inner ear has this quality too, as if a river were flowing through and wind was gusting to the beat of a grandmother drum.
The sounds of life at the core of my being are gradually revealing themselves to my attention
Goethe searched for the insights that could reveal the world around him as the image of the universal idea. He sought them not through a speculative philosophy but through the phenomena of this world. “The idea is eternal and unitary … All of which we become aware and of which we can speak are only manifestations of the idea.”
This approach re-minds me of the Buddhist idea of the “universal mind” of which all things that can be perceived are permutations. It also re-minds me to take a direct approach to the observable aspects of the universe in order to truly apprehend their nature.
Understanding [Goethe] believed, is not so much a discursive, explanatory process as a moment of seeing – what he called “aperçu,” or “insight”.
I am realising this as I begin to pay deeper and more sustained attention to the nuances of sound which are apprehended in my experience. These are subtle and not so readily amenable to discursive exposition.
For Goethe, the world is no mere surface reality but a living cosmos that we can gradually learn to see if only we do not abandon a “gentle empiricism” [the effort to understand a thing's meaning through prolonged empathetic looking and seeing grounded in direct experience] for the attractions of mechanical philosophy.
It is “life as the nature of things” to which I am turning my attention with the support of Goethe’s approach. The irrational and inexplicable nature of the “life in things” seems less amenable to rational analysis and cogitative manipulation than a mechanistic and quantitative approach, although I can see how the latter arises in response to the “mysterious” phenomena of the former.