transcendental consciousness, immanent soul : yin and yang
When seen from the immense, untroubled distance of the cosmic eye, everything on earth seems placid, well-balanced, fluid, and as it should be. It’s like when we look upon a city at night from a distant hill and see only beautiful lights twinkling serenely off in the distance. From such a remote outlook none of the noise nor pandemonium, none of the violence nor anguish, none of the sex nor seduction, nor the dance, the merriment, the corruption, congestion, nor confusion is betrayed for the actuality that it is. From such a distance one may quickly draw the conclusion that nothing really happens there but a gentle and calm twinkling of pretty lights.
It is the same when we look up into the glorious night sky. Above us we see only a breathtaking display of brilliant stars consuming an immensity that is well beyond our ability to comprehend. We can see nothing of the warfare, the plunder, the thrashing, the sorrow, the rage, nor the ecstasy, the love, nor the celebration. From our distance even the apocalyptic violence of a supernova appears as a gorgeous spectacle. We do not hear nor feel the agony of the billions of souls incinerated in the inferno.
Our distance has created an ‘object’ from which we are detached, and with which we are therefore no longer intimate.
It is for this reason that in this era of new age ideas and spiritual charlatans, there are many individuals who claim that all of life is illusion- that existence as we know it is nothing but a dream of the mind. And I realize this to be an understandable conclusion for anyone who has awoken to transcendental consciousness, but who has yet to awaken to the immanent soul of matter. For when transcendental consciousness happens, and one is suddenly ‘outside’ of all that is, and one can thus see from a detached perspective that all is but a divine drama which is acted out by sleeping actors, it is quite understandable that one would fall away with a great sigh of relief, having found a safe distance from the turmoil of existence, and remain there, comfortable in the knowledge that all of life is an illusion, and that they are now thankfully free from that illusion. However, this is a disastrous conclusion.
I maintain that the great emancipation arrived at, through transcendental consciousness, is an immensely important, immensely subtle aspect of the eternal nature of the self. But I also maintain that the divinity and immortality of the flesh is equally as important. Yin is nothing without yang, spirit is nothing without flesh.
Again, to attain transcendental consciousness and to then believe with relief that one has been liberated ‘out’ of the parameters of the flesh is a false conclusion that only the mind divorced from the body and heart can accept. This is because the soul- of the pseudo-free individual, who has attained transcendental consciousness- remains a reality, and remains trapped in matter, and is now hopelessly lost from the spirit, which has unwittingly floated away from life by believing that all, including the soul, is nothing but a fantasy.
The problem is that consciousness can perceive and know all that is, but it cannot feel, for feeling is a function of the body and soul. And so when the spirit has flushed the whole human drama and flesh down the cosmic toilet, by assuming it all to be a dirty illusion, the soul gets thrown out as well.
Fortunately this abandonment of the soul is actually an impossibility- for the spirit and soul are linked eternally, and inextricably. And the agony of this massive separation, felt completely by the flesh and soul, will eventually draw the hovering spirit back down into matter to retrieve Her, be it in this incarnation, or in a future embodiment. The agony of separation will not go away, for flesh, like spirit, is also eternal, even though its form changes shape eternally; the absoluteness and eternity of form is not to be found in the variety of ‘forms’ which matter takes, but in the immortal soul of matter itself.
Transcendental consciousness is therefore not about leaving this realm, but about awakening to the aspect of the eternal Self which is not bound to this realm, though it entirely permeates this realm. This is the consciousness which Christ stated was “In, but not of” this world.
There is also, however, a thoroughly immanent, eternal consciousness, which is ‘in and of’ this world, and therefore is bound to this realm- though not in the same way the suffering, misperceiving, unawakened self is bound; the immanent soul is bound to this realm because it is this realm- it is the consciousness of matter.
This immanence is the eternal yin, whereas transcendental consciousness is the eternal yang, both of which are essential polarities producing wholeness. We must be ‘in, but not of’, and we must also be ‘in and of’.
Whereas transcendental consciousness is entirely free from all constraints and characteristics, and is therefore an incredibly important consciousness into which we should awaken, an important caveat remains: that is- transcendental consciousness transcends the duality and limitations of this realm, but it still remains only one half of the great cosmic duality, of which immanence is its counterpart. Therefore, during the pursuit of, and after the awakening to transcendental consciousness, the liberated individual must not fall under the delusion that life is an ‘illusion’, as many historical mystics and current spiritual books suggest. For it is only in balancing out the yang- transcendental consciousness- with the yin- immanent matter-consciousness- that one attains to true wholeness, and therefore becomes a living aspect of the Tree of Life, uniting heaven and earth.
Thus it is always important to remember that no matter what degree of cosmic consciousness, freed indisputably from the human paradigm, we have attained, the flesh, the earth, and all matter are yet divine, and need to be attended to, intimately embraced, and acknowledged as part of the whole self. The mind must permeate through and enter the viscera, because Her is here.
To retrieve Her, the soul, out of the confines of matter, to make Her smothered voice a song, to lift Her up into freedom, is to turn away from the outward show, and to turn within to Her home.
Without this metaphysical grounding in the physical, the awakening to transcendental consciousness will only lead to an existential abandonment of life, of the inner soul, and thus will have as much functional value as a kite without a string. The spirit will become derelict in the cosmos.
To operate in this realm is to accept this realm, to truly and fully be this realm, which is to be real. In and of.
The flesh needs the spirit, as the spirit needs the flesh.
Immanence is as essential as transcendence.
We must be in this realm and beyond it. In, and of, and not-of. Immanent and transcendent. Relative and absolute. Consciousness and matter. Spirit and flesh. Om, baby!
(excerpted from Om, baby! a pilgrimage to the eternal self, by Jack Haas)
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"The union of spirit and flesh creates a subtle new harmony.
Two unique worlds come together, and through our hearts unite into one.
For it is only in the voice of the flesh, that the song of the spirit is finally sung."