Let’s begin our exploration of separation consciousness with a basic definition or understanding of each word. In this article we will look at the word “consciousness”.
Consciousness cannot be totally explained or adequately understood by the logical, rational mind because it extends way beyond that mind. However, we can describe some attributes of consciousness in order to create a point of reference for understanding what it is and how to relate to it within ourselves and the world we live in.
One way to describe consciousness would be our state of awareness and/or perception as they form an interpretation of the reality around us. Externally we take in information as perception and the mind filters it through our own unique world view. Our world view could be described as our individual point of view or interpretation of the world.
This point of view is mostly formed from conditioning from our past experiences. This “mental house” as we will call it, is built brick by brick as we grow from an infant to an adult and contains the things we have been told or have experienced as true. We are encouraged to sort, label and organize ideas, beliefs, people and things from early childhood. This learned conditioning can come from various authoritative voices in our world and upbringing, from experiences we have had, and from memory imprints of how certain experiences felt to us emotionally.
Once we learn certain patterns and experienced “truths” about what reality is we tend to hold tight to these imprints and they form the mental and emotional patterning we carry throughout our lives. If these imprints were negative, we will assume the world is unsafe and negative and view all future events through this lens of worst case expectation and mistrust. This might include unconscious inner beliefs and habits, i.e. beliefs and habits that we are not aware of, that hold ideas such as “I am not safe, I am not loved, I must compete to survive, I don’t belong, I am powerless, I am not good/smart/pretty/talented enough, my needs will not be met, and any other flavor of the unconscious and internal message, “I am not ok.” If our imprints were largely positive we are much more likely to view the world with trust and embrace the new experiences that come to us.
Unfortunately, in a world so filled with negative imprints, most of us have been largely imprinted with I am not ok style expectations of varying degrees. To make us feel safer and alleviate the fears around the basic instinct that we are not ok (in whatever version this belief appears), we learn strategies to control our external environment to create a perceived “safe ground” from which to stand and live and operate.
This can take many forms, such as adopting a religious doctrine or a materialist science view that lays out a fixed set of beliefs or rules that if we adopt as our truth, as our world view and the bricks of our mental house, we can expect that we will be ok. With this doctrine of beliefs and rules in mind, which in turn become our habitual patterns of mental and emotional behavior, we set forth on the road of life.
This strategy for safety also involves a multitude of unconscious control strategies to keep the perceived “not ok” things we fear out of our life. We build our fence around these mental houses and remain barricaded inside. As long as we can control certain variables based on the set of rules and beliefs we have adopted as reality, we will be ok. Anyone or anything that comes along that strays from this mental house or box that we have created is rejected.
Thus we deem we are successful at creating a cocoon of perceived safety in an unsafe, uncertain world. That works for us until the mental box is ruptured by an event or person that does not fit into our world view and is beyond our control or understanding, and we find we cannot cope with or tolerate this disturbance or variance. This can come in the form of an unexpected personal injustice like being attacked, violated or harmed by another, an illness, a death or major loss, a radically new and different point of view or many of other forms that threaten to shake the very foundations of the mental houses we have so carefully and painstakingly built to protect ourselves.
These rigid mental houses are the basic foundation for the creation of separation consciousness.
It is why the foundation of any unity consciousness teaching is “to forget all that you believe that you know”, or to take on what is called, “beginner’s mind”.
Few have the courage to take on this daunting voyage for fear that if they let go of what they know or believe, if they open the door and step out of the mental house that makes them feel safe, their entire world will unravel and crumble down, and they will lose the reigns of their control strategy.
That can feel very scary and it is easy and tempting to slam the door shut again and just stay in the comfort of our familiar and safe mental house.
However, that letting go of control is precisely what is needed to expand our consciousness. This surrender of control is the fundamental essence of the spiritual path to find wholeness, and to return to our Creator via the personal inner experience of unity consciousness.
In Part 2 of this article we will look at the term separation.
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