- Photo by Nandhu Kumar form PxHere
“There is no stairway to climb. I have to leap. To become conscious I must let go of all that is known. Really knowing is a state in which everything is observed, experienced, understood—and because it is unable to serve in the following moment—abandoned as useless.”
—Jeanne de Salzmann, Reality of Being
The inner realm of a human being is a vast and mysterious domain. Looking inside one quickly discovers that everything known and unknown is there. We see that there really is no distinction between outer and inner, there is only one experience of being alive. Even in the absence of genuine being effort, logic shows that all we experience of the world beyond the skin comes mediated through the lens of the senses, with touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell filtered through the nervous system, interpolated by the brain, and projected on the screen of consciousness. Every experience we think we know and call real is within.
Looking inward one first beholds the general structure of an instrument. We see that our inner life consists of three families of content, each with a corresponding center of gravity. There are thoughts, emotions, and sensations centered in the mind, heart, and body. With inquiry one discovers that each type of content is conducted in, and formed of, a unique and palpable medium. Irrespective of content, the substrate matter of thought is distinct from sensation, which in turn is distinct from the energy medium of feeling. So we see that what appeared before our study to be an indistinct swirl of subjective experience actually operates within an interrelated tripartite design.
A deeper look reveals a clearly delineated spectrum of energies, each conductive of a particular gradation of intelligence. Some are immediately available to experience. For instance, we see vitality, the stuff that keeps our biological instrument running, and with sufficient concentration conveys the experience of wellness. In the absence of this basic material the body quickly becomes a corpse. Next is an energy that gives intelligence to movements, both autonomic and outward. It is the stuff that allows walking and talking, dancing and typing, navigating the body through the landscape of the world of objects. This same automatic energy impels the automatic activity of the mind—the reception and registration of impressions, assigning terms and categories, associating ideas one with another and in general producing both recognition and assembling trains of thought.
The energies come together in a manner related to the prime elements. Dry earth becomes saturated by water. Within water is dissolved air and rare gasses. The whole mixture is warmed by fire. The energies, like the elements, coexist in a shared domain.
More subtle and intelligent than the automatic energy is sensitivity. This energy affords the possibility of cognizing experience. It is the stuff of perception. With sensitive energy we apprehend the fingers on the keys, the green chili pepper on the tongue, the scent of rose in the air. It is the kinesthetic sense of skin touching skin. An increase in the quantity of this quality of energy increases sensitivity and perception, as well as the quality of manifestations.
Subtler yet is the energy of consciousness which encompasses the sensitive activity of the whole tripartite instrument. With conscious energy we can know sensation, feeling and thought as the media of our inner life, with particular sensations, emotions, and thoughts bobbing like flotsam on a roiling stream of consciousness. Conscious energy opens the possibility of knowing this complex inner design as a singular collected whole, as a direct experience, in (and only in) the present moment.
An even finer energy is dissolved in this inner world concoction. It is the energy of creative will, the prime source of initiative in our nature, creating everything and involved with nothing. Creative energy is easily mistaken for activity but has already devolved into sensitive or automatic energy upon manifestation. This energy is beyond consciousness and cannot be known with any part. It can only be received, and in a sense, obeyed. Creative energy gives rise to new life when it operates in the physical body, and has the potential to conceive a new inner life in the sense of being “born again.”
All of this precise materiality can be observed, and with practice we can become scientists in the laboratory of our inner world, transforming and refining and separating finer energies with efficient grace. As alchemical factories we transform our intake of food, breath, and impressions into nectars that open the way to a greater portion of our nature.
Beyond serving the needs of Great Nature, which our bodies do automatically with every other organism in the ecosystem, we have the possibility of making a further transformation and fulfilling the ultimate potential of birth in human form. In this way we can not only serve nature, but we may also serve the level that corresponds to the finer energies dissolved in the substance of our inner life.
“Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”