- Posted: Wednesday, February 02, 2005
- 2762 words
ED: Hi. I'm Dr. Ellen Dickstein, and I'm here with bestselling inner-life author, Guy Finley. Guy, today I'd like to discuss a topic that you talk about quite often, which is the liberation of consciousness. Implied in the idea that consciousness must be liberated is the idea that we must be held captive by something. So, let's begin there: What is it that holds our consciousness captive?
GF: You tell me!
ED: Well, I can tell you individual things. I'm held captive by self-concern, being intimidated by other people, worrying about things that are going to happen, recriminations over past events... a lot of it circulating around my ideas about myself.
GF: The point is that what is the difference between what you're held captive by and everybody else in the world that you know?
ED: We're all held captive by the same kind of thing that each of us as individuals identify as being particular to us, but it seems like it's the same underlying, dark state.
GF: I think we need to transpose what you're saying. To get to the root of this idea of what holds us captive -- what is a captive consciousness -- the first thing we have to do is free ourselves from the idea of this separate self with these seemingly separate concerns that is a victim of a world acting separately upon us. Because I think at the root of the captivity of ourselves is the whole idea of this individual who faces these individual burdens, these giants that are always crushing him or her.
The fact of the matter is, I'm compromised by my own desires. I'm an imminently selfish human being. I'm also a captive of wanting not to appear like all the things that I fear that I am. The real list runs to the heart of what holds a human being captive, but so does what liberates that consciousness run right to the heart of all human beings.
If we want to understand what it means to be a free human being, it doesn't start by imagining what freedom is. It begins with recognizing, not out of a series of mandates or other kinds of spiritual ideas, but the fact of myself as I am. Am I a free human being, or am I someone who explains to himself all the time why he does what he does, and believes that his explanations are the same thing as freedom of choice? I say that it's not. I say that if I have to explain to myself one thing, if I talk to myself, that the very fact that I am in a constant interior dialog about my life why I'm doing what I'm doing, who I am, why things are the way they are the fact that I live with a constant set of explanations hanging over me proves I'm not a free human being.
Now, if we can get to that, then we can start to talk about what it means to become free. When we recognize what holds us captive in common, what it is about consciousness itself that is held captive by its own condition, then we have the beginning of something that may be meaningful.
ED: OK. So, how does that condition take us over?
GF: I'm asking you, who is independent of that condition?
ED: Everybody seems to be taken over by it.
GF: "Taken over" means that there is a me that is different than the condition. Somebody says something and I get angry, as though there is a me that is somehow free of anger until somebody does something. I'm saying that's not freedom from anger, just because you're not angry. That's not freedom! Am I free because I'm not angry at the moment, or do I live in a potential state of self-punishing energies that only need a catalyst of some kind to come along and trigger them? And if that is true that anything can trigger something that torments me, how free am I?
ED: I'm not.
GF: So therefore, something doesn't just take me over, does it?
ED: Something reveals.
GF: In that split second, I have the possibility of an insight into something that I don't even suspect about myself.
ED: And then, to add to the captivity in that moment that I see it, instead of just seeing it purely, I resist seeing it.
GF: And isn't resistance to seeing the truth of something a form of a dialog with that which is itself a captive of the condition it's trying to explain away?
ED: Yes. So I just get deeper and deeper into this divided self.
GF: You know what we can't imagine, Ellen? We can't imagine that in us lives a nature that has absolutely nothing in common whatsoever with everything that we think about and all of the things that we try to do. We can't even imagine that we are in our heart of hearts a creature that is not created to serve its own purposes -- which by the way is exactly what turns out to be what holds that consciousness captive.
"I" set up an ideal. "I" set up something that I'm going to be and become, and the "I" that says I'm going to do this, I believe is me. I feel it. But one can see, even if they'll just look a little bit, that this "I" that determines what it is going to do and be has its roots in a series of social conditions, its environment, its family, with what is popular at the time, with what it doesn't want to be when it looks out and sees things that displease it.
So this "I" isn't really an "I" at all, but is just a kind of an idea that circulates around inside of a consciousness that is common to every other human being that makes it possible for that person to feel that he's special because he, in that thought, is distinguished by it. The thought defines the human being. That's right to the root of the whole thing, because can't you see that as long as I'm "someone" who is defined by thought, then that means thought is greater than "I"? And if thought is greater than "I," then I'm always going to be serving thought, and since thought belongs to a culture, and a conditioned time and space, that means that I am perpetually a victim of the world that I live in without knowing it.
This comes back to what I was saying. We can't yet (but we will) understand that a human being is an altogether different creature than those things that presently define its consciousness. We aren't meant, as we are at present, to do nothing but think about ourselves... and that's essentially what we do.
If you examine your life, you are never not thinking about yourself unless you're dreaming about something -- which even though you may not be dreaming about yourself, you're the principle recipient of the sensations in that dream, or you're supposedly doing things for other people, when the fact is, the reason you're doing what you're doing for other people, 99% of the time, you're making sure that you don't lose what you imagine you have through those relationships.
ED: So that they'll see you a certain way and then that will let you see yourself that way.
GF: I've been doing this a long time, and you will never be able in a million years to sell a human soul on the idea that only when it recognizes its complete nothingness does it at last become free and gain everything that it was entitled to gain when it was created. You'll never sell it. Because the only way that level of consciousness (and now we bring a new idea in) that we presently live from can ever begin to see how its actions produce the antithesis of what it believes is that the experience of all that becomes less and less meaningful. For us, when things get empty, what is the first thing we do?
ED: We try to fill it.
GF: We fill it. Now is that not common to every human being? So that means that is a common characteristic of consciousness, isn't it? A level of consciousness is always finding itself looking out and feeling a certain emptiness, seeing a certain emptiness, and that same level then envisions what it needs in order to fill it. That is one of the levels of consciousness. Now, that level of consciousness is in Ellen, it's in Guy, it's in everyone listening here. There are levels beneath that worse levels, if you will levels that are sure you don't deserve anything. A level of consciousness can look out at the world, and it can see someone it hates just because skin is the color that it is. There's another level of consciousness beneath that that says, "That person is a danger to me," so fear runs that level... and all that is in us too. Then there is also, above that, levels of consciousness that can recognize how terribly limiting and empty it is to live like that level of consciousness... and that's inside of Ellen, and inside of Guy.
ED: So the possibility for the liberation of consciousness is built into this system of levels.
GF: The possibility of the liberation of consciousness simply means that consciousness awakened to its entire content cannot be a captive of any of its parts. We have all those parts, but they don't want to acknowledge their own existence. I don't want to see I'm a greedy, compulsive whatever it is that I am. That doesn't fit my idea of what I need to be free.
All that darkness, all those qualities of that level of consciousness which are in the earth, Ellen, it's not like it's a mystery -- that comprise the entire existence that we are a part of, live right inside of us, and every one of those things has active and passive parts that are always being stirred by life.
To be awake, to have a liberated consciousness, there is not someone who is liberated, it is a consciousness that has come full-circle and understands its own content entirely. It is not separate from any of its parts. That is a liberated consciousness, because it has discovered all about itself, itself.
What can hold someone who knows everything there is to know about himself? What can hold a person like that? Is there anything? No. There's nothing.
ED: So you're saying that once a person operates as a whole being, a unified being -- which means he's not even a separate individual because in that unification he has an awareness of everything -- then he's no longer a captive of all these little voices inside that are pulling him this way or that way, or trying to explain things.
GF: He becomes a citizen of another world. What do you think the "kingdom of heaven" means? Do you think it means a place where you've got your own house, no mortgage payments, Berber carpet, and gardeners? That's what people think the kingdom of heaven is! The kingdom of heaven has nothing whatsoever to do with anything like that, which is why so few people ever come close to understanding what it means to give themselves up, because we have parts of us that are as tenacious as a piece of grass growing through asphalt.
Everything wants its life... including the darkest parts of humanity. But inside of that humanity, inside of Consciousness, inside of Christ, is a Light -- a quality of being, of character -- and it's as common as the darkness is to all of us. It is what animates us relative to being able to see into and understand those things that compromise us.
So here we have the essential dynamic forces, don't we? We've got this darkness that we can see inside of us, all of these self-wrecking things that are not personal. Neither the Light nor the darkness are personal qualities. In our present undeveloped state, we only have the capacity to identify with everything inside of ourselves. We literally derive a certain sense of ourselves from every one of these passing states of consciousness, and for being a derivative of these passing states, we become defined by them.
The world at large, defined by these larger states, then sets out purposes and ways in which to deal with these things that themselves have no real right to be determining the destiny of anything on the planet not any more than a leaf falling from a tree is meant to determine how the grass grows. It's just a part of the process.
ED: They all exist, and they must be seen, not resisted.
GF: And serve each other... and serve each other... and serve each other. The most distasteful thing in the end to a human being is to understand at last that he or she is here to serve not serve themselves, not serve others for the purpose of serving themselves, but for the purpose of serving that which they have come to see as true as the foundation of their own consciousness. Then that person begins to take on a different quality of life, and I'm not going to try to define or describe it. I'm not setting myself up as being such an individual. I'm only telling you that there is this matrix, and we are ourselves in it, and it is possible to have within us the light to understand it so fully that we are no longer a captive of those laws. Instead, they serve us as we are intended to be served by them.
ED: Otherwise, we serve the darkness when we're meant to, through our consciousness, serve Light.
GF: Across the board. In the end, darkness serves Light. It's not like master and slave. It's quite a natural process. But for us, it's become very unnatural, where not only do we not serve Light, we see what is dark. But something in us says that it's Light, and then we wind up being the slaves of that which was supposed to set us free. That's indicative of our present consciousness.
The discovery of that, if we're willing to see the fact of these things, and not hide and not run, and not get hateful, is the beginning of freedom. Hatefulness towards our condition is what hate does in us in order to keep us from seeing our actual condition, because the more I hate something, the more I'm separate from it. The liberation of consciousness is not about separation, but integration.
ED: In this process of discovery, you made a distinction recently that I think is important here, and that is the distinction between willfulness and watchfulness. Could you go into that a little?
GF: These various levels, this consciousness that we're talking about, the root of it has to do with all these various ways in which we're going to bring to ourselves that which will free us. So there's willfulness. But the willfulness isn't my willfulness. There is something in me that feels empty, incomplete, afraid -- a certain order of energy -- and it imagines, desires what will free it. Opposites always try to complete themselves, but opposites can't complete themselves. They are eternal opposites -- the Yin and the Yang, the yes and the no, darkness and Light -- and they cannot do it.
Watchfulness is the beginning of understanding the inherent emptiness in trying to find myself and free myself through those things. Then I don't have to do anything anymore. I begin to recognize the futility of it, and then begin to agree, by a sort of conscious consent, to be a watcher, to learn to watch life instead of trying to will my way through it.
Watchfulness contains higher will, whereas lower will has no watchfulness in it at all. The difference is the difference between the Light and the dark, being captive of our own imagination vs. free -- with the ability to use our imagination for the purpose that we're given it, which is to make our lives and the lives of others around us a better and brighter place.
ED: Thank you, Guy. This has been a Fireside Chat with bestselling inner-life author, Guy Finley. I'm Dr. Ellen Dickstein. Thanks for joining us.