Aging, Health, and Conscious Evolution (Part 2)

How do we know if we are making progress in our conscious evolution?

Posted Nov 09, 2017

“The conscious mind may be compared to a fountain playing in the sun and falling back into the great subterranean pool of subconscious from which it rises.”

—Sigmund Freud

How can we know if we are making progress in our conscious evolution? One way is to keep our failures from causing us to feel negative or downhearted or arouse self-pity. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote “Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.”

Real effort and real action are needed, not half-hearted action and effort. The gardener cannot get a bountiful crop unless he or she digs, removes weeds, waters, and keeps up the weed removal and watering process for the entire gardening season.

The initial work on our intellect, our body, and our emotions is very different from the work of restoring an appropriate balance between each of them. This process takes time but this book will share useful information to appreciate our reality, challenge our bodies, stimulate our intellects, manage our emotions and nurture our spirits.

This is where parables and teaching stories can provide considerable value. They have both a container and the content. The literary storyline (the container) is entertaining and captures our intellectual curiosity and speaks to our driver. But a parable also contains visual imagery that our horse understands. Our emotions recognize the language of signs and visual images better than thoughts or words. So parables and teaching stories can help us to reconnect our intellect with our emotions so that our metaphorical driver has appropriate reins to communicate with the horse.

This process takes time but each of us can know and express our own deepest sense of living within the time that is given us. We will discover what best cultivates a blossoming of our humanity and service to others and dedicate ourselves to that. Maintenance of our body and controlling our emotions are necessary but are not sufficient for our personal growth. We are each distinctive creatures with our own uniqueness and if we are ever to fulfill our destiny it will have to come out of our own experience and realization of our own potentialities and not those of someone else. Margaret Mead said, “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”

The connections we develop within ourselves are like those bonding the carriage, horse, driver, and master. The harness attaching the horse to the carriage is a firm, direct attachment. The carriage will always follow the horse as our bodies always respond to our emotions. Try to think of an emotion without a corresponding physical feeling or reaction. There are none. The driver communicates with the horse through the reins, a more subtle communication than a harness. But the horse must be trained to respond to the reins to initiate movement and to change direction when so ordered. The horse cannot appreciate or understand the thoughts of the driver but can respond to guiding directions from the reins. Finally, notice the sublime nature of the communication between the driver and master through the invisible medium of the spoken word or perhaps a thought.

For this communication to be effective, the driver must be awake and attentive for the master’s voice and completely loyal to following the master’s direction. The driver cannot say to himself, “Now that the journey has begun I can take over because I think I know where we are going.” The journey to fulfill our destiny usually contains unforeseen detours and diversions. The driver is obliged to be humble, attentive, diligent and sincere and must know what to do and how to do it.

Strong patterns of habit tend to keep us in a comfortable state of intoxication. Our imagination takes over and substitutes the imaginary (often opinions) for the real. At any time, we can become drunk with imagination and easily deceive ourselves. We need to become aware of our habits and the power they have over our consciousness and we must learn how to reduce their influence on our actions, reactions, and behavior. An irony is that we really give up nothing of value through this awakening. What we lose is self-deception, anxiety, fears, misery, and suffering.

One way to initiate new relationships within ourselves is to notice how we react and interact with the outside world through a process of uncritical self-observation. We can improve and modify our habitual reactions that keep our intellects drunk in the public house and this internal, noncritical feedback can begin to modify our interpretations and reactions to these circumstances.

We can appreciate the reality of our situation and develop a new reverence for our intellects, bodies, and emotions and we may perceive ways to better balance our energies in these areas. Each of the entries of this blog is an attempt to help us move this process forward so that we can achieve that essential sense of our unique individuality, the special gift we are given by our mortality.

A transformation in our consciousness may occur and our driver now experiences a new level above ground sitting on the carriage box. We might have flashes of intuition and feel a deeper sense of connectedness with individuals and with the world around us. We might have a better sense of what we need to do and how best to do it. Things then will begin to feel more balanced and productive.

In some versions of the parable, the driver must slowly begin the journey and intently await the guidance of the master. That guidance cannot be forced or demanded. Like appreciating a shooting star or finding a sand dollar on the beach, there will be no preamble with warning shots or trumpets to announce the master’s presence. We must have patience, attentiveness, and vigilance and we must know how, where and when to look. We begin our efforts at self-observation, the work with our carriage, horse and driver, and on being alert to the inner guidance of the master. This may become evident only when we have reached the appropriate state and stage of development.

Much of our success will depend on our diligence and attentiveness in the employment of our conscious will, which can develop further through humility, patience, receptivity, and duty. Our intuitions may deepen and we finally appreciate the master’s presence in the carriage. The master seems to want a smooth and comfortable ride without further delay or extended efforts to get the attention of the driver. The driver only now realizes that the master has always been there and patiently awaiting the opportunity to communicate the appropriate route. Now is the time to start our journey.