This essay arose of a conversation that remained incomplete, largely because of the apparent unfamiliarity my interlocutor had with the subject, which factor lent an air of abstraction to the matter despite it being so obvious and close a phenomenon to ourself. The difficulty at the core of its seeming obtruseness was two-fold : one, the meaning we carry of the terms are so very formal that they remain distant from ourself, compared to the carnal and electronic objects that readily engage the youth of our day; and two, any attempt to segregate the entities, and their phenomenal effervescence in our mind, fails to start because we ourself are too caught up in the mix to lay out the categories at play separately, sequentially and seamlessly between the universe yonder, our world at hand, and the heady couldron of vitality playing things up as feelings, emotions and thoughts in our mind.
The universe is the endless expanse, the mother set, containing all the astronomical and heavenly bodies, visible and invisible, known and mysterious. It includes our world and our self within it.
The world about us reduces to “our” world for all practical purposes, with objects that actually occupy our memory and mind more or less, in some way or other. The entities come in all shape and form, state of animation and consciousness, nature and character, and value to ourself in the long and short term.
The self — our self — is the being we are, the person who decides the right and wrong for ourself, who is curious and who engages with the objects in our world, who notices the feeling and identifies with the prevailing will and emotion, happy or sad, enthused or indifferent.
The Personal Phenomena
Our individual being involves our world and our self, with all the objects and entities about us, which we live in the midst of and value, positively and negatively, often in the same single thing, person or being. There is a wider world out there, distinct from our world, that we are either not intimately aware of or to which we are indifferent because it does not touch us, that does not engage us in the least for now. But our living being is restricted to all that affects us, physically or by their presence in our memory, in the way it makes our vitality rise and ebb, outward to action or inward to feeling quickened or depressed, draws our emotion to flare with a will of its own, triggers our thought stream hither and thither, making our desire next sprout or dry, and leads our self through an experience memorable or forgettable.
Our experience of life, and indeed our life itself, is an endless train of such streaming consciousness constituted of this mix : feelings and emotions, will and thought, desire and knowledge, memory and more, with the self — the sense we have of ourself — often helpless like a ball ricocheting from the walls upon a momentum imparted in unknown past or an oarless boat in the middle of flowing waters. What we gather along the journey in life, through our growing up years, is knowledge and memory of the character or nature of things, person or individual beings, usually in binary terms : happy, or not. Each encounter or recall of this summary sense, as it happens, brings in its trail the emotion and will that our psychological or attitudinal behaviour, caution or enthusiasm and more extreme expressions at the juncture. And thus life continues to happen : happy or sad, or in the pall of any other shade in between.
The Exploring And Analysing Self
There are several reasons why we wake up to need of reviewing the momentum of the personal phenomena upon which we are carried, and to the burning will to intervene. Often it is the consequences, material and mental, that leave us dissatisfied, inadequate, delinquent or destitute. Or, usually in comparison with our peers or with inspiration from other people’s lives past or present, there is a sense of not doing justice to what we have and what more we could do with greater control over our phenomenal being, with empowering our psychological self at making the most of our situation, spotting opportunities and playing up to our strengths. Too, it is extremely deflating to our self-esteem to realise that we are living the animal way, to our lowest nature, or are being merely passive or reactive to our happennings. And lastly, we might discover that the unexamined knowledge we have gathered is mostly untrue, that we need to revisit each as they come and bring our conclusion up to date. Whatever the cause, we then want to put an end to our self-cipher outside-in existence and steel ourself to imposing our will inside-out, to being what and how we want ourself to be and experiencing a life by our own choices than by what fate or our world has thus far deemed it to be.
A true awakening is more a phase than a moment : outwardly langorous and dilated but hyperactive inwardly. In that state of concentrated awareness, we refuse to be moved even as we go through the motions and insist on observing and knowing the details of our personal phenomena as it occurs : the feeling caused by an object on our world, the emotion representative of our reaction to it, our will that automatically presents itself … that jucture when we can choose to react or contemplate the pros and cons of alternate courses, the thoughts at reviewing the object, the feeling and the emotion, the will we were ready to commit ourself to, and the state of our own being, the quality of our self … We hold ourself at it, intending to exhaust the fulness of one series : object, feeling, emotion to the object and to the feeling it causes, the will and the choices, the doubts, the light on ourself, and the values we hold to ourself in the shadows of our each thought and glance at the categories and their possibilities thus laid out.
Our Self And Our Values
To fast forward, we may now observe the continuous series of categories laid out before us, connecting seamlessly the universe and the self :
[ Universe ] — [ World ] — [ Our World ] — [ Objects, Entities, Plants, Trees, Animals, People, Food, Sex, Beautiful Form, Panorama, Family, Friends…] — [ Senses : Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch, Hear ; Mind ] — [ Feeling ] — [ Emotion : Will ] — [ Thought : Doubt, Examination, Analysis, Possibility ] — [ Knowledge ] — [ Self : State, Quality, Values ]
Of the above, we notice, animals are arrested by their emotions and accompanying will; and so are we. The only interactive behaviour that sets them to peace, and is hence both necessary and sufficient, is love. And so it with us, as far as others are involved and our interactive behaviour goes.
However, as human beings with the power to be pro-active, to change ourselves and our world about us, we need to choose our values and therefore need to know what works, which yields what and how. The knowledge and values are already indicated by our history, our myths, our texts ancient and modern, our epics, our traditions and our ways of life. It is upto each one of us to inform ourself, know and choose for ourself, and to embark upon that journey of examining and clarifying from experience that which is absolute and invariable and those that are relative and dependent upon situation and circumstance.
Some truths are universal though :
— Feelings are nature’s means to reveal itself to us. Men do not cause feelings, our world does. We do not stop feeling except when we are literally or sort of dead.
— Emotions are our own and arise almost always from the dark and unexamined part of our within. They are mostly wasteful except when prompted of love.
— Our mind is a means and an instrument to feel, examine and know our world, our emotions and will, our memory and impressions from past, as also to sense the state and quality of our self and the values we associate with.
— The values we choose and commit ourselves to provides a firm unshakeable ground to ourself; nothing else does. The self committed to values empowers the will to choose the right course of action; nothing else does.
— There is no truth apart from our self. It is lost in the mind, in thoughts and habitual emotions, in addictive feelings, when we begin our search for our self. The process of extricating our self and living in the light of its truth is the eternal way.
Let’s walk it.