Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Forgetfulness as a Way Towards Enlightenment
Has this ever happen to you?: You lost your keys and can’t for the life of you remember where was the last place you saw them. How about forgetting where you placed them almost immediately? It is common to look for something we have misplaced once we remember that it is missing and typically a significant amount of time has elapsed, along with a truck load of other distractions that have easily contributed to your forgetfulness in the first place. Just the other day this happened with my perceived “lost” set of car keys. The thing is that I remembered I misplaced the keys within a time span of less than five minutes. At first this may appear as if I was extremely distracted to the point of forgetting immediately after the action took place, which some may call this as being absent-minded. From there I retraced my steps (literally) a few times trying out every scenario and possibility to where I could have placed my keys. Finally I reached a point where I was reversing my thinking process from the present moment to the exact moment I last remembered the keys. At this point I observed that I was feeling a little “light-headed” and decided to sit down. While sitting, I was meditating and contemplating the very image of the keys and opened myself up to any revelation that appeared. It was immediate that I experienced the sensation that I can describe as me asking myself the question “Is this Real?” where the moment lucidly felt like a dream or a movie taking place where I was able to take myself in and out of it. Now I have experienced this sensation before during some very deep meditation sessions and also during some very deep shamanic journeying explorations. Everything that we consider as real, at those moments, reveals otherwise. This can be a difficult thing to describe because the mind wants to wrap itself around it and intellectualize it but unless one experiences it for themselves, they have no idea. It is like trying to describe the act of sex with a virgin: you can describe it in as many ways as you can but unless they actually experience the act, they will not be able to truly understand you. The mind requires reference points in which to attach to and create some sort of stability to satisfy the intellect. For example, the mind uses our five physical senses as reference points to create what we believe as our everyday reality. But what happens when the mind has no reference points to anchor?
In neuroscience there is a known condition where the brain will make a limb disappear when its sensory inputs of the limb are conflicting. This is evident in persons with amputated limbs where the previous phantom limb sensations become less and less over time to the point where the brain no longer perceives there is a limb anymore. The person perceives that the limb is shrinking over time until it no longer exists (sensation wise). So what this means is that if the brain receives conflicting information, or if the mind no longer has any stable reference points to create a perceived reality, that perceived reality starts to dissolve. What appears is a more quantum presence of a more true reality. In other words, the veil of deception of a world of duality and separation is uncovered and the light of unity and interconnectedness is revealed (aka: Enlightenment). But then again, just like the virgin being told about sex rather than experiencing it, enlightenment is the same way.
So, What Happened?
At the moment of my perceived forgetfulness where I diligently retraced my foot steps as vividly as possible, my brain was unable to make any sense of it all. I remember I even entertained the thought that maybe a “ghost” was playing tricks on me. The lightheadedness and the surrealness of the moment was the “maya” or the “matrix” breaking down and I was awakened to another dimension that has always been underlying but well-hidden until one is ready to go forth on this path of higher knowledge. As I “returned” to my senses (the physical senses) I immediately went to my desk where I usually place old receipts and I remembered that I had thrown them away which led me to the trash bin where I found the keys. So as it turned out, my mind was so distracted that I was not aware at the time that when I threw away the receipts, I also threw away the keys which were also in my hand. I had totally forgotten this little bit of information when retracing my steps. The German “Shakespeare”, Goethe, in his work Faust mentions that forgetting is like the rudder and memory is the oars as we work our way through the ocean of consciousness. Our forgetfulness can guide us on the Soul’s path back Home and our memory is the will to do so.
From Rudolf Steiner’s work, he teaches a practice for one who seeks knowledge of the higher worlds for those on the spiritual path. One of the most basic practices is called reverse thinking where you retrace your day and try to remember with as much detail as possible everything you experienced. This practice prepares one for coming into relationship with the soul. To get an idea what this means, remember those people who report having near-death experiences and it is common for them to describe it as if “their whole life flashed before their eyes”. Their soul revealed to them at that moment every experience they had from then down to when they were born. By practicing reverse thinking, you can gain clarity to your present reality. Remember, when exploring the world of the soul, the rules of the physical material world no longer apply and one does not have to die this lifetime to learn this. The soul, which is invisible, can be made visible once we transcend what we are currently learning in our physical reality. All we have to do is to remove the veil.