The beginning of this series starts here …
We have been introduced to the idea that as human beings, we have collectively created an alternate human perception based on a progressive time continuum. This in turn has created a collective perceptual separation from the Continuum of life… the original paradigm of creation. With culture as its vehicle, this separation runs through a broad range of cultures. However, despite any cultural differences, it is inevitable that as human beings we personally interact with both perceptual paradigms. This leaves us to wrestle with the conundrum that on a day to day basis we are actually interacting with two different collective perceptual paradigms that define awareness. Hmmmmm…..
Even as infants we are confronted with the inherent separation created by this perceptual duality. Not only are we born with the vulnerabilities of traumatic experience brought in with us from past incarnations to heal, but as infants we are also born with the cognizance of the Continuum of Life. We have the intrinsic ability to perceive a world of multiple intelligences having an innate capacity to experience each new form of life we encounter with the simple understanding that we are being reciprocally acknowledged. Be it by an animal, a plant, or an energy like sunlight or wind, it can be sensed that what is perceived is very different from us, but there is a naturally reciprocal acknowledgement. We experience the sentient reciprocal relationship of pure experience.
As we mature, whether it is relative to tribe, village or nation, our perception becomes complicated by many cultural influences. There is much to inform us as to who we are, and where our place is, but for many it remains primarily relative to the human fabric of existence. Within this perspective, particularly in “advanced” cultures, there has also grown a parallel tendency, continually reinforced by cultural consensus, to give individual definition to mental, emotional, spiritual and physical selves.
We may even have preferences as to which self we most identify with. Encouraged by each different strata of culture we may see ourselves as intellectuals or scholars. Or we may relate to the emotional life of the senses or of human drama and circumstance. We may allow our spiritual paths to define us, affording us specified filters. We may feel we “drive our bodies around like cars”, or conversely, the shape or condition of our bodies becomes an emotional calling card. On the other hand, and particularly relative to gender, certain aspects of culture tend to sublimate whole elements of the separated self. These are only a few general examples, but in many ways, we have become culturally habituated to regard our bodies as merely a vehicle.
There is little, if anything, in our current view to substantiate the sentient experience of an infant, that human perception is a reciprocal physical and spiritual relationship in a spiritually intelligent world. Suggesting that our first perceptual impressions are proof that perception is a reciprocal relationship seated in the physical is an inadequate position relative to hundreds of years of consensus agreement that we are a species apart because of the “superiority” of our mental and emotional capacity. Our predisposition towards a singular or dominant “self” reinforces this persuasion.
The concept that perception is not only seated in the physical but is also a reciprocal relationship may also be especially difficult to encompass in the worldview where mastery of a separate element of the individual “self” is highly considered. How can perception, which seems more rare, more refined than the mere physicality of the body bypass both the mental and emotional powerhouses to be seated in our most vulnerable “attribute” … our bodies?
In some instances we are even counseled to spiritually deny the body and its inherent sensuous/sentient nature entirely. As we so implicitly understood as an infant though, perception itself is neither mentally seated nor emotionally promoted. Perception is simply the physical and spiritual embodiment of reciprocal relationship.
through all of our senses
is the physical activity
of being in relationship
in each new moment
Rather than a mental or emotional state
measuring of observation.”
Held within the whole of life, our most intimate personal responses are inseparable from our physicality. The balancing of our mental and emotional natures is imperative and our most relevant responsibility. One doesn’t arrive at this balancing as a static accomplishment though. There are no short cuts or degrees. Nor can it be fabricated by applying a persona of equilibrium. It requires a daily ongoing effort and an acceptance of the personal vulnerability this requires.
In the practice of this continual balancing however, we are afforded the opportunities to actualize a physical and spiritual integration that is a nonlinear maturing. It doesn’t follow a time line, even though we recognize certain age specific milestones.
“It is also personally unique to each individual
and absolutely cannot be measured.
At any given age, in any given moment,
a person has the potential to experience
physical and spiritual integration,
and does so over and over throughout their lifetime,
in moments that may be subtle or profound. “
As we walk the tight rope between two paradigms of perception, the continual balancing of our mental and emotional natures derives simply from a conscious acknowledgement of the need to do so. In dire situations our attempts are the substance of courage. It is the most basic contribution we can make to our own personal healing and, since we are intrinsically part of the whole of life, reciprocally to that of the world we live in.
“Through the cultivation of insight, self knowledge
and an integrated self,
the perception of a separate self shifts to one of wholeness,
as a personal mental and emotional balance is continually maintained
and the dynamics of physical perception are understood.
This process engenders a shifting of perception towards wholeness,
not only within the self, but also an integrity within the
Continuum of Life. “
We’ve been shaking the rafters …. now we bring down the walls.
©Jana H. White
Artist: Tarisse King