Copyright (c) 1987 John Caris

Birth is a lucid symbol of life's journey. When a child drops from the womb, she becomes immersed in a radically different environment. The sense organs are turned on, providing constant stimuli for the brain. Visually, the child develops pattern recognition and stereo-vision. Many patterns are reinforced by society through language and acceptable behavior. The child learns which patterns are "real," which her society accepts.

As the child learns to cope with the environment, developing her body consciousness, she is suddenly hit at adolescence with a major bio-chemical transformation. The budding ego consciousness is often submerged under the sexual energy, not resurfacing again until the gateway at menopause, which is true for both female and male. A new birth can take place in one's life, and frequently it occurs around this time. This is a birth on a higher level and is described by Plato's myth of the cave, for the cave is both womb and tomb. Christian art uses the cave in this way, as a symbol conveying the paradox of beginning and end.

Leaving the cave and the distorted images of convention, one steps into a new and strange reality. No wonder mystical tradition comments upon the ineffable quality of this experience, for the convention of human language is too restricting. What if you were an astronaut who had just returned from a space flight! How would you describe the experience of free fall to someone who has never been in space! You can show her video tapes of yourself floating and describe your feelings and thoughts, but that is not the actual experience.

During meditation we can actually insert programs into our unconscious. Such programs should be clear and precise. It is like wishing. So often we make a wish, phrased in general terms, that when it comes true, we are unhappy with the results. W. W. Jacobs' story "The Monkey's Paw" is a well-known example. We should be aware of how the wish, should it be actualized, will affect the fabric of reality. The same attitude applies when we insert new programs into the unconscious, so the first stage during meditation is to observe the workings of the mind. As our understanding grows, we can observe the environment for signs or other reflections of change. This is important feedback; the environment agrees or disagrees.

Transforming consciousness is a major theme of Foundation for a New Consciousness, which is online for your reading pleasure.

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