When life is first give to us, we are unable to operate the body or the mind. The energy of life is
not under our control. Our powers of perception are minimal, and our awareness and consciousness
is extremely short-lived and fragmentary. We are each stricken with a kind of amnesia, with no
history, no background, and no memory. Even more unfortunate, we do not even have the
consciousness of the amnesia victim, who is at least aware that something preceded the beginning
of his memory.
Out of this rather sorry plight, man's consciousness and potential greatness must develop. The fact
that it does develop speaks strongly of a pattern and source hidden from view and not even
suspected by most people. Man slowly emerges from the unconscious state and is able to piece
together the early fragmentary consciousness into one of relative continuity. Even then, expect for
those whose development becomes deeply profound, man's consciousness continues to be broken
and fragmentary throughout his life. It is broken by forgetting, by unconscious repression, and by
sleep. In each of these phenomena man's consciousness changes and he is aware of what goes on
during substantial periods of time.
In developing consciousness, learning how to operate the body and how to survive in this world,
most of us are so busy that we may never ask, "Who am I?" We are constantly
diverted from this
question. Over and over we are caught up in experiencing our physical machinery - in tuning it
up, healing it and keeping it functioning. Even more compelling we are experiencing the pleasure
of the body and the senses. These concerns tend to divert us from the important question of who
we really are.
We confuse pleasure with lasting happiness. It takes a long time to realize that pleasure is not long
lasting and is replaced by displeasure or discomfort. We are not taught that everything gives over
to its opposite. If we experience happiness, and then it is replaced by unhappiness, we think that
something is wrong - getting that this is part of the natural flow. Our thinking is caught up in
being linear. Any break is surprising, yet the world functions in linear fashion only in short
if one takes the long view, sees the bigger picture, one finds that those seemingly straight lines are
actually parts of a curve. Everything expresses an ebb and flow, coming and going, repeating over
and over again.
For example, if we feel pleasure in a relationship, at some time something will happen to bring
displeasure into that relationship. This happens as a matter of course, not because someone has a
neurosis or does something wrong. Similarly, wet years give rise to dry years, and back to wet
again. A full stomach is followed by hunger. Night follows day
endlessly and season follows upon
season. The shortness of our view, the limitations of our vision, break each of these into smaller parts.
When we experience spring for the first time, it would be easy to assume that the days would
continue growing longer and longer and would go on forever.
Eventually we learn that darkness
increases again. The problem is man's limited consciousness, which comes and goes, and plays tricks