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The Joy of Intelligence Knowing Itself

December 1, 2018



There's an ancient Hindu idea that I've always loved. Said in a mythological way, it goes like this:


In the beginning God was, and all was God. Eons passed, and then God became bored. Finally, for kicks and giggles, God decided to play a game of hide and seek. God broke himself into pieces and thereby lost track of himself within the endless phenomena of our material world. Some of the bits that God became are human. A human is a material entity with the consciousness of God, and so has the capacity to play the game. Through our eyes God becomes aware of himself again.


Here's the same idea, said in more modern language:

Consciousness is all there is. Consciousness is aware, but consciousness is not aware of itself. The reason is that we need to be outside of something to be aware of it, and consciousness cannot be outside itself because it is everything. One aspect or function of consciousness is the manifestation of the material world. The world appears material to us humans because we have a material nature and live within the perception of space and time, but in reality everything we experience is an idea or a knowing within consciousness. Our minds, fundamentally, are finite in comparison to the infinite reality of pure consciousness--and so we experience ourselves, generally, to be outside of consciousness. Because we experience ourselves outside of consciousness we can be aware of consciousness. And so the human, finite mind is a vehicle through which consciousness may become aware of itself.


Said in yet another, more Buddhist way (this is from a recitation I said every morning at the monastery):

"The Dharma is the teaching, the understanding, the experience of the Enlightened Mind. It is the experience of the joy of Intelligence knowing itself".


I offer this idea as a post script to the last two blogs, which were on the subject of "happiness". One of the troubles embedded in our relationship with that word is the tendency to claim "happiness" for ego. The happiness we tend to want is "my" happiness--is the happiness that "I" want and not another. This is the reason we don't experience true happiness, because "I" doesn't have the capacity for true happiness. True happiness belongs to no one; or, to say it in terms of the idea presented above: neither life, nor joy, nor being itself belong to "me", but to Life/God/Consciousness, and true happiness comes when we learn to give our lives back to Life, and to find joy in what we have, what is given us, rather than what we want.


That's why, a couple blogs ago, I suggested we might consider living not in an attempt to get what we want (the common sort of "happiness"), but rather with the intention to fully embody our experience; to deeply experience whatever it is that Life/God/Consciousness has put in front of us. This, I think, is a doorway beyond our finite human mind and into the experience of infinite consciousness, to whatever extent this is possible for a human being. We are here, I think, to learn; we are here to grow in our capacity to experience pure consciousness, and the experience of that path is truly called "happiness".

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