Discernment And Depression
In the phase of involution, Shiva, the infinite consciousness, has been transformed by his immortal consort Shakti, the divine creative energy, into all that is in this universe. Shiva is the material cause of the universe, Shakti is the efficient cause. Shiva is pure light. Shakti is gravity that apparently bends trajectories and attempts to mold this pure light into her created forms and molds. It is Shiva itself that has willingly become “star stuff,” the Thing from which all finite things are made of. Shiva and Shakti as the Supreme Consciousness have projected this universe from their essential purity. Life is a creation made on the return journey, where star- light and matter are yearning to evolve beyond physicality, into pure energy, into mind, and finally back again into Consciousness. Therefore, the soul trapped within life and evolution, or “microcosm,” is fundamentally dominated by the centripetal, return, or evolutionary force. “Ha” is the sound of this primordial centripetal energy of mind. It is the first vrtti, or vortex of the mind, which is pure subjective awareness. “Ha” pertains to the Ajina Vortex, the essential and purest level of mind. Here the mind mysteriously fathoms the unfathomable Atman who is entirely beyond the mind itself. The mind “conceives” this inconceivable truth in understanding that “I am That”; “I am Consciousness itself, and not this mind.” It is an entity subtler than mind who sees the mind. “Ha,” the center-seeking, centripetal force of the mind is the only mental vrtti that goes entirely into transcendence, into the pure subjectivity of Shiva. Even the noble Vishuddha tendencies relate to the external world in a spirit of service and chivalry, but “Ha” is a force of mind, of Shakti, that surrenders itself only to Shiva. Its comforting to know that it is the only force that can entirely dominate the mind and unify it in the infinite abode of Shiva. The universe conspires against our external desires. It is only here that all desires find their fulfillment. All of the other 49 major vrttis go outward. “Ha” is the only tendency that delusion can’t touch. The very existence of the parasite who feeds on unconsciousness depends on your not going back to the One, of your inability to transmute your little “I”, the ego, into the great “I-Witness.” Therefore, only surrendering to the infinite Atman will bring an end to ignorance’s dominion. Only the entity who stands beyond good and evil can liberate one from good and evil.
While incarnated in human form and passing through the soul-building experiences of this world we must know and cultivate the positive propensities of mind that help us to expand and adapt to this relative world while never forgetting that our true home is in the spirit. We must discern between the relative and the absolute, between finite and infinite. The world isn’t inherently corrupt, we just haven’t properly learned how to handle ourselves. We haven’t learned to economize the infinite nature of desire.
Discernment is the sixth propensity of the Anahata Vortex. It is administrated by the sound “ca.” Discernment is conscience, the force of Consciousness over the mind. Mind harmonizes with the sublime, transcendental consciousness and lives and acts according to its inner way. The inner path can only become pure when we really know the difference between what liberates us and what does not- that which causes suffering and delusion. Desire is tamed only through the realization that it always brings some form of suffering in the end. The only desire that truly liberates is the desire to become one with the Infinite. It is only when a soul has struggled and wrestled and developed its discernment that the instinctual nature of external desires begin to lose their grip on the mind. The finite can never satiate the infinite. External desires can never bring nirvana. Striving after this liberation doesn’t mean giving up the world entirely, but a seeker must have the eyes open so as to properly navigate through maya. With the development of discernment, temptations may come more to test you, but finally help to establish one in a deeper understanding in which renunciation truly becomes sweet and not something forced and manipulated.
Not understanding this essential truth of existence always brings emptiness, existential ennui. This is the 7th vrtti of the Anahata Vortex, psychic depression, controlled by the sound “cha.” “Ha” must descend to “ca” to return the undiscerning mind back into equilibrium. Hopefully, a little “dark night of the soul” will do the trick, but many fall so deep into emptiness and accept all that psorax is offering. Psorax loves an empty, bored ego and will always find ways to fill you. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” The greater the image that one invests in the separate ego the greater the shadow cast upon the mind by the infinite radiance of consciousness. We don’t understand that it is our own shadow cast by an inflated vain image that traps us in this maya. If there is a place for an image in this eternal mind storm of vrttis, then I imagine that is should be as light, honest and transparent as possible. The dark schemes of the unconscious ego can’t hide too well in this discerning light. Discernment
As previously mentioned the Anahata level of mind is the fulcrum on which rests the directional flow of mind. If the Svadhistana and Manipura propensities qualify the Anahata propensities one may get an intellectually developed mind with a definite and abstract sense of separateness lacking warmth and moral conscience. This aloof coolness is due to the fact that the intellect and abstract, self-concept is still preoccupied with the self- establishing propensities of the Svadhistana Vortex and/or the self- acquisitional propensities of the Manipura. The ability of a heightened consciousness and personality with a potentially deep, inner life and capacity to think and feel deeply is in this state unable to use this consciousness to relate with others in correspondingly deeper ways. The drives of the lower vrttis usurp the intelligence of the higher. The propensity of conscience or discernment informs the mind with the ability to use its reason to determine what choices and modes of being lead toward the growth and expansion of the inner life in relation to Spirit as well as world. It can also discern what actions lead toward the confinement of self-centeredness and psychological stagnancy. With conscience the mind can understand its potential for self-centeredness while at the same time be in touch with the intuitive ideas that guide the mind out of its limitations and towards spiritual realization.
Discernment, the ability to know what is good and just, is a propensity that is rooted in the Intuitive Mind. Having a deep, intuitive ability to understand and peer into the nature of the self and the world enables one to act in accordance with truth. The intuitive conscience spoken of here is the essential conscience, the conscience as Consciousness; it is the representative of Spirit within the mind. Discernment, or viveka, is not the external, conventionally imposed script of do’s and don’ts, but the inner voice and benevolent guidance of the eternal Tao. The higher order of harmony in the Tao, or Cosmic Mind, is intuitively understood by the Aham at the Anahata. These subtle laws are translated into microcosmic existence and harmonized with humane sentiment and discerning wisdom. . The principles of Yama and Niyama serve as guidelines to develop this natural, moral conscience that is guided by the Intuitive Mind. Depression
There are 3 main degrees of depression that can be experienced. The propensity of psychic stupor at the 2nd vortex is of course the heaviest. It represents a crippling of the entire psychological foundation. With melancholy at the 3rd vortex there is an entropy of the dynamic, extroverted propensities that link the phenomenal self with its world. The vrtti of emptiness at the fourth vortex is, as the name implies, a mental depression in which the conscious ego experiences ennui, boredom, lack of meaning, and dispiritedness. It is more of a psychic and existential malady as opposed to a mere crippling of the drives and instincts that characterize melancholy and psychic stupor. The Aham, or ego, feels empty not just because the world is not in harmony with the psyche but the psyche is not in harmony with itself. The Anahata Vortex is concerned with the deep meaning of the phenomenal identity, of what the true nature of the personality is. Psychic depression results when these existential needs are not fulfilled or realized. There is only an empty, inner space. Nothing connects and integrates the self definition with itself as well as to other selves and society. Essentially, this type of depression ensues when the ego is not in harmony with its conscience, the deeply intuitive ideas that link all elements of the personality together and give it inspiration and direction. Conscience is the guiding spirit within mind. It shows us what is virtuous and how to align ourselves with the spirit of benevolence or Dharma at any given moment and in any situation.
The flow and dynamics of mental life is not a chaos but a very refined order. It is only when the ego resists this intuitive order that one can become confused, alienated, enervated, and eventually depressed. Depression, especially when experienced existentially at the Anahata, has its own meaning and order. It is in fact a wake-up call to be more conscious of what we are and how we should be. In many cases depression manifests in periods of great transformation. “Before preparing a man for great things, heaven first fills him full of bitterness and despair,” a Taoist friend once said. Perhaps depression, at least when viewed spiritually, can serve the purpose of making us more real, more aligned with our inner selves. The duplicity and incongruities within the personality are undermined and disabled from further perpetuation. So often the ego invests itself in socially constructed and uncreative images, in a superficial conformity to a conventional system, or just never explores or listens to its own inner voice that is always calling for expansion and transformation. Psychic depression can root out the subtle forms of egotism and vanity in even the most spiritual of minds. St. John of the Cross termed this type of dispiritedness the “Dark Night of the Soul.” It appears as a contraction and dulling of the mental faculties but underneath there is a spiritual process occurring that is helping a soul move beyond all of the limitations and boundaries that keep it confined to its separateness and self-enclosure. And with psychic depression there is the ability to ruminate over why one feels heavy and lacks meaning, why things are just not going right, and to thereby find solutions. Our inner lives are never haphazard and meaningless. Life is a constant process of becoming. Each and every situation is an opportunity for growth-to exercise our discriminative intellect, insight and humane compassion. Within us always is conscience, the voice of Spirit, incessantly guiding and directing our lives for our greatest good. We need only to listen to and be true to ourselves. Excerpt from Anahata - Download Anahata
I have chosen the following music to accompany this writing: Cantata 209, J. S. Bach “Non sa che sia dolore.” - “He did not know he suffered.”