Thursday, January 3, 2013

Intellect, Conflict and Self-realization

For years, I have been an intellectual and trying to reason everything out to find the truth and to know what is the right thing to do. I cannot claim that I found out the answers all the time; nevertheless, deep contemplation and logic have been my tools in life to solve problems and resolve conflicts.  Soon after I became aware of my cognitive processes of logic and reason, which started becoming all-encompassing and taking charge for almost everything in my life, I started wondering if I am becoming too methodical and logical that I am not able to do anything spontaneously or intuitively.  The thinking became faster and hence even the high-alert situations were becoming easy to respond to with thought instead of reflex. Of course, there are still some biological reflexes that are more hardwired to overcome.  In any case, the point I am making is that I was becoming worried that maybe I am moving away from experience and just processing everything like a computer; more mechanical.  Osho says "be spontaneous" - and the funny part about being spontaneous is that if you think that you should be spontaneous that itself is self-contradictory for you have already become pridictable (osho himself points to this contradiction- such a cunning guru he is)!

In recent times, with my emphasis shifting more to eastern style of spirituality I began to focus on learning through experience rather than through books and intellect.  One thing that occured to me about intellect is that as we hone our intellect (knowingly or through time), we not only start reasoning out everything but also start accessing our unconscious world more readily.  It is a long known fact that we do not readily have access to the information present in the unconscious part of our mind, which only becomes accessible in dreams or through symbolic repesentation and is not always clear. However the unconscious mind is effecting our every decision in life. My insight lead me to believe that as one starts reasoning out more and more, they will be pushed to become more aware of all the parameters involved in any situation. The more parameters one sees as contributing factors to any situation, the less the possibility of attributing the causation to any one particular thing. This leads to the realization (realization - not assumption) that everything happens like an orchestra and not just because one thing or person caused it. This is great learning in itself for it takes away the possibility of becoming angry or upset with any situation or person.

Coming back to the point, I believe that once the degree of intellect reaches a specific point (I don't have any rating here but it should definitely be far far above mediocre thinking), it starts accessing information from unconscious mind also. More importantly rather, unconscious mind starts trusting the cognitive process and reveals the information (read the previous line again as that is the key). This might happen primarily because, by then, reasoning is ready to believe that no one can be solely attributed with any causation. So, the unconscious does not fear about any acqusations and feels okay to share some stuff, which it will not do otherwise for the fear of guilt, ridicule, disgust or meagre judgement.

Since unconscious thoughts also become to surface, more and more actions look like they are becoming thought-out rather than spontaneous.  I learned it is okay! For when we become aware of our unconscious and start using that information as well, we are slowly becoming aware of who we truly are! Without that knowledge and acceptance of who we are, self-realization will just be a feel-good term.

The other side of the coin is that becoming so aware of ones unconscious mind will initially be a very daunting experience.  For it takes lot of time to realize that one is accessing information from unconscious as it actually manisfests in different forms that may not be easily readable. So, to identify that the conflicts one is experiencing in life are actually communication from the unconscious itself takes some time and that time is very traumatic. If one learns to be patient and hold oneself together, they will move past this stormy phase and realize that all the conflicts were actually very useful.  Sadly, many people just get trapped in this stage and do not come out of it. They become keenly aware of all the congnitive processes but don't reach the phase where they can accept them as they are. They fight! Irrespective of who wins in the conflict (mostly between mind and heart as people famously know it), the soul is left with wounds and scars. And then people blame that thinking too much will lead to moving away from reality and experience.  Yes, that will happen if people get trapped in that initial phase and refuse to accept certain facts. But if they do, and move on, the deep cognitive process will eventually lead to liberation as it will show to a person that in the end of everything it is just a great, beautiful, mystical, exhilerating symphony of the universe! Perhaps, such is the path of Gyan Yoga :-)


  1. Nice to see a new post here after a while!

    We are the sum of all of our experiences, and most schools of mindful empowerment suggest that we are exactly where we need to be for the greater good. That makes me wonder if it is really worth grieving over the "many people" who "just get trapped in this stage and do not come out of it." Great read. Sharing.