The Marriage of Mind and Soul - 2
The soul has a collective, psychic aspect which operates in the religious sphere as true faith and devotion. It "ensouls" religious practices and observances. It is very active in the lives of the great religious mystics, the great dreamers of an absolutely transcendent state of unity, who, by intensifying their feeling-nature, attempt to by-pass the stage of individual selfhood and to raise their consciousness directly from the cultural to the transcendent (or "divine") level, and eventually to reach a "unitive state" of identification with what their religions call God in many languages. This mystic way and the bhakti path which has dominated the culture of India (and to a much lesser extent the European Middle Ages), seem to me to represent only one phase of the total process of raising human consciousness to a state beyond individuality. It should have to be balanced at one time or another — in preceding or subsequent lives — by the development of the individualizing mind.
As long as the autocratic power of the I-center totally dominates and controls the closed mandala of personality, the mind is most often blinded by that power. The mind can only begin to become aware of the deepest and ultimate purpose it is meant to serve when the "I am" power of integration tends to break down, finding it too difficult to cope with crucial problems of life as an individual in constant conflict with other individuals within an increasingly chaotic society. When, at the same time, another kind of power operating through the soul exerts constant pressure upon the mind and perhaps is able to penetrate its rigid structure with flashes of inspiration and intuition, the mind gradually — or in some cases suddenly — realizes its bondage to the "I am" center, and the nature of its higher function. It begins to work at building the inner temple under the impulsion of the power it dimly senses operating through the soul. This power is, symbolically speaking, that of the zenith-star — a light-radiating entity belonging to a more-than-individual level of existence — the level at which the spiritual reality of Humanity-as-a-whole has its being.
In astrological symbolism, this is the level of existence represented by our galaxy, the Milky Way. The star whose light and power first radiates through the soul and eventually illumines the mind represents the trans-individual state of existence of the human being. The potentiality of that state has been inherent in every human being for perhaps millions of years; but it is still, for most human beings living today, only a distant potentiality. The greatest part of mankind is still hesitantly, and most often blindly, working to actualize this possibility. The process of actualization which began at the biological level proceeded through the sociocultural level to the stage of autonomous individual selfhood. This state does not constitute the final "human condition". The I-consciousness can and in time will lead the whole of humanity to a "We"-consciousness — pleroma consciousness.
This "We" is totally different from the biological "we" of the family group or the social "we" of an aristocratic class responsible for the maintenance and glorification of a particular culture. In the pleroma state, the consciousness of all participants interpenetrate. There are no more individual barriers, yet the resulting unanimity should not negate any sense of individuality. The pleroma is a totally integrated orchestra of beings who nevertheless can act as individuals in the fulfillment of the role that each is to play in the performance of Man.
At this time in human history, the relation between mind and soul is of particular importance; much depends upon how it is interpreted. Because our Western society has so greatly stressed the development of the objective, analytical mind, a strong reaction to thinking has lately developed, inspired or at least strengthened by the spread of Oriental philosophy and the fascination exerted by various types of "spiritual Teachers" from Asia. Mental activity has been downgraded, and the word soul is used to glorify a non-mental type of either emotional feeling or of a "spiritual" way of life. If we return to what I have stated in the first chapter of this book, we could readily interpret this resurgence of all that can be covered by the word soul as an indication that the Yin approach to life has begun to rise in strength after, the Yang approach had reached its apex. Characteristic expressions of the Yang principle are the Euro-American collective mind, with its intense eagerness to control the material environment through intellectual knowledge, and what Oswald Spengler called the Faustian spirit, a restless spirit intent on the conquest of whatever is beyond the familiar and the known. Thus we can see in the soul a principle of compensation for the mind's tendency to dominate the field of activity and the consciousness of modern human beings. Such an interpretation, however, does not give a complete picture of the situation.
A mind is simply a form of consciousness. More precisely, it is a more or less clearly and sharply defined "area" (an awkward term to be understood symbolically rather than geometrically) within the total field of activity we call a human being. When this field is not only well-organized at the biological level as a body, but also at the sociocultural level as a person embodying in a particular way a collective psyche, a new trend begins to develop. The process of individualization starts. This process uses the mind to achieve its purpose, for mental activity is necessary to build a complex structure of consciousness from which the new principle of individual selfhood, the "I", can operate. In principle, the "I" operates simply as a centralizing and integrative factor; but as the necessity of overcoming the inertia of what biology and culture have built is felt, the "I" also apparently finds it necessary to act forcefully or cleverly to rule, and to enforce the laws and regulations the mind formulated. The "I" becomes a more or less absolute king or monarch.
Such a domination requires the individualization of consciousness. Consciousness, which was collective and psychic at the sociocultural level, becomes individualized through an enhanced operation of the objective, analytical mind. This individualization of a consciousness and psychism which had been almost entirely collective during long periods of human evolution quite obviously produces resistance. This resistance to the individualization of consciousness by the collective psyche gives form to a "soul". Within this soul two distinct forces are at work, though most people do not differentiate them. One of these forces is the power of tradition — the power of what still operates as collective psychism in the community in which the individual-in-the-making was born. The other force emanates from a higher collectivity — the "greater whole" in which all human beings live, move, and have their being, though for a long time they are not aware of this fact. This higher collectivity is Humanity-as-a-whole as an all-inclusive plane of reality of which the world of physical matter is only one several aspects.
This higher collectivity exists in a state of consciousness that transcends both the collective consciousness of a culture-whole and that of human beings having reached the status of truly autonomous individuals; yet, both the cultural and the individual stages are necessary to its actualization. I have already referred to this transcendent state of consciousness as pleroma consciousness. The power that operates within the soul is the energy and light of this pleroma consciousness. In other words, the light and power of the greater whole Humanity (in the all-inclusive sense of the term) acts within the soul of every individualized person. It has to act in order to counteract the individualizing trend; for if Humanity-as-a-whole did not act, the drive toward the fulfillment of individual selfhood would inevitably develop an irresistible momentum and crystallize into a rigid and tyrannical power — the unchecked power of the individual self, the "I am".
To say that this power is that of the ego is, I repeat, to fail to understand the difference between the sociocultural and the individual levels of activity. Such a failure often leads to much psychological confusion. It clouds up the nature of the soul.
The soul — I repeat — has a collectivistic, traditional aspect; and all institutionalized religions are based on and thrive from it. But it also serves as a base of operation for the greater whole Humanity in its attempt to keep the force of individualization (the Yang power) from producing an unyielding, utterly proud "I" backed, and also to a large extent controlled, by the patterns and devices of a bureaucracy of the mind. Thus Yang and Yin do not refer primarily to mind and soul. They rather symbolize the power that produces the emergence of individuals out of collective culture-wholes, and the power of the greater whole that seeks to bring all these individuals to the realization that they are potentially, and therefore have to become, co-participants in its vast field of activity and consciousness far transcending the individual state of existence.
Let me stress again that both powers are equally necessary in order for the process of transition from level to level to take place. A human being must pass through the stage of conscious individualization before he or she consciously and responsibly participates in the activity of Humanity-as-a-whole. Human consciousness has to become focused through a clear and individually centered and structured mind; but this focusing and centering and individualization of consciousness has also to be balanced by a drive for transformation and transmutation, or it could take a monstrous form which would negate the possibility of the development of consciousness at a higher, more inclusive level. Thus the individual should tone down his or her sense of achievement and the pride it engenders, so that he or she is able to listen to the "voice" of the soul, and by relaxing what Carl Jung graphically called the "cramp in the conscious" to open himself or herself to the downflow of light and transcendent energy which passes through the soul. I repeat, the soul does not generate this transformative current of spiritual power. The power comes from the greater whole — the planetary Being, Humanity-as-a-whole.
This planetary Being exists at a level that transcends the individual state, and therefore should be thought of as a pleroma of unanimous and spiritually integrated centers rather than as a supreme Person to whom the religious consciousness of human individuals gives the name God. Yet in relation to a human individual this divine pleroma actually assumes what to the individual is felt to be a "personal" character. When "God" speaks to a man or woman, He becomes personalized in terms of the particular need of the human being, or of the individual character of the cultural or spiritual work he or she may be charged to perform according to his or her special talent.
This fact, which has seemed so mysterious and awesome to many European thinkers and mystics, can be made more understandable — because it is de-glamorized — if we see it in the light of astrological symbolism. When an individualized human being is represented by the solar system as a whole, the transindividual, divine pleroma becomes symbolized by the galaxy, the Milky Way, in which the solar system is but a perhaps relatively insignificant atom or cell. Our Sun is a star. Thus every individualized man or woman is also potentially a divine being, a small unit within the divine pleroma, Humanity-as-a-whole — and symbolically a star in the galaxy.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1980; by Dane Rudhyar
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