We all know this:
- The best way to see a distant star with the naked eye in the night sky is to not look directly at it, but focusing on the area of sky next to it.
- The best way to work out an uncooperative problem is to turn it over to your subconscious and go do something unrelated.
Why is that? What is it your subconscious is doing, exactly, all alone in the dark with a problem behaving defiantly and no adult supervision? Why does it work best with resistant difficulties, if you leave it alone? My husband holds a Bachelors in Philosophy and a Masters in National Security. He is a Jedi Knight when it comes to solving the unsolvable and working with the uncooperative and unpredictable. I asked him why this is, without even looking up from what he was doing, he said: “Because your conscious mind is busy keeping you from walking into furniture.”
And stress throws the conscious mind off-line.
But where does the subconscious go to get the solution when you do walk away? Who does it talk solutions over with before presenting the perfect answer like a bolt out of the blue? Why aren’t we consciously aware of the deep conversations going on while working out solutions? Or, are we aware? Could it be we are privy to the problem being turned over and examined, we just don’t recognize the “conversation” because the subconscious doesn’t tap into and use the language centers, but works instead in symbols and ideograms ~ like dreams? And we’re too focused on listening in for the words in our native tongues that say “Put” & “The” & “Square” & “Peg” & “In” & “The” & “Square” & “Hole”, and in that exact order?
There are legions of intuitive guesses (pun intended) about this. Humankind has been asking about and trying to find the definitive answer to the question of our souls and our connection to the Great Chain of Consciousness since the dawn of time. In my imagination, I can see Adam’s first day in the Garden, and his first words are “Why am I here? What is it you want from me exactly?”
For centuries, Man has asked that question, the answers that come back always fit within the armature of the geopolitics of the age. What I mean by this is, the question has still not been answered except by Man and his understanding of the world around him. Definitively answered, that is. Millennia have gone by. Learning has increased, Humankind is still asking that same question, but of science now, sciences that has splintered off into as many disciplines as there are orders of the Catholic Church. I know this because of a recent personal experience that sent me off into the greatest depository of knowledge the world has ever known, the internet, where I spent time reading everything I could find and watched every video of anyone who held one atomically small sliver of the answer to The Great Question.
Very recently, I had a very large problem that I wrestled with and beat my head up against the proverbial wall for several weeks. Mind you, the problem was not of my making, it was a 3rd party cock-up that left him with a check in his pocket and me with ruination, so factor in the emotional burn rate of white hot anger. The details to this are on my Urbit group, Seamstress Mafia, so I won’t rehash them here and the minute details are unimportant to this essay.
I eventually surrendered, but not gracefully and totally without dignity. I was metaphorically beat up and literally exhausted. I experienced real “Loss” of money, time, creativity, energy and effort. With nothing left to give to the fight…I curled up in my big chair and checked out for three days. Next to my chair was a small embroidery project I had put together some time ago but never got around to. The pattern was traced out, it was in a hoop and the embroidery floss was neatly lying on top of it just waiting for me at this moment. In my defeat, and sheer exhaustion, I absentmindedly picked it up and threaded a needle.
For three days, I worked on this little project, unaware of my surroundings. My conscious mind was off-line. The stress had blown circuits and until it rebooted, my mind was a paperweight. Amazon Prime went from one streaming video to another and I have no idea what was being played on the TV. My husband came and went to the gym and lawn care and other assorted errands. I brushed my teeth and went to bed, got up the next morning and went right back to this project. I did not daydream. I did not problem solve. I was not happy, I was not sad. I was not anything in between. I was in a coma. I was a needle and thread being pulled in and out of a piece of cloth in a hypnotic, repetitive motion. For three days. I inhaled and exhaled.
When the project was finished, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the dead for 12 hours. My usual sleep pattern is 5-6 hours a night.When I woke up, I felt better than anytime I can remember. Refreshed and On-Top-Of-The-World happy. Brand new love, Honeymoon Period happy when you still believe your new found lover pees rosewater and has perfumed flatulence.
I also knew exactly how to solve my intractable problem. The answer…was just…………….right there.
Like my great to the 100th power grandmother before me, sitting around a fire and staring up at the stars, although worded differently, I asked the quadrillion dollar question: “What is it all about?”
I was high and feeling sharp and had to know what had happened to me in those 3 days! I needed a mathematical equation and Latin terms to describe the the journey to The Great Consciousness. I wanted to draw a real life map to this place. I want to go back to there, at will.
But that’s not how the mystery works. You can’t look at it directly. There’s no certainty of knowing. If there indeed was a definitive answer to the question of the mystery of the Great Consciousness, we would have found it by now. Coca-Cola, Disney, Sony, you name it, would have copywrited it and made millions reducing it to a slogan that could fit on t-shirts. I started this essay thinking I would brilliantly summarize all the articles, papers I read, and TedTalk videos I watched. Instead, after several weeks of looking, I humbly leave you with these quotes from some of the greatest minds of the 20th century, because there is no definitive answer and that’s the way it is. Everything is exactly as it should be. It’s a mystery.
(Seriously, Pinwheel? You spent an entire couple of weeks on the Question Of The Ages? Thank you so much for sharing all that insight here with us! Really, thank you, you’re a giver!)
I can explain my body and my brain, but there’s something more. I can’t explain my own existence – what makes me a unique human being. ~John Eccles
The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is at the root of all true science. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is in the incomprehensible universe, is my idea of God. ~Albert Einstein
The stream of knowledge is heading towards a non mechanical reality, the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. ~James Jeans
I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness. ~Max Planck
Is the mystery God Himself? If the answer to that question is yes, God as you understand God to be, there is no reason whatsoever to be afraid. Consciousness survives. It’s all going to be ok.
P.S. For the rabbit hole lovers, “Quantum Entanglements”. I will never be the same