Between Dark and Dark by David Lovejoy


165 Entr' Acte

Our awareness is usually dominated by our senses. What we see, hear, smell and taste determines the tone of our consciousness unless we are emotionally distracted, or purposefully thinking, or we close our eyes and deliberately focus away from sensation. In itself, this dominance of the senses is a clue, for their scope and aim are accidental; we can imagine rational beings with different senses and thus different windows on the universe. The senses we have give a shape to what we think, but their tyranny is not absolute.

As I type these words the centre of my being is with the meaning I am trying to convey, but I am simultaneously conscious of an ache in my jaw, a sweet breeze on my face from the open window, the weight of my body on the chair, the rustling of leaves in the garden, the ears of one of my cats raised in the forward alert position as he sprawls on the window ledge, a child and his dog appearing and passing on the road at the end of the garden, the ears relaxing, a fly somewhere buzzing…

I can stop typing, as I did a moment ago, close my eyes and make an inventory of consciousness. What I am actually thinking at any given moment seems arbitrary and fleeting: it happens to be these ideas but it could equally be those. Thoughts appear to be as insubstantial as clouds and more transient. What is the sky in which these thoughtclouds float? The self, one supposes, but then my interior geography is more complex than that. For the thoughts come from that invisible region where lies everything that I am not currently conscious of memories, learning, ideals. That region also contains the origin of things I am only intermittently conscious of prejudices, misconceptions, intuitions. It is as if my awareness is a huge sphere, with a tiny central bit illuminated with a se of 'I' and concentric spheres carrying less and less 'I' awareness until they mingle with the general materiality. When you ignore the spurts of thought in the centre it becomes hard to locate external limits of the sphere, hard to put a boundary on the self.

Profoundly unsatisfactory as my description is, the overwhelming feeling I have when I ignore the senses and explore the internal sky is that life is interconnected, joyous and, yes, sustained by something greater than the individual's own biomechanical plumbing. The worst state of being I can imagine is to look within and find that connection broken. In that state must live the cynic and the psychopath. The second worse state would be the person who emerges from the experience and thinks it validates some cherished belief, whether religious or secular.

So over the years I gradually resolved my dichotomy. Experience, whether occasioned by contemplation, Knowledge or psychotropic drugs, demands acknowledgement. The universe is whole, and can be related to in many valid ways. Logic has its limits: it is not just a case of whereof we cannot speak thereof we must be silent, it is also that we have no place to stand outside the universe from which to make our objective judgements on it.

Maharaji, who is always capable of inspiring these metaphysical concerns, will henceforth take up less space in this chronicle, but he remained an, important part of our lives as we settled in to Brisbane. Indeed, by complete coincidence some months after we moved to Fig Tree Pocket the organisation bought Maharaji a house by the river in that suburb and made it his Australian residence.