We Had the Experience but Missed the Meaning II
The healing and transfiguring aspects of this deep mind become available to us only when the self-conscious mind—the mind that categorizes what happens to us into "experiences" and bombards us with continual interior chatter—is set aside in some way, by one-pointed meditation, for example, or by a walk in the woods; in other words, by shifting our attention away from the distractions of daily life to stillness and silence. This is what is meant by metanoia. When we turn toward silence, we can receive the fruits of deep mind through insights, through changed perspective, through the mysterious healing that takes place out of our sight. Over time we may find that an event we thought was a terrible "experience" was in fact the best thing that ever happened to us, because it forced us to live in a new way. Or we might notice over a period of time that someone we thought to be a demi-god has feet of clay, or that someone from whom we initially recoiled is in fact someone we badly need in our lives.
Insights and changes of perspective make themselves known at times when we're not thinking about anything in particular; the light from within can burst upon us at just about any time we give it an opening. And we need to realize that the depths of this hidden, greater part of the mind is where our shared nature with God indwells, and our divinization (theosis) takes place.
We are hampered by the English language, which has only one word for "to know." German, French, Spanish, Latin all have two words for knowing: the kind of knowing which we (wrongly) call "scientific" —wissen, savoir, saber, scio/scientia), which is linear, self-conscious, reductionist knowing; and the kind of knowing that is the provenance of the deep mind—kennen, connaître, conocer, cognosco/sapientia. The fact that we have only one word for "to know" in English means that we fall—I use the word advisedly, for it is into self-consciousness that Adam and Eve fell—into preferring the part of the mind that depends on very faulty interpretations—illusion, in fact. If we are to be truly scientific, we need both parts of our mind working together in harmony.
But the self-conscious part of the mind tries to encapsulate us, to persuade us that it alone has any truth, when in fact it is prone to deceit, in contrast to the deep mind that perceives directly. We need both ways of knowing: we need to acknowledge our experiences and we need to let them go so that the deep mind can provide correctives to our interpretation of these experiences. We need to realize that our true life lies not in self-consciousness, but rather from listening to what arises from our deep mind without excluding the positive and necessary work that the self-conscious mind contributes.
This is the basic message of teachers and saints from time out of mind, for anyone can discern this process who takes the trouble to watch his or her own mind. This is not the so-called perennial philosophy, which is based on interpretation; it is rather an accurate insight into human neuro-psychology, which is then filtered through a particular culture. What I'm describing isn't rocket science; all one has to do is to persevere in shifting attention, in—I speak metaphorically—reaching into the dark, and waiting in the silence. Of course to maintain this receptivity also means changes in the way we live by eliminating noise (especially electronic noise), and stuff, which is material noise, from our lives.