Hundreds of millions of years of evolution has culminated in me, a modern human – aware that he is looking at himself in a mirror, able to manipulate mathematical equations, operate a computer, and hold a meaningful conversation with another person. In other words, perfectly evolved for my situation on my planet. As such, I am capable of awareness of secret defenses.
Yet, within me resides the ancient ancestor who first swam in primordial goo, escaped the first predators, reproduced successfully, and basked in the warmth of the sun. I’m not consciously aware of those ancestors – I think about those I recall from my childhood, etc., yet find it difficult to imagine much farther back in time. I don’t consciously recall what it feels like to be a single-celled creature or a tiny rodent-like creature shortly after the K-T boundary era.
Yet, all those “memories” affect how I perceive my world today. They affect my relationships, my income, my sense of self, just about everything I perceive and believe.
The First Awareness Bubble
I call the First-Second Degree of Illumination Bubble “the bubble”. Within this bubble, I compete for scarce resources, fight with others, defend territory, and generally behave as though I were naked and afraid on the plains of Africa – those millions of years ago.
To live as a modern human, rather than as an archaic life form, I perform my secret defense animal-self duties in a way that is unique to modern humans – giving me the illusion of being fully conscious while living in complete unconsciousness.
To live in unconsciousness while seeming to live consciously, I imagine my world in terms of aspects. I separate my conscious mind from my subconscious mind. I assign awareness to the conscious aspect and everything else to the subconscious aspect. My subconscious body-mind silently and secretly performs the duties required for living in the bubble.
The separation is an imagined and convenient fabrication that allows my conscious mind to explore beyond the dangerous grasslands of ancient Africa – into the realms of mathematics, sciences, art, culture, civilization, technology, and much more.
The perception of separation is, nevertheless, an illusion, albeit a useful one – for a while. As long as I find value inside the bubble, I will continue to experience unconsciousness as conscious living. Inherent in which is defense – the membrane of the bubble.
Because my defenses are set to operate automatically – as a function of my subconscious mind – I’m often unaware of it when I’ve invoked a defense. As a modern human, I’m consciously responsible for actions I take in defense of my body-mind. This situation between subconscious duty and conscious awareness is a setup for conflict! Which brings me to…
The Second Awareness Bubble
SO – How do I become consciously aware of my secret defenses when I do them through subconscious – secret – means and methods?
Perhaps we can start with attacks that are defenses. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “The best defense is a good offense.” There is an aspect of my subconscious self that lives by that motto. It is the lone naked human on the plains of Africa – alert, on guard, vigilant. When that aspect even suspects a threat, it picks up a weapon and chucks it at the approaching lion. Later, when it discovers that the “lion” was just a breeze across the tall grass or some other non-threat, it says to itself, “Whew! I live to see another day!”
That aspect of me frames all questions in survival. It is incapable of forming a question that doesn’t include fear. Remember, it is alone, naked, and afraid – in a world of threats. It hasn’t the luxury of pondering, cogitating, or inquiry. It has to be fast, mostly right, and efficient. One mistake can cost it life.
That is the essence of Second Degree of Illumination. When I’m within the bubble, my conscious awareness tends to flow along with these secret defenses – experienced as explanations, faith, reasoning, and etc. – rightness, justifications, properness.
Today, however, I’m aware that I exist within a bubble. Being aware of my predicament is most of the journey out – noting that “most” is not “all.”
To discover how I keep myself within the bubble – using subconscious, secret, defenses – I must initiate a strategy, a methodology, to deal with the condition. I must, as my ancestors did, figure it out and adapt accordingly.
The Third Degree and Beyond
That’s where questioning comes in. Until I question my condition, predicament, situation, I’ll continue to think, do, and feel as I’ve done in the past – safe within the bubble. Noticing how I secretly defend myself against imaginary threats gives me a shot at escaping the bubble.
Meanwhile, here I sit like the fool on the hill. I feel comfortable, safe, secure, and unconscious. My imaginary secret defensive bubble can be popped in an instant by a simple question. A Third Degree of Illumination question.
Could that question mark the difference between death in the bubble and life beyond it?