Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Unconscious Consciousness

In this self-nature there is a movement, an awakening, and the Unconscious becomes conscious of itself. This is not the region where the question “Why?” or “How” can be asked. The awakening or movement or whatever it may be called is to be taken as a fact which goes beyond refutation. The bell rings, and I hear its vibrations as transmitted through the air. This is a plain fact of perception. In the same way, the rise of consciousness in the Unconscious is a matter of experience; no mystery is connected with it, but, logically stated, there is an apparent contradiction, which once started goes on contradicting itself eternally. Whatever this is, we have now a self-conscious Unconscious or a self-reflecting Mind.

D.T. Suzuki expressed those thoughts in his 1969 book, The Zen Doctrine of No-Mind. Suzuki has a knack for explaining the internal aspects of philosophy in way that is easily understood. Words tend to distort unnatural expressions. They become crutches to support ideas that spring from the well of what we call rationalism. But, the unconscious is a very conscious place. It is a place filled with portions of our conscious mind. That portion of the mind is not attached to the brain. Even though it is free floating in the sea of unconscious consciousness it is able to act as a self-reflecting tool for the portion of the conscious mind that is attached to the brain.

Professor Suzuki didn’t allow his consciousness to be trapped by words. He allowed his self-reflecting tool to express itself consciously. He called that tool Zen. Zen moves through layers of beliefs, and creates pockets of awareness. Those pockets express ideas that stimulate emotions. Our emotions color these ideas, and our imagination gives them energy. This energy may not conform to logical thoughts, but it creates moments of reflection that tickle enlightenment. The sensation of enlightenment touches the conscious mind, and we feel the power of our unconscious consciousness.

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