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These various stages of consciousness and fluctuations of psychic activity can also be examined through direct experience from the waking state. In the following chapter we will let you become more aware of these ever-active portions of your own reality. End of chapter.
To some extent, all of these are small examples of the mobility of your consciousness, and the ease with which it can be used. In a strange manner, symbols can be regarded as samples of the way you perceive at various levels of consciousness. Their changing guises can be used as signposts. Fire, for example, is a symbol made physical, so a real fire tells you obviously that you are perceiving reality with your physically attuned consciousness.
Beyond this are states in which the symbols themselves begin to fade away, become indistinct, distant. Here you begin to draw into regions of consciousness in which symbols become less and less necessary, and it is a largely unpopulated area indeed. Representations blink off and on, and finally disappear. Consciousness is less and less physically oriented. In this stage of consciousness the soul finds itself alone with its own feelings, stripped of symbolism and representations, and begins to perceive the gigantic reality of its own knowing.
Actualization does not need to wait for hours or days. Experience is free from a time context. In this realm of consciousness an entire book may be written, or one’s life plans thoroughly scrutinized. Your present time is one of many dimensions that help form this particular stage of consciousness. Therefore your past, present and future exist within it, but only as portions of that interior environment. You have to learn your way about, for the states of consciousness and their environment stretch out in their own way as your world stretches out, say, in space. It is not difficult, however, to be aware of yourself in this stage through giving yourself proper suggestions before sleep. (Pause.) End of dictation. We have a good start….
(Long pause; the pace was still slow at this point.) Consciousness can be turned in many directions, obviously, both inward and outward. You are aware of fluctuations in your normal consciousness, and closer attention would make some of this quite clear. You expand or narrow the scope of your attention constantly. You may focus upon one object almost to the exclusion of everything else at times, so that you literally are not conscious of the room in which you sit.
(9:33.) A mental picture of a fire automatically tells you that another kind of consciousness is involved. A fire mentally seen that has warmth but does not burn destructively obviously means something else. All symbols are an attempt to express feelings, feelings that can never be expressed adequately through language. Symbols represent the infinite variations of feelings, and in various stages of consciousness these will appear in different terms, but they will always accompany you.
Let us take a particular feeling and follow it through as it might be expressed at various levels of consciousness. (Pause.) Begin with a feeling of joy. In normal consciousness, the immediate environment will be perceived in a far different manner than it would be, say, if an individual were in a state of depression. The feeling of joy changes the objects themselves, in that the perceiver sees them in a far brighter light. He creates the objects far more vividly and with greater clarity. In feedback fashion, the environment then seems to reinforce his joy.
(9:51.) The physical body all the while is greatly benefitted, because the beneficial feelings automatically renew and replenish its recuperative abilities. The feelings of joy now may lead to images of Christ, Buddha, or the prophets. These symbols are the changing scenes characteristic of consciousness at various stages. The experiences are to be considered as creations; creative acts all native to consciousness at various stages.
At different levels, consciousness works with different kinds of symbols. Symbols are a method of expressing inner reality. Working in one direction the soul, using its consciousness, expresses inner reality through as many symbols as possible, through living, changing symbolism. Each symbol itself then is to its own extent conscious, individual, and aware.
Those stages of consciousness that occur after death still all deal with symbols, though there is much greater freedom in their use, and greater understanding of their meaning. But in higher stages of consciousness, the symbols are no longer necessary, and creativity takes place completely without their use.
Obviously you cannot become aware of that stage of consciousness now, but you can keep track of the way symbols appear to you in both waking life and the dream state, and learn to connect them with the feelings they represent. You will learn that certain symbols will appear personally to you at various stages of consciousness, and these can serve as points of recognition in your own explorations. When Ruburt is about to leave his body from the dream state for example, he will often find himself in a strange house or apartment that offers opportunities for exploration.
The houses or apartments will always be different, and yet the symbol is always a signpost that he has reached a particular point of consciousness, and is ready to enter another state of consciousness. Each of you will have certain symbols that serve the same kind of purpose, highly individual to you. Unless you make an effort at self-exploration, however, these symbolic guideposts will make no conscious sense.
Even the symbols, then, at various stages of consciousness will appear differently, some seeking to have stability and permanence as your physical objects, following the principles or root assumptions of corporeal reality, and some changing much more quickly, as in the dream state, these being more immediate and sensitive indicators of feeling. Various states of consciousness seem to have their own environments in which these symbols appear, again, as objects appear in a physical environment.
Symbols that behave in this way can be clues to you that you are now at another stage of consciousness, and within an entirely different interior environment. Expression of feelings and of experiences are not limited to the rigid framework of objects stuck into consecutive moments. Feelings are automatically transformed and expressed in a new, mobile, immediate manner. In a way the tune of consciousness is quicker.
The next chapter will be called: “Various Stages of Consciousness, Symbolism, and Multiple Focus.”
Within your own personality all facets of your consciousness converge, whether or not you are aware of it.
There are several exceptions, however, in which pure knowing or pure feeling is involved without the necessity for symbols. These stages of consciousness are infrequent and seldom translated into normal conscious terms.
In so doing, the soul continually creates new varieties of inner reality to be explored. Working in the opposite direction, so to speak, the soul divests itself of all symbols, all representations, and using its consciousness in a different way learns to probe its own direct experience. Without symbols to come between it and experience, it perfects itself in a kind of value fulfillment that you presently cannot understand except symbolically.
Now these efforts go on whether you wake or sleep. Once you are aware of these activities, however, it is possible to catch yourself in various stages of consciousness, and even at times to follow your own progress, particularly through dream states. Your body is your most intimate symbol at this point, and again your most obvious.
(10:23.) You will use the idea of a body in most stages of consciousness. When you leave your physical body in any kind of out-of-body experience, you actually leave it in another that is only slightly less physical. This in turn is “later” discarded for one still less physical, but the idea of the form is so important a symbol that you carry it through all of your religious literature, and stories of hereafter.
This of course is obvious, but the same sort of symbol changing may occur within dreams. The dog’s accident may be a dream experience, for that matter, that then changes your conscious symbolic feeling toward dogs in the waking state. One person may symbolize fear as a demon, as an unfriendly animal, or even as some perfectly simple ordinarily harmless object; but if you know what your own symbols mean, then you can use the knowledge not only to interpret your dreams but also as signposts to the state of consciousness in which they usually occur.
These symbols will change, therefore, in various stages of consciousness. Again, the logical sequence is not present, but the intuitive creation will change the symbols much in the way that an artist might change his colors.
The nature of the symbol, therefore, can serve as an indication not only as to your environment but your state of consciousness within it. In normal dreaming within the context of an ordinary dream drama, the objects seem permanent enough to you. You take them for granted. You are still physically oriented. You project upon dream images the symbolism of your waking hours.
(11:10.) In other states of dream consciousness, however, houses may suddenly disappear. A modern building may suddenly replace a shack. A child may turn into a tulip. Now the symbols are obviously behaving in a different manner. In this environment, permanency is not a root assumption. Logical sequence does not apply.