Reflective Awareness

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

Decoding our life’s experiences, or perspectives, isn’t a problem so long as we are connecting them to comprehensible paradigms, contexts, or stated connotations that they convey to us. The whole idea, however, gets lost when we twist, or redefine them, while fitting them into totally new perspectives, or hooking them to a pedestal that does not exist. This is because ‘forced’ experiences communicate a strange hypothesis — a drapery of unconnected, unrecognisable, or confused contexts. This is a part of a muddled backdrop, not just in terms of ‘happenings’ that are not existent, but also because it does not help us to make detailed interpretations. The whole purpose of experience is, again, misplaced when we disallow perspectives to speak in their own, untainted language, or express themselves — simply, sensibly and without jargon.

What is true, or false, essential, or superficial, is a serious issue; it is not trivial. One cannot, as most of us often do, just sit and define our terms and not follow the practice that we assert — or, sincerely espouse. No spiritual quest can ever begin with such intentions — one that does not speak of fair play, candour, righteousness and openness. It is only when we preserve a rich assortment of views that we begin to explore our spiritual beliefs and also bring about a gradual transformation in our thought process — of what we once thought isn’t the same in changing times.

What does this signify? That to reach a ‘common divine position,’ our sense of diversity has to be as limitless as the divine — like our imagination which is unlimited. Imagination, of course, is boundless. If one were to apply the premise that imagination is a ‘limited’ enterprise, it would be akin to questioning the sublime genius of Benjamin Franklin. It is this recognition that drives us to ‘sport’ an open mind that is also accessible to new dimensions and possibilities in, and of, everyday life.

There is more to the ‘openness’ idea than what meets the mind. When we are open and receptive to anything new, or different, in the ‘thoughtful’ field we would automatically be in a better position, than we ever were, to embracing new experiential perspectives about who we are, or what our theories and experiences actually are in our own presence — not just in front of others who we know, or may not know. This is the fundamental characteristic of genuine self-knowledge as opposed to popular formulae — more so, because the search for truth is not simple. It is a formidable exercise — one that goes on and on until there is nothing left to uncertainty, or there are no questions remaining to inquire, ask, or examine from the inside out.

The whole foundation of applying, understanding and absorbing our experiences calls for conscious and unconscious knowledge. In Eastern thought, the unconscious is everything that is not consciousness — it is not the divine, self, or subject. It is anything that could be an object of consciousness — your computer, mobile phone, the body, senses, mind, intellect and thoughts, including your own personality — a mirror that holds your own self-image.

Western philosophy, however, views the self as self — the ‘objective’ aspect. This is also one reason why most thinkers from the Occidental suggest that the psyche and self could be objectively studied. The Eastern standpoint is — all we can possibly study is the empirical, or the phenomenal self, and the conscious ego. The inference is obvious. The ‘true’ self, according to Oriental philosophy, can never be studied, or objectively analysed. It can only be experienced at a higher plane — of what is called as reflective consciousness, or awareness.

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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