I was scrolling through the pages of this book ‘the road less travelled and beyond’, and I found it amazing that its contents were so similar to what our teacher had said on the first day of the level one course of 'art of living' and so I decided to share this amazing coincidence that is found so educating that I just couldn't stop myself from sharing this.
Take for example the instance of a child which when tickled laughs with joy so profound that the whole of its body starts trembling. That is the kind of innocence we are supposed to bring in ourselves and give in our 100% in whatever we do just an innocent child does. In his book Dr. Peck explains the same. All of us are essentially conscious but only in different state of consciousness. A child's conscious is still at the level of emotions and has not grown, precisely the reason for innocence in children. This consciousness begins to grow with age. I would like to quote sentences from the book to exactly give the essence to the reader:
“... Awareness or consciousness is in terms of what is known as ego development, which is very much a development of consciousness… ego is the governing part of our personality and that its development- the maturity of this governor- can be delineated in overall three stages.
The first stage, that of early childhood is one of an absolute lack of self-consciousness. Here the ego is totally down at the level of emotions and enmeshed with them. It is this lack of self-consciousness that makes young children so frequently charming and seemingly innocuous. When they are joyful, they are one hundred percent joyful. They are marvellous spontaneous and innocent. But it is this same lack of self consciousness that can so often make them difficult. For when the children are sad, they are also one hundred percent sad, sometimes to the point of being inconsolable. And when they are angry, their anger will erupt in temper tantrums and sometimes violent and vicious behaviour.
There are glimmerings of self-consciousness by the age of nine months, and the capacity for self-awareness very gradually increases throughout childhood. In adolescence, however it undergoes a dramatic growth spurt. For the first time young people have quite obvious ‘observing ego’. Now they can observe themselves being joyful or sad or angry while they are feeling so. This means that the ego is no longer wholly confined to the level of emotions. Now a part of it-the observing ego – is detached from the emotions, above them looking on. There is a certain resulting loss of spontaneity.
The observing ego is still not fully developed in adolescence. Thus adolescents are frequently spontaneous, sometimes dangerously so. At other times, however, they seem to be nothing but a mass of affectations as they self-consciously try on one new identity after another by wearing bizarre hairstyles and clothes and behaving outrageously. Constantly comparing themselves with peers and parents, these seemingly flamboyant creatures are often painfully shy and suffer innumerable spasms of excruciating embarrassment and self-deprecation.
Since self-consciousness often becomes painful at this stage of psychosocial and spiritual development, many people move into adulthood forsaking rather than continuing it’s development. Because they fail to further develop their observing egos once they enter adulthood, their self-observing capacity becomes modulated (and less painful), but his often occurs only because of an actual shrinkage in consciousness. When, unwittingly, the majority settle for a limited-even diminished- awareness of their own feelings and imperfections, they have stopped short on the journey of personal growth, thereby failing to fulfill their human potential or grow into true psycho-spiritual power.
But a fortunate minority, for reasons both mysterious and graceful, continues the journey, ever strengthening their observing ego rather than allowing them to atrophy…
The exercise of this observing ego is crucial because if it becomes strong enough, the individual is then in a position where they can proceed to the next stage and develop … transcending ego. With a transcend ego we became aware of our broader dimensions, better prepared to decide realistically when, where and why to express who we are- the good and the bad. We may develop the capacity to live with, perhaps even laugh at, our limitations. When we acknowledge our imperfections we find ourselves in a better position to work on those areas within our power to change and to accept those things we cannot…”
For those fortunate few I would encourage to continue on their path of psycho-social and spiritual enlightenment.
I found people in my sessions that I could relate to different states of consciousness, with me being in a state of transcended consciousness. People such as me are more than aware of what we are doing and have reigned our actions and emotions with tight ropes. Sometimes so tight that we cannot let it loose even when we want to. Others have no bounds on their emotions and behave in a manner that can be termed hysterical.
The key is to strike a fine balance between to the two, isn't that in the true sense exactly the Art of Living.