Awareness is a mystery.
It is mysterious in the ordinary sense of the word, being generally unexplained or puzzling, and also in the original sense of the word mustērion, the Greek word (meaning “sacred rites”) from which the English word mystery is derived.
The very existence of Awareness presents us with a profound enigma whose secrets we must unlock; it poses a riddle with an extremely elusive solution. The answers to all of the great questions of life are intimately tied to the mystery of Awareness.
Simultaneously, Awareness compels us to participate in the ultimate initiatory mystery: the secret rite of Nature itself. Being aware, we cannot escape the mandate of this mystery: to experience, and thereafter to reflect upon the meaning and consequence of that experience.
Awareness is something that we rely on implicitly. It is generally taken for granted, despite the fact that it is absolutely crucial to our very existence.
It is an unmistakable fact that Awareness exists. You are Aware. If this were not true, you would be unable to read and interpret these words. Without Awareness, you could not even be what you are, for “you” would not be present.
Many forms of life rely entirely on instinct and impulse to guide their actions, and this does, of course, indicate a certain degree of Awareness. But the awareness of human beings has a greater level of complexity, allowing for deeper forms of Awareness which are not present in all forms of life.
Human beings cannot simply move instinctively from one experience to another without retaining some degree of knowledge of what has previously transpired. We rarely proceed in life without a compulsory recourse to memory and to the anticipation of future events.
We are able to recall and refer to specific moments in the past, and we may imagine past and future events that have never occurred. These abilities transcend instinct, as well as going beyond the generalized forms of imprinted memory that serve only biological and/or emotional needs.
Human awareness is challenging, for its capabilities can be as harmful as they may be helpful. Although we may attempt to avoid this burden of Awareness, we cannot. There is no escaping this geas of Nature: the amazing gift of sentience, a gift that often seems like a terrible curse.
But how has this awareness come to be? Where has it come from?
What exactly is Awareness and why does it exist? Who is it exactly that is Aware?
Fortunately, you already possess the one and only thing you need in order to investigate this mystery: Awareness itself.
From the standpoint of Integralism, Awareness is the essential medium that facilitates relative existence, its cultivation being the very purpose of Nature.
Integralists assert that Awareness is in no way an emergent property of matter. Conversely, they recognize that Awareness itself (Divine Essence) exists prior to the appearance of the Cosmos of Energy, while also manifesting in myriad forms within that Cosmos.
We live in a society whose emphasis is placed upon equality and conformity, dominated by concerns of material wealth and scarcity, coupled with a driving philosophy that emphasizes the preeminence of the specific, concrete, and observable domains of experience to the point of an almost total rejection of the subjective domains of experience.
This insidious zeitgeist extends far beyond a simple cultural bias. It is a worldview drains the world of meaning and richness. Challenging the boundaries of this paradigm is perceived as a threat to the social order.
The horror of this control is that it is practically invisible, and those who foster it often know not what they do. The social conditioning individuals are subjected to is implicit, pervasive, and incredibly powerful. It is rarely examined or evaluated in the “light of day”.
Counter-cultural movements at times resist this status quo, but a common flaw of these movements is a failure to understand and examine the fundamentals. Such movements lack the necessary perspective. They perform within the “system”, within the bounds of social conditioning, and they simply “rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic”.
What is at stake here is Awareness itself. Perceptual freedom: the ability to determine, direct, and shape one’s own experience, and to cooperate with one’s peers. What is at stake is culture itself, and the ability to manifest it.
The Living Myth
The premise of the “living myth” is a common theme in mystery schools and religions throughout the world. It is only through participatory Initiation that one comes to “live the myth” (myth as paradigm, not as fairy tale).
Integralism is a participatory myth that aims to manifest a future culture. The lasting benefits of Integralism are to be found through participation in its mysteries, its “sacred rites”: the very precepts and practices that lead to the inner development of the individual who undertakes them, The power of Integralism is that even a basic involvement with its precepts purifies one’s perception of Nature, and of individual potential.
Integralism is ultimately a meta-philosophy, one oriented towards fostering a level of understanding that exceeds mere philosophical musing. It aims to empower participants in its “myth” through an understanding of Nature and its origin: Awareness.