Consensus trance is a difficult state. Too much of our essence, our deep feelings, desires and talent, was invalidated and twisted in the course of conditioning us to conform to the consensus of what is the accepted 'normal' - so the state is full of tensions and strains. In addition, the face a person chooses to present to the world, associated with restraint, politeness and compliance, is covering up the secondary layer of grotesque, dangerous and irrational impulses, fears and fantasies, the nightmare world of the Freudian unconscious - a second area of conflict with the essence. The strain is relieved by defense mechanisms to allow us, and the culture as a whole, to function smoothly. Yet the cost to the individual is very high. And often the tension and strain breaks through with highly inappropriate behavior, where this system breaks down and conflicts with reality. We have created and we maintain a world of stupidity and horrors.
Gurdjieff argued that we act far too much along patterns of fixed habit. We may think we are acting freely, consciously and intelligently, but much of the time we 'run on automatic', not actually choosing our responses. In many respects we live as in a dream. Our concerns for what might or might not happen color our perceptions of the world, often leading us to see things very differently from how they really are.
To be truly awake in Gurdjieff's sense, to be able to use all your abilities and intelligence to realistically assess situations you are in and act as purposefully as possible in the light of your genuine, unique values, requires that you do not become caught in any identity state, particularly one that interferes with your perception of reality. The solution requires a systematic self-discovery of identity states, how they inter-relate and how they are reactivated by the environment, so that bit by bit an aspect of consciousness is created that does not become identified with the particular contents of consciousness at any given time, and can see objectively what is going on. This true 'I' stays more and more in present time and objective, it has more and more integrity and empathy, and gradually full awakening can occur.
The 'spiritual' nature of man is his awareness and manifestation of higher values: beauty, truth, love, compassion - the quality of LIFE. What does expressing your higher, spiritual Being mean in terms of actual behavior? These are eight beginnings that Maslow has set forth:
Trans4mind offers many resources to help you on your journey to transform your mind... see the page Tools for Transformation
You might appreciate reading a more personal version of Transforming the Mind that also includes expanded Positive Approach course materials and other relevant information from the Trans4mind site. This is my Kindle ebook Daring to Be Yourself, which is also available for free download in PDF format.
Finally, some relevant thoughts from T. S. Elliot (from 'Little Gidding' 1942):
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