A Primer for the Mutation of Consciousness
by Alan Sasha Lithman (Savitra)
A Brief Introduction and Summary
To understand where we’re heading, we must first find our true footing. Where exactly are we standing? In which Time? on what Ground? And who or what exactly is this “we”?
In fact, beginning literally where we are, what is this page we are reading and how did these words and thoughts manifest on it? Is it, as our outer senses tell us, processed plant matter which grew at some definable point in time in a particular bioregion of earth, now technologically transformed into paper imprinted with someone’s ideas formulated in English? Or is it recycled molecular material, spun from the original protoplasm of an embryonic Universe whose genes, coded with the DNA of Consciousness, date back to that unrecorded Moment when Matter and Time, according to our Mind’s grasp of Reality, began? Is it a tangible sheet of text, white with black script, whose words remain constant no matter how many times one closes and reopens the book? Or is it a whirling mass of micro-worlds, of electrons spinning at such imperceptible lightspeeds as to appear motionless and stable, energy held together in discrete forms – in this case, a printed page – by a remarkable force of physics?
Or is it all of the above, depending on which dimension, which layer of consciousness we operate, perceive and translate our reality?
An innocuous piece of paper or a symbol of the Miraculous containing the secret Code of Being? held together by a force of physics? metaphysics? or simply a Force of Consciousness still slipping through the hands of physicists and others who do not yet have the inner instruments to recognize that they too are held together and in-formed by this same conscious Force, that we too are an evolving expression of that same emergent Consciousness? – of a conscious Presence, Self-born, Self-conceived, who in the metaphoric flash of a smile, once upon a Time, once upon Eternity, went supernova, kindling Being into Becoming, primal stardust sown into spiraling galaxies pregnant with planetary seeds: seeds of self ingrained in stone, crystallizing into atoms, clustering into molecules, coalescing finally into an earth whose vulcan crust still held that timeless creative Star-Fire until it could hold it no more…
…That Fire breaking forth through its womb of Matter, spilling forth in a myriad forms of Life, cells quickening, dancing, blazing forth in a sea of grasses and flowering plants, celebrating from the cellular and photosynthetic through the spectrum of the four-legged and finally the two; crossing another evolutionary threshold from Life to Mind, forging from the primordial matrix of these living elements a new form for that first Fire to speak and know Itself, reconfiguring these living elements, churning the alchemy from one-celled plants to protozoa to primates to people so that people could turn plants into pages, into stories, into music, into works of art and ideas reflecting the joy and wonder of that original Creative Fire hidden in every moment, every act, every breath, every birth.
Language cultures the way we process and translate Reality. Human language, though capable of leaps, is still an awkward and approximate means of communication. In the very attempt to grasp Reality, to seize the meaning of our selves, we get in our own way. We eclipse or, at best, obscure the light, fixating on the shadow our ego casts: on forms projected through varying degrees and lenses of unconsciousness or partial consciousness, defined through still-evolving sensory and cognitive filters that overlay Reality, translating It through themselves rather than the other way round.
Operating through these blinders whose self-deceptive nature also keeps us from becoming aware that we are wearing them grants them a powerful sacrosanctity, deflecting our questions and doubts, turning them outward, preventing us from getting too close to calling the bluff of an enormous Ignorance that controls not only our knowledge but our way of knowing ï¿½ that fundamentally prejudices and conditions our orientation to what is real, establishing the way we look at things without ever questioning the framework that filters what we see.
In which case, if our subject matter is an inquiry into the very nature of That Reality, into the Evolution of Consciousness itself, then we must be prepared to humbly question everything: all of our premises, assumptions and self-concepts, no matter how sacred, not just probing what we know but how we know; challenging the defensive illogic of a mind programmed to reject that which it does not already know or, more threatening, that which it does not know how to know; contesting the very supremacy of Mind itself as the last word and way of knowing and being.
With Consciousness as the subject of our Inquiry, we are, reader and writer alike, not merely detached observers but intimately, inseparably and subjectively involved in our Subject Matter. It is both unrealistic and unreasonable, then, for us to hold our Inquiry up to some artificial standard of objectivity and proof or to expect that we will emerge from such a process untouched and unchanged ourselves. This recognition is not intended to excuse or exempt this work from accountability for its proposals, premises and hypotheses. It is simply a statement of fact which places the awesome responsibility for testing the veracity of things back upon ourselves, each of us, encouraging us to reclaim our reference point in the Equation, recovering a core common sense which reminds us that just because we cannot prove an experience does not disprove it either. Proof may simply lie in another level of consciousness than that presently available to the seeker or his/her instruments of inquiry.
This work, then, proposes to explore the Evolution of Consciousness in a way that is both visionary yet common-sensible, based on the following premises:
- Only that which is already in-volved can e-volve.
- Evolution proceeds simultaneously on two interwoven tracks, one of form, the other of consciousness.
- Form is essentially a construct, vehicle or vessel (in Sanskrit, adhar) of consciousness, a medium through which consciousness expresses and experiences itself.
- Human being represents a particular stage in the evolving spectrum of conscious Being, a threshold of Consciousness corresponding to a particular range of mental frequency or bandwidth in an infinite scale of Being.
- Humanity is both a distinct form and frequency of Consciousness as well as a unique metamorphic species, an evolutionary work-in-progress, whose essential destiny and dharma is to consciously exceed itself: a transitional “bridging” species whose upper threshold of consciousness, despite formidable guardians of that threshold, can be self-bridged and surpassed in a transformational process that progressively leads to a new terrestrial species, emerging like our amphibious ancestors into a new Milieu of Consciousness.
- We exist in two overlapping times, historical and evolutionary, one a sub-rhythm of the other.
- We are at a transitional Moment when the cresting wave of an Evolutionary Cycle overtakes History’s shallower process and perspective, pressing us against our upper threshold as a species, sweeping us in the inrushing evolutionary tide toward a new Principle of Being.
- In the course of this Transition, fraught with species-level labor pains, we are pushed to the brink of our own mutation by the accelerating intensity of inner and outer crises – a catalyst of crises which, like a psy-particle accelerator splitting the atom of our ego, continues to bombard the dense cocoon of all that remains unconscious in us, facing us with the perilous choice of transformation or extinction.
- Our primary focus as a species at this crucial evolutionary turning-point is to learn to collaborate more consciously, gracefully and co-creatively with the dynamics of this Change; to learn to breathe, working with the contractions, minimizing the frictions and traumas of the Transition.
The thrust of this Evolutionary Agenda, inspired by the evolutionary vision of Sri Aurobindo, is to shift us as a species from a transcendence-based approach to spirituality and problem-solving to a transformation-oriented evolution of consciousness; bridging the egoic schism between Matter and Spirit; pursuing the matter all the way back into our cellular memories and genetic programming; reintegrating the inseparable linkage between the cellular and terrestrial if we are to heal the inner and outer crises threatening personal and planetary viability; in effect, turning those crises into evolutionary catalysts for a trans-human species.
The challenge of this work, then, lies not only in developing, elaborating and illustrating these premises, grounding them in the context of present reality rather than leaving them hanging as abstract concepts, but in drafting a series of millennial-based proposals and action-agendas to actually begin leveraging us forward as a species from archaic and entrenched personal, societal, environmental and economic patterns. For the intent here is not only to provide a more coherent and clarifying perspective ï¿½ a more embracing and integrating framework to focus and make sense of the often-chaotic and overwhelming intensity of terrestrial events/crises – but to suggest and explore practical ways to apply this emerging perception in our individual and societal evolution. In other words, moving our inquiry into the nature of Consciousness from theoretical to an Applied Evolutionary Research, risking to innovate and adapt creative strategies that translate what we discover into actions, not just ideas or insights, empowering ourselves as a species to intervene in our evolutionary destiny rather than passively submitting as victims to the consequences of our present course and its flat-world wisdom.
If, as this work suggests, we are a transitional species at an evolutionary turning-point, then our crises take on new meaning. Behind their terrifying masks, they are the catalysts, levers and agents of our Change, the response of an interactive Reality mirroring back to us all that needs to change within ourselves. And as such, despite the specter they cast over our future, their real threat is to the authority of our past, prodding us forward, overcoming our reluctance to evolve by ratcheting up the pain ï¿½ a crude but essential evolutionary mechanism to keep us from getting too comfortable with who, what and where we have been, seduced by our gravity ï¿½ until we have learned to replace the need for pain with a more conscious and effective will-to-evolve.
Solutions, then, that default to the past for answers or that rely on the complex variations of denial and escape, mundane or mystic, we have devised or discovered over the millennia, are only half-truths that miss both the evolutionary point and turning-point. Consciously facing and entering the core of our crises, intimidating as that may be, remains the challenge for those who truly seek to resolve them.
In this light, self-evolution is not a glorified spiritual escape mechanism: A cut-and-run transcendence (our patriarchal problem-solving reflex) to some etheric or disembodied state that conveniently disconnects us from the torments and frustrations of earth-life, effectively condemning terrestrial reality to an inherently inferior, sinful, futile, absurd or illusory existence. It is rather the other direction: A healing and wholing, a more conscious and compassionate entering into, expanding one’s identity and capacity to identify with; and in that process, becoming and fulfilling who and what one truly is, not only reclaiming and transforming our selves but reaffirming Matter, re-experiencing our true context and creative relationship with Her and terrestrial reality, redefining “holy” by what is whole.
A graduate of the University of Florida with a B.A. in English Literature, cultured in the activist milieu of the 1960s, the author migrated to San Francisco to pursue more inner-directed disciplines. Drawn to the Indic Traditions, he crossed paths with Dr. Haridas Chaudhuri. This meeting led to his eventual grounding in the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, leading him at the close of the sixties to hitchhike from London to India to meet the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He met her then, received the name “Savitra” from her, and entered the pioneering global community experiment of Auroville near Pondicherry. He spent the next 21 years there as an Auroville resident, apprenticing what he calls “applied spirituality”, engaged not only in inner development but in the transformation of earthly realities. He helped jumpstart the first schools, organizational and communications systems, as well as the afforestation program which eventually planted over two million trees, reviving a barren plateau back into lush tropical forests.
Returning to the States in 1990, he moved to Ashland, Oregon where he wrote his first American book, The Savitri Legend (with Foreword by Robert Johnson) published in 1999. He has since been involved with numerous social, ecological and community-based initiatives and organizations, considering himself an “evolutionary activist”. In April, 2000, he became a research associate with the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California under their donor-advised program, and was interviewed that same year by New Dimensions Radio. His current work, An Evolutionary Agenda for the Third Millennium, is scheduled for publication Spring, 2003.