The need of a sixth sense
Flat-mindedness is common, and maybe I should say “flat-heartedness” is probably even more so – people just walking around on the surface of Life. Today this unfortunate trend even stretches throughout what we call spirituality.
You may already find reading this challenging, possibly even offending. Well, these articles are not really written to please the reader but to encourage him or her to think. Feeling offended may even be a good start, I suppose...
In our modern society this shallowness of thinking or rather being, seems to correlate strongly with the overuse of all the electronic gadgets that are ruling the course of our day. They are of course not the only cause of this phenomenon, but the misuse of these devices working as an „amplifier“ at least strongly enhances it. They function like a trap for our consciousness, attracting our attention to the mere surface of things and keeping our consciousness more flattened out than ever. And surely this negative effect has its strongest impact on our younger generation, who are brought up with it!
On its surface the mind hungers for entertainment, the faster and the easier to digest the better. And the stronger there is a desire for excitement, ever new information and stimulation, the less there is the chance to gain depth.
But to be able to bring profundity in our practice of the Internal Arts – be it Yoga, Qi Gong, Taiji Quan or Meditation – we have to resist this desire for shallow activity and useless distraction and learn to function differently. We are asked to even develop an extra sense besides our common five senses, which define our ordinary life-experience. We may call it the 6th sense‘ – this sense alone can lead us below the surface, below the omnipresent superficiality.
While the five senses keep our awareness outside and connect us solely to the objective visible would, in contrast this 6th sense – which is pure awareness – will lead us inward, into the depth of our being. Actually that is why Internal Arts are called internal.
The exhibition of fashion and beautiful bodies, the performance of acrobatics and graceful movements, the usage of spiritual vocabulary and the dedication to a vegan diet can hardly be rated as being internal, let alone spiritual! And even when there are countless Yoga-, Qi Gong- and Tai Chi-practitioners in the world as well as people who claim to be religious or spiritual, those with true depth of heart and mind are indeed few.
Life is not the surface
Physical life can be (insufficiently) described via the experiences of the five senses but not explained. The same is true of the use of all our highly developed technical and electronic equipment of modern science. Science may explain the brain but fails to understand consciousness, it may describe in detail bodily functions but still, Life stays a mystery. By its very nature and approach science is bound to stay on the surface of reality.
It does not matter how often we split an atom, however smaller the things become that are exposed to our inquisitive eyes – anything that we can encounter by any material means is just a component of outer space – the surface –, namely matter, our limited physical universe.
How long did mankind believe that the earth was just a disk and the endless sky only a dome over it? Are we not so far from this perception of Reality, even when accepting the idea of our planet being a big ball in a more or less endless universe?
The wise of all ages, however, told us and still do, that Life is not flat, not surface, not a „thing“ in outer space, but rather an unfathomable Depth. Look upon the face of the ocean. What can you know of it by this mere facade? What is revealed to you of its true nature?
To accept Life – your Life – to be truly an ocean, so deep, so unfathomably deep, is crucial for making progress in the Internal Arts.
But how can we experience the Deep, how to penetrate from the surface into the Depth?
The solution we find in the fact that consciousness is not flat either, but an ocean – actually the very same ocean that Life is. The five senses are bound to the surface, but the 6th sense – pure awareness, consciousness,– leads into the Abyss of Existence.
A hint in the Scriptures
In a depressing report about the vain of physical existence, preserved in our western sacred scriptures, we suddenly stumble over an astonishing gem:
He [God] has set Eternity in the human heart;
without that man cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
The key word here is „Eternity“, or rather the Hebrew word olam, meaning also „World“, „Dimension“ or „Universe“. Actually the true secret understanding connotes Boundlessness or Infinite Space where any restriction of time and space, as we know it, do not exist. Olam designates the Infinite Internal Space of Consciousness that contains the Total-Existence and all Mysteries of Life. In the Indian secret doctrine it is called Akasha.
Thus the sufi mystic Kabir sings: „The human body is a mighty ocean. Its depth is difficult to fathom. I am a diver in this ocean. In a single dive I bring to the surface such pearls of knowledge as are unknown to the world.“
To comprehend “what God has done from beginning to end” (means to say “the total Life” and its true meaning and purpose) we have to leave the flat horizontal plane of perception provided by the five senses and the brain, and experience the vertical one – we have to become a diver into the Depth of the Ocean of Creation.
This is possible because the Total-Reality, the boundless Space of Existence, Eternity, however we want to call it, connects to the very core of our own being, the seat of our consciousness, namely to our hearts – here the outer and the inner dimension, time and Eternity, limitation and Infinity, meet.
That is why Laotse tells us: „The sage wears coarse cloth on top and carries jade within his bosom“ (vers 70).
Message of a master
The Depth of Life and the Mysteries of Creation unfold from within us. That is why there is no need to go anywhere to find the entrance. For our very own consciousness is not distinct from that boundless inner Space, this bottomless Ocean of Existence. To practice truly the Internal Arts is therefore the attempt to brake though into this dimensionless dimension of the one Reality by means of developing consciousness.
The true secret of the Internal Arts is not alone the correct performance of an exercise but rather how to practice with consciousness, how to capture Depth. And it can be said with certainty: The more complex and exiting an exercise on the outside the less it suits this aim of leading you inward. This is where the “western” way fails.
One of my best students, an acupuncturist, incorporates the Internal Arts and their principles into her treatments. Just recently one of her patients said after a therapy session literally: "I feel as if I have more depth. I can feel deeper inside like I'm not so much sitting on the surface. Do you know what I mean?". Of course we know. This is the magic and beauty of the Internal Arts.
I would like to finish with a message of a master – actually my own master who for many years now is guiding, protecting and inspiring me on this endless Path into the Deep:
The Universe is a Multidimensional Entity, and MAN is a multidimensional Creature. The possibilities are fast and endless. Those who live “only ‘physical’ are truly dead to the Glory that lies within themselves and in the Secret Heart of Space and in Matter. Consciousness is not limited to the physical body or to the physical world – it is limitless.
Copyright © Torsten Schiz 2018