The Long Road to Consciousness.Anja van Kralingen
This is a guest post written by Anja Van Kralingen
How does one become conscious? I think that I have achieved some level of consciousness, but how did I get here and what does it mean? I have been thinking about this for a while and decided that writing down my thoughts might help me to express it clearly.
The first steps
Having been exposed to Jungian concepts for more than a decade and doing quite a bit of internal work, I have joined a Rudolf Steiner study group (Anthroposophy) about a year ago.
Let me just put it out there that Steiner is REALLY out there. It is very spiritual and his writings are incredibly difficult to penetrate. But having done Jung, I do have a point of reference with which I can interpret it and have been enjoying the study group immensely. We are 4 woman and we read one sentence and chat for one hour about that and other stuff .
But recently, I had an epiphany about the concept of the conscious intent driven approach to life. I must admit that one of the greatest things I took from applying Jung to my life, and the first step for me towards consciousness, was the concept of taking responsibility for myself and my actions and most of all, for what happens to me.
Before Jung, I was a fatalist in the worst sense. (I blame this on my upbringing, being Christian in the sense that God will provide and all suffering is the cross I bear in this life). I was a masochist ‘ Oh! How I suffered!!! Breaking this belief system has taken years of conscious opposition to it, and yet I can still feel its tentacles in the corners of my mind!
Anyway, I think I have succeeded to a certain extent, bar a few neuroses’, to achieve this ‘ taking responsibility for myself and my actions and the things that I manifest (that happen to me). That does not mean that I am perfect and no bad things ever happen to me ‘ of course not. But that is what life is all about, the opportunity to reflect upon the things that do happen and reflecting on its meaning.
When I started on this journey, I attended the classes run by Chatillon Coque. How clearly I remember the shocking insights into my own patterns and neurotic projections. Some of them took my breath away. It was painful and traumatic sometimes, but made it apparent to me that I was at the centre of my suffering. It was not being done to me, I was manifesting it! And what a huge relief it was. Suddenly, I was empowered, I realised that I can manifest my own reality. At this point, I took responsibility for myself.
So was it worth it? Yes, yes, yes!!!
My life is so much more now than I anticipated it would ever be. I have created a reality which I am really happy in. Along the way, the Grace of God has intervened and assisted me, by allowing me contact with individuals who helped me to heal myself. And this is what I have been reflecting on of late. Why is it that I have been this privileged? What is it that allowed me to get to this point? Have I been lucky, blessed, cleverer, chosen, etc?
And then the epiphany! Steiner often makes this point ‘ that your actions must be guided by intent. Easier said than done. What is intent, how do you get it? And this is where Jung again kicks in ‘ because intent is goal orientated. So you need to be goal orientated and the easiest way to create real and meaningful goals is by doing the lists, ‘what do I want’, ‘what don’t I want’ and ‘what is necessity’. (in Stephen’s blog Towards Authenticity) Somewhere between necessity and your wants, goals will start emerging and these can drive your intent.
But the intent I am really trying to illuminate, is the one that drives you, that has driven me since I have been a child. My intent has always been to find out what is going on behind the veil of illusion. As a child, my thoughts were simpler and the question I asked was ‘what is going on, surely there must be more to life than this?’ this has been the impulse, the intent that has been driving me all my life, this intent led me to the Jung, led me to my partner, led me to all the people I have met that aided me in finding out some of the answers. It has defined my goals and my ambitions and moulded me into the person I am today and will be in the future.
So you can see where I am going ‘ intent is an incredibly powerful driving force. And of course, behind every action is an intention. In Anthroposophy, intent is proposed to be the only free will that we are given. Here in the spiritual realm, prior to manifesting anything in the material world where complexes, neuroses, and other barriers come into play, we are able to make free choice in how we intend to act. Hence the reason why I say that it is the root of consciousness.
Being in intent
Imagine being conscious of your intent in every action. How often does this happen? Do you have clear intention in relation to your job, the way you relate to your partner, your children? What is your intention with regards the car you drive or the shoes you wear?
Just think about the way you relate to a particular member of your family. What is your intent behind it? At this point when you ask this question, it is unconscious and it can take quite a lot of effort to find out, but should you be able to identify it, imagine how it will illuminate your reactions and patterns in relation to this person. For example, lets’ say that you realise that you have a masochistic relationship with your mother. Your intention in this relationship is to be punished by her again and again. You realise how you take on this role with what you say and what you do around her.
Once in consciousness, you can intend to change it. Now take it a step further, imagine you have a conscious intent in relating to this person, in other words, you decide from now on how you want to relate to this person, in order to help them, or guide them, or love them etc. And let me get back to my example of you and your mother. You now decide your intention is not to be a masochist, but an adult around your mother. You can see here already how much work is involved in getting to this point and actually acting on it, without blame and guilt and just to see her for another being that also wants to be seen and heard. An intent driven relationship will by its very nature have a goal in mind with relation to the individual that you are relating to. This goal will change the way you relate to them, essentially change them and most of all, change yourself ‘ it will change your very reality of the relationship that you have with them.
I am saying this all glibly, but in reality, to get to this level of self knowledge, is a very long road of an application of a system like Jung, but there are many roads to this level of personal development.
So where does it lead?
To get your intentions and your actions to work together is a whole different story all together, but once your focus is on becoming aware of your intentions in relation to all your actions, eventually, you will be able to choose your intentions prior to taking action ‘ becoming conscious along the way and truly realise a world of your own making.
A reality wherein you have healthy relationships, a meaningful expression of yourself and contribute to society in an effective and positive way. And that is what I think the goal of consciousness ultimately is.
This is a guest post written by Anja who amogst being a wife, mother, nurturer, muse, homemaker, friend, guide and lover, a Jungian and an Anthropoph, a seeker of spiritual truth, handy(woman), cartographer, a no nonsense authentic formidable personality, South African of Dutch descent, happens also to be my soul mate. This is not to suggest that I have told you who she is, but rather only what I am able to clumsily articulate – Stephen.