Consciousness is a sign that we haven’t yet learned to live from the soul. I spent many years trying to become conscious, but all that effort led merely to self-consciousness, which in turn generated guilt, anxiety, and ambition. I was told that higher consciousness was a worthy goal and that its opposite, unconsciousness, was the result of laziness and ignorance. Around the age of fifty, my ideals and values began to change, so much so that any of them turned upside down and inside out. Now I see great value in laziness, understood as giving up both effort and the attempt to justify my life. I have come to appreciate the teaching I have found in many religions that praise holy ignorance. And I have been discovering how to live with little consciousness. To live from the mind is to balance in uncertainty on a high wire. The soul is more grounded, and indeed its proper territory seems to be somewhere beneath the ground. There is a fine word for this particular soul and its spirituality- chthonic. It is the level of ground where we plant our seeds and bury our dead. Maybe this is good ground for personal growth, rather than the kind that is full of intention and from where we can see what is going on. As events come and go, as we read and experience and learn, all this material metamorphoses into bits of images and becomes the imagination, which is the bedrock of personality. But for the imagination to flourish, we may have to surrender to a looser life and a more liberated imagination. We may have to say words and make things while not knowing what is going on. We may have to become somebody we never intended to be. We may have to let life happen in a way that challenges our plans, our values, and our hopes. It is this deep force of vitality, not intention and by all means not consciousness, that grants personality. In fact, a certain self-forgetfulness may be just the item that allows the soul to break through with forcefulness and creativity.

Thomas Moore


with much gratitude to a site i enjoy often.