In the 1980s I read a lot of books and magazine articles on leaving the body and spirituality, gleaning hints, following up leads and considering and exercising suggestions. Then came a day when I decided not to read for one year, and to put aside all the information I had read and proceed as an independent and isolated unit, utilising only my own innate resources. I didn’t listen to radio or watch tv. I only read street signs and what I had to read at my place of employment. (I never went back to reading a lot on such subjects, just a casual browse now and then. But I still read my bible.)
My objective at that time became to separate consciousness from body. I could not work with what I could not identify. So I set about isolating consciousness. Distinguishing consciousness from thought. I worked on it objectively and theoretically, and subjectively in practice.
I meditated several hours a day, exploring, observing and studying my own consciousness. Like an eye inside myself, I scanned around, explored my thoughts, my emotions, my self, and how it worked. Much like when I was a boy I would take apart a wind up clock and trace the route of motive force throughout its mechanism from the spring to the hands, looking at the function of each cog and spindle along the way.
Whatever task I was doing, walking, driving, working, relaxing, thinking, interacting, I watched myself doing it, and maintained awareness of myself as the watcher. When I forgot and acted automatically, which was often, then I went over it consciously at the end of the day or the next day.
I started from the periphery and worked inwards, that is, from the outermost part of myself and worked towards the inner centre. Identified the most noticeable landmarks and plotted a course through them, such as the body, emotions, thoughts, consciousness. Observing their qualities and interactions. Then I identified the lesser distinctions in between and further dissected them.
I learnt to isolate consciousness, to widen the gap between the screen of mind on which occur the thoughts, and the thinker, projector and viewer of those thoughts.
( thoughts/mental images on screen of mind ↔ thinker/consciousness/viewer/ I )
My attention turned to exploration of the central consciousness, its faculties, senses, qualities, plasticity and manoeuvrability, and its relationship to its surrounding and external layers of thought, emotion and physical body, and how the overall mechanism intermeshes and operates. But I would learn that I was still dealing with the periphery, the outside.
Over time I learnt that within consciousness are stations of operation, like relay stations, and when we are conscious of them we can more effectively align and coordinate their functioning.
I learnt that consciousness could turn within itself, like the outer rim of a washer turning down and up through its central hole to emerge above the hole as a cylinder within and above itself, with its inner rim now the most lower and outer, and its outer rim now the most inner and higher.
But consciousness is not a two dimensional washer, it is multi dimensional. But the analogy of the washer is true, for the outer part of consciousness can turn within and upward through itself, and consciousness can become a conscious conduit between its most outer and most inner parts. It is such a conduit already but I mean it can become a conscious and fuller one.
Anyway, I don’t think I should describe every successful step and trip and blunder I took along the way, and every little incremental thing I learnt and how I learnt it, because that is too time consuming and probably dull and of no benefit to anyone. I will describe what I have learnt overall, as I understand it now, together with some of the more pivotal and interesting experiences along the way.
I will present it as factual knowledge for the reader’s consideration, because for me it is factual knowledge. For the reader without such experience, it is information and the reader should treat it as information. Bear in mind that information at best provides guidelines, and at worst is misleading. And instructions are not orders. We each have our own freewill and judgement. If what I write works for you, then all well and good, follow it, but don’t follow it blindly, but rather consciously and cautiously, judging, weighing, considering, and disregard that which is incompatible with your own conscience and best judgement. Step your own steps.