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Consciousness in Oscillation

Worldviews and their Transcendence as Spiritual Practice

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Sonja Lenk

The thesis addresses the question of human consciousness in its oscillation between conditioning and transcendence: the impact of cultural worldviews on the individual’s lifeworld and their gradual transcendence as a form of spiritual practice. At the centre of attention is a group of individuals and their unfolding life-stories as they move through a journey of transformation, seeking to explore and understand the complexity of their own consciousness. The emphasis is on the embodiment of belief systems and the individuals’ inherent existential power to transcend cultural precepts. Methodologically, the study is based in phenomenological anthropology. It thus employs the first-person perspective and includes subjective personal experience as primary data.

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6 Turning givenness into choice, while encountering our own hearts

Extract

Consider the immense preciousness of simply one moment of conscious awareness. It is a divine gift of incarnation to experience conscious awareness centred in a self that also has the freedom of choice. Heyoan150 According to the School’s understanding of life the freedom of choice was a great gift. Learning about this freedom was part and parcel of all four years of training. The first year at the School was really just about transforming one’s habitual ways and letting go of self-imposed limitations. It was as if the School/teachers were holding a mirror for the students in which they learned to see in a different way. In this first year the teachers were very soft and gentle with the students for they knew that holding a mirror could be devastating. The learning was all about the lower self, the mask, transference etc.151 Holding on to one’s ego wouldn’t do, nor holding on to one’s defences: the learning was to become un-defended. The students learned to peel the layers of habitus, of socio-cultural conditioning and look for themselves, for their ‘authentic’ selves.152 The first year was only the beginning of this, it was deepened much more in the following two years and while in the beginning the teachers were gentle because they knew that it was a matter of existential dimension - meaning it often hit the students at the core of their being - in the following years they more and more invited them to step into their truth. They...

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