"Scientists tell us that we are machines, but if you tell a scientist that he is a machine, he is annoyed."* This quote, from fifty years ago, well sums up the current state of externalization in contemporary culture. Everyone wants to point a finger at someone else and never admits to their own process, or their own mechanicalness. We must become aware, or become conscious, of ourselves first before even the slightest real understanding of the external world is possible. We can collect facts, to be sure, but understanding of even the most basic meanings of the integrated whole will continue to elude us until we look within.
The "holistic" and "organic" movements give us clues to our dilemma. We are fragmented and do not heed our innate call to order. We fail to see how our psychological, or spiritual, world is overlaid by the physical. We are indeed machines but with one important difference – we have the potential to be more than machines – if/when we become more fully conscious. If we are always double clutching and spinning our wheels, no miracle "tune up," i.e. external cure, is going to help for long. Our awareness of structure and function on all levels and dimensions: instinctive, moving, emotional, intellectual and perhaps other, "higher" aspects of the bodymind, must gradually become complete for us to become a "whole" capable of its true "organic" potential.
Let’s take a simple physical dysfunction, say indigestion or constipation. Now it is possible, with practice, to become aware of and directly sense the intestines and other abdominal viscera. By monitoring tensions or distress in these organs we may quickly discern the "source" of stress, or better said, the external manifestation to which we are having a mechanical reaction. Whether it is an admonishment from the boss or the kids are in trouble at school, we can consciously decide, again with practice or practical work, to not have the reaction of tensing or stressing our abdomen, instead of using mechanical quick fixes like antacids or hemorrhoid medications. (Ongoing use of these external ‘cures’ increases the number and size of blind spots in our bodyminds which are the perfect breeding grounds for disease such as viruses and tumors.)
Similarly, we can use consciousness to heal or make whole all the aspects of the bodymind which will eventually become integrated. This integration means that there is constant communication between all parts and perhaps more importantly, that all aspects are doing their own work and not tinkering outside in others’ affairs. How many times do we say "I think…" followed by what in fact is a feeling or sensation (and vice versa). By clearly defining and establishing our many functions with an increase in our level of consciousness, we are healed and indeed move to a whole new level of living.
Ultimately what happens when we use this tool, always available to us, of inner awareness or "self"-consciousness, is that we undergo a change of being and create understanding. This essential being is the unique part of us that we are born into, separate from the more or less uniform "personality" that we acquire from external life. It becomes possible now to grow the seed of essence in the light of consciousness, as is suggested in all esoteric and religious doctrines. I know you will find that as your being changes, a different life will be attracted to you and the monumental problems of the external world will miraculously soften or even become insignificant. Then you will see, in your own inner world, the meaning of life, that is, that life indeed has meaning.
* Nicoll Commentaries p1012