~ Firm point of departure
First we must always start from solid foundations, grounded in the given. Current science tries to grasp reality by creating an intellectual model of it and show the logical rules by which this model transforms in time. There are many different approaches which are deeply equivalent. For example, the Schrodinger equation models reality as a time-dependent wave function which must conform to certain restrictions. A Turing machine is another example of a state that evolves through time. Cellular automata are another approach. What is common between all these is that we build a certain mental picture of reality and then apply rules to transform that picture from 'frame to frame'. All these are founded on a common presupposition - it's assumed that reality exists 'out there' and we can build an intellectual replica of it. We can't afford such a presupposition if we want to stay firmly grounded in the given. The most we can say without going beyond the given facts is that we experience World Content entirely of conscious phenomena - colors, sounds, feelings, thoughts, etc. These are in continuous metamorphosis. So we are basically approaching the question in the same way as science but instead of imagining a real world 'out there' which our thoughts reflect, we take the immediate world of the metamorphosis of the World Content of consciousness. When we do this we are safe because we don't presuppose anything. Even if there are many deeper facts behind the appearances of conscious phenomena this doesn't change the given fact that we experience the continuous transformation of the conscious World Content.
~ Our place in the metamorphic process
Another very important observation is that a large part of the World Content seems to follow unknown rules in its transformation. Yet at the same time there are elements of the World Content which are completely known - these are our thoughts. From the whole spectrum of conscious phenomena, the percepts of our thinking are the only part for which we feel directly and causally responsible. We feel somewhat involved with feelings too but they are much more elusive. When we reach the will, there's a complete layer of unknowns between our conscious intent and the final result which we observe through the senses - we have not the slightest conscious clue of all the complex processes that happen in the nerves, the muscle cells, in order for our conscious intent to become perceptible bodily motion.
OK. So far we've established that reality for us consists of perceptual World Content which is in continuous metamorphosis. Within this Content there's a gradient of phenomena for which we feel directly responsible or not at all. Current science seeks 'laws of nature' that should explain the patterns and rhythms of transformation of the World Content. It even tries to explain in the same way our own thinking, which is very unfortunate because in this way we're blinding ourselves for the only thing that we feel creatively responsible for and replace it with dead abstractions. There's nothing in the given that justifies this, since no matter how we combine the dead thoughts, we can never reconstruct from them the actual living process that brings them into existence. In a similar way, no matter how we arrange fossilized bones, we can never clothe them in living flesh. This doesn't mean that dealing with abstract thoughts is useless. Just as the arrangement of bones can be correct in respect to the living being from which they have remained, so the abstract thoughts are useful as long as they are always experienced in living relation to the actual spiritual activity which births them.
~ Metamorphosis is a growth process
Another important observation is that we don't simply transform between free floating states but every next state in a way builds upon or resonates with all previous states. In ordinary language we speak about the faculty of memory. Without this integration of states we would never be able to speak of a stream of conscious experience. If every state of being was experienced only for itself, we would always live in a now for which we can never know how we got to (even the very question of 'how we got here' could never arise, because this already requires some experience of continuity of consciousness).
~ The Time-Consciousness spectrum
We feel ourselves as situated within a time stream because we can experience ideas that link together the separate states of being. Thanks to memory we form ideas about the past but we can have ideas for the future too. For example, if I'm on my way to the store, I might be busy with many different thoughts and feelings but still, there's an overarching idea of 'going to the store' which makes the set of 'frames' of my walk meaningfully united.
It's really useful if we can grasp the World Content as a kind of Time-Consciousness spectrum. Conscious phenomena naturally can be differentiated, for example colors, sounds, etc. In a similar way we can differentiate phenomena which have different time-spans or wavelengths, so to speak. These phenomena are recognized when we elucidate them with the proper ideas through thinking. Ideas can be formed for phenomena which are independent of our activity (for example, the day and night cycle) or for our own willed activity (going to the store).
In the above picture we have 'spectrum analyzed' the Time-Consciousness layers. It must be immediately stated that none of this should become a rigid abstract theory. Everything that we describe as conscious time rhythms must be immediately related to something concrete that we find as living conscious experience. Here someone can object that there's no proof that such rhythms exist, that it might all be just in our head. This simply shows the extent to which the Kantian divide has been embedded into one's thinking. One almost immediately declares his conscious experience as unreality in order to postulate the 'true' reality somewhere out there. As we said, we do nothing more than sticking to the given. As far as our immediate experience is concerned, these waves we draw simply symbolize our ability to encompass the unity of states of being that are spread in time. For example, the materialist would object that our idea of 'going to the store' is just a mirage resulting from the momentary state of the brain and that what really exists is an avalanche of cause and effects (firing of neurons, muscle cells actions, etc.) that propagate forward in time. Here we simply need to be aware that if we didn't have the actual idea of 'going to the store', which experientially overarches through time, we would never be able to speak of any science that tries to explain it by chains of completely sequential mechanical states. It is a simple fact of experience that we feel the idea of 'going to the store' as hovering above the chain of states of our walk. We don't presuppose or postulate anything by recognizing this overarching nature of the idea and we simply illustrate this in a picture. We're simply trying to read out what the given can speak out of itself instead of arbitrarily discarding its elements and trying in vain to produce them through combinations of intellectual thoughts.
~ Surveying the higher order Time-Consciousness
So we've reached the idea of Time-Consciousness spectrum, which is nothing fancy but only the recognition that through our thinking activity we can relate the states of our metamorphic process as being related by superimposed layers of ideas - both passively reflective and actively motivating the will. I invite the reader to make a very simple survey of their current state of being. Even though we live in a momentary 'now', it is embedded into a meaningful temporal context. For example, we are in certain part of our daily life. Reading these lines could be happening while we're at home before sleep, or we're riding on a bus to work. In the latter case we're embedded within the daily work rhythm. This can be related to even longer wavelength rhythms. For example, our job might be a part of internship which is within an even longer wavelength of educational degree. All these are embedded in the wavelength of our childhood-adolescence-adulthood rhythm. With risk of becoming annoying I'll once more repeat that there's no need to seek some reality of these rhythms 'out there'. There's no need to fantasize these rhythms as some exotic vibrating energy or anything of that sort. We are speaking concretely about inner experiences. We let the experiences speak for themselves, without coloring them with abstract theories. All we are pointing out is that the ideas of these ever widening rhythms bring meaningful unity to the separate states. That's all.
~ Reflective and creative ideas
It's true that in our everyday experience we find some causative character only in the ideas through which we guide the transformation of our metamorphic process (like the 'going to the store' idea). For something like 'day and night' cycle, it's perfectly valid to say that our idea is only reflective. We have no justification to speak of our idea of day and night being causally responsible for that cycle.
If we look closely we find out that these two types of ideas are not rigidly separated. There are examples of rhythmic waves which initially look like natural laws that we can only abstractly reflect upon but gradually turn out to be completely in our ability to encompass them from within with living ideas and allow them or not to become the motive for our will. We're speaking about instincts, habits, learned behavior, etc. Our everyday conduct is weaved out of elements of which we're rarely conscious, even though the perceptual consequences of these elements are clearly part of our World Content. Through inner effort we may rise to a point where we encompass these elements and intervene in their unfoldment. An interesting example is breathing. Here we have something which can be perceived passively as occurring as a result of natural law but at the same time we can 'step in' and consciously guide the process. Thus our abstract idea about breathing as a process governed by natural laws is transformed into a process which unfolds as a result of our creative ideation.
~ The inversion horizon
Here it might be useful to introduce an analogy (and it's only an analogy!). Imagine a membrane moving back and forth quite slowly. Then we imagine that its motion becomes more and more rapid. At some point it becomes so fast that we no longer can see a moving membrane but something like a thick stationary plate. When the movements become more than 20 in a second we can even perceive sound. What we're trying to point attention to is that our 'now' sense is, so to speak, placed in the middle of different wavelengths/frequencies. The longer wavelength feel like we're going through them (think again about day/night cycle). At certain stage the alternations become so rapid that many cycles are contained in our 'now' experience. Here's the place to mention that our 'now' state is not really an infinitesimal thin moment of time but is more like a slice of states of being that we encompass simultaneously. Probably the best example for this is music. When we listen to music we undoubtedly encompass some short period of time as a whole, otherwise we would never be able to make sense of a melody. Don't worry if this analogy stands as quite abstract at the moment, hopefully it will become more clear below.
The key point in the above analogy is to grasp that there's a kind of transition or inversion between rhythms which are bigger than our 'now' and those that fit inside. This is not simply a matter of mathematical scaling but has qualitative impact too (already mentioned how the visual and audible aspects of the membrane change across this threshold). We can translate this analogy to concrete experiences such as those of becoming aware of unconscious habit. While we're unconscious of it, it's like we're being carried by rhythms larger than our now. Our metamorphing state is unknowingly being driven by these waves. We need a kind of expansion of our time-consciousness span in order to grasp the disparate 'frames' of this unconscious habit and find its unity. Please note that there's a great difference between simply having a reflective idea that somewhat mechanically stitches together a sequence of states of being, and the actual qualitative change of this rhythm such that it becomes experienceable in the expanded now. The difference is that in the latter case we reach such a position in which we are really able to consciously alter the rhythm in question. For example, we know theoretically that many kinds of abdominal pain are caused by the unconscious contraction of muscles. One reason can be higher levels of stress which continuously keep our muscles 'ready for fight'. When this condition is prolonged we begin to experience pain. Even though we have the abstract idea which unites the painful states in time, this doesn't yet give us conscious resolution to the problem (that's why people usually resort to drugs). On the other hand, if through changes of lifestyle, practices in relaxation and meditation, mastering of psychic states, etc., we're able to lift to state of consciousness where we can address the stressful condition, now the unifying idea becomes of active character which can motivate our will and thus our condition can be altered. So we may say that there's a gradient of roughly three stages. First, we're being carried entirely unconsciously by the rhythms. We may have abstract concepts for these rhythms but not inner conscious experience of them. Second, we reach living conscious experience of the rhythms. We not only abstractly think about them but we first handedly experience how they work through us, even if at this stage we're not yet in position to alter them. Third, we're able to modulate the rhythms.
~ Going deep into the spectrum
Now that we understand the spectrum of Time-Consciousness and the fact that we're being un- or half-consciously carried by great amount of rhythm-waves, the logical question would be: how much of these unconscious rhythms can be brought to awareness? The answer is - there's no limit. Now the following will sound outrageous to most but we can really go so deep into the Time-Consciousness spectrum that we can even find the true origins of the day/night cycle - not as abstract sensory concept of a mechanically rotating planet but as actual conscious rhythmic spiritual process, similarly to the way we can recognize that a conscious intent can be the causative factor behind our physical breathing. Clearly, the level at which the day/night rhythm can become conscious transcends the personal perimeter of our consciousness into a higher spiritual world, where the spiritual deeds of beings have global consequences for beings like us, focused in the much fragmented bands of the spectrum.
To make the above a little less outrageous we can present, at least as an indication, the direction into which these higher order spiritual processes can be discovered. Let's approach this through a meditative exercise. We can imagine in our mind's eye that we're drawing a circle. Let's focus on a light-point, similar to a tip of a pen, and begin moving it into a circle. It's not that important to try and hold into imagination the actual perimeter of the circle - only the moving light-tip, where all our thought activity is focused, is enough. Let's further try to make that movement really slow and smooth, without allowing any distraction to 'lift the pen tip from the imaginative surface', so to speak. People without much experience in exercises of this kind may find it quite challenging to move the focused light tip without any interruption even for a small segment of the circle. Thoughts, feelings, memories, sensory perceptions - all these bubble up and distract us, taking our focused attention away and causing us to lift the light tip. Yet through perseverance and good effort we gradually develop our spiritual skills and are able to slowly and smoothly draw the circle, without our laser-like focused light-tip budging at the slightest. At that point we can expand on the exercise and gradually reduce the radius of the circle, thus moving in a inward spiral toward a center. Finally we arrive at the center and all movement ceases. All our thought-activity is focused as a laser beam, energizing the light tip at the center. Now it should be said that the fact that we don't give in to the budging distractions doesn't mean that their forces aren't there. Some of the distracting rhythms really quiet down but many others continue to be active and now we cognitively feel how they move against our concentrated spiritual activity. This is the basic principle behind developing any of the stages of higher cognition, although it takes slightly different particular form in each case. As long as the metamorphosis of our states of being proceeds in an avalanche-like fashion, with us being completely dragged by the stream of sensations, feelings, desires, and our thinking being nothing more than a dry reflective commentary on the happenings, we're completely unconscious of the true nature of all these conscious phenomena. We are conscious of being tossed around and dragged by them but not of the true causes of these forces. We need to exercise our willpower and gain control over our spiritual activity in order to stabilize and focus it in spite of the surging forces. Now with this, a kind of inversion happens, similar to the qualitative change in the analogy with the membrane. Previously we were conscious of being tossed around by the most varied perceptions, our attention was automatically sucked in by them, now we have our stronghold, we've won for ourselves an island of imaginative 'substance' (the light tip) which is entirely of our own making. The external phenomena continue to work their way and try to drag us along but now we withstand these influences and instead we experience their imprints within our imaginative core, without allowing our focused attention to budge. If we may use the expression, our focused imaginative activity turns into a crystal ball in which the activity of the environment impresses. We don't perceive these activities in the same way we perceive and think intellectually about ordinary perceptions - remember - the intellect has been wholly focused into the energization of the light tip. There's no movement of ordinary attention, there are no chains of verbal thoughts - all this has imploded into a point. Yet the meaningful essence normally imbued into intellectual thoughts is now stabilized and fills the entire sphere of consciousness. The impressions of the environment within this essence is experienced directly as images full of immediate meaning. What we have described is the onset of Imaginative cognition. Within the stabilized core of our thinking activity we now begin to perceive in meaningful impressions the dynamics of the spiritual environment. A whole world gradually opens up. Currents, forces which were formerly unconsciously carrying us on their waves now become supersensibly perceptible. We have extricated our activity from their dominion, we have differentiated, and now perceive how formerly our activity was shaped and formatted by these forces.
Can we say something more concrete about these forces that now begin to reveal before our spiritual gaze? Indeed we can. Initially these are primarily elements of our personality. Formerly subconscious layers of our psyche are now shifted into clear cognition. Our hidden soul life is literally spread before us like an open book. Further than this we begin to become conscious of wavelengths of much wider span. For example, we rarely know why we are drawn to one profession rather than another. This is usually accepted as accidental consequence of genes and effects of the environment. Yet within the Imaginative realm we may become conscious of impulses that our soul has been carrying even before entering the current incarnation. There's a higher order idea within the soul which aims at something specific. The soul needs to develop something of its structure and focuses on it. In our ordinary consciousness these higher aims project as sympathies and desires. We simply feel drawn to something and not so much to other things. As a whole, sympathies and antipathies become one of the most important tools for the spiritual investigator because for him or her they are not simply arbitrary peculiarities of their character but point to deeper reality of which the sympathies and antipathies are only mute shadows. There are reasons for every sympathy and antipathy that we experience and these are found when the higher order time-consciousness waves are brought to lucid awareness.
Besides elements of our soul life that are concretely ours, in the Imaginative realm we also discover how we are entangled with soul processes of our human peers. Here again - affection to a specific person is not something random. That we like their eyes or smile is usually only a commentary on the intellectual surface. Major friendships, partnerships and so on are part of higher order time-consciousness waves, which again most often exist in their germinal form way before we enter the body.
Going further we encounter higher order processes (actual spiritual be-ings) who determine the character of whole nations. Once again, we can only gain cognition of these layers when we differentiate from our identification with race and nation and experience these forces against our liberated spiritual activity - only then they become perceptible spiritual reality for us.
This journey through the rhythms of creation can continue, where we find the grand waves of evolutionary development of humanity and our whole planetary system. In the most real sense, the materialistic civilization of today is conscious only of the mechanical movement of a membrane without understanding that this movement is actually the flattened projection of a sounding symphony with extremely complicated hierarchical composition, where each musical part is imbued with deepest wisdom.
It should be noted that the higher we go in the spectrum, the more are the lower order rhythms elucidated too. There's a kind of reciprocal action or said in other words, our consciousness expands simultaneously towards the higher, which in turn reveals the concealed harmony of the lower. In this sense the highest spiritual forces are also the ones that lay the foundation of the physical human being. By physical it's not meant the concrete biological form we witness today but that the forces, which for example differentiate into head-forces, rhythmical-heart-breathing-forces and metabolic-limb-will-forces are present as archetypal trinity in the highest levels of the spectrum. There's no head made of bone, particles and so on, at that level but all the forces that much later will decohere into these details are already present there in germinal form.
So this is, in a very simplified nutshell, how we are placed within the Time-Consciousness spectrum. We're living in decisive times where humans must out of their own initiative decide to penetrate the depths of this spectrum and understand how they are embedded within the hierarchical rhythm structure. The greatest obstacle is that this structure can't be probed by external means with mechanical measuring devices. We can only find the higher order waves which rule the Cosmos around us by finding how they express in ourselves, in the way indicated above. Of course this comes with the inconvenience that we must first pass through the murky layers of our own personality and karma, and this is rarely a pleasant experience. Yet we must 'shew ourselves men' and have the courage to endure the pulling out of the thorn from the flesh because what follows afterwards compensates for all hardships.
~ Wrapping it up
The extract of all this should be that our constantly metamorphosing state of being can be experienced as composed of superimposed Time-Consciousness waves, each of which is not something abstract but actual living idea, causally creative. Some of them we're conscious of - like the ideas through which we govern our life. Others we recognize only abstractly - as the laws of nature. Through inner transformation we can differentiate from these waves that carry us unconsciously and bring them to lucid awareness. This is achieved by our moment 'now' growing to grasp the higher order rhythms within itself. As a result we no longer feel as if time flows as a chain of causes end effects, similar to a train of domino pieces but consciousness encompasses the creative ideas of the Cosmos which serve as hierarchical foundation on the waves of which the ordinary human consciousness flows. Time becomes the expression of meaningful creative acts of beings, just as our 'going to the store' is an idea which shapes events in the sensory worlds.
I would like to include a quote from Rudolf Steiner which is precisely in the spirit of everything we've been speaking so far:
Rudolf Steiner wrote:In rising to a higher level of consciousness we actually gaze into a quite different kind of Space, one that is unknown to ordinary experience, one that would come into being if the flow of Time were, so to speak, constantly to congeal, to coagulate. Think of it in this way. — If you wanted to have before you what you experienced yesterday, one moment of yesterday would have to be as if fixed; and the immediately present moment — which has even now already passed — would have to be held as if in a snapshot, and then all these snapshots would have to be placed side by side. That will give you an inkling of what the spiritual investigator sees livingly before him. He has before him not ordinary space but Space of an altogether different character from physical space, as if the world were perpetually being photographed and the photographs placed side by side. This other kind of Space is essentially and fundamentally different from the space known to man in everyday life. In this latter space it is impossible to discern a picture of the spiritual Space just referred to. For if one tries to draw some line in physical space, this can only be done where lines already exist. But what the spiritual investigator traverses in spiritual Space cannot be inscribed at all, for there Time becomes Space; we pass from one point to another.
Ordinary consciousness is enclosed within space and cannot emerge from it. But the spiritual investigator does emerge from it. He knows how he has to move to events which may have taken place four or five days previously. He can draw a line along which he moves from today to five days ago. Such a line cannot be traced in ordinary space. So we arrive at a concept of Space which corresponds with the memory of the spiritual investigator and in which lines may be drawn which do not belong to ordinary space. This is something that may be called Space with a new dimension, a fourth dimension. The Space which the investigator thus enters has one more dimension than is ever found in ordinary space. We must therefore say that the spiritual investigator emerges from three-dimensional space the moment his higher memory begins to operate. Such a concept of four-dimensional Space is not only thinkable, but there is actually a higher faculty — the higher memory — for which this four-dimensional Space is absolutely real.
https://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/GA119 ... 30p01.html
In my personal path, the realization of the Time-Consciousness spectrum has been the most transformative life event. It really consists in actual transformation of inner perspective. In our materialistic age we feel as our soul life is being carried on the stream time. When we attain to inner mastery, we can stabilize our spiritual activity and anchor it within itself. Our concentrated activity becomes its own stable center. Then our whole experience in relation to time changes:
Instead of feeling dragged along an external stream, we now feel that we are always at the same center of being, around which the World Content metamorphoses and we are active contributor to this metamorphosis. We now live at the center of a mandala which we comprehend as superimposed rhythmic layers of living spiritual activity. From this perspective everything in reality can be brought to awareness, it's all a matter of resonant attunement. Here we must mention that, that this transformation also reveals the erroneous conception of 'dissociation'. There's no real dissociation. Nothing separates from anything else. It's all a matter of attunement. We feel dissociated only as long as we don't have the inner means to traverse the Time-Consciousness spectrum. As long as we are helplessly locked into certain rhythmic patterns of consciousness, we feel that we are being carried by external forces - natural laws, time, etc. When we center ourselves within the mandalic spectrum, our whole life's meaning takes a new direction - we're now engaged in spiritual musicality, working, attuning, testing resonant relations. The more we bring the different rhythmic layers into harmony, the more holistic the hole mandalic spectrum becomes and thus we can move along it and follow how higher order time waves, consciously willed by spiritual beings, support the foundations of our metamorphic journey. There's only one Time-Consciousness spectrum and countless relative experiences of it.
Where all this leaves Timelessness? We approach the latter when we ascend to spiritual rhythms of higher and higher order. Ultimately, in a kind of an asymptotical approach, we conceive of the primordial Time-Idea, the fractal seed that becomes infinitely spectrum analyzed into lesser superpositions of rhythms that are being traversed through limited apertures of consciousness.
We must remember that there are always rhythmic levels that are above our inversion horizon. There's always something larger within which we're moving. We can only properly address these higher order rhythms through the soul mood of prayer. We're not speaking of the caricature of prayer like asking for a new car or wife. It's about realizing that we only ever realize our true human potential by expanding our consciousness along the full time spectrum. We need humility and willingness to harmonize ourselves with the higher order rhythms of beings. Only when we bring the different rhythm layers in harmonic relationships, our consciousness can transduce along the gradient - that is, the inversion horizon moves. If we are not willing to do that we simply voluntarily lock ourselves within the limited spectrum band of our intellectual soul life, call that 'dissociation' and go on to spindle fantastic theories that justify our situation. Hopefully humans will make up their mind and turn their gaze towards the depths of being because only there we can find the lasting solutions of the tragic social problems of our times and the path of true evolution.