Franco Dell'Oro - Street 173-1 # 3 - P.O.Box 4543 - Asmara, Eritrea.
 
“Tell me my name,” says the mooring pin.

"Lady of the Two Lands in the Shrine is Thy Name." [1]


All that which is circumscribed is a product of the [human] mind. The [human] mind itself is circumscribed, hence the mind's conception of itself is circumscribed, as well the [human] [2] mind’s concept of the infinite is circumscribed.

All that is not circumscribed is likewise a product of the mind, since we can, like here, write the words and have to imagine something - whatever that may be. However, imagination can transcend itself, vanish in the boundlessness and, overwrought, return, spellbound and speechless.

That which is beyond the mind is just beyond. And this too, is a circumscribed concept it being an offspring of the mind.

That is why the Zen Master after having tamed the bull stops here:

The mystic, the yogi, the shaman, the alchemist, the occultist, the magician, the sorcerer and more use a graphical representation, a mandala, as a psychic aid to gaining freedom from the tangles of the world, or in the search of transcendental knowledge, or as an aid in developing occult powers. A simple and plain example of a mandala is represented in the picture below:

He then gets absorbed in the contemplation of the mandala to reach his own purpose and hence is mentally inscribed within the bounds and represented symbolical qualities of the same. The mandala ( and the yantra – a complex geometrical figure - as well), which may be an extremely rich and complicated image, as in Tibetan Buddhism or Tantric Yoga, is very useful but the secret – or short way - is the other way around, to wit, not to get absorbed in the mandala but to absorb it.

By this is meant: getting the symbolical vision, bringing it deep within the psyche and divest it of its symbolism so that it exposes the unconscious contents, that is, depict it naked before our comprehension by revealing what the symbol stands for within our psyche. A symbol in the psyche is always a powerful force: to discover, tame, and put to proper use in the quest of mental integration where by mental integration is meant the getting rid of negative propensities, complexes, fears so to be on a better existential relation with ourselves and our environment.

If the mind absorbs it [the symbol], gets to its core and comprehends it and subsequently liberally trashes it since it is not anymore a blocking hindrance what is left then?

The limiting circle disappears, the mandala disappears, the mind disappears! The experimenter becomes the experiment; the mind vanishes in the experiment. What is left?

The experimenter will however come back to normality and he will find no appropriate way to explain the experiment because he went beyond the mind. He will never be the same person again because he has found a key to unlock the secrets of the mind but at the same time he is within its boundaries: speechless in wisdom and knowledge.


It is with a sense of apology and a little dismal that the following lines can not be written down impersonally, i.e., without recourse to the pronoun 'I', that 'I' which keeps us strongly bound to ourselves and to the environment which it has to confront daily .

This 'I' after all is a puppet of consciousness, which, consciousness itself, is a plaything of the unconscious which itself is a tool of Life – yes, a tool of Life - but not life in the sense of the physical manifestations that we perceive throughout our earthbound existence of the same but the outcome of a law which nurtures and sustains it and which we cannot fathom. The fact that I, puppet, did not capitalize the word law may simply indicate that I, puppet, do not abide by any religious precepts and that is true insofar as it concerns the meaning which we give to the word 'religion', defined as “A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny” or “Institution to express belief in a divine power”.

This puppet, flesh and bones, I can pinch or prickle it and it appears to be the most tangible thing on earth, so much so as the keyboard under my eyes and that should be anything but a strange feeling yet, at the same time, it appears that this physical being with its mundane consciousness is something which I could freely dispose of, willingly dissolving it, here and now, in nothingness, without leaving any trace of itself behind.

Yes, in nothingness but not that nothingness without sensory perceptions within itself, so as we usually imagine it, i.e., that which is negated to our sensory (and even extrasensory) perceptions, or the antithesis of sense perceptions, but that nothingness which is the fullness of itself and cannot be rationally explained no matter how hard we try, i.e., that condition to which the mind can not attach any idea whatsoever of the same it being a no-condition. Of course, this must be a mere great delusion but, if I close my eyes and meditate a while about it the perception is, yes, of a physical being – that which is recorded on my brain and indissoluble from my conscious analysis - but as if it were as if detached from all existence, it is by itself and by itself it can vanish in some sort of mysterious nothingness, that inexplicable nothingness which can not be perceived or conceived through any sensory or rational channel whatsoever.

This, referred at above as a delusion, withal its beauty and attraction, is not to be taken light heartedly, it is, in itself, also somewhat frightening not just because the power of imagination can play very undesirable effects on the psyche – or viceversa - but because it might materialize with the subject not yet ready to accept and sustain it. Myth or truth? A vanishing physical living being is undisputable truth in mythology and, apparently, in some extremely rare historical reports. As a personal experience this would be distressing, if not really frightful. How should I then be able to recount it to you?

Frankly, with one single exception, nothing ever made me afraid: not the breaking sheet of lava under my feet inside an active volcano close to a flaming towering structure (about three feet below, where I landed, there was not the expected boiling lava like inside the crater a few hundred meters away, since I am here narrating the episode but another solid strata of solid lava which spared me real hell with or without Beelzebub); nor being machined-gunned, and slightly hurt, by the soldiers of the Ethiopian Second Division right in front of my house in my hometown at the very beginning of the Marxist Ethiopian Revolution; nor the loss of a precious life-saving rope while on a extremely slippery steep slope of wet grass and mud in the beautiful scenery of the Italian Dolomites with a deep precipice beneath ready to welcome me to its rocky bottom and a seemingly hopeless way out.

The exception, that unique thing which can really make me afraid, and not little so, is nothing else that my self, my deep psychical self. What does this mean? Perhaps I have been absorbed in my small mandala [above] with all my fantasies but so far I have missed the way around, that is, to absorb the mandala as described above.

The self. That extremely powerful entity within each of us, so difficult to bring to the light and to tame. That extremely powerful entity which materializes with the sense and perception of 'I' or that unique 'me' which keeps all of us strongly bound to the rope of existence, since most of us are unable or unwilling to delve deeply into its secret vaults because that would mean meeting our true reality face to face and, if unprepared for the task, falling into great delusional or psychotic states. It could be like falling profoundly into the kingdom of the archetypes [3] without any psychical shield and having to confront all of them simultaneously. A trespassing, impromptu, into that incredible mixture of heaven and hell blended together since time immemorial and of which each event or image is a mote of that grandiose and incredible mosaic which forms the human mind.

Let me add that within my mind frame [4] there is no place for reincarnation, [5] transmigration, heaven, limbo, hell, karma and an individual soul nor, consequently, am I attached to any worldly religion system whatsoever.

Life comes and picks you up in her fold.
Of your experience a treasure She will make: [11]
Thence She will discard you.
When you will have realized this
Her secret you will have.

Not bound to words of man,
But tied to cosmic laws,
Your gods behind my shoulders I threw.
Of hell fear no more need I have,
Nor longing for paradise.
From compulsion and revulsion freedom,
The beauty is of life's net.
Coming and going has lost its sense,
Bound in time with no time-bounds.
By renouncing it
Eternity I did find.

Lost the peoples of the world are
In the wilderness of their fancies.
With crystal clear waters a well
Where to quench their thirsty souls exists,
But in obstinately searching without
What within they are,
In a labyrinthine path lost they err.

Shrouded the brilliance is of the spiritual sun
In the cloak of materialism.
Empty the priest's, bhikshu's and mullah's words are.
They spell only doom since they are apart.
Cast aside angels, devils and jiins,
Go beyond the beatitude of the Buddha's Nirvânâ
And the stupor of Rumi's wine cups.
Creatures of the mind they are,
Leave your mind behind.

Nevertheless I, the greatest anathemized disbeliever, consider religion necessary and useful, withal to be such, religion ought to follow a unique scheme acceptable to all the planet’s inhabitants; cleaned of useless crusts, nonsense, superstitions and irrationality, but it appears that there is still a very long way to go before anything like that – if ever – will be the lot of man. Faith is a shield, an armour, and a weapon, and that is its value. But your movements are thereby restricted, no complete freedom is possible within a faith. Even the greatest realization, the sublime vision of celebrated mystics, the 'I am God', for which utterance many of them paid, most cruelly at the hands of the clergy, with their life, was still under the protective canopy of their faith.

That which I can not do away with, that very thing which due to its paramount power and mysterious presence frightens me, as stated above is that human psyche which is not just the result of the perceptual life in its actual environment, not even such with the full archetypal contents of eons behind it but the very emanation of the unspeakable – that which is beyond words, comprehension or even the most fervid imagination since within the temple of our physical being and its own environmental constrictions, apparently inescapable limits are imposed on us: those which we perceive through the five senses, the very limits which make our environment perceptible with all its multifarious manifestations; those imposed by culture and tradition; intellection; and most of all, the stumbling block of the unprepared mind still clouded by its own ignorance of its real self. If unprepared we transcend those limits the encounter of an unready psyche with reality could bring forth disastrous psychological consequences. "... if one and the same factor is the core of each individual's selfhood, no individual in its true essence has individuality. There would be nothing like my self; there would only be the Self" [6]

Whether the mind creates the brain or the brain creates the mind (an experiential evolutionary progressive process) is a far fetched and unanswerable question but at least we can say that all which comes within the realm of experience, sensory or otherwise (extrasensory), is elaborated by the brain, that extremely complex thing which gives sense and purpose to our existence, and it adds to the contents of the mind.

Following is a real-life example of psychical development across a long span of time which may appear significant in particular as related to the archetypal contents of the experience taken as a whole, through visions and dreams.

Symbolic, in the wake state: I wake up at about three in the morning, and while I lay in bed completely awake and apparently thoughtless staring in the darkness toward the ceiling, I realize that I am fully enclosed - right within - a magnificent golden egg. There I feel extremely well and serene but soon I realize that I will have to choose whether to remain within the golden egg or get out of it so that indeed a period of rational thought is brought about while confronting that situation which in itself has no taste of strangeness at all, it all appears absolutely normal and real. How much time elapsed I cannot say - but is must not have been more than a few seconds - however at last I decided that I should get out of the egg although the wonderful feeling of being within it would have called for a different decision. As soon as I decided to get out of the egg, the golden shell disappeared and I found myself just like before the experience, wide awake and serene staring at the darkness above me - but no more thoughtless.

A dream with typical archetypal contents, about twenty years after the golden egg: it is a very large cave with a seemingly spherical vault. Inside it is all very luminous, but it is not a light belonging to this world, it is like unto the light shining within the heart of a diamond – if you can imagine anything like that. The vault up above is pitch dark, below it is only water, a large and wonderful silvery lake apparently vanishing into its own horizons (maybe there is a bank on the left side - I cannot clearly recall). The water appears slightly crispy with shades of crystal-like white, light blue, and light green blending delicately into one another and I am immersed into it. A small bat swiftly crosses in between the vault and the lake and disappears far away apparently on my left side while I deeply enjoy being into these waters - it all seems very real. Some time passes by and therewith a huge bat, or more like a pterodactylus - a huge flying reptile of the late mesozoic era - appears in the sky and starts to fly in circles above me. I am sure that it wants to devour me and I see myself as a tiny black speck into that marvelous lake, helplessly at the mercy of that flying monster - there is nothing at all I can do and I wake up

Next, this is about sixteen years later. “I am facing a large grayish, aged wall, with a large rectangular opening – about three meters wide and two meters high and, as well, raised about one meter above the ground. In front of the wall two young figures (here I am justly punished for may laziness in not keeping a notebook and pencil to record dreams right away) possibly a boy and a girl. In between the two young figures and me a huge brass and steel lock, apparently new, suspended midway above the ground. I know that I have to go through the opening in the wall, within which nothing is to be perceived unless crossing in, and that I can freely do but, notwithstanding any lack of impediment, I turn back and go to fetch my steel-cutting scissors (no 'key' idea crossed my mind) to open the lock).

What is discernible here is the large span of time among these three experiences which happen across a period of about thirty- five years. However the vision and the two dreams seemingly are just like the rings of a chain, the sequence between them appearing indeed logical if an interpretation is afforded, as follows:

The Golden Egg. Such a vivid experience cannot leave anyone thoughtless and indeed for years I have been thinking about it trying to give it a precise meaning. The egg of course is a primary symbol for life and it appears in mythology as the Cosmic Egg, as The Egg of Brahma in Hinduism (as an archetypal pattern it exists in the Hindu tradition of the symbolism of the Spiritual Sun and the Embryo of Gold - Hyranyagarbha); as the cosmic principle of differentiation between heaven and earth - male and female: "In the beginning Heaven and Earth, Izanagi and Izamani, were not separate; together they constituted a chaos, which was like an egg in the midst of which was a germ. When Heaven and Earth were thus intermingled, the two principles, male and female, did not yet exist" [7]. The egg is altogether ubiquitous in world’s mythology. As to why I walked out of it: fear due to ignorance? Was I to remain within that magnificent golden world? What would have happened had I chosen to remain there? I knew that walking out of it would bring me to a world familiar to me and as such I rejected the uncertainty of the unknown, however beautiful and promising that appeared to be. But it might well be the reverse: from the known (symbolized by the egg, the seed of life) I jumped into the unknown – the uncertain field of life - with a mission to discover its meaning and return to the original state. Even in the Rapanui tradition as far as on Easter Island you have the gods coming from an egg, but since I have no heavenly knowledge, no kingdom, no marvelous occult powers: either I hatched out too soon, featherless unlike many winged ancient gods, or there must have been some mistake and that makes my case desperate.

The pterodactylus. The beautiful lake, with the color of the heart of a diamond, may represent unsullied, pure knowledge, or a receptive mind, where I am immersed in a long search with minor impediments (the bat) until I am confronted by an unexpected obstacle, certainly menacing and dangerous – the gigantic pterodactylus threatening my very existence – or in any case (suggesting me to get out of the dream as fast as feasible) a big stumbling block in the way or ahead in the future to get rid of. On a different level this dream may be interpreted as an ominous prophetical dream since my father suddenly died exactly one month afterwards. Clearly this means that interpretations of dreams and other psychical events are strictly subjective and lend themselves to events of our life experience which do not necessarily conform to the one we think it refers to. Another possible interpretation, perhaps more close to the mark: a possible encounter with the mighty power of the subconscious, but I am not yet ready for it, it could result crushing.

The opening in the wall - some important discovery was awaiting me in the misty foreground behind the wall (myself?) but some obstacle, symbolized by the lock, was in the way so that I would not bypass the lock without first opening it or, in other words, would not venture into the unknown – although it was not threatening but, on the contrary, waiting for me to go in - without necessarily first removing the obstacle. The lock, however, may symbolize also something hidden or secret to be discovered hence and I don't waste time to search for the key to open it but I rush to the steel-cutter pliers to force it open without delay.The fact that the aperture is raised above the ground may signify that even if there are no apparent obstacles in the way – the lock itself does not ostensibly obstruct the way - a little exercise is still needed to get in. As for the two young figures I won’t afford any interpretation due to the gender’s uncertainty (possibly a boy and a girl... innocence and life?) although in the dream, before the particulars were lost to my memory, they were very clear. However, significant may be the fact of their being very young and standing there, side by side - unconcerned observers still in the age of relative innocent naiveté.

These are personal experiences, hence the interpretation is strictly subjective and might not be correct in the least but simply a chasing of personal trends of imagination. However is seems to make sense. While this is the stuff visions and dreams are made of, there is not the least doubt that dreams are a tangible bridge between the psyche and the individual so much so as the individual – the tangible and real individual of the physical world – is himself a bridge between his apparent reality and the true reality. There ought to be so many ways to cross this bridge between the tangible and the intangible, or, the barrier between self and true self, as there are individuals on the globe but these bridges are cloaked in the tangles of material existence and its most common urgencies and encumbrances.

Everyone has, a natural endowment, the right means for the crossing; few do really care and a few among the few who care can grab the right tools among the available plethora hidden within the psyche and this clearly explains why so few great human beings appear between large time-spans in recorded history. So where is the difference among the common people, me and you, and these great historical characters? And should we not be at an advantage? We have access to an extremely large historical record, science and technology brought on an immense intellectual advance, access to every bit of available literary and scientific information is just a click of the mouse away, the gloom of the atomic bomb is just right around the corner…

One night I dreamt being, together with my younger daughter, looking at the snowy panorama in the valleys below the beautiful hills of Asiago, Northern Italy, and shortly afterwards an atomic bomb exploded to the west, towards the city of Udine.

While the explosion in itself was beautiful, it possibly reflected a subconscious preoccupation, viz., living in a city (Vicenza) during the Cold War epoch which is, even to the present time, a coveted nuclear target and, as well, the dream might very likely, so as things stand now, be prophetic. Mentioning this has the only purpose to illustrate how new archetypes - in this case the nuclear explosion - find their way into the psyche.[8] In other words, the archetypal contents increases constantly so much so that future generations might find Charlie Chaplin, Rocky Marciano, Marilyn Monroe, Diego Maradona, Rambo, a beautiful fully computerized red Ferrari and what you will among their archetypes and they will not know what to do with them. Zoroaster, the Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, Milarepa and a few more great beings in this respect were at a great disadvantage with a still comparatively poor warehouse of archetypes, so where is the difference? Apart from purity of intent, that thing now extinct within our industrialized civilization and its distractions, in building their personalities undoubtedly they had access to a genuine, even if more primitive, mental repository indeed more stimulating to their unique humanness. The vehicle they had, the human temple, did not differ from ours, apart from being somewhat more reinforced so as to face an hostile environment as they had to do without antibiotics, corticosteroids, heating appliances, airplanes, electricity and laser surgery.

 
As the old saying goes: “When the pupil is ready the Master appears” but don’t be upset, there are so many zombies out there seeding fallacy, discord and stupidity that I do not really wish to be numbered among them and, if such a zombie I am, I keep it to myself. Yet, there is a guru – a teacher - and it is right within the mooring pin, that is, the “Lady of the Two Lands in the Shrine”. How far advanced were the ancient Egyptians? What are the Two Lands in the Shrine? Here I will venture my interpretation [9] by saying that the two lands in the shrine are the two cerebral hemispheres – a subject which we will meet in the next chapter - and that the Lady of the Two Lands in the Shrine is the mind and that is the real guru, she is the terpsichore, the Muse of the dance and of the choral song being enacted deep within the shrine.

This is the real, genuine temple, the shrine with the lady within. This, as well, does not appear as contrasting with the yin– yang (at the heart of the mandala above) principles - even figuratively - and the intermingling of the anima and the animus, [10] so important for the integration of the personality. As Leonardo Da Vinci said "All our knowledge has its origin in our perceptions "

The picture on the left symbolically represents the unending interaction between the conscious and the subconscious with its symbolical manifestations. Click the picture for more images.

 
 

Introduction
Lady of the Two Lands in the Shrine is Thy Name
The Mooring Pin
Life and brains
Brains and Life
No-Brain and No-Mind
Deus Ex Machina

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A Chinese Mirror

A reproduction of a Chinese mandala.

   
 
 
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NOTES

[1] The Egyptian Book of the Dead– BD99a-b - Edited by Thomas George Allen – (Xerographic copy) - The University of Chicago Press – Chicago – Illinois – 1960.
[2] Throughout the book, the word mind refers to the human mind as the complex total of the individual life experience. Where the word mind will be used in the transcendental or metaphysical manner it will be capitalized, i.e., Mind.
[3] “… just as the human body shows a common anatomy over and above all racial differences, so, too, the psyche possesses a common substratum transcending all differences in culture and consciousness. I have called this substratum the collective unconscious. This unconscious psyche, common to all mankind, does not consist merely of contents capable of becoming conscious, but of latent dispositions towards certain identical reactions. Thus the fact of the collective unconscious is simply the psychic expression of the identity of brain-structure irrespective of all racial differences. This explains the analogy, sometimes even identity, between various myths-motifs, and symbols, and the possibility of human beings making themselves mutually understood. The various lines of psychical development start from one common stock whose roots reach back into all the strata of the past.”
C. G. Jung, in the commentary to “The Secret of the Golden Flower” by Richard Wilhelm - p. 87 – Routlege & Kegan Paul – 1969 – London.
And:
From the most archaic times we have evidence of symbols of a very definite pattern which act on the human mind, those symbols making up that which Dr. C. J. Jung labeled as the collective unconscious, "the outcome of countless generations of man and his forebears, in which life still moves” [a] and which are a common heritage as well as part and parcel of our psychic life. "The world of the archetypes of Jung is like a Platonic world of ideas, in that the archetypes are impersonal and do not participate in the historical Time of the individual life, but in the Time of the species - even of organic Life itself." [b]
[a] P. W. Martin. Experiment in Depth - A Study of the Work of Jung, Eliot and Toynbee. p. 54. London. Routlege and Kegan Paul. 1967.
[b] Mircea Eliade. Myths, Dreams and Mysteries. p. 181. London. Collins, the Fontana Library of Theology and Philosophy. 1974.
[4] “My mind frame” is used here instead of the word “self”. The word “self” is used in this writing simply as a matter of linguistic convenience but a personal “self”, as such, does not exist.” Mind frame”, on the other hand, more aptly conveys the idea of individual experience, character, personality, predisposition and, hence, this is the meaning intended whenever the word “self” is here used.
[5] "A man wishing to prove on the authority of Pythagoras that he had been in the world on former occasion, and another not allowing him to conclude his argument, the first said to the second: 'This is a token that I was formerly here, I remember you were a miller.' The other feeling stung by these words agreed that it was true for he remembered as a token that the speaker had been the ass which had carried the flour for him."
From "Selections from the Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci" - Irma A. Ritcher - Oxford University Press - 1966.
[6] Edward Conze - Contradiction and Reality - pp.13-14 -London - 1939.
[7] Mircea Eliade. Myths, Dreams and Mysteries. p. 181. London. Collins, the Fontana Library of Theology and Philosophy. 1974.
[8] See C. J. Jung – “Man and His Symbols” p. 221 – Aldus Editors London – 1964.
[9] This might be a far fetched interpretation but not entirely unreasonable: the mooring pin, to which the boat (the body) is anchored being the head and the two lands within the cerebral hemispheres, the lady being the mind - conceived as the sum total of cognitive principles.
[10] The unconscious of a man contains a complementary feminine element, that of a woman a male element, and these Jung calls the anima and the animus; hence the bipolar (feminine and masculine) traits of the unconscious, i.e., those aspects of the archetypes which is possible to integrate. As well, Jung uses the word anima instead of soul; psychologically it implies “the recognition of the existence of a semiconscious psychic complex, having partial autonomy of function” [c]
[c] The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious”, p. 30, Collected Works, Vol.9, Part I.
[11]See "The Apologue of Life".