This is Post 32 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series.
In this ‘Meditation Guidance’ series, I have frequently drawn on the wisdom that Carl Jung articulated in his mandala-form psychological model of the ‘Four Functions of Consciousness’, and on the corresponding mandala of the brahmavihāras – the ancient Indian ‘attitudes’ of Consciousness that were adopted so enthusiastically by the Buddha. Also, drawing on the Tibetan Buddhist form of the mandala, I have, in recent months been looking in detail at the polarities within each of the first three Quadrants of the mandala: first the opposition of the egoic Thinking function and Equanimity in the East; then the opposition of the egoic Sensation function and Appreciative Joy in the South; and most recently the opposition of the egoic Feeling function and Loving Kindness in the West.
In each of these polarities I have been highlighting the apparent spiritual choices that are always presented to us in life, between the ‘attitudes of Consciousness’ that we experience when we rest naturally as Consciousness, and the egoic expressions of the same archetypal principles, that we experience when we fall into identification with psychological parts. And by exploring the imagery of the Buddha’s Six Realms, we have seen that the extreme of egoic Thinking is expressed in the archetypal psychology of the Hell Realms, or Narakas (here); that the extreme of egoic Sensation is expressed in the archetypal psychology of the Human Realm (here); and that the extreme of egoic Feeling is expressed in the archetypal psychology of the Preta Realms (here).
The Northern Quadrant – Compassion versus the Egoic Will
I would like now to move on clockwise round this mandala, to the Northern Quadrant, where we shall be looking at the egoic function of Intuition / Volition and the corresponding Volitional aspect Consciousness, which expresses itself in the brahmavihāra of Compassion.
In the next few articles I will be addressing the core of the egoic will, that deep volitional aspect of the egoic mind, which the Buddha personified, in an extreme but very illuminating way, in the archetypal imagery of the Asura Realm – a realm of demonic, power-seeking anti-gods, or ‘Jealous Gods’. It is extremely valuable to have a familiarity with, and an acceptance of, these fear-based drives for control, so that we can learn to let them go, and thus reveal the universally present and universally benevolent spiritual energies that are hidden by them. Continue reading