Sunday, September 21, 2014


The Magnifying Lens of a Consciousness-Based Approach to Literature: Overview

Consciousness and Literature: All literature is a product of the individual writer’s consciousness as well as a product of cultural, regional, and historical influences, themselves products of the collective consciousness. A reader’s consciousness then, in turn, interprets the meaning of the literary text, based on his or her own consciousness, as influenced by (among others) experience, observation, and intelligence. What connects these two ends of the literary spectrum—writing and reading—is, again, consciousness itself. 

Experience of Consciousness Itself: The Science of Consciousness provides a magnifying lens to examine the dynamics of literature at a more profound level. This science, as formulated by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, contains experiential technologies1, fundamental principles, and theoretical frameworks to provide  both experience and understanding of the nature, development, and evolution of consciousness. The experiential aspect of this science has been explored not only through subjective accounts and comparisons to recorded accounts in the Vedas2, but also by qualitative and quantitative research3. When literature is examined through this lens, the underlying dynamics of consciousness can be seen at the most fundamental and in the most expressed values of literature.

 Pure Consciousness: The experiential aspect of the Science of Consciousness, the Transcendental Meditation technique®, allows an individual to systematically experience pure consciousness or Transcendental Consciousness by settling down to the source of thought, resulting in broadened awareness.3 Pure consciousness, which is the basis of all experience, including our thoughts, and which also is the basis of all creation itself, is self-referral in nature, meaning it is aware of itself. In subsequent posts, we’ll examine this principle of self-referral as well as other principles in our explorations of how the dynamics of consciousness are are expressed and revealed in literature, specifically as seen in the short story.

Topics in the Series: We'll look at how consciousness is the primary factor in the dynamics of the short story. In individual posts, we'll consider four principles of consciousness that can be recognized in the dynamics of short story as well as other genres. These principles include the self-referral nature of consciousness, the bliss inherent in reading literature, the qualities of intelligence or pure consciousness that emerge as patterning principles, and the expressions of higher states of consciousness in literature.

1  Such as the Transcendental Meditation and the TM-Sidhi programs®, including Yogic Flying®.
2  Invincible America Assembly: Experiences of Highter States of Consciousness of Course Participants, Volume 1: 2006–2009. Fairfield, IA and Vedic City, IA: Maharishi    University of Management, 2012.
3  Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programme: Collected Papers. Vols. 1–7
4  Perceptual and Motor Skills 39 (1974): 1031–1034; Perceptual and Motor Skills 59 (1984) 999–1000; Perceptual and Motor Skills 62 (1986): 731–738; Intelligence 29 (20001): 419–440.



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