THE MYSTERY OF AWARENESS
Oh Friend! Understand
The body is like the ocean
Rich with hidden treasures.
During my time in India, I chanced upon an
intriguing individual in a
nondescript town called Hoshiarpur. This enigmatic figure sat in a dimly lit room, exuding mild
annoyance at the occasional visitor who mustered the courage to knock. After a
prolonged silence, he shared, "When I visit the toilet, God does too."
Drawing me closer, he fixed his semi-blind gaze upon me, posing a question: "Do
you recognize which sense organ is supremely vital, yet often overlooked?"
He then revealed:
It's the skin.
SKIN SENSING AND CELL MEMBRANES
What is the oldest operating system in the human organism? Which sense first
emerged from the ancient cellular organisms' evolutionary tree? My guess is that
attentive skin sensing is, from an evolutionary biology standpoint, our oldest
sense. Skin sensing is the most fundamental aspect of humans' interaction with
the outside world.
These ancient systems can be
likened to the tactile properties of a cell membrane, which
senses its immediate environment much like our skin senses
A crucial characteristic of the deepest layer of the control
system of awareness is the fundamental closeness that existed from the cell nucleus to the
cell wall. Sensations of touch still carry this survival experience from their
meeting with the ocean in their basic programming. As a result, the
symbiotically sensing cell walls of human skin are, in all their superficiality,
closest to our "soul core."
Cells in the primordial ocean did not see, hear, or smell
anything, even after they formed the first types of symbiotic
life. These cells did not see the sunlight, but they noticed the
warmth from it in the form of
close-sensed information from their cell walls. They sensed the world, and
through responses to this sensing, they survived. The older a biological
survival system is, the more it will be anchored in unmediated bodily close
Carried along from the cellular experince in the precambric
ocean there is one fundamental message:
Everything that makes 'me' survive feels 'good'.
Everything that threatens my survival is sensed 'evil'.
The Ancient Sense of Touch
If a cell could understand and speak words, it would recognize the description
of skin's sense of touch and might say: that's precisely how it feels out by my
cell walls' protective ramparts! These single cells were small fortresses with
protective walls around them, protecting even older forms of life, such as
mitochondria. When these cells joined together in symbiotic alliances through an
outer ring of sensory defense, they developed the beginnings of the extended
hard skin that, through aeonic time in struggle, enabled them to survive as
This type of close-range sensing is primarily related to the
precambrian primal cells' defense against annihilation: the
fortified cell wall. Later, when cells discovered how to join
together in symbiotic alliances, they carried this earliest
genetic memory with them and, based on it, created a common
'cosmotic' defense against chaos in the form of skin. In this
sense, cells' osmotic membranes are the recycled ramparts of
awareness from our original primordial
home. From their biological palisades, skin sensing systems have defended
pre-human and later human cell federations against attacks for billions of
The closer a threat comes to the body, the stronger the
survival response will be.
Skin sensing is in this sense more closely tied to the eternal question of
survival: death... or life? Even very primitive animals possess
a sense of touch. Poke a worm with a sharp stick and observe it.
Then (gently) poke a human and observe the reaction. Both reactions are
about simple survival. Above all, we have been aware to
From the simplest earthworm to complex humans, the skin stands out as the
body's most expansive sensory organ. While most senses are localized—eyes
dedicated to vision, ears to sound—the skin is a universal sheath that covers
every inch of us. The wise sage from Hoshiarpur put it aptly: "We are encased in
a continuous stretch of skin from crown to sole." Beyond merely serving as a
protective barrier, the skin is a dynamic medium, bursting with millions of
nerve endings. These nerves translate myriad sensations, from the gentle caress
of a breeze to the sting of a winter's chill, from the comfort of warmth to the
distress of pain. In a metaphorical sense, the cell membrane, often dubbed the
"first skin" of organisms, mirrors how our skin constantly interacts with the
THE AWARE SK-INSIDE
A human being has so many skins inside,
covering the depths of the heart.
We know so many things,
but we don't know ourselves!
Why, thirty or forty skins or hides,
as thick and hard as an ox's or bear's,
cover the soul.
Go into your own ground
and learn to know yourself there.
The 'foretold' language
Our tenure as linguistic beings in the
realm of waking consciousness is but a brief flicker, akin to a fleeting moment
just before the stroke of midnight. Undoubtedly, 'The Word' wasn't present at
the outset. It made its entrance much later. The vast expanse of our
evolutionary journey was traversed in states of inanimate silence akin to inert
stones, in dreamlike contemplations reminiscent of plants, and in exuberant
vocalizations evocative of zealous monkeys.
Taste, smell, tactile
sensations, and emotional perceptions are as our close-up senses
evolutionarily older than sight and sound. Hence they inherently
pose a challenge for us as conscious beings. Newertheless we
have since the birth of the first words, tried the impossible
task to understand
these older ancestors still living in us.
Yet, in their relatively brief existence, words often possess wisdom that seems
to elude those who utter them. At times, within the fabric of language lie
dormant truths—truths so elementary and pure that we might not articulate them
directly but can only allude to or 'foretell'.
The Skin: A Living
Canvas of Our Sensations and Emotions
The skin is more than an extroverted sensory receptor; it's an emotional barometer. While
it notifies us of a mosquito's prick or the brush of a feather, it also becomes
an internal canvas upon which emotions like love, anxiety, or embarrassment are
painted. Our skin is a bridge, connecting our tangible exterior with our
intangible interior. Indeed, we 'sense' the internal workings of our body much
in the same way we perceive our skin's interactions with the outside world. Our
consciousness is like a pendulum, swaying between external stimuli and internal
sensations, all regulated and narrated by the ever-sensitive, ever-responsive
We see this confluence of the external and
internal in the lexicon we use to describe our experiences. Just as our skin can
be irritated, so can our temperament. Blushing exemplifies this synergy, linking
strong internal emotions to visible skin responses.
Consider the nuances behind this commonplace query: "Do you 'feel'
comfortable?" Our core existence is intrinsically bound to feelings. To
exist is, above all, an act of feeling—a tactile experience spanning from the
outer layer of our skin to the deepest caverns of our internal realm.
Narratives of the Introverted Skin: Linguistic Alchemy
Our language is rich with terms that metamorphose from the tactile to the
emotional, co-opting the vocabulary of skin sensation to describe our internal
states. These phrases—like feeling "touched," "weighed down," or "squeezed"—are
more than just idiomatic expressions; they are testament to our conscious mind's
thoughtful interpretation of bodily sensations. Terms like "thin-skinned" and
"thick-skinned" eloquently express varying degrees of emotional sensitivity.
Similarly, experiences or people can "get under our skin," or we may "wear our
hearts on our sleeves." We express raw emotion in the terms of raw skin: Physical abrasions
that make skin raw becomes a metaphor to the rawness of
emotional upheaval. A seamless skin texture echoes life's smoother
phases. Here we say, my life is 'smooth as silk' or it is all 'smooth sailing.'
Such examples unveil the multifaceted nature of language, where words evolve
from tactile origins to encapsulate emotional nuances. It's also noteworthy that
many, but not all, touch-derived idioms derive from a context of perceived
threat or harm. Even the threat of being bitten has survived in the form of the
biting chill that can pierce our skin. Grief can pierce our hearts. As we can
get wounded, so can our emotions.
In our contemporary
civilized world, direct physical confrontations have become more rare as
compared to 10.000 years ago. However, we are still to some extend stone-age
apes behind the suit and tie. In this new scenario subtle agressions or
micro-agression have become a new way to show dominance.
As a consequence of that shift, imagery of pinpricks or needles have become
metaphorically powerful, symbolizing subtle emotional wounds inflicted on
others. Here are some examples of skin-derived metaphors we use to describe hurt
Death by a Thousand Cuts: This ancient punishment, which involved administering
many small wounds, has come to symbolize the idea that many small hurts can
accumulate to create significant harm. When applied to emotional contexts, it
can refer to the cumulative damage from ongoing, minor negative comments or
Needling Someone: The phrase "to needle someone" means to intentionally irritate
or provoke them, similar to the slight but persistent annoyance a small needle
Pinprick Attacks: This term can be used to describe subtle, but consistent,
gaslightning criticisms or passive-aggressive comments that wear someone down over time.
Walking on Pins and Needles: While the more common phrase is "walking on
eggshells," this variant emphasizes the painful anxiety of trying to avoid
provoking someone or fearing retribution.
Feeling Every Pinch: It can describe someone who is sensitive to criticism or
negative comments, even if they are minor.
Like a Thorn in My Side: While this uses the imagery of a thorn rather than a
needle, it conveys a similar idea. It speaks of a persistent irritant or source
Interestingly these pinprick skin attacks, due to their subtleness pass under
the radar of the conscious mind. Often we are not even consious about the attack
when it is happening. However, the next days we feel that our emotional
skin-borders have been crossed.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the gentle sensations of soft caresses
or embracing hugs. The sting of a slight is quite distinct from the warmth of
being emotionally touched by someone.
The Theory of
Organ-Specific Awareness SystemsOur linguistic evolution represents
a transformative endeavor to articulate awareness into consciousness.
Discussing, reflecting upon, and coining terminology for sensory perceptions can
aid in molding these intuitions into distinct thoughts. Such contemplation
epitomizes an attempt to harness our instinctual internal responses via
comprehension. By understanding cognitively, we've managed to sidestep both
internal and external adversities.
It's intriguing to consider that our internal organs may possess a kind of
self-awareness reminiscent of tactile sensations. Just as the heart might
flutter with the excitement of an upcoming joyous event—mimicking the sensation
of skin tingling in anticipation—each organ might operate as a unique system of
awareness, each with its own sensory logic and protective barriers.
writings on system theory in the context of societal structures intriguingly
mirror this concept when we apply it to the body: envisioning it as a composite
of individual organ awareness systems.
Consider the heart, for instance. Faced with profound beauty—whether a
magnificent panorama or a soul-stirring melody—the heart might race, trying to
match the emotional depth of our experience. Such moments can manifest as
emotional harmonies deep within us. When forging a deep bond with another, our
hearts may feel in sync, akin to tuning forks vibrating at identical
frequencies, creating a shared pulse of comprehension. In the presence of
overwhelming beauty, the heart might feel expansive, reflecting our own profound
awe. This sensation can resonate with the adjacent lungs. Despite their primary
physiological differences, the heart and lungs share both anatomical proximity
and intertwined emotional reactions. For instance, just as the lungs exhale a
sigh to express relief or grief, the heart, too, sends out its silent emotional
echoes, mirroring our most profound sentiments. Such metaphors beautifully
depict the synchronized dance of organ sensation. While it's beyond our scope to
delve into every organ's emotional tapestry, we must nod to the gut, our "second
brain" responsible for gut feelings, which arise from its vast sensory surfaces.
These sensations are registered in layer upon layer of the wast surface of the
inner skin of tubular elongated digestions systems. Intriguingly, organs less
shielded by bone, like the stomach, seem more attuned to feelings compared to
the brain, ensconced within the skull.
The Aware Interoceptive Skin
In summary, human awareness is first and foremost, being finely attuned
through the skin as a sensory canvas that seamlessly blends external and
internal sensations. Despite its
prominence in shaping our awareness from the very onset of life, it's a narrative often relegated to the
background by our waking consciousness. Strikingly, we allow our skin to narrate
its loud stories in silence.
You might wonder about the origin of these insights and their scientific
validation. While they aren't currently backed by established research, they
emerged from my personal introspection and meditation. I'd encourage you to
embark on a similar introspective journey.
Bridging Consciousness and
Awareness with language
The Multifaceted 'I'
Our understanding of "self" is multi-layered, perhaps best envisioned as a
collective of distinct bio-entities. These individual entities might not be
conscious of each other's existence or understand each other's modalities. While
these myriad forms of non-verbal communication are abundant within us, they
converge in the brain—a forum where they can unify. Recognizing and
acknowledging these bio-entities in our conscious mind is pivotal. Thus far, our
predominant shared language has been verbal. Meditation, however, offers a new
A central mission of Meditation.dk is to unveil a novel system, one capable of
supervising—and at times superseding—the existing language-driven cognitive
system. We've named this non-verbal system the ""
But for a holistic understanding, I'd recommend perusing all preliminary
SOME LOFTY THOUGHTS ON THE FUNDAMENTAL UNUNDERSTANDABILITY OF
All are seeing God always. But they
don't know it.
We are neck-deep in our body's sensed attention.
And we are not aware of it... It's simply mind-blowing!
How is it possible to be so aware and yet not conscious about it?
The Indian mystic Kabir says he laughs when he hears that the fish in the sea
are thirsty for water. The sensing body's overwhelming and vital presence is to
consciousness like the air we breathe. We take it for granted until the moment
it becomes inaccessible.
The roaring world of awarenes is incomprehensibly simple and obvious. It is the dark
matter in our galactic microcosm. The greatest mystery is that we are not
conscious of awareness. We do to the largest extend possible not know ourselves.
Attention beyond Words
An enormous part of our mature experience
cannot be expressed in words.
Alfred North Whitehead
In a way, Wittgenstein was right when he said:
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. (Tractatus
There is nothing beyond language. At least that's how it appears to the
linguistic consciousness itself. The paradox is that even though the simply
sensed existence of attention is overwhelmingly fundamental, our intellectual
minds float around like disembodied consciousness tiny balloons filled with word gas.
Our Talking Heads are not aware of the extent to which they have grown out of
the body's cellular sensory realm.
A SLEEPING GOD, BURRIED IN SKIN
As I hinted at earlier, the aim was to
spotlight the omnipresent yet largely unconscious sensations
experienced through our skin as a hidden sanctuary for
humanity's most ethereal construct: GOD.
Here, my intent is not to suggest that the concept of God is as
superficial as our skin but to emphasize that the poetic
metaphors used by Meister Eckhart in describing God serve as
signposts to a concealed gateway to the cosmos. This portal does
not sidestep our human sensations and emotions in its
transcendence; rather, it traverses them, guided by the focused
light of conscious awareness in the hands of those willing to
embark on an inward journey.
When such introspection turned the evolutionary family tree
upside down, the following revelation unfolded: As sensing
systems, we are both expansive interfaces and enclosed storage
spaces for a colony of cells working together. The skin's
tactile surface is the line of control. It has clothed the inner
collective world with a protective, yet osmotic boundary that
defines it in relation to an outer world.
The operational reality of attention unfolds as an eternal
negotiated process, created at a crossroads where humans, seen
as an inner universe, navigate for survival in an outer
The undiscovered by consciousness, but infinitely massive
micro-life is 'GOD'. No image in the outer world resembles this
dark cellular life of God more than the sight of the universe's
stellar smile on a starry night.
We are a cellular alliance connected via the sensory tunnel
bridge from a cellular microcosm to a galactic macrocosm. Just
as inner and outer sensing share language, the inner cellular
world and the outer star world share the same mathematical
algorithms. Everything consists of recycling the same sacred
mathematical truths that repeat themselves from the infinitely
large to the infinitely small.
As above, so below, as within,
as the universe, so the soul.
The insights garnered from these explorations will be elaborated
upon in the forthcoming chapters.
In unknowing knowing shall we know God.
will see in the later chapters,
Meditation opens a door where we to a great extend can both by-pass words and
coin new words in the
transmutation of awareness into consciousness.