We wish in this study to carry our reflections deeper on the subject of satori and on the inner phenomena which precede it. It is necessary first of all to establish a clear distinction between the intemporal satori-state and the historic satori-occurrence. We have already shown that the state of satori should not be conceived as a new state to which we have to obtain access, but as our eternal state, independent of our birth and of our death. Each one of us lives in the state of satori and could not live otherwise. When Zen speaks of satori within time, when it says for example: 'Satori falls upon us unexpectedly when we have exhausted all the resources of our being', it is not speaking of the intemporal state of satori but of the instant at which we realise that we are in this state, or, more exactly, of the instant at which we cease to believe that we are living outside this state.
This distinction between the satori-state and the satori-occurrence is very important. If I only conceive the satori-state I fall into fatalism. If I only conceive the satori-occurrence I fall into spiritual ambition, into the greedy demand for Realisation, and this error enchains me firmly to the illusion on which all my distress is founded.
The satori-occurrence is an event that is very special in that it ceases to be seen as such as soon as it happens. The man of satori no longer believes that he lives exiled from the Intemporal; living in the Intemporal and knowing it, he no longer makes any distinction between a past in which he believed himself to be living outside satori and a present in which he knows that he is living in it. This does not mean that this man has lost the memory of the time lived before the satori-occurrence; he can remember everything, his distress, his weaknesses, the inner phenomena which obliged him to act against his reason; but he sees that all that was already the state of satori, that nothing has been, is, nor will be outside the state of satori. Past, present, and future bathing for this man in the same state of satori, it is evident that the satori-occurrence ceases to exist for him as a particular historical date. The satori-occurrence only exists for us to whom this event has not yet happened, it only exists in our illusory actual perspective. For us the man of satori is a liberated man, but he does not see himself as liberated, he sees himself as free, free from all eternity. Thus is explained what Hui-neng says 'I had satori at the instant at which I understood such and such an idea', and that he can also say, 'There is no liberation, there is no realisation'.
The state of satori, an intemporal state, is evidently unconditioned; in particular it is not conditioned by the satori-occurrence. But our actual perspective only allows us to envisage the satori-occurrence, and we necessarily envisage it as conditioned by such and such inner processes concerning which we question ourselves.
This conditioning of the satori-occurrence demands first of all certain precisions of a general nature. The idea of conditioning ought not to be understood as causality here least of all; no event is caused by a previous event, but is conditioned by it according to the Buddhist formula. 'This being so, that happens.' We will not, therefore, seek to know what inner processes are capable of causing or of engendering the satori-occurrence, but what processes necessarily precede it.
Besides we shall see that this conditioning, even freed thus from all idea of causality, is a notion of most inexact approximation. Indeed the very special functioning of the attention to which satori succeeds is not, properly speaking, a process but brings about the abolition of a process inherent in our actual condition. In reality it is my non-perception of the state of satori which is conditioned by certain processes; and the 'conditioning' of satori is only negative, is only the cessation of the conditioning of my non-perception of the state of satori.
All our study will then be devoted to analysing the inner processes which now condition our illusion of not living in the state of satori. We will see that they are our imaginative-emotive processes—in which our vital energy is disintegrated—and we will try to define clearly what incomplete functioning of our attention conditions in its turn these imaginative-emotive processes.
To that end let us start with a concrete observation. A man annoys me; I become angry and I want to hit my adversary. Let us analyse what takes place in me in the course of this scene. We will see that my inner phenomena are divided into two different reactions that we will call primary reaction and secondary reaction.
The primary reaction consists in the awakening, in me, of a certain amount of vital energy; this energy was lying, latent, in my central source of energy until it was awakened by my perception of an energy manifested in the Not-Self against Self. The foreign aggressive energy stirs up in me the manifestation of a reactive force which balances the force of the Not-Self. This reactive force is not yet a movement of anger, it has not yet a precise form; it is comparable with the substance which is going to be poured into a mould but, which has not yet been released. During an instant, without duration, this budding force, mobilised at my source, is not yet a force of anger; it is an informal force, a pure vital force.
This primary reaction corresponds to a certain perception of the outer world, to a certain knowledge. It corresponds therefore to a certain consciousness, but quite different from what is habitually so called. It is not the mental consciousness, intellectual, clear, evident. It is an obscure consciousness, profound, reflex, organic. It is the same consciousness which presides over the release of the knee-cap reflex; every reflex corresponds to this organic consciousness which 'knows' the outside world in a non-intellectual manner. Besides, this is corroborated by an inward observation: I feel anger going to my head where it will proceed to build up a thousand images; I feel it rising from below, from my organic existence. This primary reaction is extremely rapid and it escapes my observation if I am not very attentive, but if, after my anger, I examine in detail what has happened in me, I realise that, during a short moment, a pure anonymous organic force, coming from an organic consciousness, has preceded the play of my intellectual consciousness, formulator of images of anger.
Let us note that my organic consciousness releases my energy-reaction against the Not-Self when it perceives it. That is, the play of this consciousness implies the acceptance of the existence of the Not-Self in face of the Self: it is in accord with the cosmic order, with things as they are. It presides over exchanges of energy between Self and Not-Self, it conciliates these two poles; it is in accord with the Tao.
Let us now study the secondary reaction. The dynamic modification of my being constituted by the primary reaction, this mobilisation of my energy in response to the energy of the outside world, will release a second reaction. Just as the movement of the outside world released the reactive play of my organic consciousness, this play in its turn—the inner movement which manifests this play—will release the reactive play of my intellectual consciousness; and this secondary reaction will tend to re-establish in me the original immobility by disintegrating the mobilised energy. Why? Because, in contradiction to my organic consciousness, my intellectual consciousness does not accept the existence of the Not-Self. Let us recall what we have called our primordial demand, or divine fiction, or claim to be-absolutely-asa-distinct-being, to exist-absolutely. At the bottom of our intellectual understanding of the Universe, there is the irreducible discrimination between Self and Not-Self, there is an assumption that 'I am and that, in consequence, the Not-Self is not'. It is this discrimination that one evokes when one speaks of the Ego, when one speaks of identification with our psycho-somatic organism. In so far as I am an organic consciousness I do not discriminate, but, in so far as I am an intellectual consciousness, I discriminate. In my organic consciousness I am as much identified with the Not-Self as with the Self; in my intellectual consciousness I am identified with the Self, I affirm that only my Self exists.
My intellectual consciousness only knows Self. When I think that I have an intellectual knowledge of the outside world, I only have knowledge in reality of the modifications of my Self in contact with the outside world. Philosophers call that 'the prison of my subjectivity', disregarding my organic consciousness which does not discriminate between subject and object and thanks to which I am already virtually free.
My intellectual consciousness being what it is, let us see what results in my inner phenomena. In the course of the primary reaction my organic desire to exist was thwarted by the outside world; from which there was born in me a force that balanced the exterior force. In the course of the secondary reaction, my intellectual need to 'be' is thwarted by this mobilisation of energy in me, for this mobilisation implies the acceptance of the outside world and so tears me from the immutability of the Principle. Everything happens as though, in so far as my intellectual consciousness operates, I were claiming, for the source of energy of my organism, the attributes of the Absolute Principle: immutability, non-action, permanence, an unconditioned state. My secondary reaction to the mobilisation of my energy can only be, therefore, a refusal opposed to this mobilisation. But this opposition to the cosmic order could not succeed; the force which is mobilised in me could not return to non-manifestation. My refusal of the mobilised energy cannot result, therefore, in anything but the destruction of this energy by its disintegration.
The law of equilibrium of the Tao comes into play in these two reactions. The primary reaction balances the force of the Not-Self by a force of the Self. The secondary reaction balances the mobilisation of my vital energy by the disintegration of this energy. The primary reaction aims at maintaining the equilibrium between Self and Not-Self; the secondary reaction aims at maintaining the equilibrium in the interior of the Self, between the constructive manifestation and the destructive manifestation, between Vishnu and Shiva.
The disintegration of the energy mobilised is realised by the imaginative-emotive processes. These, as we have said elsewhere, are veritable short-circuits during which the energy is consumed in producing organic phenomena and mental images. These mental formations are what Buddhist philosophy calls samskaras. The samskaras have substance and form; their unique substance is my vital energy in process of disintegration. Their form, on the contrary is not mine, it is foreign to my form, to the form of my organism, and consists of mental images of infinite variation. On account of these foreign forms the samskaras are comparable with foreign bodies that my organism ought to reject. They are formations in some degree monstrous, heterogeneous, lacking in inner architectural harmony, non-visible: and this is by no means astonishing since they manifest the disintegration of energy.
The appearance of these images in my mind starts a vicious circle. They excite, in fact, my organic consciousness, as did a moment ago the images perceived in the outside world, and thus release a new primary reaction that mobilises my energy. And this new mobilised energy is disintegrated in its turn. Thus there is born a prolonged imaginative-emotive rumination which only exhausts itself progressively, as a pendulum set going only comes to a standstill after a certain number of oscillations.
On the other hand my imaginative-emotive rumination is kept going by the renewed perception of the outside world, of the man who is annoying me. Thus is explained the tendency that I feel to hit this man. My secondary reaction, which tends to wipe out my mobilised energy, wishes to neutralise, owing to the image of myself injuring my enemy, the inverse image which releases the mobilisation of my energy. This aggressive exterior reaction would not occur if the disintegration of energy did not give birth to images which establish the vicious circle of which we have spoken. In this case the secondary reaction would be entirely occupied internally by a process of satisfying disintegration. It is because the process of disintegration is not satisfying (since it releases by itself fresh quantities of energy to be disintegrated) that the secondary reaction overflows the inner domain and pushes me to wipe out also the external object which denies me. But my aggressive tendency towards the external object is accessory, and the fundamental process which aims at disintegrating my mobilised energy is the imaginative-emotive process. This assertion may appear paradoxical; let us observe, however, that the external gestures of anger can be contained, suppressed, whereas there could not be anger without the corresponding imaginative-emotive processes. Sometimes I will not touch my enemy but I will break the first vase that comes to my hand, and by this representation of Self injuring the Not-Self I neutralise the representation of the Not-Self injuring the Self. Little does it matter after all that my external enemy is not touched; the real aim of my secondary reaction is not without, it is in me; in reality what this reaction aims at wiping out is my energy mobilised outside my source. We need not be astonished since we know that we have no really objective perception of particular objects; the particular exterior object does not exist for me in itself and I am never really concerned with it. Even in the course of the primary reaction I am not concerned with this particular external object; the force which is mobilised in me is certainly reactive to the outside world, but this force is still informal, anonymous, it is a pure vital force. This force animates me in contact with the world, but if it comprises an objective knowledge of the Universe in its generality it comprises none of the particular external object.
If, in the course of the scene that we have imagined, a third person says to me: 'Why be angry?' my anger redoubles. That is because this remark increases my mental perception of the mobilisation of my energy; and my secondary reaction increases with the perception that releases it. This proves once again that my secondary reaction is uniquely directed against the internal mobilisation of my energy and not against my external enemy; for the allusion that has been made to me does not concern my enemy and in no way affects the excitation which comes to me from him.
What we have just seen in connexion with anger is equally true for all our contacts with the outside world. It matters little from this point of view whether the contact be negative or positive. If the outside force is positive, bringing an affirmation of Self, a primary reaction replies to it which again entails the mobilisation of a certain amount of pure energy; then the secondary reaction comes into play, aiming at the disintegration of this mobilised energy in an imaginative-emotive rumination whose images and emotions this time are positive, agreeable.
It matters little also whether the contact with the outside world reaches me by the psychic or the somatic medium. In our example of anger it was the psychic medium that was in question; but the mobilisation of my energy follows as regularly from contacts which affect my centre via the somatic medium. A toothache is a negation of the Self by the Not-Self. The disappearance of this pain is an affirmation of the Self. Both the one and the other are accompanied by a mobilisation of my central energy and by disintegration of this energy in imaginative-emotive processes pleasant or unpleasant.
The process of the double reaction is altogether general; it presides at all our vital metabolism, the primary reaction representing anabolism and the secondary reaction catabolism. The primary reaction corresponds to the reflex, it is centrifugal. The secondary reaction corresponds to reflection (not in the ordinary sense that one gives to this word), it is centripetal. This secondary reaction is directed against an internal phenomenon in myself, and the energy-wave is there reflected towards my centre. Physiologically one can relate the primary reaction to the functioning of the central grey-matter of the brain, the secondary reaction to the functioning of the cerebral cortex. Certain recent surgical operations, by destroying a part of the connexions which exist between these two centres of the brain, greatly reduce the secondary reaction, emotivity, imagination, and the distress which depends thereon. Let us note also that the primary reaction corresponds to the life-instinct of Freud, the secondary reaction to his death-instinct. The mobilisation of my energy is in fact life; and the need to disintegrate this mobilised energy represents a resistance to life, a refusal of life, and so a tendency towards death. If, leaving aside the distinction of Freud, we envisage the distinction that we have established between 'existing' and 'living'—'existing' that man despises and 'living' that he esteems—we see that the primary reaction corresponds to 'existing' and that the secondary reaction corresponds to 'living'. The natural man particularly esteems as 'living' the processes by which his vital energy is disintegrated; he does not attribute value to his vital energy itself but he accords a unique value to the sparks that produce the disintegration of this energy.
To the two reactions correspond, as we have said, two different consciousnesses, to the primary reaction my organic consciousness, to the secondary my mental, or intellectual, or imaginative consciousness (that which one means habitually when one says 'my consciousness' without further precision). My imaginative consciousness is dualistic, the imaginative-emotive processes which take place therein being affirming or denying, pleasant or unpleasant. My organic consciousness, on the contrary, is not dualistic since the vital force which wells up in it is informal, anonymous, always the same, independent of the dualistic forms which it will animate thereafter. This organic consciousness plays, then, with regard to the imaginative consciousness, the role of a hypostasis, of a conciliating principle. We have seen, on the other hand, that the organic consciousness does not discriminate between the Self and the Not-Self, that its play implies an essential identity between these two poles and in consequence a really objective knowledge of the Universe in general, in its unity. These characteristics, added to its profound, abysmal situation lead us to conceive this organic consciousness as the first personal manifestation of the original impersonal Unconscious. To the play of this consciousness is linked our possibility of perceiving one day that our actual state is already the state of satori. To the recognition of this consciousness in us is linked our Faith that the state of satori is from the present moment our state.
In short, my organic consciousness alone knows the Universe; its action is released by the Universe and it reacts by the mobilisation of my energy. My mental consciousness only knows my personal inner world, my mobilisations of energy; its action is released by my inner dynamic modifications and it reacts by imaginative-emotive processes, by samskaras. Contrary to what one might expect, the notion of organic consciousness is easy, satisfying, whereas what I habitually call simply 'my consciousness' is difficult to conceive, and consequently to name. I have called it intellectual, psychological, mental, imaginative, but none of these words are satisfying. The continuation of this study will enable us to understand the reason. It will show us that this consciousness presiding over the secondary reaction is not strictly speaking a consciousness; it is a simple resistance to the action of the organic consciousness (which is the unique real personal consciousness), it is the manner in which the incomplete functioning of the organic consciousness manifests itself. The incomplete character of the functioning of the organic consciousness is comparable with a spanner in the works of my machine. My 'mental' pseudo-consciousness is that to which Zen alludes when it says that satori is 'withdrawing the spoke'. This pretended consciousness designates the ensemble of inner phenomena by which is revealed the fact that my organic consciousness, before satori, is not fully operating as No-Mind.
These observations, so contrary to the notions habitually accepted, help me to understand better the curious machine that I am. If I envisage in an impersonal, universal manner the processes that I have described, I see that all is perfect, perfectly balanced. Each of the two reactions establishes an exact equilibrium, even if the balancing of the secondary reaction can imply terrible distress and result in suicide. Besides, the two reactions balance one another exactly. My energy, after its mobilisation, is disintegrated, completing a perfect spiral turn in the course of which I am linked to the Not-Self by an interaction of energy, thus participating in cosmic creation with its two aspects, constructive and destructive.
But these processes appear to me, on the contrary, imperfect if I envisage them in a personal manner, that is from the point of view of my subjective affectivity. In the course of its journey between Self to Not-Self, the energy ceases for a time to be pure, informal; between the moment at which it wells up in my source and the moment at which it is restituted to the outside world after disintegration, it takes on mental forms that are foreign to my form, and these foreign bodies, rough, wounding, make me suffer in the course of their expulsion; I experience these samskaras, these complexes, these coagula, as a negation of my 'being'. These monstrous forms, participating at once in the Self (since it is my force which animates them) and in the Not-Self (since their elements come from the outside world) represent, for my subjectivity, a fusion of the two poles Self and Not-Self which seems to contradict and deny the trinitarian unity. From which there comes an apparent Nullity contradicting the Being.
My inner processes are then imperfect for me, for my affectivity; and I seek a means of no longer suffering. I ask myself where lies the pain. I see it in the imaginations-emotions, the samskaras. I then seek a means of eliminating them, a means of allowing my energy to pass from my source into the outside world without hurting me, and to that end I wish to understand more exactly what conditions the formation of the samskaras. I have already understood that it is the fact of identifying myself only with my organism and not with the rest of Manifestation. But that is not enough; it is necessary that I discover by what intimate process is revealed this identification with my organism which results in the formation of the samskaras.
This intimate process is the passive mode according to which my attention functions. It is because my attention is passive that it is alerted by a mobilisation of energy already produced, at a late stage at which there is no longer anything else to be done but to disintegrate this energy. My attention is not, actually, in a state of autonomous, unconditioned vigilance; it is only awakened by mobilisations of energy which are produced in my organism, and its awakening is conditioned by these mobilisations. Thus I am always faced with a fait accompli. As soon as the moment-without-duration is passed in which my energy wells up, still informal, from non-manifestation, this energy is as though snapped up by the formal world; the chance has been missed of storing it up, informal, with a view to the future explosion of satori. The disintegration into imaginative-emotive forms is inevitable. My energy is now in the domain in which my egotistical identification reigns, and it bumps up against this wall in disintegrating itself. Everything happens as though, finding myself faced with my mobilised energy, I were afraid to keep it. In my exclusive identification with my organism I implicitly consider this as 'being', permanent, immutable, invariable. The mobilisation of my energy, on the contrary, shows me my organism as moving, impermanent, limited. I therefore refuse the mobilised energy which this intolerable vision proposes to me; for my exclusive identification with my organism acts in such a way that, paradoxically, I refuse to be this limited organism (Saint Paul: 'Who will deliver me from this body of death?'). I claim not to feel this organism. (Note that, in psychic and medicinal extasies, the body seems to lose its density.) The mobilised energy which fills my organism, which gives it substance, I hasten to disintegrate.
The disintegrating processes are then inevitable when my attention, functioning in the passive mode, is alerted by my already mobilised energy. These processes should on no account be considered as 'bad', as something 'that should not be'. They do not reveal a 'bad' condition of my manifested being, but only an imperfect condition, incomplete, unfinished. Thus it is in my identification with my organism on which these processes depend; and this identification is not mistaken, but is merely incomplete in that it excludes my equal identification with the rest of the Universe. The egotistical illusion does not consist in my identification with my organism but in the exclusive manner in which this identification is realised. The explosion of satori will not destroy my identification with my organism—what is already realised in my egotistical condition—it will destroy the sleep which now affects my identification with the rest of the Universe, what sleeps in me today beyond the illusory limits of the Ego. Then my identification with the totality of Manifestation will awaken.
These ideas are necessary in order to understand the correct doctrine and to avoid adhering to vain 'methods' of realisation. As long as I considered as 'bad' my imaginative-emotive processes and the exclusive identification with the Self, I was necessarily led to struggle against the Ego, and so against my egotistical condition, and so against my own machine concerned in this condition; from which resulted a perpetual inner disharmony. As soon as I understand, on the contrary, that my condition identified with the Self is not 'bad' but merely incomplete, I understand at the same moment that I must live fully this stage of development in order to pass beyond it. My present misfortune is not that I am living this stage but that I am not living it to the full integrally.
Let us see how all this is applicable in a concrete manner to the object of our study. When I see the wastage of energy that takes place in my imaginative-emotive processes I am tempted to suppress these; and since these processes are linked with the refusal of my mental consciousness to accept the mobilisation of my energy I am tempted to make an effort not to refuse this mobilisation. But such efforts do not upset my inner situation, they merely complicate it; for these efforts to stop refusing are in fact the refusal of a refusal, and this contraction opposed to a spasm could not result in a relaxation. Inversely to what is true in algebra, this 'no' said to a 'no' does not result in a 'yes'. The suppression of the refusal of the mobilisation of my energy is therefore impossible. Besides, this suppression is undesirable since, as we have seen, this refusal forms part of a process which is not 'bad' but merely unfinished.
What is regrettable is not that I refuse the mobilisation of my energy, but that I refuse it incompletely, too late, and in consequence ineffectively. My present refusal is not a true and effective refusal but a vain protestation in face of a fait accompli; and that because it succeeds the inner phenomenon that I refuse. My mental consciousness functions actually in a reactive and not an active manner, its action does not balance the action of the organic consciousness for it merely replies to the manifestations of that consciousness.
My mental consciousness is not made, in reality, to operate in this reactive manner, which is female, but in an active manner, which is male. The organic consciousness, on the other hand, is female; she is made to react to the excitations of the outside world (primary reaction). But the mental consciousness is not made to react against this primary reaction by a secondary reaction. My refusal of mobilisation of my energy ought not to succeed this mobilisation, but should be effected in the very instant at which my energy comes out of non-manifestation. The action of my mental consciousness, male, should directly balance the action of my organic consciousness, female, and not its consequences in energy. Only then will occur the conciliation between the two antagonistic and complementary consciousnesses; and this conciliation will be revealed by the fact that the energy will be mobilised without being seized by the formal domain. When the refusal of mobilisation of energy, entirely accomplished, is replaced at the very instant at which this mobilisation occurs, it does not suppress this mobilisation (which would be death), but it exactly balances the organic will which produces it, and this equilibrium results in the production of an energy which remains informal, which escapes the imaginative-emotive disintegration, and which is accumulated right up to the explosion of satori. When my refusal of the mobilisation of my energy ceases to be passive in order to become active it remains a refusal in the sense that it effectively opposes the leakage of my energy in formal disintegration, but at the same time it ceases to be refusal in the sense that it does not prevent the actualisation of the informal non-manifested energy.
But of what in fact does this transformation consist? Is it a transformation of the reactive-female functioning of the attention into active-male functioning? We have said that my attention comes into play too late with regard to the mobilisation of my energy. Must one then wish that it succeed in coming into play sooner, in reacting more quickly? No; however rapid might be the reaction, it is always late because it is reaction and not action. Besides, the expression 'too late' should not be understood here in the usual sense. Between the primary reaction and the secondary reaction that we have described, no time passes, no duration, no matter how brief one may imagine it. Our expression 'too late' does not indicate a second or even a minute fraction of a second, but the fact that the reaction of the mental consciousness, even though immediate, is belated because it is reaction whereas it ought to be an action. My attention ought not to be awakened by the mobilisation of my energy, but before that; and this is realised when, instead of seeing the imaginative-emotive processes which are being produced, I regard the processes which are about to be produced. This is realised when, instead of being passively attentive to my mobilised energy and to its disintegrating future, I tend actively to perceive the very birth of my energy. A new vigilance now superintends the mobilisation of energy. To put it more simply, an active attention lies in wait for the advent of my inner movements. It is no longer my emotions which interest me, but their coming to birth; it is no longer their movement that interests me, but this other informal movement which is the birth of their formal movement.
This active functioning of my attention, so contrary to my automatic nature, cannot be in any degree the object of a direct effort, of an explicit 'discipline' effected in view of Realisation. We will develop later this important idea; we merely wish to point it out now in order to forewarn the reader against the tenacious and illusory search for 'recipes' for realisation.
First we wish to show that our attention, when it functions in the active mode, is pure attention, without manifested object. My mobilised energy is not perceptible in itself, but only in the effects of its disintegration, the images. But this disintegration only occurs when my attention operates in the passive mode; active attention forestalls this disintegration. And so, when my attention operates in the active mode there is nothing to perceive. Energy is mobilised nevertheless; the female organic consciousness continues its work; but the energy remains informal, un-disintegrated, non-manifested. Thus is realised the advice of Zen: 'Awaken the mind without fixing it upon anything.' we can even understand that, if the mind is awakened in itself instead of being awakened by the organic energy-reactions, there is not necessarily anything on which it can fix itself. This phrase of Zen could therefore be modified thus: 'Awaken the mind in itself, and it will not then be fixed on anything.'
It is easy for me to verify concretely that active attention to my inner world is without an object. If I take up, in face of my inner monologue, the attitude of an active auditor who authorises this monologue to say whatever it wishes and however it wishes, if I take up the attitude which can be defined by the formula 'Speak, I am listening', I observe that my monologue stops. It does not start up again until my attitude of vigilant expectation ceases.
This suppression of the imaginative film will perhaps be feared by some as a suppression of 'life'. In reality the imaginative film is not life. Produced by the disintegration of my energy, which on the contrary ought to be stored up for the birth in the future of the 'new man' in satori, the imaginative film is in reality an abortive process; the birth of that which I call my inner world is in reality the repeated miscarriage of the 'new man'. The suppression of this abortive process is not therefore contrary to my veritable life and growth. To watch the birth of the pretended 'living' in myself and to suspend thereby this 'living' is to prepare the blooming of the consciousness of 'existing', or perfect existential felicity.
We have spoken of feminine functioning and of masculine functioning of the mental consciousness, clearly separating these two modes. But let us see now that these two ways of functioning really coexist in us.
It would be altogether illusory to try by direct effort, by exercises of active attention, to set ourselves expressly to supervise the birth of emotions; efforts whose success would result in the perception of nothing whatever. We are at present attached to our imaginative film, which is even our primordial attachment, and death terrifies us because we see in it the cessation of our precious 'consciousness' — and such exercises would aim at directly destroying this attachment. The complete 'virilisation' of our attention realises total detachment in satori, the bursting of the limitations of the Ego. To make direct efforts towards this total virilisation would therefore be a direct striving to catch, to acquire at last total detachment; and this attempt comprises an evident inner contradiction which condemns it to failure.
As we have said on several occasions, there are no recipes for Realisation. The processes which condition the satori-occurrence, or more exactly the suppression of the processes which condition our ignorance of our intemporal state of satori, are uniquely a matter of comprehension (what the Tibetans call 'the penetrating vision'). Comprehension acts by devalorising images for me, not such and such images and then such and such others but the imaginative-emotive process as a whole and in general. For many years my credulity has been great as regards my inner cinema; I 'played up' as one might say; I believed in it; I believed in the so-called reality of what my disintegration-process showed me. According as my intellectual work and my understanding advance my credulity diminishes, I fall less and less into the trap, I believe less and less that it is what matters for me. In this degree is reduced the fascination that my images exercised on my attention maintaining it in a passive mode of functioning. And my attention, in the measure in which it detaches itself from my imaginative world, returns spontaneously, following its normal orientation, towards the source of my being, towards the informal energy which is the reality of my life (and no longer towards the formal images which represent the continual miscarriage of my life). This movement of conversion is unconscious, since my attention is without an object in the measure in which it operates in the active mode. All that I observe in myself is a progressive diminution of the apparent reality of my inner imaginative world (the evolution towards the satori-occurrence is, as we have said elsewhere, an apparent descent, an apparent involution).
We find again here an idea that we have already expressed above, the idea that the 'reflexive' consciousness, psychological, intellectual, mental, is not a consciousness properly speaking, and that the organic consciousness alone is real in us. When the attention functions in the active mode it is without an object, unconscious, and its mental manifestation is abolished; then what I called my mental consciousness disappears, and the male mental principle which was behind it (the Buddhi) is linked to the female mental principle of my organic consciousness, in the trinitarian unity of No-Mind or Fundamental Unconscious.
The accounts of the Zen masters who have had satori make it possible for us to picture to ourselves the ultimate stage of this evolution. A moment arrives at which the male functioning of the mind equals in importance its female functioning; there is as much incredulous lucidity as credulous blindness. It is the 'Great Doubt'. The organic consciousness can be compared with a first eye (which is open from our birth); the mental consciousness is a second eye; the female functioning of this consciousness (consciousness which in its essence is male) will be represented in our illustration by a spasm which closes this second eye. In proportion as the male functioning of this consciousness balances its female functioning a relaxation of the eyelid counteracts its spasm. At the moment of the 'Great Doubt' this equilibrium is exactly realised. An instant later and the 'Great Doubt' is annihilated; the second eye opens; and the conjoined vision of the two eyes, vision that is entirely new and giving access to an unknown depth, to a new dimension, is what is called the 'opening of the third eye'. The interest of this illustration lies in that it shows that there is not really a third eye to open, a third consciousness that is 'supranormal'. No new 'thing' has to appear in us. The satori-occurrence is the instant at which our dualistic being, such as it is from now on, discovers at last its normal method of functioning by awakening its attention to an autonomous, unconditioned activity.