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Behind the Curtain: Transcendent Consciousness

By: Dr. Jaime G. Corvalan, MD, FACS

I love the ancient Greek dramas and comedies! The works of Sophocles, Euripides and especially Aeschylus I hold very dear to my heart because they are timeless. The themes they dared explore then are as pertinent and crucial now: family, ethics, love, betrayal, duty, honor, dedication and sacrifice, among so many more. Ancient Greek theater and culture represented an incredible flowering of consciousness, the reverberations of which we still feel today.

The Divine Feminine by Anne Baring
The Divine Feminine by Anne Baring

The reason for my affinity, as well as for the continuing relevance of these cultural achievements, is that they represent a breakthrough of transcendent consciousness within our plane of existence. We often live our lives focused only on what’s right in front of us, our daily living; but in doing so, we miss the majesty and radiance of the consciousness that pervades all things yet transcends them as well. There is something behind the curtain of everyday existence, and every once in a while we are treated to a glimpse of that wondrous transcendence.

Transcendent energy consciousness, as it’s been called, is both immanent (pervades everything and nothing) and transcendent (beyond everything and nothing). It informs everything within the realm of time and space; it has been called, rightly so, I think, the “DNA driver of the soul.” It is what gives motive, what informs everything seen and unseen within our universe, all plants, birds, insects, animals, inorganic materials, stars, molecules, galaxies, and the like.

The wonderful author, Anne Baring, puts it so eloquently and poetically in her book The Divine Feminine when she says:

For those awakened to this vision, to be born a human being is not to be born into a fallen, flawed world of sin and illusion, cut off from the divine; it is to be born into a world lit by an invisible radiance, ensouled by Divine Presence, graced and sustained by incandescent light and love.”

The human mind is like a telescope, exploring the farthest reaches of consciousness. For this is our task, our very purpose for existing: to pull back the curtain of darkness and to bring as much awareness into the light as we possibly can. We are the vehicles by which the universe comes to know itself!

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The Meaning of Consciousness

Man’s task is . . . to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious . . . As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. It may even be assumed that just as the unconscious affects us, so the increase in our consciousness affects the unconscious.”

Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, p. 326

– Dr. Jaime G. Corvalan, MD

The purpose of human existence is the creation of more and more consciousness. This is such a profound statement on the part of the great analyst, Dr. Carl Jung, and one with which I am in complete agreement. We are coming into a new age, one which is bringing together the twin elements of our being: our religious nature and our intellectual (scientific) nature. To quote the wonderful author and Jungian analyst, Edward F. Edinger, from The Creation of Consciousness – Jung’s Myth for Modern Man, p. 57:

If religion is Self-oriented, science is ego-oriented. Religion is based on Eros, science of Logos. The age now dawning will provide a synthesis for this thesis and antithesis. Religion sought linkage, science sought knowledge. The new world view will seek linked knowledge.

. . . A genuinely new goal and purpose for human existence is required. That new goal has been found and articulated by Jung. In his words, ‘Man is the mirror which God holds up before him, or the sense organ with which he apprehends his being.’  “

We are entering a new age of synthesis, a new era of individuation in which we will begin to see with the eyes of the soul. It is both a tremendously fraught and exciting time, and I look ahead with great anticipation as we work to evolve into the spiritual selves we have all been born to be!

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The Evolution of Consciousness from the Trinitarian to the Quaternarian

By Dr. Jaime G. Corvalan, MD

The chaos befalling the American Presidential election process, is, I think, reflective of the process of the evolution of consciousness we as a species are presently undergoing. We are well into a process that can best be described, in my view, through the application of Jungian Analysis and the study of our great mythologies.

The seminal work by Robert A. Johnson, "He: Understanding Masculine Psychology"
The seminal work by Robert A. Johnson, “He: Understanding Masculine Psychology”

The author and Jungian analyst, Robert A. Johnson, has done a superb job in describing this process in his seminal work, “He: Understanding Masculine Psychology.” I offer below an extended passage of his work that describes this evolution of consciousness particularly well:

We are apparently in an age where the consciousness of man is advancing from a trinitarian to a quaternarian view. This is one possible and profound way of appraising the extreme chaos of our world is now in. One hears many dreams of modern people, who know nothing consciously of this number symbolism, dreaming of three turning into four. This suggests we are going through an evolution of consciousness from the nice orderly all-masculine concept of reality, the trinitarian view of God, toward a quaternarian view that includes the feminine as well as other elements that are difficult to include if one insists on the old value.

It seems that it is the purpose of evolution now to replace an image of perfection with the concept of completeness or wholeness. Perfection suggests something all pure, with no blemishes, dark spots or questionable areas. Wholeness includes the darkness but combines it with the light elements into a totality more real and whole than any ideal. This is an awesome task, and the question before us is whether mankind is capable of this effort and growth. Ready or not, we are in that process.”

We are moving from the psychology of Hamlet – individuals hopeless divided and unsure – into the psychology of wholeness and unification. We must endeavor to see what we have unconsciously hidden or had repressed into our collective shadows and reintegrate that into our complete selves. Only then will we be able to emerge from the presently climate of dissension, violence and conflict that is the hallmark of humanity today.

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Nietzsche and The Birth of Tragedy

The joyous necessity of the dream experience has been embodied by the Greeks in their Apollo: Apollo, the god of all plastic energies, is at the same time the soothsaying god, He, who (as the etymology of the name indicates) is the “shining one,” the deity of light, is also ruler over the beautiful illusion of the inner world of fantasy.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy (from the Spirit of Music)

Dr. Jaime G. Corvalan, MD

The book, The Birth of Tragedy, was written by the great German Romantic Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, and was first published in 1872. In this seminal work (which ironically received an angry and critical reception at the time), Nietzsche explored classical Greek tragedy and found it to be transcendent, among the best work in human history for its capacity to encapsulate and present the complete human experience – pain and joy, heartbreak and elation.

Classic Greek tragedy peered directly into the cauldron of human misery and adversity and embraced it; it validated humanity by encouraging its fellow citizens to joyfully engage in the sorrows and delights of life, for in doing so the full meaning of it might soon blossom.

"The Drunks (Baccus Triumph)" by artist Diego Velazquez, painted in 1629, representing the Dionysian
“The Drunks (Baccus Triumph)” by artist Diego Velazquez, painted in 1629, representing the Dionysian.

Greek tragedy, as Nietzsche insightfully noted, achieved its brilliance through the synthesis of both Dionysian and Apollonian energies, a fusion of irrationality, passion, and wild destructiveness with restraint, order, reason and rationality. Nietzsche felt that this interplay of opposites lay at the heart of the human condition, and our greatest challenges in life involve finding ways to achieve a new synthesis between them in our own experiences.

Nietzsche felt that Greek tragedy suffered with the injection of Socratic rationalism, sapping it of its Dionysian passion and fervor.

This is one of my favorite books; I agree with Nietzsche’s portrayal of the human condition as an interplay between opposing energies. It is only through a careful consideration of these opposites with an eye toward evolving a new synthesis – with each of us acting as intermediaries through our own experience – that consciousness can grow.

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There is No Reality Without Perception

. . . non-conceptual essence is pure non-duality or unicity in which the notions of both subject and object are merged. Just as the sun does not know light because it is light, so you do not know your original nature (as an object) because you are that. It is forever beyond the grasp of concepts and subject-object knowledge.”

– John Wheeler, The Light Behind Consciousness: Radical Self Knowledge and the End of Seeking

Dr. Jaime G. Corvalan, MD, FACS

John Wheeler was one of the greatest American physicists of the 20th Century and was a close colleague of Albert Einstein, particularly later in his life. John understood clearly that reality as we understand it does not exist without someone or something to perceive it. Reality is itself a product of consciousness; transcendent consciousness precedes and is beyond time and space, yet is immanent and everywhere within it.

12040794_lIn fact, one may conceive of the universe as a “ceaselessly flowing quantum soup” until something conscious observes it. Without consciousness, the universe has no awareness of itself, has no independent, dualistic existence – it exists in potential but has no physical form until a consciousness perceives it.

In that sense, we are co-creators of the universe. Perception, asking questions, making decisions – these literally have the power of creation! The universe waits in potential for an observer to arrive and experience it, whatever form that consciousness may take – a human, a dog, a tree, a flower . . . you name it.

So, consider the awesome power you have for shaping your reality. The choices and decisions you make literally make your reality – choose from your heart, from your soul, and you will help to create a beautiful and sacred existence, founded in enlightened consciousness.

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Living Out of Compassion

“The key to the Grail is compassion, ‘suffering with,’ feeling another’s sorrow as if it were your own. The one who finds the dynamo of compassion is the one who’s found the Grail.”

– Excerpt From: Campbell, Joseph. “A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living.” Joseph Campbell Foundation, 2011-08-01

Dr. Jaime G. Corvalan, MD, FACS

I wanted to share a little note on living out of compassion in our everyday lives; it’s easy to talk about it, but it’s not always clear how to do it.

Whenever we welcome a new staff member to my medical practice, I sit with him or her and have a short – but important – conversation on what the most important thing is that defines our practice: “We Don’t Do This Merely for Money.”

We Don't Do This Merely for Money - We Live Out of Compassion.
We Don’t Do This Merely for Money – We Live Out of Compassion.

Our practice (which I call “Feeling Centered Medicine”) rests upon the foundation of building relationships with our patients out of a deep and abiding compassion for who they are, what they are experiencing and what they hope for in their lives. As the quote by the wonderful mythologist Joseph Campbell above explains, compassion is to feel another’s sorrow (or experience) as if it were your own.

We spend time with patients because they put their hopes and trust in us. To serve those in need, those who may be suffering or, at the very least, may be in anguish or distress, is to be given a rare opportunity to assist them in not only healing but attaining a measure of peace and contentment.

Attaining this is simply impossible if our aim was only to pad our bottom line.

I included the above quote to begin this post because Joseph Campbell has left an indelible mark upon my very soul; his gentleness, expertise and empathy have always distinguished his work and has always been inspirational to me. The Grail is essentially your own soul, your connection to something transcendent. The key to reconnecting with this elemental part of your being is to operate out of empathy, gratitude and compassion. I try to live this way every day – it is not only necessary but it is possible for all of us!

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QLM: Quality of Life Modeling Seminar – Achieving Your Goals

Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”

– Napoleon Hill

Dr. Jaime G. Corvalan, MD, FACS

Some time ago, I conducted a seminar about living a life of quality and significance, about becoming the person you were born to be (QLM: Quality of Life Modeling). It seems to me that many people, particularly in the first half of their lives, continue to struggle with how to achieve this; consequently, I’d like to share an aspect of that seminar here (more to follow in future posts).

For anyone seeking to go beyond oneself, and one’s own perceived limitations, it is tremendously helpful to adopt a strategy of success and achievement.

In my QLM Seminars, we underscored the importance of learning from adversity and understanding that nothing can be called a failure unless you accept it as such. In fact, it can be said with confidence that there is no failure in life, there are only the results and outcomes of our thoughts and actions.

Hitting the Mark requires strong goal setting and a powerful feeling function.
Hitting the Mark requires strong goal setting and a powerful feeling function.

It helps to step back from a situation and assess it as though you were standing outside of it – what were the results of my actions? Were they what I wanted? If not, what information can I take from these outcomes to adjust my strategy to achieve a better result?

Learning from adversity is a powerful experience, and can help you sharpen your strategy and thinking; it can help you to more purposefully align your thinking functions with your feeling functions, allowing you to pursue what your soul truly wants in a thoughtful and strategic manner.

In this respect, setting goals and developing a strategy to achieve them is highly important. KNOW what you want and TAKE THE STEPS necessary to achieve these objectives. Here are some things to keep in mind when formulating your goals:

  • Define Your Purpose – be specific, articulate why you MUST achieve your goals
  • Master Your Mind – thinking is perhaps the most powerful tool on Earth! Learn to use the tools of your intellect and reason effectively
  • Go the Extra Mile – go beyond what is merely satisfactory and create new expectations that shatter your old ones
  • Model Success – find someone who has successfully achieved the goals that you seek and learn from them

Learning to set goals and applying effective strategies to achieve them is a crucial aspect of especially the first half of one’s life; it is a part of your Hero’s Journey. With this skill mastered, you can apply it your soul’s true calling, that which goes far beyond one’s own ego and desires.

Perfectly aligning your ego with your soul goes beyond mere goal setting – it is fulfillment of the sacred calling we each have.

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QLM: Quality of Life Modeling Seminar – Congruence in Communication

In the midst of winter, I found there was within me an invincible summer.”

– Albert Careb

Dr. Jaime G. Corvalan, MD, FACS

Some time ago, I conducted a seminar about living a life of quality and significance, about becoming the person you were born to be. It seems to me that many people, particularly in the first half of their lives, continue to struggle with how to achieve this; consequently, I’d like to share an aspect of that seminar here (more to follow in future posts).

Mixed messages occur when the spoken words do not match the tone of voice or body language.
Mixed messages occur when the spoken words do not match the tone of voice or body language.

We often encounter mixed messages when trying to communicate our emotions and feelings with each other; quite often, this is because we misunderstand how this kind of communication works. A study by UCLA Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Albert Mehrabian, found that in any face-to-face communication about one’s emotions, how much one likes – or believes – what is being said is influenced by three things: The Words Spoken, The Tone of Voice, and Non-Verbal Communication. In fact, the relative importance of each broke down into the following percentages:

  • The Words Spoken: 7% Influence
  • The Tone of Voice: 38% Influence
  • Non-Verbal Communication: 55% Influence

What is most important in determining the honesty and trustworthiness of the message is that all three of these components must be “congruent,” they must support each other and all be giving us the same message. We have a keen ability to discern the attitudes and feelings someone is communicating to us beyond the literal words being spoken.

If someone says, “I’m really happy to see you,” but speaks in a distracted tone, “rolls” their eyes and exhibits a closed-off stance, one is more apt to pick up on these more powerful negative markers (tone and non-verbal communication) than the literal words being spoken.

So, it’s important to realize that how you communicate – your tone, your body language – plays a much bigger role in influencing the emotional state of another. Being completely congruent is a powerful key in leading an authentic life and can have a significant impact in how you are perceived in your personal and professional lives.

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The Feeling and Thinking Functions

A feeling is as indisputable a reality as the existence of an idea.”

– Dr. Carl Jung, “The Psychology of the Transference,” CW 16, par. 531

Dr. Jaime G. Corvalan, MD, FACS

In my book “Beyond Bedside Manner: Preserving the Vessel For Your Soul’s Journey,” one of the key points I touch on is the need for a balance between the Feeling and Thinking Functions in our everyday life. What do I mean by Feeling and Thinking Functions?

Dr. Jaime G. Corvalan's book, Beyond Bedside Manner
Dr. Jaime G. Corvalan’s book, Beyond Bedside Manner

These two functions refer to what the great psychoanalyst, Dr. Carl Jung, described as part of the four ways we humans perceive and interpret everything in reality: The Feeling Function / The Thinking Function / and / The Intuitive Function / The Sensory Function. They are arranged in a cross shape (Feeling on the Left, its opposite, Thinking, on the right; Intuition on the top and its opposite, Sensation, on the bottom).

The psychological role of feeling is to give us value and direction, to evaluate or judge the worth of something or someone. The function of thought is to rationally analyze whatever we encounter, to apply the tools of the intellect independently of any valuation we may have or feel.

Both functions (and all four, of course, although we are focusing on feeling and thinking here only) are crucial for us to navigate our way through life. We have, in the West however, tended to place far greater focus upon the Thinking Function and, as such, have repressed or ignored much of our Feeling Lives. This has had serious repercussions and has led to generations of people living their lives with a wound they may not even realize they have.

My focus in Beyond Bedside Manner – through the language of optimal health and the medical profession, which is my professional background – is to move to a new perspective in order to participate in the grand evolution of consciousness we are presently undergoing.

In order to experience a higher quality of life, we must restore to its rightful place the value and role of the Feeling Function in our daily lives; we must re-balance it with its opposite, the Thinking Function. In doing so, we will cultivate a tremendous respect for all life; we will live the full experience of life.

You can conceive of the Thinking Function as a map – it has all of the landmarks and details we need to see where we’re going. What it can’t tell you, however, is which way you want to go. For that, you need a compass – the perfect metaphor for the Feeling Function.

So, a balance between the map and the compass, Thinking and Feeling, is key to living the life you were born to live!

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Right Action

When you stand before God, you can’t say, “I was told by others to do this or that. That virtue was not convenient at the time.” Your Soul is in your keeping. What you decide to do every day will determine if you will be a good man or not.”

From the Movie, “Kingdom of Heaven”

Dr. Jaime G. Corvalan, MD, FACS

Right Action embraces the highest spiritual values: compassion, love and loyalty.
Right Action embraces the highest spiritual values: compassion, love and loyalty.

It may be said that the mark of true spirituality is to choose to take “Right Action” in everything you do. “Right Action” is not a moral choice; it is not making a judgement characterized by “good” or “evil” – these are intellectual abstractions. “Right Action” comes from your heart, comes from your soul; it is not mediated by the intellect but, instead, springs forth spontaneously from your feelings – you simply know it to be right and true.

Right Action is the courage to act on behalf of those most vulnerable, it is the divinity within us; Right Action is centered in compassion, love and loyalty, the highest spiritual values. Being able to identity, to know, what Right Action is comes from a deep understanding of your own identity – not who you are in society, but who you are within the depths of your heart and soul.

Knowing this (and this is Gnostic knowledge at it highest), you know what your authentic and true desires are and how to act upon them. You know – without having to abstract or judge – how to act to serve the calling of your soul, because that authentic calling goes beyond you – it serves a transcendent purpose. Taking Right Action is a key component to living a powerful, fulfilling and meaningful life!