Despite the various attempts I've made to locate and define that aspect of myself which partakes of an experiential mode of consciousness, I feel less and less confident lately as to whether any theoretical construct can either properly describe or contain it.  I have come to feel less and less certain that I accomplish anything worthwhile by continuing to postulate theoretical constructs with regard the internal processes revealed to me through self-examination.  In both form and intent such constructs are, to use a punning simile I think entirely to the point, like an eye that's trying to see itself see; and a scientific understanding of how the eye operates does not necessarily bring one any closer to an understanding of the experience of vision.  Consciousness is fluid; any attempt it makes to deconstruct itself will result in a kind of "blind spot" being created precisely because of this fluidity.  Consciousness may perhaps best be defined, simply, as "the state of being aware"; but when one endeavors to define what that awareness consists of, or, more particularly, what it is that causes the existence of awareness in the first place, one is bound to discover sooner or later that the quantifying language of theoretical definition rather misses the point.  Because of the self-referential nature of the task, all attempts to reveal the causality of "self" are doomed to failure.  Self defies, in the essence of its experiential existence, all logic, all scientific reasoning.  In fact, I believe that it is best described as being of the realm of the miraculous.  For in its essence, the self of experiential consciousness exists – regardless of arguments in favor of its need for a life-form to sustain it, or of a theoretical construct to define it – without any specific support:  it simply is.  I don't mean to imply, by the vast simplicity of this statement, that all theories as to the nature of the self and consciousness are thereby rendered invalid.  I do mean however to suggest that they are likely to have been limited by any number of varying factors:  cultural bias, personal and historical limitations of knowledge, the idiosyncratic nature of the individual personality, the changing nature of the contextual field of the psyche's own self-knowledge – to name only those possibilities which come immediately to mind.  The story of my own attempts to quantify "self" is, in the end, just that:  a story.  My particular story will be judged successful only insofar as it has successfully transcribed the transformations of self and consciousness which have occurred during, and through, that story's telling.

Autumn is rushing by.  So quickly, too quickly, autumn is rushing by.  The days are growing shorter now – the weeks seem to fly.  The trees blaze up in a fury of color; red and orange and yellow leaves, buffeted by the wind, scatter.  Chipmunks and squirrels race about at a furious pace; flocks of screeching birds, gathering for migration, wheel round and round a sky of tattered blue.  In the morning, the grass is limned with frost; the last of the fall flowers turn stiff and brittle under its icy touch.  Some days it rains from dawn till dusk, a thin, cold rain that feels sharp as needles against the skin; other days a fine, chill mist hangs in the air.  People begin to talk of snow.  They can feel winter closing in.

I walk to the cemetery as often as I can now, the better to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of autumn, my favorite season.  But I cannot sit beneath any tree, as the ground is too cold; nor even stand in one place for very long.  Autumn will not let me linger:  I too must hurry!  As I walk about I feel one moment as wary and guarded as any animal; the next moment I'm adrift in the rapture of my senses.  The pulse of life quickens within me; loosens its grip; quickens again.  Now I feel the energies of the life-force contract to a pinpoint of focused awareness; now that energy dilates, and I am not I but a loosely connected collection of sensate impressions, a ball of energy with no specific center.  By the rise and fall of the pitch of energy within me, by the dilation and contraction of its focus, the individuation of the life-force that "I" am gains movement and momentum.  This is the volition not of psychology, but of an energetic manifestation; and this energetic manifestation, operating under its own laws of cause and effect, is that which constitutes the true me.

Is it possible that I can learn to control its movement?  Can I overleap my psychological self in such a way as to learn the methods of energetic manipulation?  Or has this energetic manifestation taken this particular form, this particular psychological shape, for some reason that I am simply not yet able to comprehend?

What is my purpose?  Where lies my destiny?

Autumn is waning already; it's rushing by, fleeing, all in a hurry.  Autumn is the season of dying; autumn is the season of my birth.  My birthday, as it happens, comes just at the beginning of those few brief weeks when, in this part of the country at least, the trees are most vivid with color.  A week after my birthday I stood, one afternoon while at the cemetery, under a maple tree whose leaves had turned into a wavering, shimmering mass of bright yellow, made brighter still by the rays of sunlight shining through them.  I stood looking up into that brightness, that blaze of light, and I thought:  Could it be that this is all dying means?  Is it just another turn of the wheel, another step in the dance?  Could it be that dying too has its moment of sensual pleasure, of celebratory joy?

A hard wind blew, and a shower of leaves fell all about me.  I spun slowly round, watching them fall.  And then I stopped, staring at the leaves as they lay on the grass, gently lifting and settling again in the autumn breeze.  And I knew that I had been given my answer.

I understood the message that autumn's beauty brings.

It's like the sun
     broke all to pieces:
Autumn leaves