Also read... Involution & Evolution
One key concept of what involution means is to become involved.
Light/ Consciousness descends (metaphorically) into matter, into manifestation, into embodiment. It becomes involved in this. This is, of course, a good thing. We are glad about this, glad to have Light involved in our world, glad to have the Spirit of God involved the world. So the involvement, the involution, of Spirit is something to be grateful for. But from the perspective of pure Spirit and Infinite Consciousness, this involvement can become a sticky affair, even though the intent is spiritual expression and we might even say service in the world.
Yet for Spirit-Consciousness, this involutionary descent is sort of like leaving Home on a long adventure into the unknown, with the everyday possibility of getting lost, disoriented, or even trapped in little towns. It could be like a story of a King's son who adventures out into the unknown world seeking his purpose of being and perhaps to serve life; but along the way he has all sorts of challenges and even for a time gets locked up in a prison, until very later on he finally finds his way back Home. A lot of struggles and pains along the way, but he thinks it was all worth the adventure.
Sometimes, it is helpful to understand metaphysical and spiritual truths by way of our own human life analogies. And after all, our human experience is said to be a microcosmic reflection of the Whole Macrocosm, and just as it is said that God made man in His image, and 'as above, so below.' So let us consider the meaning of involvement in human life, to perhaps understand more about the meaning of spiritual involution. Involvement has two possible sides to it, the possible positive and the possible negative.
First let us consider the positive. It is good to be involved, right? It is good to be involved with people and in relationships. It is good to be involved with nature. It is good to get involved with helpful and positive-working groups. And when one is involved, one is participating in and focusing one's energies into a particular relationship, or a group, or into a work. So it is good to be involved, rather than just be detached or aloof about everyone and everything. And we see people who get involved with people or with things very easily and comfortably; while perhaps we might notice people are are not so easily involved. Maybe one can self-identify more with either the easily involved or with the less-involved. Also remember that service in the world and love shared in the world all require some degree of involvement.
So let us briefly take stock of how all this might apply to the importance of Spirit-Consciousness getting involved in the world and, specifically, getting involved in individual existences. For it means then that Spirit is now participating-in and focusing-in these lives, our lives, and our world. It also means that Spirit is now, with its involvement in the world, able to actively serve and bring light to the ethical and aesthetic progression of life, including (potentially) each individual life. Just imagine all people and the whole world never receiving any of the Divine Light, none of the Divine Intelligence, nothing of Divine Love, and never any Higher help at all, just because the Divine Spirit didn't want to get involved. Imagine a world devoid of any love and wisdom, and without any given guidance at all; this would surely be a dark world. So thank God for the divine involvement. Finally, how would God ever be expressive or ever manifest, without being involved in life?
But now let us consider the negative possible side of involvement. The most obvious insight is that one can get involved with negative things. One can get involved with people, relationships, groups, or things that are actually negative to one's advancement as a spiritual being. These people, groups, or things might seem pleasing at the time, or maybe intriguing or exciting, but from a larger perspective this involvement will be seen as negatively harmful. It will be seen, perhaps later, as a poor choice. So it is obvious that some involvements can be negative, harmful or simply misleading.
Furthermore, an involvement can become an obsessive focus of one's attention and energies. Involvement can mean that one is obsessive, as in 'obsessive involvement', or in being 'obsessively involved.' This might be actually good for awhile, if the focus is on a positive goal; but sometimes we get obsessively focused on trivia, or on negative thoughts, negative reactive emotions, or on problems invented in one's own worrisome imagination. A more problematic obsession is with habits; of course, anything can become a habit, even a thought or emotion. So in relation to Spirit, the process of involution carries with it the possibility of obsessive involvement, or even obsession, or any kind of obsessive focus.
Obsessive involvement has two sides to it. One, the consciousness gets extremely focused into the object of involvement, into this particular form or activity. Two, the object has a power of attraction for the consciousness, enchanting the consciousness into its magical spell. This is how it often is with the divine energy of Consciousness in relation to world forms, activities, and attractions. Divine Consciousness gets attracted into the world and into the dramas of our lives. It gets enchanted and spell-bound. Divine Consciousness is like an easy lover, and this Lover falls in love so easily, too easily. Unconditional Love is this way; its Consciousness falls in love with everything. Unfortunately though, this can result in Consciousness becoming lovingly lost in the world.
So, obsessive involvement can be so extremely focused that the self looses its self-consciousness and individual power into the involvement - which could be a project or it could even be a spiritual group. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is sometimes good to lose one's self-consciousness in something, like getting absorbed in something we are doing. And it might sometimes be good for the individual ego-power to surrender to a group involvement. But one will have to be cautious in this, for obvious reasons. As a helpful principle, it is alright to temporary to do this, but we want to have enough power to return back to being a self-conscious and autonomous person.
Secondly then, obsessive involvement has attachment in it. This means that we tend to become attached when there is obsessive involvement, and then it is difficult to free ourselves from this. The obsession becomes like a sorceress who holds us in her enchantment. The thing of our attraction and obsession is like a enchanting power that creates an attachment to it. But really, we are the actual power and we are creating this attachment. So each person has to regain their true power and then make a new decision in this new moment. The solution to any attachment is a regaining of personal power and a new decision made with this power.
Focus itself is double-edged, just as is involvement, and both are very related. The positive side of focus is that we can get specific things done. We can study and work on specific projects. We can concentrate on the details needed to get these things done. We can focus on specific objects or on specific people to see their specialness and their beauty. So our ability to specifically focus is very practically important in this creative life. If we were continually unfocussed and 'spaced out' (so to speak), then we would not get specific things done, and the world would be quite different if everyone were unfocussed. Thus, it makes sense in the Greater Purpose of life that Divine Consciousness gets involved in specific focusing, through the focusing experiences of individual lives. For it is through this focusing of Consciousness that the particulars of life get worked out.
We all know that we need to focus at times, on the particulars of practical life and on what specifically needs to be done, ...and this focusing is a narrowing of our consciousness on the little things, the specific things. This is a narrowing of consciousness, yet it is necessary to get the specific things done. But we would not want to just be consumed in any particular focus nor in any particular fascination for a really long time; because this would be too limited, too narrow and too obsessive. So we also need a wider view of things that is not just particularly focused, and this is true for normal life as well as in regards to spiritual realization of larger purposes and realities.
Yet for practical manifesting purposes we also need the ability to specifically focus. We can even see the beauty of a consciousness narrowly focused in the activity of children. Notice how they can focus so intently and be so extremely absorbed in something. Of course though in education teachers so often are frustrated by the lack-of-focus in so many kids, but just watch them focus when they're playing! or when they're doing something they really enjoy. Anyway, we can see the beauty of enraptured focus when watching kids play. And in regards to adults, how would those great inventors or great artists have ever created what they did, without an obsessive focus?
But we do not want to, all the time, be obsessively focused on just one thing or get all too absorbed in just one thing, while forgetting all else and loosing the bigger View of life. We want an expanded View and expanded consciousness; yet we also want to get things done and also have the enjoyment of being really into something.
So there is a tricky kind of balance we need in life and in our spiritual path, which is the balance between expanded consciousness and narrow consciousness. In spiritual teachings everyone wants expanded consciousness; yet in practical life we also need the ability and time to occasionally have a narrow consciousness, a narrowed focus on very specific and detailed things, in order to be successful. Could we possibly do both, have an expanded and narrowed consciousness, at the same time? Perhaps this is possible, and perhaps we might practice this; but if one does practice this, one will discover it is extremely difficult and near impossible; so let's not theoretically expect this. Instead, it seems more practical minded to accept the gulf between expanded and narrow consciousness, and accept that each is mode important in its own way, so each needs to have its time in our lives.
Now in relation to Spirit, or God, the Divine Consciousness gets involved and absorbed into material existence. This is the involutionary inclination. It's the Divine propensity to get involved in anything and everyone, which means it become absorbed in matter and in all parts of life. This whole involutionary aspect is because of the Divine unconditional Love, a love that just naturally radiates everywhere and includes all. Also,in another way of looking at this, the whole material universe has to be included in the Being of God, for where else would it be? - so this already implies involvement in everything.
But of importance in the involutionary aspect of total existence, the Divine gets absorbed in it all. And this tendency to become absorbed in is important to understand. For just as this can be a very positive capacity for human consciousness, (to be absorbed in an interest, an artistic project, a needed work, or a beautiful experience), it can also have a negative side to it, like becoming lost in the absorption or perhaps stuck in it.
This happens because matter itself has a sticky quality to it. This can also be viewed positively, since it is good that consciousness 'sticks around' and remains stable in us, rather than easily drifting off. It is good that consciousness can be held in place, rather than airily drifting away too easily.
Any involvement seems to have a stickiness in it; that is, there is a tendency to get stuck in it, once we have entered into it. In fact, the more involved we get with anyone, with any group, or anything, the more we seem to get stuck in it. For each relationship and involvement in life has an adhesive quality to it. Of course though, it doesn't have to be viewed in this 'stuck' way, because we could see this more positively as being closely involved and committed in a relationship.
Spirit (or Consciousness) has an airy expansive quality; while on the other pole of cosmic existence, matter has an earthy sticky quality. This stickiness of matter, or of physical life, is what tends to capture Consciousness. This is why there has to then be a path of Return, which is a gradual freeing of Consciousness from the sticky entrapment of matter and of our earthly life. This is known as the path towards freedom, which requires detachment and the ability to dis-involve ourselves.
All of this again relates to focus, in relation to the Divine 'descent' of Consciousness. The involutionary aspect (of Spirit) is a tendency to focus, which is a narrowing of Consciousness. It's a narrowing of Absolute Consciousness -- from its original Infinite Spaciousness towards being ever-increasingly focused on smaller and smaller parts and details of the Whole. In other words, the Divine Consciousness begins as being Infinitely Spacious, which can be understood as the natural state of God-Consciousness. But in relation to manifest existence, The Consciousness focuses ever-so in the parts and in the details of this existence. It gets ever-so detailed and ever-so involved; and the result of this is that every individual life has some degree of The Consciousness, which is The Consciousness focusing in it. The 'gradation' of The Consciousness, from its Infinite Spaciousness into ever-increasing smallness and narrowing-detail, is the Hierarchy of Spirit manifesting, the Hierarchy of Consciousness narrowing and becoming ever-more focused into the ever-small lives and details of manifest existence.
Also read... Involution & Evolution