It's completely still. Not a leaf flutters, except for the slender yellow leaves overhanging and nearly touching the rushing stream. They quiver as the water's current bestirs the air directly above the creek.
Passive observation gathers into intense, undirected attention, and the flame of attention burns away the detritus of thought and emotion, making everything new again.
It's been a long, mild fall. Because there hasn't been a major storm yet, most of the leaves are still on the trees in northern California.
The familiar becomes unfamiliar. The known becomes unknown. After the meditation, I take a short path to the park road that I've not taken before, and emerge anew into an old world, almost forgetting where I am.
To my mind and heart, there is no more important action than negation in meditation. I used to wonder how others inwardly survive in this depraved culture without inwardly cleansing themselves on a regular basis. Then I realized most people don't inwardly survive.
Aristotle said, "To live alone, one must either be an animal or a god." We don't have to live alone, but humans in the global society have become such self-centered creatures, the only choice now is to grow into gods.
The self is socially constructed, not individually made. The consciousness we have known as humans for tens of thousands of years is essentially cumulative, based on useless memory, not useful knowledge. The old consciousness is not true consciousness, and it has reached a saturation point.
Why is it so rare for people to take the time to watch the movement of their thoughts and emotions in the mirror of nature? Is it fear?
Clearly so. But of what? Of seeing ourselves as we are? Of seeing and feeling what we intellectually know is true but don't want to emotionally see and feel about society?
Humans are social animals, and there's a fear of not fitting into the social structure, however pathological it is. Most people are deeply afraid of standing out, of being seen as "weird" because one is different.
The local brewery, Sierra Nevada, came out with a new beer called FOMO-Fear of Missing Out. No kidding. That's it, isn't it---the fear of missing out is what compels the vast majority of people to conform.
The earth is so beautiful, and we're meant to live harmoniously and joyfully on it. The present world is total madness and utter destructiveness however, both ecologically and spiritually. Sadly, far too many adults conflate life with the world.
David Ignatius of the New York Times says American culture is so ubiquitous, "it's like the air the world breathes." Perhaps so. But despite or because of the madness of the global society, humankind has a greater chance of changing course at this juncture than ever before in history.
We must first understand and live in the culture and world as they are however. So how is the true individual to live sensitively and intelligently in this world?
Psychological thought is the root of all evil. When the mind-as-thought spontaneously falls silent in the gathering attention of passive observation, a new order of consciousness emerges within one.
Beyond the predator-prey dynamic, beyond the "tooth and claw" ideology, wholeness and love are intrinsic to nature and the universe. But not to man. Haven't you ever wondered why?
When psychological thought ceases operating in undivided, unwilled attention to the movement of memory and association, a completely different order of consciousness arises in the brain.
So why does thought, which is essentially memory and association, not stop psychologically? And why, when it does spontaneously yield to passive observation and attention in the mirror of nature, does thought/time start up again?
In the sense we normally use the word, there is no such thing as the individual. We are inextricably part of this sick global society and the consciousness that underlies it as long as we aren't taking total responsibility for the darkness within ourselves, and freeing ourselves by continuously learning.
That's arduous work, and there is no arrival. But there can be breakthroughs, both within the undivided individual (a redundancy, since 'individual' literally means 'not divided'), and in human consciousness.
Piano riff on Bach prelude, about 8 minutes:
Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. firstname.lastname@example.org
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