Dissolving the Roots of Division
By Martin LeFevre:
Jan 6, 2020, 2:38pm
"Meditation is the opening of the door to essence, opening the door to a furnace whose fire utterly destroys, without leaving any ashes."
Descartes was wrong. He should have said: I think, and therefore I am divided. Then perhaps the world would not be so divided between East and West, Christianity and Islam, haves and have-nots.
Division, conflict, and war emanate from within us, not from economic or political structures. As much as social structures contribute to the inequity and injustice of this world, they are not the source of these things. The world is the outward expression of the mind and heart of every person living in it.
This is obvious, and yet the inner origin of human division and discord is rarely seen, and even more rarely discussed. Other than poetry and music, which are universal languages of the human heart, is there a language for the inner landscape?
When one travels with sensitivity, or lives in a very different culture than the culture one grew up in, one emotionally realizes that people truly are the same psychologically. And yet the differences between people are still put first. Why?
The answer seems to be a vicious circle. Inwardly, we are divided, and that makes cultural and religious differences appear to be primary. Differences are the spice of life, but they become a source of division and conflict when one doesn't see that people are essentially the same everywhere.
So what ends the habit of divisiveness? The root of division is the duality between 'me' and 'my thoughts.' In actuality, there is no separation between my thoughts and me; they are the same thing.
It takes intensive, and yet passive observation to dissolve the infinite regression of the separate observer and the illusion of 'me.' The key is not to interfere with what one feels and thinks, but just watch one's associations and emotions as they arise, preferably in the mirror of nature.
Attention grows unseen, and acts without concentration, will or effort to quiet the mind and provide peace to the heart.
When I make effort to reach an inner goal however, the essential quality of non-interfering observation is denied.
Intentional actions involve effort. But do they require a psychologically separate self, which is the root of division?
Obviously it takes goals, planning and effort to farm the land or build a house, bridge or computer. But goals and effort have no place in spiritual life. Indeed, they are antithetical to inner growth.
New Age or old school techniques of meditation require intentionality, that is, effort and will. And so they perpetuate division and conflict. But true meditation dissolves the duality between thought and the thinker, and so dissolves at its source the divisiveness and fragmentation that are destroying the Earth and humanity.
Awakening observation in which there is no observer, just the action of observing, is a difficult art, but I'm sure anyone can do it if they question and experiment within themselves. And when enough people end egocentric activity through right observation, a revolution in human consciousness will ignite.
A cold wind bites into the skin as I ride my bike into the country on winter day in California's Central Valley. A mound of snow shimmers on a ridge in the distance, beyond the foothills that are beginning to green.
Arriving at the little creek at the edge of town, I find that the recent rains have turned it into a small torrent. A short distance away a great sycamore sweeps upward, its white bark gleaming in the late afternoon sun. Black and white magpies squawk from its bare, upper branches.
Under the cobalt sky, meditation comes gently, imperceptibly, and as always, unexpectedly.
Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. firstname.lastname@example.org
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