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Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere

Meditations (Philosopy) - From Martin LeFevre in California

Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere

We humans have a problem with time. Existentially and philosophically, time is both a trap and a mystery.

Most people are so caught in time's net that they take it as a given. The past flows into the future without even slowing down for the present. Sadly, it seems few ever experience a fully conscious moment of timelessness.

That is one problem. It goes to the question of whether meditation can be taught, or even conveyed, since meditation only begins the moment thought and time end.

But if time is illusory, why does it have such a hold on the human mind? Is it because thought is dualistic?

During meditation, dualistic perception ceases. With sufficient attention, the linear progression of consciousness gives way. There is just observing, no observer.

How does that happen? One watches the stream of consciousness until there is no longer a separate watcher. Then, undivided watchfulness intensifies, on its own, until the stream of the past (what we usually call consciousness) empties into the stream of life. Time stops.

So with sustained undivided observation, the infinite regression of the watcher surrenders its domination over the mind, and the illusory movement of time falls away. All sense of becoming, of gradually getting nearer some goal, ends. There is an infinite sense of being, rather than the infernal sense of becoming.

To my mind, this is the crucial art of effortlessly stopping psychological time every day. Otherwise life is just the momentum of the past racing headlong toward an ever-receding point until death.

But if life is essentially a timeless movement, what is evolution? After all, evolution took billions of years to produce complex life forms. So obviously in the physical sense time is real. Stars and planets and microbes and brains weren't formed overnight.

Clearly there is no goal in evolution, which takes time but does not employ time. Therefore perhaps the ending of psychological time allows creation to operate in the human mind, as it always has during evolution.

I feel there is an intrinsic awareness to never-ending creation, an intent driving the random movement of evolution--the development of galaxies, stars, planets, and life, as well as brains capable of questioning and being silently aware of the whole process.

Therefore when psychological time, which is the movement of thought, stops, the timeless unfolding of creation is seen and felt.

After a day of intermittent sunshine through high, gauzy clouds, it looked like it would be a bland, uninteresting sunset. But as I sat down on the patio after a busy day, a rim of pale violet appeared along the horizon.

I let the din from the highway a mile away wash over me. It is a waste of energy to resist noise, though it also dulls the mind to ignore it until one becomes inured to it.

The faint color began to grow along the horizon, visible through the trees and between the houses. The violet subtly and slowly spread and deepened. Because the days are so short now in the Northern hemisphere, it almost seemed like I was watching a time-lapse sunset.

Quickly the color concentrated in an unbelievably vivid double line of magenta to the west. The rim of violet to the east had disappeared, but the wispy clouds above the point of the sun's departure became fingers of soft flame.

It felt as if the earth had exhaled the intense color, and then, just as quickly, inhaled it back into the land as dusk descended. The din from the freeway seemed distant, an echo of human consciousness. For a moment or a minute, time stopped.

************

- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: martinlefevre@sbcglobal.net. The author welcomes comments.



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