Martin LeFevre: Dissolving the Roots of Division
Dissolving the Roots of Division
"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, North and South, Christianity and Islam.
Division, conflict, and war emanate from within people, 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 minds and hearts 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. With the exception of poetry, which is a universal language of the human heart, there is no 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 differences appear to be primary. Differences are the spice of life, and only become a source of division and conflict when one doesn't see that people are essentially the same.
But what ends the habit of divisiveness? The root of division is the duality between Œme' and Œmy thoughts.' In actuality, there is no separation between Œme' and Œmy thoughts'‹they are the same thing.
It takes an intensive, and yet passive observation to dissolve the illusion of the Œme.' The key is not to interfere with what one feels and thinks, but just watch one's associations and emotions as they arise. Then attention grows, and quiets the mind and gives peace to the heart. But when the ŒI' makes efforts to reach an inner goal, the essential quality of non-interfering observation is denied.
Intentional actions involve effort. But do they require a psychologically separate self, which is the very root of division?
Obviously, it takes goals, planning, and effort to farm the land or build a house. 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 still require intentionality-that is, effort and will. And so they perpetuate division and conflict. But true meditation dissolves the duality between the thought and the thinker, and so dissolves at its source the divisiveness that is destroying humanity.
To awaken observation in which there is no observer, just the action of observing, is a difficult art, but I am sure anyone can do it if they question and experiment within themselves. And when enough people begin to end egoistic 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 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. The trunk bifurcates, forming an exquisitely symmetrical shape. 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 has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author welcomes comments.