The Answer Is Within the Individual
The Answer Is Within the Individual
A friend wrote with a question that goes right to the heart of the human crisis: “In the negation of thought when we experience the still place within us, isn't this when the fragmentation [of humankind] has the potential to cease?”
The passive observation that characterizes methodless meditation initiates the unwilled negation of thought. Division and fragmentation then automatically end within one. That’s what I experience in my daily ‘practice’ of sittings and walks in nature here in northern California. First the observer/self falls away; then the dominance of thought in the brain falls away; and finally psychological time itself falls away.
On the individual level (not personal level, which is a very different thing), this is how I understand my friend’s question. But it also points to the much larger issue of ending the trajectory of human fragmentation on this earth, and the way (or rather, the negative way) that that can be achieved in human consciousness.
With the negation of thought “our minds begin to shift from a worldview that is about divisions, linear, and static.” Yes, although one experiences the shift as an always surprising, spontaneous, and complete shift in consciousness. “Divisions, linear, and static” completely end in meditation.
Not that thought completely ends and no longer functions. After a meditation, one ‘reenters the world.’ It feels like stepping from one dimension back into another. The problem is, one slides back into content-consciousness as well.
Does one need to go back? Why does the mind/brain return to the stream of content-consciousness, in which divisive thought dominates, after it has stepped out of it, even once? Is it because we are social animals, or is there some other reason, written into the brain?
Clearly, illumination happens when the mind/brain leaves the stream of content-consciousness for good, and can no longer return to it.
“I do wonder, that although humanity is going backwards, is there not at the same time a birth of a worldview that recognizes dynamic energy and holistic way of living?” Perhaps so, but is that actually happening? There is very little indication of it. And wishful thinking is just the flip side of hopelessness.
The human experiment can fail, and at present, it is failing. That doesn’t mean it will fail, but we have to see and feel the urgency of the situation.
“Is this a desperate clinging to what is familiar to us?” my friend asks. On one hand, there is the mass mind, which clings to the familiar and seeks ever more desperate escapes from what is. But even the serious mind has a strong tendency to ‘cling to the familiar.’ The mass mind seems pretty straightforward, though disturbing and dangerous. But even the most serious person has difficulty completely letting go of the old consciousness.
“Are we experiencing the chaos that's inevitable before the birth of something new?” Some believe that the chaos we are experiencing is illusory, and that the outcome (“the birth of something new”) is inevitable. But as I see it, the chaos of thought is real and inevitable because we don’t understand and see how to negate unnecessary and destructive (that is, divisive and fragmenting) thought.
There is nothing inevitable about a breakthrough in consciousness; we won’t know it will occur until and unless it does occur. Faith is important, but the fact is, humankind is failing, and consciousness grows darker and darker, extinguishing all but the strongest spirits. There may be a flash point, but until it happens, it’s a matter of individual inward survival (especially living in the ‘North American culture hearth,’ with its great preponderance of living dead).
Many of the undead are having children to offset the alienation and loneliness that extreme separateness in such an individualistic culture generates. But children, at least when they’re young, are still whole and alive. Do they have to be sucked into the vortex by the time they reach their teens?
There are indications that some young people are aware of what is going on, and can spot the living amongst the dead. But we cannot take the usual cop out, and pin our hopes on the next generation.
Will human consciousness be completely engulfed in man-made darkness, or will the accreted material of millennia ignite? Either way, these are the truly the times that try men and women’s souls.
- 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