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The Brain Is Greater Than Thought

The parkland is lush and green, with every tree and bush now in full leaf. Last but hardly least are the valley oaks.

As it has for centuries, the great anchoring oak of the Lower Park silently stands at the terminus of the quarter-mile wide lifeline through town. It’s the biggest and healthiest specimen in the three-mile stretch from the college to, and has never looked so resplendent.

Right after taking my seat alongside the clear, rippling creek, a mallard couple swam up, the green head of the male fluorescing in the sun. Remaining stationary at the edge of the stream for a few minutes, they leisurely paddled against the diminished current there with their orange webbed feet.

I recently heard an absurd assertion on a public broadcasting show called, “A Brief History of the Future.”

“In many ways one of the cognitive abilities that makes Homo sapiens, sapiens, or wise, is our ability to conceptualize time,” some authority said at a pivotal moment in the silly narrative.

In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. Man’s enslavement to time, by modernity’s clock or prehistoric people’s sun, denies the full awakening of insight in the brain. Thought is time, and time is thought.

The hour-plus meditation at streamside went by in the flicker of an eye. It began with a tremendous question and quickly deepened as silence grew with direct perception without the filter of memories, images and words.

The question that initiated the meditation (can perception and the movement of the heart be one?) was forgotten as the mind completely quieted in non-directed attentiveness to the outer movement of nature and the inner movement of thought/emotion.

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Though unmediated perception is denied and derided by intellectuals as “immaculate perception,” it is the only thing worthy of a human being.

Consciousness as we know it is the cumulative remains of experience. It is the sum total of psychological memory, not only from our personal lives, but also the lives and lineages of the generations that have preceded us within us.

Though we each have to do our own spadework in the old consciousness, it can fall still. The mind based on thought, which includes not only reason and the intellect but also all the conscious and subconscious residues of personal and collective experience, can stop running like the machine it is in the brain.

Efforts to quiet the mind only generate conflict. Methods, systems and techniques of meditation are devices invented by thought to trick or hypnotize thought into stillness. The chattering, noisy mind spontaneously falls silent when the brain is fully attentive to its movement, without the infinite regress of the observer or the reactions of judgment and choice.

Society has conditioned us into believing that freedom lies in choosing, but that’s a monumental mendacity. We face choices, but there is no freedom in choosing. Choosing has become a consumeristic conceit, no more real than choosing from hundreds of cereals from the grocery aisle.

The paradox is that we’re only truly free when we don’t choose, but act from the clarity of seeing what is. Socrates tried to teach that, but his ancient Greek compatriots didn’t understand anymore than most people do today.

Passive watchfulness of thought/emotion in the mirror of nature allows awareness to grow quicker than the reactions of thought. Attention to what is gathers in the brain with choiceless awareness, and it, not the self, quiets the mind.

The key is to observe the movement of thought and emotion without the choosing, judging and directing reactions of the separative observer/self.

The spontaneous shift from the psychological memories of thought-based consciousness, to the attentive stillness of the state of insight, occurs on a daily basis now, but the old consciousness re-establishes its dominance in the brain.

Clearly awakening and being an adept meditator is one thing, and having a baseline of sufficient attention in the brain to keep psychological thought still, even during sleep, is another. That apparently requires a transmutation -- what is glibly referred to as enlightenment.

We know the brain is more than reason and intellect, but reason and intellect are prized more than the brain’s capacity for non-directed attention (a very different animal than concentration). Thought is inherently petty, but the attentive, quiet brain is a tremendous thing. As Emily Dickinson’s poem goes:

The Brain is just the weight of God—
For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
And they will differ—if they do—
As Syllable from Sound—

These are words, descriptions, definitions and explanations. They are necessary, but woefully insufficient to effortlessly initiate the movement of negation, which opens the space and initiates the stillness of thought in the brain to perceive and receive the numinous.

The brain is greater than thought, and total attention allows the brain to be one with the silent cosmic Mind.

Martin LeFevre

Lefevremartin at gmail

© Scoop Media

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