A reader wrote with a question that goes right to the heart of remaining inwardly alive in a dead culture: “In the negation of thought, when we experience the still place within us–isn’t this when fragmentation has the potential to cease?”
Fragmentation doesn’t have the potential to cease; it ceases when thought is quiet. The cessation of psychological thought may be temporary, but once experienced, one can never go back to a fragmentary way of living again.
What brings about such an existential shift? The highest action of which a human being is capable: passive observation. It characterizes methodless meditation, and initiates the unwilled negation of thought.
One has to playfully, or at least intently watch the movement of thought/emotion in the same way once watches a stream going by—with keen attention, but complete indifference. With passive and playful watchfulness, division and fragmentation naturally and spontaneously end within one. First the observer/separate self falls away; then the movement of thought itself in the brain falls silent; and finally psychological time ends. With intent, it’s a phenomenon that happens spontaneously. One cannot make a phenomenon happen.
On the individual level (not personal level, which is a very different thing), the question of ending inner fragmentation is the most important question we can ask as individuals. It’s part of the much larger issue of the trajectory of human fragmentation on this earth. We are doing something about human fragmentation as a whole when we’re ending fragmentation within ourselves, because we’re inextricably part of collective consciousness.
As the reader said, with the negation of thought “our minds begin to shift from a worldview that is about divisions, linear, and static.” It isn’t gradual though. One always experiences the shift in a spontaneous and complete way. What varies and grows is the depth of experiencing.
When psychological thought is silent, practical thought is still able to function in the world. Imperceptibly however, one drifts back into content-consciousness. Why does one go from the multi-dimensional mind of awareness back into the one- dimensional mind of thought?
Put another way, why does the mind/brain return to the polluted stream of thought-consciousness after it has stepped out of it? Is it because we’re social animals, and social consciousness is encoded into the brain psychologically? Clearly, there’s little or no distinction between the social and psychological.
Does the exceedingly rare event of illumination occur when the brain leaves the stream of content-consciousness for good, and can no longer return to it?
“I do wonder,” asks the reader, “that although humanity is going backwards, if there isn’t 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 to any discernible degree? No; let’s not deceive ourselves. Wishful thinking is just the flip side of hopelessness.
The mass mind, though disturbing and dangerous, seems pretty straightforward. In America at least, it displays ancient man’s childish tribalism, and modern man’s utter venality.
My friend asks, “Is this a desperate clinging to what is familiar to us?” On one hand, there is the mass mind, which clings to the familiar and seeks ever more desperate escapes from what is. But even a serious person has a strong tendency to ‘cling to the familiar.’
“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 that’s wishful thinking. The chaos of thought is all we really know, because we don’t negate the unnecessary and destructive byproducts of thought.
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.
There’s nothing inevitable about a breakthrough in consciousness. We won’t know it will occur until and unless it does occur. Faith (not in the sense of belief, but trust in life) is important, even crucial. But the fact is, humankind is failing, and consciousness grows darker and darker, overwhelming and extinguishing all but the strongest spirits.
There may be a flash point, but until it happens, the imperative is inward survival in the individual. Without that, there is no future for humanity.