|Featured Columnist – Meditations
Autumn is at its peak and premium in northern California’s Central Valley. The yellows, oranges, and golds are resplendent in the parkland on a brilliant day, while the temperature is still mild enough for shirtsleeves.
Two park dogs play with utter abandon in the water upstream. Light-coated Labradors, they have the look and manner of canines without masters, doing exactly as they please.
At one point the larger of the two looks like he’s going to gallop downstream to where I’m sitting, but he turns around, without appearing to have seen me, and they vanish. The mirror of nature begins to dissolve the accretions within, and I forget about the dogs.
Just then I hear them bound down the steep bank behind me, running headlong directly toward me. Instinctively, I shout three times in quick succession: “Go on!”
They turn on their paws and bounce back up the bank without protest or fear. A moment later I realize they were just being friendly. Perhaps they thought I was a kindred park animal, as free as they are.
As I resume my meditation, the dogs’ joie de vivre remains with me, along with their sense of complete freedom. Then, as one’s concerns and conditioning melt away in undirected attention to everything without and within, a feeling of peace, joy, and freedom comes over me.
I realize that the dogs have taught me something about freedom. But it raises more questions than answers. Why are we humans not free? Clearly, peace, joy, and freedom go together. Why are they increasingly rare qualities in this world?
Indeed, why do people resign to the situation? We’re not dogs that need to be released from our masters. For many people who don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, we enslave ourselves with what we call our ‘responsibilities.’
A little later on my walk I come across the makeshift bed of some homeless wretch, tucked under a small grove of bay trees. A tattered pair of pants is slung over one of the branches, and the place has the look of habitation for at least a few nights. Though the fall days have been warmish so far, the nights have gotten quite cold, less than ten degrees above freezing.
Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve investigated the question of whether something more than random chance on one hand, and ridiculous belief on the other, is going on in the evolution of consciousness.
Given how dark man’s consciousness has become, it appears there is no cosmic intelligence operating on the mind of man. Is there just the possibility of temporary negation and freedom in the fortunate individual? Or is that only true at this point in human history?
Speaking for myself, I’m only certain that two streams exist in human consciousness. The first, darkness and enchainment, is an overwhelming actuality; the second, negation and freedom, remains a rare and transient potentiality.
I’ve come to understand the movement of darkness as essentially synonymous with consciousness as we usually know it. That is, it’s in the very nature of consciousness we know (based on thought and mediated by memory) to be in shadow.
The more pernicious form of darkness (as old as man but more pervasive now than it’s ever been in human history) includes the intentionality of man-made evil, with its death-wish goal of complete deadness.
Passive watchfulness ignites the movement of negation, which is the remedy to perpetually living in the shadow of content-consciousness. Therefore in the individual, the movement of negation is the antidote of the accretion of content-consciousness.
What relevance does the meditative state, which flows from the spontaneous movement of negation in attention, have for human consciousness as a whole? After all, the temporary quieting of thought is not liberation from the dark current of destiny, even for the individual.
Clearly, one individual’s liberation does not set man free, though man’s freedom cannot occur without individual liberation.
Is anything growing in collective consciousness at present besides the movement of darkness? There may be a flowering of insight in a few individuals, but there is no discernible effect on human consciousness as a whole at this point.
Even so, cosmic intelligence, being inseparable from the energy, matter, and evolution of the universe, can only operate through the awakening of insight in human beings.