[captionpix imgsrc=”https://thecostaricanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/med12.jpg” align=”left” captiontext=”Is there only darkness operating in human consciousness at present, or is intelligence, through the awakening of insight, also operating?”]Being very interested in dialogue, I contacted several people in a meditation network that promotes something they call “meditative inquiry.” I came away feeling that the actual practice of questioning and awakening insight in concert is even more rare than I thought it was.
These folks (to use a favorite word of Barack Obama) mean something very different than I do using the same phrase. As far as I’ve been able to gather, they mean talking and listening after group meditation. I’m referring to questioning together, listening for insight wherever it comes from in the group. Such inquiry is the social equivalent of meditation, which is inherently solitary.
To set me straight about writing, without addressing my questions about how they practice ‘meditative inquiry,’ one teacher sent me a poem. He prefaced it by saying, “Great poetry, I’ve observed, points to something without describing something.”
He copied the poem, “Wild Geese,” by Mary Oliver, which encapsulates his worldview. It also points in the wrong direction about inquiry, with this line: “Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.”
The explicit individualism hardens around the second ‘yours.’ Without it, the line is elliptically evocative; with it is self-assuredly jarring.
In philosophical terms, we’re being gored on the horns of the dilemma that is as old as man—are we individuals, or part of a collective?
Most people in the West, and perhaps the world now, think that Facebook resolves the question. But the ‘Twitterverse’ has only made the over-emphasis on ‘yours and mine’ absurd, by rendering countless virtual/reality individuals identical in their supposed uniqueness.
The point of thinking together is to dissolve all the individualistic nonsense, which is exactly why most people fear it. But we cannot even begin to inquire if we uphold our ‘dividuality.’ (Perhaps the first question is: Am I a dividual, or an individual?)
But the ‘meditative inquirers’ and their ilk are smart people, and they confidently talk (with unintended irony) about “the perspective of separation inherent in language.” The idea being that the very use of words is divisive and dualistic, since in using language we are “establishing subject and object; God or awareness as an ‘Other.’”
The idea that language is inherently separative is a common theme of the superficially serious (that is, the unserious in a sophisticated way). These are the same people that carry individualism—the attitude of the self as a separate entity—to the point of solipsism—the view that the self is all that can be known to exist.
[captionpix imgsrc=”https://thecostaricanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Mary-Oliver.jpg” align=”right” captiontext=”He copied the poem, ‘Wild Geese,’ by Mary Oliver, which encapsulates his worldview. It also points in the wrong direction about inquiry, with this line: “Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.'”]Psychological separation is not an idea to be bandied about, or a band-aid to be applied over one’s conditioning, and projected, with false egalitarianism, onto others.
Questioning together at the same level and on the same subject, with the intent to awaken shared insight, is the true meaning of ‘meditative inquiry,’ ‘insight dialogue,’ or whatever one wants to call it. It is communion in questioning.
Just as imagination is not a factor in meditation, and in fact has to be completely set aside for it to occur, so too imagination has no place in questioning together.
As the poem says, it’s true that “meanwhile the world goes on…meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.” But the world is not the earth, and the earth is dying at the hands of man. That means urgency, responsibility, and collaboration in questioning and acting together.
Even so, and apocalyptic craze notwithstanding, not even the gods know whether man will transmute now and change course, averting not catastrophe, but the same and worse for the foreseeable future. In short, the fat lady hasn’t sung on our species, despite what all the Armageddon armadillos believe.
We each have to grapple within ourselves with the million year habit of psychological division between ‘us and them,’ ‘man and God.’ Intimations of transcendence, in conversation or writing, are available to anyone, and can’t be denied or dismissed by clever references to “how language inherently separates.
I don’t know whether the dark matter in human consciousness can ignite now, but I’m sure that a revolution of consciousness is the only way man can change course. Though the awakening of a sufficient number of true individuals is absolutely necessary, authentic ‘meditative inquiry’ is also essential.
Those so inclined might begin with the question: Is there only darkness operating in human consciousness at present, or is intelligence, through the awakening of insight, also operating?
by Martin LeFevre for TheCostaRicaNews.com
You can read the poem “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver here: http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/geese/geese.html