Awakening Intelligence Within
The day was mild, relative to the scorching temperatures of late, and the park was nearly empty. And for the entire hour and half I sat beside the stream, a single swallowtail butterfly fed on the nectar of the fading white balls overhanging the water. After the senses became fully attuned to sights, sounds and smells around one, there came a quality of aloneness without isolation, solitude without loneliness. One has only to watch the total movement of thought until it effortlessly and spontaneously falls silent. Then the beauty of the earth is within one. Meditation is not about “stress reduction,” though it certainly affords that, especially in nature. Nor is it about finding a few minutes of peace by watching the breath and quieting the surface levels of the mind. Meditation is a doorway into another dimension of being, a portal through the present into the infinite. Something I read today conveys an intimation of meditation as I understand and practice it (without a ‘practice’): “What is necessary is a very sensitive, alert brain which has stopped entirely, willingly and easily, it’s chatter of reason and non-reason.” Yes, the reasoning even of a philosopher, especially of a philosopher. And the non-reason of the mind chaotically skimming over recent experiences and encounters, or regurgitating memories from the past. Any effort to quiet thought remains the action of thought, and so sustains psychological thought. One simply has to fully attend to thought’s movement without interference, which means without choice or judgment. Watch everything, even boredom, and remain with it. Question gently but persistently. Ask, why am I bored? I think boredom is a huge motivator for escape in a hyper-materialistic culture like America’s. Thus it’s a vicious circle of superficiality. Have you seen the small signs that some parents hang in the rear windows of their cars: “Baby on board?” I saw a young woman with an identical sign in her car window that read, “Baby I’m bored.” It’s become fashionable to talk about “collective intelligence.” But there is no such thing. It’s synonymous with “what’s trending.” And there is no intelligence in the fad of the moment, though it dominates not only the online media but the old media as well. The over-emphasis on the individual is the bane of the contemplative/meditative life (not to mention the therapeutic industry). Even so, the individual is and will always be the starting point for awaking and igniting insight in human consciousness. So how does a serious person who is aware of how insane the world has become and looks within to the source of the darkness and violence, not get sucked into the sinkhole of solipsism? For one thing, by not adopting some version of escape through falsely humble ideas such as: “Humans don’t matter; if we extinguish ourselves, the earth will be fine without us.” The human brain matters. Not because it is capable of science and technology, but because of its untapped spiritual potential. The great conundrum is that evolution of ‘higher thought,’ which pushed the human brain over the threshold and gave us the capacity for the highest awareness, is also the greatest impediment to realization. With the complete quieting of thought and cessation of self-centered activity, the actuality of death, which is present every moment within and without, draws near without fear. With the ending of thought and all separation, there is direct contact with the actuality of death, which is inseparable from life. Awareness fully realized is therefore indivisible from death. The universe is in a state of meditation. When there is total attention, psychological and even functional thought falls silent, and the brain shares in that state of meditation, which is limitless. So brains like ours matter in the universe, though not limitlessly. A potentially intelligent species can destroy itself, and man appears on the verge of doing so, outwardly or inwardly. As things are, human consciousness is rapidly congealing darkness. There is no collective intelligence in man’s consciousness that will enable us to change course. However, self-knowing individuals can awaken the intelligence that imbues nature and the universe. Then small groups of people can ignite shared insight through questioning and listening together, holding opinions in abeyance. In doing so they ignite the dark matter in consciousness, and change the basic, disastrous course of man. Martin LeFevre
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Martin LeFevre, a contemplative, philosopher and writer in northern California, serves as a contributing writer for The Seoul Times. His "Meditations" explore and offer insights on spiritual, philosophical and political questions in the global society. LeFevre's philosophical thesis proposes a new theory of human nature. He welcomes dialogue. firstname.lastname@example.org
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