What I have been raised to know has been conditioned by convention and tradition, by the minds of my parents and the collective thinking of culture and existing institutions. It directly affected how I came to perceive existence. Those patterns of knowing were influenced by a mechanistic, materialistic functioning and a concept of time that contributed to a rigid , limited ability to perceive certain things in the universe.
Emerging from that conditioning there is an opening to alternative ways of knowing and from that opportunity to realize the “relativity of knowing”. This is enabling in allowing things that have been hidden from perception to be seen. In this new seeing there is transformation which in turn effects experience and perceptions of life and living.
Everything is always changing. There is a death involved in letting go of an old way of identifying with self and the world however limited and delusional it may be. There is grief in that death when we see what we thought to be permanent evaporate or change into something unimagined and there is invigoration if we allow ourselves to flow with change and to move through to a place of rebirth that is inseparable from that death.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” – Albert Eistein
What and how, I perceive is completely dependent on my state of consciousness. I am a doubter and find it difficult to believe that I can learn what I need to know of truth from another. If I have faith in anything it is that, through a commitment to focus my life in awareness to my direct experience and the intuition that arises from that I can come to know what I need to know of truth and authenticity. I am enabled in that to take steps to realize what has accumulated in my conditioning that clouds my seeing in my desire to dive more deeply into truth
There is always a gap in life. To constantly try to fill that gap we risk never learning anything helpful about ourselves or our existence. In choosing to enter into the gap with an open embracing of what we might discover there as truth is an ongoing revelation and can take us deeper into self knowing. As Heraclitus suggests “You could not discover the limits of the soul (psyche), even if you traveled every road to do so; such is the depth (bathun) of its meaning (logos).” James Hillman adds “Ever since Heraclitus brought soul and depth together in one formulation, the dimension of soul is depth (not breadth or height) and the dimension of our soul travel is downward.”
It is pretty obvious to me that everything in life is changing. It is a perception that this existence is an unfolding, that everything that exists is a part of that and everything is interconnected in this unfolding. Even the notion of evolution is unfolding. It would be quite ironic to conceive of my understanding in a fixed way as “that” would be outside this notion that all is changing.
Our minds are also evolving. We see the world through conjectures that are creations of the mind. Our conjectures are replaced with new conjectures as the mind evolves. This conjecture that I am writing here is relative. So how can we grasp the totality of evolution with the limited and fragmented thinking mind. Ultimately its such a massive occurrence that cannot be fully captured or realized through words or definitions which are designed to capture pieces and parts as opposed to something so whole.
It might be better expressed that our understanding of evolution and “evolution” itself is something emerging. It is a very creative emergence beyond our ability to foresee. Our understanding might not be able to grasp at any level of sophistication what form existence will take or what forms “beings” that are part of our existence will manifest as. But that does not prevent humankind from attempting to directly influence evolution. Our use of technological developments are especially developed to intervene in this process. But in our effort to catch evolution in a fixed way we are caught in the continually evasive “phantom of becoming”. The greatest risk in this is; what is missed or disregarded in our partial and fragmented way of understanding and perceiving that inform our conceptualization and what destructiveness will be unleashed in our conceptualization and creations in doing so.
Dennis and I went out for a day of kayaking today on the Otonabee Nature Reserve. We both share a love of nature. One of the wonderful things about being in nature is that I seem to let go of all that is not authentic in what I have become. It invites me in without question, assumptions or judgements. My opinions, beliefs and everything else that muddies and confounds my relationship with self and life seem to fall away and something more authentic emerges in absence of the external hindrances. There is no pressure to conform or expectations to meet or pressure to be what others perceive me to be. No regulations, time lines or appointments to meet.
These days I spend as much time as I can in nature in intimate rapport with it. It is so much larger than the “self” and more real than anything that my mind can imagine to be real. In some ways my awareness is expanded and mind is cleansed of debris and insight is illuminated. All this is truly unfathomable with the human mind. Here in this place I see more clearly where it is that I am lost and confused.
I dont know about other cultures but I do think that we do not learn to see ourselves honestly in our culture. At an early age we are generally taught to mistrust our direct experience. When we decide in life that we want to attend in a more honest way we seem to have to wade through and discard much of what we have accumulated which can be a long discerning process. Whitney Smith writes in his book “Wild Culture” that “in everything you come across there is always a choice. There is a choice of either going deeper, or going away. If you go deeper you can go right into the thing until all you are seeing is yourself.” Than “you” it is complete. Well not really. Its actually the beginning.
My own experience is that there is a point where confrontation of what has been covered over is required in finding our way back to our essence. Ironically we have become socially conditioned to avoid pain so to experience what is authentic of our self and human experience requires that we consciously learn to enter into aspects of our experience that might be painful that we have avoided dealing with in the past. This involves awareness and when we are ready we are able to a let go of our habitual reactions that have insulated us from that. It seems to be an individual thing depending on how much we are prepared to focus in a way that is not about pursuing and expecting the same degree of comfort and security that has become our indulgent way. I am reminded of the movie “The Matrix”. Some individuals preferred the life of delusional hedonistic perceptions over dealing with the pain involved in living a reality experience.
Ultimately a consequence of a conventional way of living is that it perpetuates separation and disconection from self, others, other beings and the universe that is at the heart of our individual, social, relational and global problems. Ingmar Bergman wrote that “In solitude I have the feeling that I contain too much humanity.” I think that collectively, there would be benefits if there was more of an inclination to bare with some of this difficult and more realistic experience of humanity.