Political and economic movements and protests have had little effect on man’s destruction of the planet and humanity’s spiritual potential. Is there another kind of movement, indispensable to individual inward survival, which could and would?
At one level, the civil rights movement and movements like it in the United States and elsewhere have changed things. The civil rights movement ended blatant discrimination for example, and that is a limited kind of progress.
Yet as we see all too well in today’s world, the overall “arc of the universe” is not “bending toward justice,” as Martin Luther King famously said, but toward greater injustice, as well as ecological destruction and spiritual enervation.
Therefore without addressing the underlying causes of disorder within us, which go far deeper than our consumer and lifestyle choices, human fragmentation, conflict and injustice will continue to grow. Elites refuse to see and try to refute this truth, because, to paraphrase Upton Sinclair, their positions depend on not seeing it.
There is another kind of movement altogether, an inner movement that is the true wellspring and foundation of outer movements for radical change. To my mind, this is the only movement that can bring about a more balanced, harmonious and sane world.
It is regularly initiating movement of negation within the individual. It’s very hard to describe, and harder to initiate. Yet it alone brings “the peace beyond all understanding.” However I don’t know if it’s relevant to the present world.
Nonetheless, without learning the art of initiating the movement of negation, I’m sure there’s only increasing darkness for the foreseeable future except for the very few. Human consciousness, which has become completely untenable, is one chaotic, interconnected thing, and it affects and infects us all.
One cannot make an idea and goal of the movement of negation and hope to initiate it. It is not the result of any effort. Rather, it’s a phenomenon that occurs with intense, undivided and undirected watchfulness.
That sounds paradoxical, and perhaps it is. But it’s only a contradiction if it’s only an idea, and not an actuality that happens regularly within one. So don’t make another idea of it, but explore and experiment with it in your own life.
The entire movement of thought and emotion, of memory and the past spontaneously ends when unwilled attention gathers sufficient energy within one. It may not happen at first, or every time one sits quietly and observes without judgment, analysis and the habit of directing and controlling one’s thoughts. But when it happens it is a tremendous thing.
Looking for something to happen, or happen again, prevents it from happening, or happening anew. Short of illumination, no one is entirely free of making that mistake. I’m not, though for some reason I don’t make it during meditation.
Shortly after taking my seat beside the stream, while checking my Me-phone, I heard a light splash. I looked up to see that a Great Blue Heron had landed directly in front!
What a magnificent creature they are, especially when they elongate their tremendous necks and stand fully erect, making them over a meter tall.
For minutes I didn’t move anything except my eyelids, which blinked in wonder at the rare gift of sitting so close to such a shy creature from the Cretaceous Age.
The Great Blue barely moved for minutes either, just stood to its full height and turned its slender, wedge-shaped head to look at me. It was the very embodiment of stateliness, grace, alertness and awareness.
Then it began a slow motion walk downstream in the shallows on its spindly, stilt-like legs. I watched enrapt until it was out of sight.
The great heron opened a portal to stillness and the unknown, instantly rendering the familiar place unfamiliar and mysterious. Isn’t that what life actually is, and can be?