Driving to Cedar Grove in the heart of town before the heat of the day, I find a surprising number of friendly people in the park.
I sit on a bench by the footbridge before taking a meditation at a relatively secluded spot beside the stream. A woman with a camera (but no dog or cell phone) approaches and asks if I’m sketching something.
I reply that I’m making a few notes before going down to the stream for a meditation. We talk a bit about nature in the park (she’s noticed an absence of insects such as caterpillars this year), and about meditation. Mothers pushing strollers pass by, and you can forget, for a few minutes at least, that you’re living in Trump’s America.
Sitting in the shadow of a massive oak tree across and above the creek, the sounds of rippling water upstream and down mix with children’s joyful voices swimming below the footbridge a couple hundred meters away, and workers trimming trees a half-mile away.
The narrow, closed-to-vehicles park road runs atop a ten-foot vertical bank. The stream is a thin imitation of what it is during the rainy season, and it’s hard to imagine the water surging most of the way up that bank.
A steady stream of people run, walk or bike across my line of vision. The fellow riding a three-wheeler
with a canopy over it goes by, as does the guy that always has a tiny rear-view mirror clipped to his glasses. Occasionally someone spots me sitting below. I wave, and most wave back.
The only thing I’m completely certain is true is negation in meditation. That happens, as a phenomenon and not an act of effort or goal, when passive awareness in the mirror of nature gathers sufficient attention to end the psychological movement of thought/time.
It’s always a surprise when the mind and brain leave the stream of thought/time. It’s like finding yourself in an unknown territory, and not knowing how you got there. Usually, like today, there’s the joy of discovery, but sometimes one has to face an existential fear triggered by the unanchored feeling of having left everything one knows.
Keeping with watching and listening to the sounds of nature and people without separation, a great affection for the earth and for people comes over one. It seems to have no source, like the stream itself.
A question and possible insight arises: Is this the way the gods watch human beings, and does such awareness reflect the ‘mind of God?’
I don’t abide any form of supernaturalism, but I do sometimes wonder: Do the gods actually exist in some incorporeal but still ‘material’ form (energy and matter being interchangeable)?
Perhaps, but we cannot focus on the gods anymore than we can pray to a sky God. The work, which is essentially the transmutation of humankind, beginning and ending within oneself, is our first focus. It belongs in the hands of human beings on earth, even if the gods ‘guard it jealously’ in some other dimension.
And the first and last action of the work is initiating the movement of negation in meditation. Again, one cannot make a goal and effort of it. Negation happens when one listens with all one’s heart and mind to little children playing in the stream, while also inclusively attending to every sound in the area and (in the same way) to one’s thoughts and emotions as they arise.
Meditation is like fission—it requires all one’s energy to start the reaction (or rather, to end the reacting). So if initiating a short-lived explosion of insight in meditation is like fission, is illumination like self-sustaining fusion?
When they first tested the atomic bomb, “Trinity,” at Alamogordo (what names!), the physicists weren’t sure that the bomb wouldn’t set off an unstoppable chain reaction in the entire atmosphere, producing a true Armageddon.
In a positive sense, is that what we’re working to achieve in human consciousness—to ignite an unstoppable chain reaction that ends the dominant reactions of greed and violence consuming this planet and humanity?