Though the stream is rather chilly in the morning, I’m warm from the bike ride, so I wade in, sandals protecting my feet from the stones. Without a second thought I lie down and let the current flow over me from head to toe. It feels like a baptism.
Some human beavers had made a half-dam of stones, and on the other side of it the water is rippling deeper. I lay in the stream gazing up through the leaves for I don’t know how long. Refreshed and alert, it’s easy to meditate beside the creek. The intent to awaken meditation is essential, but any goal in meditation precludes it from happening.
As I gaze downstream, a large woodland hawk soars in over the current, landing on the closest branch only a few meters over my head. I’ve never been this close to a raptor in the wild before, and am struck by beauty of its dappled brown plumage. But it was the gaze of those incredibly sharp eyes into mine that will always remain with me.
Without a sound, the magnificent creature stays perched for a couple of minutes, and then soars off. I’m left with a feeling of receiving a gift of unknown significance, which ripples through the day.
Initiating the movement of negation has become imperative to mental, emotional and spiritual health and growth in society. Yet most people don’t understand what the movement of negation is, much less take the time to awaken undivided observation, which, like a magnifying glass in the sun, focuses one’s energy until attention ignites.
Why do so few appreciate and apply this crucial action, essential for creating space, allowing renewal and releasing insight? Can it be conveyed, or does each person have to discover it completely for him or herself?
What is the movement of negation, and how is it initiated? It begins with passively watching the mind, allowing every thought and feeling the freedom to spontaneously arise without interference. That allows a quickening of awareness to overtake the reactions of ‘me,’ ending the separation between watcher and watching.
Then the brain effortlessly gathers attention, following thoughts and feelings without effort or direction, which allows them to flower and end. Undivided awareness and undirected attention, not the ‘I’ (which is merely the operating system of thought) affects the entire movement of thought/ emotion, deeply quieting it.
One has to give the time and space to simply listen and watch, with the intent to go beyond immediate reaction and awaken being, which is always of the present. Most importantly, there has to be right observation, which is devoid of the interference of the observer/self, with all its judgments and desires.
The observer/self is inseparable from the background of thought; it is not the discrete and enduring thing we experience as ‘me.’ There is no such thing in actuality. As long as the belief in the reality of the observer and self persists, there can’t be right observation and attention cannot gather. Meditation is attention without the observer.
So the key is ending all division in observation. When the observer becomes part of the observation, it naturally falls away, and there is just observing. Awareness quickens and attention gathers, not from a center, but in itself in the brain.
Whether one calls that action meditation, contemplation, or whatever, it is the most important action a person can perform, without which a human being cannot grow.
I’m sure that the ending of the observer and the gathering of attention could be detected in brain-scanning machines. Not that neuroscience is authoritative, but instead of upholding the observer and self, as science is doing at present, it could show how the brain generates these programs, and how awareness ends them.
Man’s separation from nature begins within, and all false separation is driven by the illusion of the separate observer and self. Separation has utilitarian value only, allowing people to extract resources from nature to survive. Whether for food or profit, killing animals unnecessarily, especially of immensely beautiful animals such as whales, attests to man’s separative sickness on this beautiful planet.
Humans could not kill animals, unless for survival, except that we feel separate from and superior to them. Man’s wholesale destruction of the creatures with which we share this planet has its roots in psychological separation, which in turn has its roots in the separation of the observer/self from what we observe within ourselves, and the world.
What is the place of the senses in all this? Unlike what religions have taught, when all the senses are functioning fully and in harmony, there is stillness and silence of being. Thought is not one of the senses; it has its source in the residues of memory, and the ancient habit of separation.
Thought acts as filter to the senses; for attunement of the senses to occur, the mind has to fall silent through undivided awareness and undirected attention.