Overhanging the gorge are great angular outcroppings of volcanic rock–solid and sharp edged extrusions protruding from the gently sloping grasslands behind them. Some have huge slabs balanced on top, looking like they had been perfectly placed by a giant stonemason.
Other formations, with deep fissures where they meet in the canyon wall, sit vertically in precarious positions, awaiting the next major earthquake to send them tumbling into the stream below. Perched near the edge of the precipice under one of the plentiful oaks in the area, I can hear the rushing of the stream at the bottom of the glistening gorge, stretching hundreds of meters down and away.
The grasses around me are so dry that they break at the touch, and appear golden from even at close distance. Directly across, beyond the narrow gorge within the sanctuary of the large, fan-shaped canyon, are sheer, majestic cliffs, rising hundreds of meters into a cloud-scudded sky.
Big buzzards, masters of the air, appear as lumbering leviathans next to smaller, light-winged hawks that follow in their wake, screeching as they wheel and dive into the trees at the base of the cliffs.
Psychological time ends, and the mind, anchored in the present, ranges over the past before settling fully into the present. The people who once lived at this beautiful place come to mind and heart.
Native Americans loved this canyon, and revered it as sacred. They were wiped out, driven off and assimilated into a dominant culture that thinks only in terms of things. In a meditative state one can still hear whispers of their lives echoing across the land.
The mind in meditation is like a laser effortlessly boring through all the strata accumulated in content-consciousness–not only from one’s own life, but also from the lives of all the previous generations laid down within one. Through that opening the light of the cosmos pours in, and one participates, however briefly, in an infinite intelligence beyond thought.
Even for adept meditators, the meditative state is not a constant, but a quality of consciousness that one has to ignite each day by making space for undivided attention. Nature is crucial to the process, though a mindful, silent walk through a park in the middle of a city, followed by a half hour’s sitting in one’s residence with the light flooding in as the bustle goes on below, can be sufficient to generate a radical shift in consciousness.
Spiritual development is the easiest thing to fake, but meditative states are much harder to feign. Any bright man or woman can put on wisdom robes and pass himself or herself off as an enlightened guru. There’s an entire industry of such charlatans now, willing to sell you their books, DVD’s, retreats, or whatever.
The ‘enlightened’ ones teach people how to get from here to there, because that’s all we know, in one form or another. Becoming sells, especially with regard to so-called enlightenment. But one does not attain illumination. There is such a thing as illumination, but there is no end, just deepening growth through negation, as paradoxical as that sounds.
Our consciousness is based on time. Not chronological time, but psychological time —becoming this or becoming that. We’re nearly always looking forward to something. To some degree looking forward to things is healthy, but when time-based consciousness is all one knows, one is a slave to becoming, and it prevents one from growing into a human being.
Time is obviously necessary for carrying out tasks, and for evolution, but are time and evolution involved in radical change and revolution in consciousness? No, time and evolution are antithetical to transmutation and revolution. Spiritual growth only occurs when psychological time ends.
It’s therefore a confusion of the highest order to talk about ‘conscious evolution.’ When we are really changing, we aren’t conscious of it until later, and then only fleetingly, like looking in a rear view mirror while driving at high speed.
If meditative states happen effortlessly and spontaneously, how does one even know when psychological time stops? Simply put, the mind no longer looks forward or back, but effortlessly remains with what is.
Timeless consciousness can operate in the field of time, but time-based consciousness has no relationship to the timeless.