We’re worn out. The philosophy, our fundamental beliefs, and yes our religions have run out of fuel to carry humankind to the next level of evolution. With some minor exceptions humanity is carrying on based on insights and ruminations for an ancient age. Buddha 2500 years ago; Christianity around 2100; Judaism 3500 years and Islam 1500 years give or take.
Gautama; Jesus; Abraham; Muhammed, nice guys all but first all-male, all products of Late Bronze Age Early Iron age historical worlds and thinking.
What we now know about our very physiology, technology, our cosmos has radically changed. And now we homo sapiens are on the cusp of becoming homo artificialis and colonizing our own small solar system if not other star systems. Quite humbling actually.
And being the humans we are, we don’t like change, let alone being changed. But history shows us that change usually comes about after ‘earth shattering’ events – or as Gurdjieff was fond of saying ‘shocks’. Shocks are coming. I’ll venture a prediction. Within my natural lifetime (next 20 years) humankind will be ‘shocked’ by:
- A ‘human being’ crafted through technical manipulation of genetic DNA structure.
- Scientific proof (observable, replicable) of evolving life forms off planet Earth
Then, and only then, will our philosophical cognitive frameworks change. And what comes then? The four horseman of current beliefs are replaced. My best bet? “The Next Buddha May Be A Sangha” – Thich Nhat Hanh
A community. Even our words fail us because our very language developed in the context of this ancient thinking. We don’t really even have the vocabulary, or the grammar of the new language.
Given all this, the purpose of this blog is to begin to point our collective purpose compasses in a certain direction and shape the first stumbling steps toward that emerging collective consciousness.
As the snarky title of this blog suggests, the time has come for mindful, purposeful, intentive action to shake lose this emerging consciousness from its 3000-year slumber. I suggest you can break down what you need to do into four steps. Yes, it is arduous and difficult, but as has been said, even the longest journey begins with the first step.
Mindfulness is the capacity for awakening.
Spend time and energy working on mindfulness. The key, I believe is twofold. First, building Present moment awareness. Be here, now. Secondly, Cognitive re-framing. Re-framing how we experience things, actions, emotions. Move off the stage and observe from afar.
My experience says that attention always follows intent. Once you are clear as to your intent the rest will emerge. But without conscious intent – then nothing. The goal is not to find THE answer, but to deepen the experience of being
Become aware of your immediate surround, and not just the physical but also the emotional landscape. Practice discernment and separate ‘you’ from ‘it’. What you often find is that there is an incoherence in energy levels between (and within) yourself and others. Don’t react to that difference, pause and then respond.
What is the larger whole you are working within? What is the bigger, more encompassing field of endeavor you are engaged with? Becoming aware of the larger context leads to a discovery of purposeful direction. This then moves you from mindful thought, to ethical deeds and ultimately to compassionate action.
What will get in the way?
All well and good, but what get in the way? In traditional Buddhist thought there are five ‘hindrances’ that inevitably get in the way of awakening.
- Sensing desire – seeking pleasant sensations, our physical selves.
- Aversion – pushing things away, wanting to deny. Rising of hostility and hatred
- Lethargy – A certain numbness, heaviness of mind and body, sloth and depression
- Restfulness – inability to calm the mind and let go of compulsive action
- Doubt – lack of conviction and trust in oneself
Overcoming hindrances is not easy. I could dismissively say, “well just meditate upon them more”. But then, wouldn’t that just be my own practice of aversion? No, at this early stage of your journey I much prefer the wisdom of Ajahn Sumedho, who says:
“In meditation one develops an understanding of the Five Hindrances — how, when one of them is present, you investigate it, you understand it, you accept its presence and you learn how to deal with it. Sometimes you can just tell it to go away and it goes; sometimes you just have to allow it to be there till it wears out.”
There will be more later, but this is as far as I’ve come on the journey. Out of the monastery and into the streets, Indeed, humankind’s future depends on it. Mother Nature has humbled us the past two years – clearly a karmic signal to wake up.
The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls. Take us out boys