As human beings living within our current evolutionary times, we ride along on the waves of our immediate conditions and circumstances, and infuse our self’s with all the social, and cultural activities that conform to the ideal of the times. We begin to incorporate these cultural ideals into the very fabric of our lives, and relate to them as real fixtures of our being. We also begin to unconditionally ride these ideas as a way to build up our life capacities, strategies, and even our characteristics. These ideas bring forth enormous power on behalf of our cultural, current understandings: for instance, the spread of religious understandings, the ready acceptance of philosophical principles, the growth of political fads, and the effigies of science, are all examples of the manner in which we may be torn from our moral moorings by these ideas sweeping over our minds and overwhelming both our willpower and our sense of moral responsibility. What is more, our resolve to move within truth, deteriorates, and we begin to live our lives on lower levels, and what is worse, we let ourselves become compulsive, recycling our behaviors over and over, until we lose control, and now instead of, we controlling our compulsions, our compulsions are now controlling us.
My husband just airdropped this to me. Turns out in 2012 I used to write posts like this, and share them to subscribers. The reminder makes me wonder why I don’t really write anymore and that makes me sad. So since I’ve no new material, here’s something old and still relevant.
The idea of meditation and its practice has nested within our cultural confindmints for a number of years. Generally, it congers up for us visions made popular by T.V. and movies: of priests or monks cloistered in some remote place, either chanting or quietly absorbed in prayer, or a practitioner of one of the marshal arts preparing for mortal combat or some spaced out “newager” sitting in a crossed legged position trying to experience oneness. Beyond those images, we have not a cultural niche of real value in which to place the practice of meditation.
The problem is that we have no tradition, no established conceptual foundation, aside from the Science of Psychology whose study mainly focuses on the functions of the physical brain. We therefore, need to barrow the cultural traditions of mind established over many ages, from the Orient and from India to help us understand, experience, and establish a true value for meditation. These borrowed traditions of mind are difficult for us to quickly and neatly integrate, adapt, and transpose into our culture. Yet as remote as these concepts seem from our everyday experiences, we are beginning to realize that the practice of meditation has a relevance to our spiritual, mental, and physical lives.
The motivation for this releverancy comes from our desperate desire to, in some way, neutralize and manage the stress and anxiety we create in our daily lives. People are desperately seeking any practice, method or technique that may relief their stress and bring some peace of mind. The problem is that the search is usually confined to the material side, trying to find the right pill, therapy, medical technique , psychological training, ect. The more we search for cures from the outside, and the more our attempts fail to satisfy, the greater our stress, anxiety, insecurity, and confusion. We are trying to satisfy infinite appetites with finite practices; an exercise in futility and ultimate frustration. Life’s enduring fulfillments lie within us, and the practice of meditation puts us in touch with that infinite world within. The practice of meditation begins to discipline our mind and gradually begins to abate those 1000 voices in the mind speaking at one time.
Seeing what is taking place in our world today, I began to realize it is not by chance, that the dire events happening are not the blind blowes of haphazard events, but are ominous fore warnings of the strife to come. We must recognize that despite the agony and the sadness that we are now indowled with, there are spiritual powers and forces sweeping over our earth, rearranging, remaking, and reshaping, setting a progressive, positive evolution of a higher order. Fear not, it will all work out to an already predestined and sublime ending.
There is a contemporary saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” There is an ancient saying attributed to a Hebrew wise man, “There is nothing new under the sun.” What these two sayings have in common is the suggestion that even though we see what is collectively designated as new, it is really a permutation of something that has already been. What is thought to be new is an adaptation of something that has been, and what has been is a bases from which adaptations are created. It is analogous to the Egyptian and East Indian myths of the Phoenix and the Garuda respectively. These two birds, consume themselves in fire, then are resurrected from their ashes. The operational theme in the above representation is the cyclic movement, from a time current bases, (from their former bird form, to an ashes form, then to a renewed form), to modifications, without a brake in the causal chain. If we were aware of the movements of our lives, we would be also aware of its cyclic nature, but for most of us, cyclic movement is only a background, of which we pay little attention.
We live within the great circulations of the Universe. The Hebrew prophet, Ezekiel, described this cosmic movement as, “wheels within wheels.” We live through the cycles of our lives, even before birth we must gestae for nine months, then the life cycle: birth, growth, death, decay. Every manifest thing has duration, and moves in step with Universal Nature’s cycles: beginning, middle, and end. Within Universal Nature’s Great Wheel are numerous major and minor wheels, Our Milky Way or galactic cycle-our imagination can scarcely grasp at the enormity of its cyclic movements or duration. Then there is the cyclic movement of our solar system within the our galaxy. Then are the lesser movements, our planet Earth’s 365 day movement around our Sun, our Earth’s 24 hour rotation, and how about our satellite, the Moon’s 14 day cycle around our earth-“wheels within wheels.” All these cycles, and many, many more we know and do not know, are webbed together, and are causally linked one to another. Nature repeats herself everywhere, and it is on her repetitive action that the laws of cycles are founded.
As I age, and my body morphs into an older characterization of my younger self, my feeling of myself within my mind has not changed. That is to say, in my mind my identity, my character, the way I use my energy, has remained constant. And further, this felt quality of myself would remain the same even as I awakened from sleep, even if I were hit on the head and lost consciousness, even if I awakened from a coma, even if I had amnesia. This individualized quality of being is experienced, at sometime or another, by every spiritual awakened human being. Even though there is unrelenting change bombarding our being, there is also a place of constancy within our consciousness, and this constancy gives us our feel of our unique quality.
All manifest things have a certain predominant quality. For instance, if an oak tree seed were planted, an oak tree would manifest, not a pine or maple tree. The oak tree’s DNA has instructions and memory to form an oak tree; of course within the instructions are continuous adjustments of internal relations to external relations. Therefore, not all oak trees would look 100% identical, but their oak treeness, their quality, their essential characteristics, and their function would predominately remain the same.
You the reader, have probably noticed the difficulty of confidently understanding some of the meaning of certain ideas put forth in this blog. This difficulty arises first, from your unfamiliarity with the ideas put forth, and the limits of the English language for explanation. The English language has no equivalent words for some of these ideas. They are beyond its syntax. That is the reason Sanskrit and other languages are used. These other languages have incorporated these ideas into their word syntax.
All things have consciousness. “I don’t agree,” you are probably saying. “My senses show me that some things have consciousness: human beings, are self conscious, animals to some extent, even plants have consciousness, but a rock would be too great a stretch for my mind to include under the idea of consciousness.” Let us take some time and examine the viability of your senses to provide real understanding. Your senses are of limited quality. For instance, our vision is limited to within a certain range of light waves. Physicists tell us that the total known range of light waves is from far infrared at 3 millimeters, to vacuum ultraviolet, at .3 nanometers, (one-billionth of a meter). The average range of light waves visible to human senses is from 400 to 700 nanometers. We hear within a specific decibel range. We taste, touch, and smell all within specific ranges of flavors and tactile sensations, These given sense limitations function as a clearinghouse, filtering out all senatations not precisely corresponding to our standard range of reception. The result of this filtering process produces a standard range of experience patterns, and their corresponding states of consciousness. So within the limited range of our senses is a broad spectrum of possible misperceptions. Who has not misperceived a coiled rope or hose for a snake, or a leaf lying on the ground as a bird or squirrel? Thus we can understand that using our senses as a competent measure of reality is not always reliable, couple that with the capacity of our emotions to misinterpret our perception of reality, and we have a formidable dynamic for misperception. There is a American Indian saying that gives credence to our capacity to misperceive our senses, in goes: “Believe, only 50% of what you see, and nothing of what you hear.” Thus far we have a good argument for not trusting our senses to distinguish reality, but that is not altogether enough evidence to conclude that a rock has consciousness. Here we will turn to a specific field of physics called Quantum Physics for an opinion. Scientist in this field, theorize that at the core of the material world there is a non-material realm that can be termed consciousness. And as we can say that the material world is made up of atoms, we can also say that this indwelling field of consciousness is what the universe is made of. A rock then, is fundamentally made up of fields of electromagnetic energy-molecules modulating on an energy level of very high frequency and low amplitude. The rock’s outer wrapping (as to density, form, and color) is the direct effect of the quality of the energy radiating from within. Thus even a rock, whose outer nature appears inert, has an inner, non-visible nature of dynamic energy.
Who protects the children? Who shelters the sacredness of childhood?
This duty falls upon the parents/caregivers.
And yet, as the quote above states: It is in the homes and in childhood that the wreckage of human life begins. I would say it is also in schools and religious institutions.
I come out strongly suggesting this because this wreckage is what I care passionately about. My passion was reignited last week as my daughter shared an experience she had. It triggered experiences and emotions still unprocessed from my childhood.
A family member had compared their daughter to mine, and not in a positive light. This has happened before when another family member did not want their daughter to be around mine because they believed she was a bad influence. I recall the time, as a young teenager, I was forbidden to step foot in my friend’s house because her parents believed I was a bad influence because I dated black boys. I remember how this hurt me, and it wasn’t the first time. It was a reoccurring theme that somehow something in me threatened the adults and they didn’t want me rubbing off on their kids. Absurd!
I can say that now, but at the time I felt like a defect. I felt ashamed. I felt judged. And, I felt angry. The anger I felt was about the injustice I was experiencing. These parents who judged me did not know me. They never asked me questions. They did not spend time with me. I was instantly forbidden fruit based on a few choices and behaviors.
My daughter is being judged in the same way. The family members who chose this behavior do not know her. I’ve yet to see any of them sit down with her and ask her questions about who she is or how she is. Or have they sat down with me and asked about what is was like to raise her or how I raised her. And somehow, as parents, they believe they won’t deal with the behaviors they think they know about my daughter and if they do, they rather it be due to the negative influence of my daughter. How ignorant!
What is forgotten, what is not done is to look wider and deeper at the reasons behind so called negative behaviors and influences. Why might someone act out with “negatively”? Why might a child/teenager self-harm? Use drugs? Do we think they are just a defect or do we just blame the bad influences? Or do we consider they are acting out unprocessed traumas that occur within our own homes? Our own toxic environments? Acting out the wreckage of their childhood? Not usually. Instead of adults putting this together, adults project their fears, ignorance and their own unprocessed traumas and emotions at the children and make them the problem. How unjust!
For example, say a young girl lives in a home where a parent abuses alcohol. I know this home. My mom was an alcoholic. It sucks. It damages a child. It creates patterns that can destroy a life. The child might point out to their parent that they drink too much. Instead of the parent listening, the parent feels disrespected. They believe the child has lost their rightful place in the family hierarchy- to be seen and not heard; to respect their elders. All non-sense!
Why should a child not be able to claim their childhood? Why should a child respect a parent who is not protecting their childhood? Why should they not proclaim: I matter. My childhood matters. Why should a child not plead to their parents to protect the sacredness of their childhood? More sad, why should a child have to?
Kahlil Gibran on children said:
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
We cause the wreckage when we see them as our possessions and believe they are less than. We do them a great disservice when we do not see them as souls, as a spirit within a body that have their own path to follow. When I was judged, yes, I felt hurt, but I also knew there was nothing wrong with me. I sensed both my humanity and my spirituality. I understand we are dual- both material and spiritual. We are made up of our childhood environments and our larger society that create our psychological experience and we are spiritual- of spirit- composed of high vibrations of energy that are constantly evolving.
I have no doubt the vast majority of us who are parents are going to fuck up our kids. I thought I was a good mom because I didn’t abuse alcohol like my mother did, and provided a mostly stable environment, but I brought them other traumas. This is bound to happen because we have unconscious realms of darkness within us that hold old conditioning and beliefs. But, there is hope. We can protect childhood!
Here is what we can do: We can 1) commit to our own inner, self-reflective work and practices. We can and must commit to our own healing. And 2) repair the harms we have caused with our children. To do this, we must be open and respect their experience enough to openly listen to them. We must give them safe space to air out their grievances. Recently, my kids sat down with my husband and me and told us what it was like to grow up with our marriage. It was brutal to hear. But it was and is my duty to listen, to repair and commit to healing.
It is time to end fearful, ignorant parenting based on a hierarchical mindset and unconscious psychological patterns. Instead it is time to begin conscious, mindful parenting, which is a combination of reparenting ourselves with honesty and compassion and our children the same.
Recently, I noticed I kept trying to figure myself out, figure out who I am, and I couldn’t. This frustrated me. I’ve spent decades figuring myself out, and the truth is all I’ve really figured out is who I am not. I call this work, The Great Untying. It is inner work, deep self-reflective work that takes courage and conviction. In doing this work, we discover many false narratives about ourselves. In this process, I realize all of who I wasn’t was held together by false narratives AND all of who I am has been trapped within all of that.
I’ve been corrupted with false narratives from my upbringing, the American culture, specifically being “Minnesota Nice,” and systems and structures created from the false dogma of white and male supremacy.
I’ve been so hard on myself too— saying, Nikki, get your shit together. Why is it taking you so long to find yourself, to know who you are— as if I am flawed, useless and hopeless. Now, I give credit to myself for getting as far as I have in my personal evolution in spite of all the bullshit to get through.
The Great Untying (of these false narratives), for me, has taken 30+ years. Due to this work, I am in a new place now, but tried to use an old tool. I realize that the analytical tool of figuring myself out is not what this moment calls for. Although it is natural to wonder who I am now, without the false narratives, I understand I will not know who I am through contemplation. Instead, this moment calls for action, while also calling for allowing. I will begin to see my new self arise by doing and by being. I will experience my unfolding as I act and allow.
This insight shows me how interconnected my personal evolutionary journey is with the global one. I wonder, does anyone else notice the parallels within their own life and that which is playing out globally, specifically in America?
We are indeed in a global shift. The false narratives are being exposed. The truths are being revealed. The moment calls for new tools and a wider, deeper mindset. The call is for us take action toward truth and justice and to allow our higher, truer selves to emerge as we act and move forward, and upward.
The idea that anyone could know, in a comprehensive manner, the meaning of life, seems to most people an absurd notion. Life qua life, is such an enormous, interwoven, complicated idea that it appears to defy comprehension, and further there is a general feeling today among Western Culture that a person searching for life’s meaning is wasting scarce energy, scarce time, and being counter productive. “Monty Python,” a group of English funny men, created a satirical spoof movie called, The Meaning of Life. Of course their title was meant to be sarcastic and to taunt the viewer with the high concept of “the meaning of life,” then they immediately began to mock it in the most irreverent of ways. After many comedic skits, that had little to do with the meaning of life, the movie ended with one of the Monty Python crew sitting in a chair saying , “Oh! You really expected to see evidence of the meaning of life?” Then he reaches over to a small table standing next to him, picks up the book setting there entitle, “The Meaning Of Life,” opens it and begins to read in a flippant manner, “treat every one as you would like to be treated, turn the other cheek, love your neighbor as yourself, blah, blah, blah,” then throws the book to the side on the floor as the movie ends.
Viktor E. Frankl, a Viennese psychiatrist, wrote a book entitled, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” His presentation was taken seriously by millions of readers, owning to the facts that he was an immanent psychiatrist, and a survivor of Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Dachau. On page 154 of his book Frankl encapsulated his perception of the meaning of life, …”Man is not fully condition and determined, but rather determines himself whether he gives into conditions or stands up to them. In other words, man is ultimately self-determined. Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment”… Thus the meaning of life for Frankl, expresses itself from man’s innate capacity for self-determination. What is not made clear from Frankl’s above perception or perhaps it was implied, is where the capacity for self-determination originates? The answer is, it originates from our self-awareness.