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When Thought Falls Silent There Is Harmony

Published: Fri 15 Mar 2024 11:57 AM
The afternoon was gray and chilly, with only the saddle-shaped opening to the canyon visible in the hills beyond town. Suddenly the sun broke through near the horizon in the western sky.
For some timeless minutes, sunlight flooded the land and illuminated the hills in the distance, and lit the white bark of the leafless sycamores around me in alpenglow.
Beyond personal interpretation or imagination, a reverential quality came over the land and flooded into one. One felt, as never before, that the Earth is love.
Suddenly it began to sprinkle in the immediate vicinity. With the sun still shining near the horizon behind me, a partial rainbow appeared over the hills. The brain became very quiet, with not a flutter of thought. It felt as if I wasn’t there. An ineffable sacredness suffused the land and infused the attentively quiet mind/brain.
So why does the brain revert to the noise and suffering of thought rather than remain in silence, emptiness and love? Is it a personal or universal phenomenon?
The human brain is dominated by thought. The problem is not scientific and practical knowledge, but the mental and emotional dregs of experience, conditioning and politics that prevent the intelligent and harmonious use of knowledge.
That background noise of thought, euphemistically called the “chattering mind,” is like the noise of a busy freeway that never stops, and barely slows even during sleep.
The meaning and purpose of meditation is the complete cessation of the movement of thought as knowledge, experience, conditioning and memory. There is not method to it, since all systems of meditation are made by thought and are the continuation of thought. Meditation is simply the spontaneous stillness of thought that occurs with intense, inclusive and undirected attention.
That isn’t so difficult; why is it so rare, even in people who meditate daily? Is it because the habit of psychological thought around a center called “me” is tens of thousands of years old, and only so-called mystics experience deeper states of seeing and being without the filter of symbols and memories?
Is it because we deeply fear the loss of the known, as knowledge and experience, and so resist the silent emptiness of being?
Is it because the human brain is ‘wired’ for symbolic activity, and the state of unmediated perception is a rare exception, pejoratively labeled mystical experience?
All the above no doubt. Even so, the mind of any serious individual can fall silent in undirected attention to the movement of thought/emotion and drink from the infinite, regenerative well of stillness and silence.
Elon Musk just blew up another huge rocket in another test of his Starship, which is taller than the Saturn V that sent men to the moon. He says he’ll need “hundreds of tests.”
On the same day that was reported, the head of NOAA, America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, called for geo-engineering the atmosphere and oceans in a misbegotten effort to stem the unchecked tsunami of carbon emissions.
Also falling on deaf ears as the background noise of thought, the so-called “leader of the free world” continues to send its bombs and billions to Israel to perpetrate genocide. Repeating ad nauseum the pathetic excuse of “self defense” against a strip of land that Israel has laid siege to for years, Israelis make an evil mockery of “never again” as they slaughter and starve Gazans to death.
Is it that everywhere in the universe where life evolves potentially intelligent creatures that break the bonds of ecological niche and consciously manipulate their environments, there is an overwhelming tendency to fragment the seamless wholeness of their planets all to hell? Or is it just man?
Despite Musk’s “multiplanetary species” lunacy, the ultimate existential paradox is that a silent, conscious awareness of being and inviolability requires the evolution of brains possessing fully conscious thought. But without insight superseding it, symbolic thought becomes a tremendous impediment to awareness and compassion, not to mention a planet and people killer.
Clearly brains such as ours are necessary to see, feel and participate in the silence and emptiness of cosmic intelligence. What’s missing is individual and collective self-knowing.
As smart as crows, orcas and bonobos are, the human brain is the only brain on this planet that has the capacity for conscious awareness of the numinous. Therefore it isn’t science and technology that allow humans to grow into human beings, or even language, art and culture, but our spiritual and philosophical capacity.
Einstein said, “I have no better expression than the term ‘religious’ for this trust in the rational character of reality and its being accessible, at least to some extent, to human reason.”
Irrespective of oxymoronic free will however, and the moronic superficiality of “agency,” reason is necessary but not sufficient. Non-accumulative self-knowing is sufficient, because it carries with it responsibility for the whole as well as the parts, as individuals, of humankind.
Einstein was deterministic and somewhat deistic, maintaining, “Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control…we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player.”
That isn’t so. Beings with the potential for true consciousness contain a creative, indeterminate feature, which has nothing to do with choice and free will, and everything to do with wholeness, responsibility and insight.
There is great beauty in the paradox between temporality and space-time, in which the brain indisputably exists, and directly experiencing the silent and timeless ground of being, which the brain is capable of when thought, knowledge and experience are completely quiet.
Every form of fragmentation, disorder and suffering has been generated by thought dominating the human brain, and it is decimation the earth and humanity. But thought is not the entire brain anymore than it is the entirety of nature. (Though it is and always will be the entirety of AI.)
When thought yields to attention and the brain is completely quiet, the human being sees, feels and shares in the creative silence and immeasurable emptiness of Mind.
Martin LeFevre
lefevremartin77 at gmail

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