Difficult conversations, quantum physics, and Hudson People
The spirit of our time is one of great conflict and healing. What appears to be paradoxical may not be. We may quarrel over the appearance or reality of a situation, and we may be zealously convinced in our beliefs, and we can still surrender to the unknown. Science, mythology, philosophy, and spirituality or wisdom traditions all attempt to reconcile deep mysteries. Who are we? Where have we come from? Where are we going and where will we go once we are no longer here? What is the difference between life and death? To date, no one has sufficiently answered, or even come close to attaining certainty beyond their own private individual experience. Whatever we attempt to do with language is bound by the constraints of language itself. Words are representations of external phenomena that can potentially be observed by all, deeply personal wordless experiences, and everything in between the gulf between subject and object. The ideas of Classical Western philosophy are built on the relationship between subjective and objective, which has shaped modern history the world over through "Enlightenment" ideas carried out through the vehicles of science, government, and even the narrative of history itself. We would never have been able to create a global society based on norms and rules if we had not discarded the subjective experience and elevated the objective. Although it is much maligned in the current climate, "Postmodern" philosophy was an attempt to recapture the lived experience of the individual and thus reintroduce the subjective perspective into the equation of shared life. You may be asking, "What does this have to do with yoga/meditation/spirituality/awakening?" The aim of yoga practice is to dissolve the separateness and unite subject and object; to reorient awareness to the center of life. The aim of Postmodern philosophy is the repackaged effort of wisdom traditions. The attempt to answer those "big questions" in human life are the link between our ancestors and ourselves. We have yet to solve these most essential mysteries through language. We are beginning to recognize how limited our understanding of our own understanding actually is. The same way the ancients used the mind as a vehicle to explore the nature of existence and our relationship to it, we are using language to deconstruct our ideas. Now we ask questions about the fundamental nature of reality according to the known limits of the laws of physics. (Why physics suggests other dimensions exist, searching for dark matter, portal to the 5th dimension). Where this process will ultimately lead us is still unclear. At this point it doesn't matter, because the areas where separateness has not been addressed are in our ordinary worldly lives. The problems we could more easily solve than quantum physics, we have only begun to address. What keeps us from bridging divides is not irreconcilable differences, or that some humans are incompatible with others. No. It is either an unwillingness or inability to navigate conflict. There are skills to engage with conflict that are available (How to have a difficult conversation, How to apologize when you've hurt someone). It is up to each of us to look deeply into our own lives and apply these measures. We cannot wait for institutions to regulate our behavior, or create systems of equity and justice - they have yet to do so. We have to be willing, for our own sake, to take up the mantle of exploring what the ancients sought to do; make awareness - love - the center of life. The beginning of bringing awareness into the foreground of our life is to resolve our own inner conflicts. We must be willing to investigate the inner landscape of our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. We have eons of inherited habits and patterns at work within us. There are energetic patterns that support our whole experience that are largely unexplored and unknown to us. A deep recognition of our inner world gives us the focus, patience, and compassion to extend that out to others. What would the world be like if awareness became the seat of our experience, and we no longer lived as though our lives were separate from life itself? This piece was inspired by Hudson People - "Trip To Your Mind"