Friday, June 06, 2008

Here's a thought.


Study any tree or leaf and consider, would you ever call a tree or leaf a bad tree or leaf no matter what time and weather had done to it? Nature's odd because whilst the effects of nature can sometimes be disastrous, I'd look pretty silly if I said that nature was bad. There is really nothing bad in nature, it does what it does and everything has its place, even if I don't understand what that is. Nature is perfect all the time, doing what nature does, no matter the consequences of the sometimes cataclysmic upheavals that take place in nature from time to time.

The complications start with us humans, it is we who define things as good or bad, and some things certainly are good or bad and we must stand up for those things or we become lacklustre, lifeless beings lacking any real substance. But it seems to me we take it too far. When it comes to thoughts and feelings we seem to apply our good and bad criteria and come up with some pretty wrong headed conclusions. You may disagree with me and everything I stand for, but that does not make me wrong or you right. We are all a work in progress on a vast journey of discovery.

My thoughts are not static, I have changed dramatically over time and am certainly not the same person I was at 16 or even 50, my being has changed and it has changed despite my frequent resistance to that change. And here's a thing, I have never once thought my way through a process of change, even though I may have been frantically thinking all the time. Every moment of change that has occurred in my life has come about through a eureka moment, when all the thoughts, ideas and events of my life have precipitated a moment or a process of enlightenment, of breakthrough. They have a unique savour, a real 'wow' feeling and they have taught me to be less frenetic in my thinking because they come despite me. it's almost as if I get in the way too much of the time. I have learnt to trust growth as an intuitive process rather than a rational process.

This is all part of the new paradigm. We have come through an age when science and reason were supreme, and it is only relatively recently that science has come to realise that there is no such thing as dispassionate observation. Quantum physics has taught us that the observer is part of the life of the observed and cannot be separated from it. There are limits to intellect and reason, they are incapable of addressing all reality, just as one cannot reason ones way through grief, for example, one must go through the process, or shut it out and down. Reason and intellect cannot help us become intuitive beings, or to experience the world in an intuitive way. Reason and intellect are descriptive, intuition is something else, holistic, a way of being. It is broader and deeper than our faculties of reason can deal with.

Zen and other paths of enlightenment have long known this. Zen in particular is all about the 'Ah, ah' moment, the moment when you 'get it'. I feel we have been the prisoners of science, religion and reason for so long, it's hard to break out, but the process of breaking out is what is happening, and I am grateful to live in such times and in this place to be a part of, and engaged with, that process.

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