As meditators, we’re privy to this incredible view into the human universe where we see that the majority of our thoughts are not conscious, they just come out of the subconscious. “I will now meditate. Let me initiate several
random thoughts on purpose” said no one, ever! You’re sitting there and they just bubble up! What the hell is happening?!
It’s your subconscious! It’s coming out of your 8th consciousness, as we call it in the Buddhist teachings, or subconscious. It’s unconscious stuff, karma or memories. It’s not on purpose. Then, to make matters worse, we have a bad thought come up and we go “Oh! You are awful! That was terrible! You’re terrible.” Then you beat up on yourself. “I will never think that again! Now I’m going to meditate. No baddies. No baddies.”
First off, you didn’t intend it, you didn’t even consciously do it, then secondly you take credit for it and beat up on yourself. Wow. That’s pretty thorough. And, that, to me, is an imbalance in our inner environment. The imbalance comes from a small vision.
So for me, meditation is really about increasing our vision to a more and more unlimited vision, not changing the content of our mind. It’s not what comes up, as Pema Chodron says, it’s how we work with it. That is what meditation and dharma is all about.
So the last thing I’ll say here is that we also have the cultural conditioning, and this is not about ascribing blame, it’s just a very terse history lesson. If you look at Descartes and other thinkers in the west that proposed a duality between man and nature, it got really important to these people to say that humans were special, humans were better than animals.
I’ve just got to say, I don’t think that is true. I think that is wrong, and I don’t think there is any real basis for dividing lines. I think we are animals and animals are human. They’re just beings, sentient beings. There are different kinds of beings with different abilities and different capacities but they can feel.
The things that animals do! Do you know that dolphins, if someone is drowning, four of them will come together and lift the person up with their tails and take them into land.
When wolves, a pack of wolves, are attacked by a grizzly, a couple of wolves will stay behind to fight off and even die fighting the grizzly to protect the rest of their group.
A lot of these stories that were passed on about survival of the fittest were actually rebranded versions of Darwin’s research and there is real evidence. There were these captains of industry that started to make a PR campaign about that because it was really appealing to what they were trying to accomplish.
If you really look at Darwin, survival of the fittest includes survival of the most cooperative. The only reason that human beings made it this far is that they cooperate. There is lots of evidence of this in other animals. It has nothing to do with passing on genes. So there is a really interesting story here.
In the next post, I’ll talk about the different ways we regard ourselves in relation to our biosphere and why it matters.
This blog post is part of an ongoing series:
Ecology of the Heart Part 1
Ecology of the Heart Part 2
Ecology of the Heart Part 3
Ecology of the Heart Part 4
Ecology of the Heart Part 5
Ecology of the Heart Part 6
Ecology of the Heart Part 7
Ecology of the Heart Part 8
Ecology of the Heart Part 9
Ecology of the Heart Part 10
Ecology of the Heart Part 11
Ecology of the Heart Part 12
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