I am always amazed at how my perception, how I think about things, influences my perception. I can change on a dime, so to speak.
If I remind myself that I am one creature out of many that owe my existence to something much greater than myself, I am immediately brought out of myself and into a place of peace and harmony. The peace and harmony is always there. That is part of the amazement. It is continuous. It is only myself that chooses to separate from it. The choice is largely undetected by myself as it is my lifestyle or “culture” habits that lead me away.
The habits and patterns of behavior that I have been brought into as a child and developed through living in the “culture” are something that has to be overcome, to a certain extent, in order to recognize what is always there. The fact that it is always there makes it a little easier to ‘overcome’ since we all stumble into the peace at times without “effort”.
This creates a wondering in me about why should I have to ‘overcome’ my ‘programming’ to be more in touch with a peace that is always there. It implies that we are living “wrong”. A little research provides more evidence to this implication. Shoot, a little thought provides more evidence to this implication. You can find all kinds of articles, reports, studies, speeches, and other modes of communication going back as far as recorded history about the faults of ‘existence’. Most, however, approach it from the assumption that it is something that is innate to being human.
Trying to understand the failings of humankind by assuming that what now is, is the way it ‘naturally’ is. Didn’t Einstein say something about that?
How do you get out of yourself to peek into this continuity of peace that is always there?
Although Science tries we can’t understand existence as something that is wholly independent of the one seeking to understand it. We can’t really get away from who we are, but we can stop, or almost stop, the clutter of our inner dialog. This is meditation. A personal effort to quieten the mind so that the experience of existence becomes larger in one’s perception; not cognition, perception by our senses. Trying to experience what is with as little interference from ourselves as much as possible. Here you can find that peace although it becomes wrapped in thought about the ‘true’ nature of existence from knowledge. You emerge from meditation and the old brain gets to work. It begins filling in what the experience means. As an atheist or an agnostic or someone ‘just looking’ the meaning assigned to the experience is one in keeping with your preconceptions about life and what you think about humans’ place in it. To be fair, it doesn’t matter whether you are an atheist or not, you are going to try and assign meaning to it and carry preconceptions to it.
Typically this place of peace has been translated for the western world as the “void”. A bad term for English speaking peoples. It is without qualia. It is empty, without meaning. So you are faced with coming to grips with eternal emptiness. You are now in a circle of finding peace and then reconciling that peace with an emptiness with no meaning. Round and round you go because what becomes of you if there is no meaning to your existence?
Some find it and perceive it as “love”. This provides a foundation for proselytizing. To proclaim that all that is needed is to spend time meditating and becoming ‘better’ and we can make the world a better place. Do you see the problem here?
Why do we think we need to make the world a better place? Didn’t it work just fine prior to humans and for about 2 million years after the appearance of humans? This is the stumbling block of our current concepts. For some reason, we think we are in a position, strictly through our intellect, to create an existence better than the one in which we found ourselves. All of this kind of thinking occurred over the last 15,000 years or so. It began, or came together, as we started agriculture. It is a chicken or egg thing. What came first (although the chicken came first or the egg would not be a chicken)? Agriculture or thinking that it would be good to stop foraging and stay in one place?
I think it grew from an escape from individuals thinking they had the right to control or rule over others because of their strength. “Join us and we’ll protect you!”. But when and how is not really important. It is the bias of a civilized mind that requires those answers. That mind hates the prospect of something going on and not being able to pin it down to an unalterable truth. So as it has searched over the years, that mind has found that there is no unalterable truth save what is .