Ordinary waking consciousness emanates from ego and attachment. Ego – the “I” that is oneself is attached to everything. This is the way of the outer world. We forget about our “inner world” and come to believe that ego and attachment are all that is. In other words, ego, language and thought is caught up in attachment.
I’m sure you have heard or read that meditation is about quieting the mind. I can only write to the meditation that I know: Vipassanā Meditation or Insight Meditation. This kind of meditation works with the breath and helps to quiet the mind. It takes practice to quiet the mind as many who practice meditation already know.
The mind creates what is known as a stream of consciousness which includes all matter of attachments – thoughts, memories, ideas, fantasies and so on. Anyone who has daydreamed in a classroom, or in boring business meetings falls into the stream of consciousness. The stream is constantly flowing so that when we stop being present our attention falls into it and is taken away by the stream. The draw of the stream is one of attachment – a kind of addiction so common that it is not referred to as an addiction. We have accepted that attachment / addiction to thoughts, language, fantasies, identity, status and so on is all there is, so we never come to realize that all attachments are distractions that form a recycling whirlpool that eats itself. The distraction is one that leads away from peace and happiness. On a deeper level attachment is the distraction from oneness with all beings.
On my first Vipassanā Meditation retreat over 35 years ago the facilitator, Bhante aka the Venerable Dharmawara Mathahera, a 92-year-old Cambodian Buddhist monk sent us to meditate on our own. We had spent four days in group meditation.
It was a muggy and overcast day. I spread my blanket on the ground and sat. I began to notice my breath, in and out. Flies landed on my bare skin, tickling the hairs of my arms, and I laughed aloud. Mosquitoes landed on me and did not bite me. Deeper into the meditation, with my eyes closed, I felt presences near me. I opened my eyes a slit and saw a squirrel, a rabbit and a skunk sitting in a semicircle in front of me. My thought was, “this is normal.” I continued to meditate.
When it was done I felt at peace with the world.
The Current World
The world of attachment is filled with divisiveness and antagonistic rivalries; as you may have noticed. This is to be expected in the cycle of history we find ourselves within.
According to the scholar – Bidhu Dev Misra we are near the end of the Ascending Kali Yuga. It’s ends in 2025 and is followed by a 300-year transition period before the Ascending Dwapara Yuga begins (seen End Notes for more information about the Yugas).
Kali is the goddess/god of destruction – a phoenix that destroys itself to rise from the ashes. Opposite the 6,000 years of the Descending and Ascending Kali Yugas are the 6,000 years of the Satya Yugas – an age of oneness where there is no ego, no religion, no money… only peace, harmony and oneness.
Characteristic of the age of destruction is both a fear of “the end” as characterized by rabid divisive thoughts and actions as a way to obliterate the end by hanging on to a short-term power, a short-term quarterly dividend – in short, the greed and lust for power. Ego, attachment and thinking are in a whirlpool of oppositional thinking that seeks its own destruction. This might be funny except for a denial and resistance to the existential threat of the climate crisis.
The Inner World
Through Vipassanā Meditation a quieting of the mind can begin to manifest. Ego is surrendered in the moment and attachment is sometimes released in the space between an inhalation of breath and its exhalation. A regular practice of meditation can allow the ego to float and attachment’s roots to be loosened.
A wondrous aspect of the inner world is revealed as ego and attachment are released. A profound peace and simple happiness become apparent. Thought clears, consciousness expands, and time ceases to exist.
This “world” beyond ego and attachment is the beginning of the continuum of enlightenment. It lasts all too briefly as the worlds of ego, linear time and attachment come into claim the vestiges of enlightenment scantily clad through memory.
The Current World as seen from the Inner World
By freeing ourselves from time and attachment, the world of the Kali Yuga – the current world becomes evident. All thought in this epoch arises from attachment and as a result is not original thought. Attached thoughts swirl from a stream (as in the stream of consciousness) into a whirlpool (or black hole) to obliterate thought for the increasing enslavement of humankind.
There is no “we”. All are separate, divided into smaller camps of “us” and “them” living in the houses of anger, rage, hatred, envy and greed as reflected in:
- political camps,
- statistical studies measuring a nation divided as much as in the times of the US Civil War,
- science and technology as in reducing to understand, and
- predatory capitalism as in dividing goods and services into smaller amounts – conquering and destroying smaller businesses in favor of the most profit, the most money and the least or no taxes.
Thought and action is divided into the dyad of good versus evil, right versus wrong and so on with no middle ground of reconciliation, governance and/or compromise.
The action of the dyad is choking itself and headed towards self-destruction characteristic of the Kali Yuga time cycle.
If we are to survive climate crisis as a species then as individuals we could choose:
- Beginning the day with a 30 to 50-minute mediation.
- Using the meditation as an anchor throughout the day to remind us to choose kindness, compassion and right (no-acting out) anger to right wrongs for the good of all.
- Political Actions whether that be donating / volunteering time, money as a protest against excluding people from equal participation in a democratic process
Due to the enormous amounts of money contributed by billionaires and corporations to co-op the government (US) we as a people must take back our government to save it from dictatorial types and re-establish a democracy.
This can be done from a compassion stance where neutral ground can be established – once again – to govern as opposed to rule.