A Master once reminded us that, if we are to gain the Kingdom of Heaven, we must first become as little children. I have been thinking extensively about the dichotomy inherent in the engine of convention; how it is both a necessary evil in that it allows us a functioning society and, at the same time, can be a barrier to the living of an unfettered, realized existence. I mean unfettered in the sense of losing the western, linear way of thinking and being able to live in the domain of the peripheral.
From our first conscious moments, we are taught convention and are then slowly, steadily seeped of our unconscious connection to the Absolute. By the time we are adolescents we have forgotten our heavenly ways. We no longer live by feeling or intuition. The child just knows things, as does an animal. They sense the good in people and the bad. They don’t qualify such indications with strings of words and reasoning, but with a grand snapshot of the whole picture which allows for instantaneous response. The child cries; the dogs bolts…
Reasoning, induction, logic; these are processes that take time. When they are complete the thinker has no direct knowledge of their subject, although they may understand the various facets of certain characteristics pertaining to said object. Of course the proverb of the blind men and the elephant is relevant here. In the same sense, the linear human being has for its “self-awareness” snapshots of past experiences, identifications with exterior subjects and therefore an extremely temporal, if not outdated, database with which to compile a definition of itself. This tunnel vision is learned to enable us to dissect the pieces of creation’s puzzles, but it never reveals the final, great picture.
I am reminded of the pictographic writing of eastern, oriental cultures, and of ancient Egypt in particular. It is often overlooked that such “macros” of reference that their hieroglyphic symbols represent display a non-linear way of thinking. They had no need to spell out forever every last detail of what they were referring to because the reader already carried an innate understanding of the subject matter. I am reminded of the “not-doings” again of the Toltec, of the “wu-wei” of the Taoist-a far more efficient “real-time” way of integrating thought and action.
To truly “see” everything around you at once you merely need to disengage your tunnel vision; just cross your eyes. This simple exercise sums up the major difference in philosophy between West and East. Of course, nobody wants to be operated on by a cross-eyed brain surgeon, and I heard that hand-made watches don't turn out as well with that approach, either. There is a time and place for both ways of seeing what we wish to see, and this fact leads me to the crux of why I felt the need to get out of bed at one in the morning to turn my computer back on.
When I see all of Creation, I see the process of expansion and retraction played out repeatedly in a sort of sifting and refining. As the microcosm, we are no different and we display this entire process within our being and our life cycle. We are born with the ability to see in the peripheral, with the mind’s eye. We are taught to abandon this ability and embrace the linear way of thinking with each new day of our new life. We are taught to be “intelligent,” but in that process we lose something very important, something that the wise of the world spend the rest of their grown lives trying to regain.
This principle of “no-mind,” or wu-hsin, is repeatedly lauded by such figures as Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu as the key to an enlightened life. It is liberation of anxiety and, in turn, peace of mind.
Being of the West, I see the value in both trains of thought, and at the moment I personally believe that there is a time and a place for both. I do not witness the East condemning Western thought, but I feel that our linear approach to understanding the universe often derides and discredits the Eastern approach. Anyone watching the Science or Discovery channels will undoubtedly sense the gradual shift, however, toward a more global embracing of Eastern mysticism. The advances in our understanding of quantum physics had much to do with this, as is well known and documented. That the most famous scientists in history were, indeed, mystics, is becoming more acceptable to popular history every day.
Where I feel one of the last major bastions of linear thinking to the exclusion of all else resides is in the very place that would feign spirituality-dogmatic religion. How ironic. I keep hearing how certain denominations even condemn the act of yoga as an illegitimate approach to transcendence. Milton, Milton…
In a linear conception of the world a kingdom is an actual stone-and-foundation building. Did not Christ tell us that the Kindgom of Heaven is within us? Could not Heaven literally be the Higher Self and "hell" our mundane, "lower", false egos? Why do we write His words off as figurative? I would propose that if anyone is to take the linear approach to understanding what the Kingdom actually is that they take these words literally, too. If we take the entire process to the macrocosmic level we would see all of Creation in a sea of potential, dividing and becoming tangible, manifested, grounded. It is much like the ovum. It is conceived so near to its original state, but then becomes conscious. It studies itself. It has experiences. It lives and breathes. It hardens and coagulates, forming new bodies like its own whole but smaller, mini systems in their own right.
In the end this will all return. Prana and Apana. It will return refined and rectified as a more glorious version of its former being, synergistically evolved. Solve et coagula. For this is the Pattern. The search for paradise lost is none other but the Path of Return to our original state of mind; the mind of a child. In the new and glorious state the child has gained experience, however, much like the grape juice needs yeast to make wine. Without linear thinking the child would never have lived to become an adult. Once adulthood is attained, however, the refined awareness of the mind of the child must be re-introduced as a sort of Fermenting agent. Only then, when what was lost is regained, can Creation consider its cycle complete.
All sages are seeking to become children again. Children with experience. Creation incorporating a conscious experience seeks the same. Microcosm and macrocosm- different only in degree-with one a perfect hologram of the other.
I propose that the Kingdom of Heaven is none other but the ultimate evolution realized. As below, so above. What is true for my evolution is the same for any planet, any star, any galaxy. We have beginning, we have middle, and we have end. We are born, we live, we die. In the death of one star comes the dust for countless new worlds. Ashes to ashes…. The Path of Return is everything He summed up when He gave us the aphorism of becoming a child again. Without that frame of mind there is no enlightenment, no realization.
“Cut out cleverness and there are no anxieties!
People in general are so happy, as if enjoying a feast,
Or as going up a tower in spring.
I alone am tranquil, and have made no signs,
Like a baby who is yet unable to smile;
Forlorn as if I had no home to go to.
Others all have more than enough,
And I alone seem to be in want.
Possibly mine is the mind of a fool,
Which is so ignorant!
The vulgar are bright,
And I alone seem dull.
The vulgar are discriminative,
And I alone seem to be blunt.
I am negligent as if being obscure;
Drifting, as if being attached to nothing.
The people in general all have something to do,
And I alone seem to be impractical and awkward.
I alone am different from others,
But I value seeking sustenance from my Mother.”
-Tao Teh Ching 20