Contemplation as Art
Are you aware of what causes rampant consumerism and materialism in our cultures? Do you know that your finite personality, your ego consciousness is primarily concerned with externals, appearances, subjects and objects outside your self. The psyche, soul that’s connected to the infinite however is primarily concerned with what lies within and beyond. The union of ego and psyche was normative in the past when, as a species, we spent our time in leisure and looking for food and shelter as hunter-gatherers.
For ninety nine percent of human existence on the planet we foraged for food like the rest of the animals. Then about eight thousand years ago, as a species, we began deciding not to rely on the earth’s abundance and attempted to control it. We started down the long difficult path of manipulating crops, flocks, environments and each other. We discovered over time however that controlling environments takes a lot of work. It also creates competition, quarrels, rigidity, controlling and warring adversaries.
Because we’ve been locked in this controlling cultural milieu all these years, we’ve taken it for granted. We think having a control based culture is built into our DNA but as Philip Slater’s ground breaking work, The Chrysalis Effect points out: “The old notion of the DNA as a ‘fixed blueprint’ in each creature altered only by accidents has been replaced by a new view of the DNA as a complex self-organizing system that responds to events.” We can and do change collectively but it takes generations.
If you haven’t noticed, this change is already taking place as we move globally from controlling cultures to more integrating cultures. I know the present day doesn’t seem to reflect this observation but when I look back globally to 1968, 1948, 1928, 1918 and measure them against what we saw in the 2018 Winter Olympics, I’m astounded at the changes over the past hundred years. Think of the movements that have been initiated and continued despite vigorous opposition in civil rights, women’s rights, human rights, ecology, diversity, new age philosophies, spirituality and international relations.
Sitting quietly in contemplation I feel the template of our world shifting and changing. With new eyes the process of evolution can be seen moving at glacial speed and at the speed of love over the trajectory of our lifetimes. In spite of all that says ‘No’ to the ongoing evolution of human consciousness, we can observe a self-organizing creativity that’s innate and in process throughout the whole of creation. Human Nature continues to be the Living Art that draws out the best while transcending and including the rest.
This Living Art is ever present within each of us. It’s accessed by broadening our attention to a more expansive field that doesn’t seek to control, manipulate or build walls but simply to enter into the life process with a sense of reverence, abundance and joy. It cradles power in its calmness, gives as much or more than it receives, values and respects the dignity of the whole creation and builds bridges between every separation and disconnection. Contemplation, an alternative integrating consciousness, unites the inner and outer worlds and co-creates the divine artistry we dream of. . . .
In our present daily lives it seems imperative that we begin to let go more control to let come the integrating energy that seeks to bridge all divides and heal all wounds. It also seems important to look within and without in ways that continually recognize the interconnectivity of all Life and be inspired to live into its’ wealth, wisdom and wonder with one another. The inconvenient truth is that the present and future are in our hands and hearts. What becomes of us is because of us. Contemplation as Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time; to live our lives in a state of grace.
- When you find yourself playing the blame game; stop, look and listen to the control you’re seeking to exert. Then pause, and turn to the integrating energy of Inner Being. Awaken to the hunter-gatherer within. Take a deep breath, relax, release and realign.
- Each morning before you begin your externalized routines, take a few moments to sit on the edge of your bed and give thanks for another day. Visualize the best you hope for as you step out into the forest or field of dreams that is your life. Feel the energy of the integrating design that’s within. Be with the template of your inner artist to see and feel the wonder of each step you take into the mystery of today.
- Remember to Remember that along with everything else: You, in all your complexity, are the Living Art that’s being contemplated and created. Allow yourself to be inspired to be and do what inspires you today and everyday. Awaken to surprise and delight!