"If you never change your mind, why have one?" -- Edward de Bono
There is a story that is told about a wandering stranger who once stopped a king in the street. Furious, the king shouted, "How dare you, a man of little worth, interrupt the progress of your sovereign?"
The stranger answered: "Can you truly be a sovereign if you cannot even fill my begging bowl?" And he held out his bowl to the king. In wishing to show his generosity to the crowd that had now assembled, the king ordered the stranger's begging bowl to be filled with gold.
But no sooner had the bowl appeared to be full of gold coins than they disappeared and the bowl seemed empty once again. Sack after sack of gold coins was brought, and still the begging bowl devoured them all. "Stop," screamed the king, "this trick of yours is emptying my treasury!"
"Perhaps to you I am emptying your treasury," said the stranger, "but to others I am merely illustrating a truth."
"And what truth is this?" asked the king.
"The truth is that the bowl is the desires of humankind, and the gold is what humanity is given. There is no end to humanity's capacity to devour, without being in any way changed. See, the bowl has eaten nearly all your wealth, but it is still an empty piece of carved old wood, which has not partaken of the nature of gold in any respect."
Our old ways of doing things are devouring both the world and our own sense of worth without affecting real change within us. Observing our current epoch, with its varied ideological and political conflict, mental conditioning, and strife among peoples and nations, it appears that our collective body is in a state of global psychosis. This state we find ourselves collectively a part of is a reflection of our perceptions and current modes of consciousness. The state of our human consciousness is different today from how it was in our distant past.
Our far human ancestors exhibited a magical-mythical mode of consciousness, where the world around them existed together as a vibrant matrix of connected, living energies. It appears that this mode of consciousness participates in correspondence with the flow of matter-reality, both organic and inorganic. They may not have been self-conscious of this model, yet it was an interpretation of reality where consciousness was primary, and all of life was magically woven together.
Western science, which for the last millennia has asserted itself as the dominant hegemony, has been at pains to stress that matter is primary and that consciousness is a secondary by-product from our mental activity. This emphasis upon the primacy of matter promotes a materialistic reality and lifestyle.
The modern worldview that denies the primacy of consciousness is fostering forms of human alienation, both psychological and social. Yet human beings, as social creatures, are in need of meaning and significance in their lives as much as they are in need of air to breathe and food to eat. It is a great paradox that modern science (human consciousness) has produced a view of the cosmos that has no room for consciousness.
The tragedy of humankind may be that it has almost no suspicion of how the collective psyche is contaminated through exploitative use of mythological images, collective stereotypes, and subconscious signifiers that play upon our perceptions. The result is that we have now arrived at a critical time in our socio-cultural evolution, with all focus and attention placed externally onto physical trappings, material gains, and security fears.
Any society or civilization that makes the material world its sole pursuit and object of concern cannot but devolve in the long run. Such misappropriation of perspective is partly responsible in creating the present chaotic situation of our world.
We need to make our mental focus and conscious potential a part of our everyday experience. This includes being conscious of the type of impacts we receive and to avoid those impacts and influences that are negative. We should each take responsibility to seek out exposure to more positive forms of influence. For example, words and expressions of perennial truth encourage us -- they give us strength because we instinctively recognize truthfulness. Our physical body unconsciously reacts to this as through the form of galvanic skin response, pupil response, or through our electrical nerve responses. In short, our body feels the essence of what impacts us, and negative or false information weakens us. This concept was researched scientifically through testing muscle strength. Dr. David Hawkins* has written extensively on how muscle testing shows that various impacts create either strong or weak reactions from the body. In his work he relates how people who listened to lies proved to exhibit a weakened muscle reaction, whilst those who listened to positive words and statements showed a strong muscle response. Dr. Hawkins's research found that particular lower energy "attractors," which serve as negative energy depleting emotions, are shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger and pride. Higher energy attractors are the welfare or positive emotions such as courage, willingness, acceptance, reason, love, and joy. However, he also notes that more than 99 percent of humans calibrate below the level of Joy. Now, this is something that surely needs to be changed.
We need to take charge of how we participate in the life-reality around us. We should not be afraid to say NO to insane conditions and demands. We need to accept the possibility of inner evolution (work on ourselves) and the larger potential for conscious evolution as a species. It is time to change the game plan: to be conscious and mindful of our interactions, our perceptions, and our emotions. We need to recognize we often live our lives within a distracting social milieu, and therefore the imperative that exists to shift to a positive understanding of our inherent capacities and strength. In other words, to feel empowered and not powerless, to possess an inner confidence that allows us also to work in our external environments in the ways most appropriate.
The art of living with a vibrant human consciousness entails that we each bring a strong, creative energy from within us and project this, with intent and clear positive focus, upon our external environments.
It's time to stop playing their funny games and to begin taking responsibility for our own minds.
For more by Kingsley Dennis, Ph.D., click here.
For more on emotional intelligence, click here.