On Stillness (A Message from the Tree of Life)
“Have you ever experienced stillness?”
“I don’t mean quiet!” the tree said to me.
No, stillness is something else.
In fact, I suspect I have avoided stillness
Much like I avoid a cobra or a tarantula.
For stillness has a bite to it,
That can be deadly to who I think I am.
But if I keep avoiding it,
I will incur something worse than its bite.
When I approach stillness with an open heart and mind.
It invites me into its chambers.
There I experience a lifetime of blessings and wonders
That have been waiting for me,
That in fact I have been searching and longing for
In the secret places of my heart
Ever since I can remember.
But when I ate of the forbidden fruit
From the other tree—I forgot.
A New Response
The times we are going through are demanding a new response from us. For unless we find this new response, we will bring about the end of civilization and perhaps the end of humanity and/or life itself. The times demand that we take on a totally different perspective on how we engage with the world, with each other, and with ourselves. In effect they demand a quantum change in consciousness. Our consciousness especially in the West, but more recently all over the world, has been dominated by intellectual, rational thinking. Our emotions have largely been left out and have in consequence directed our consciousness unconsciously.
We are starting to pay attention to the emotional aspect of our being and this is certainly part of what is needed. But because of the present way we categorize and frame our conscious awareness, this will set up a dichotomy between our thinking and our feeling, and the time and effort to find a resolution of the two will not be short and smooth. Unfortunately the situation is presently so critical and desperate that much is needed in a short amount of time. And there is also more than just the emotional to deal with. We are in a true dilemma.
Our usual approach to dealing with difference and dichotomy is to further and more intensively engage in the way we have dealt with things in the past. Einstein pointed to the quandary we face very well in a number of quotes:
The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.
A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.
The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
The world we have created today as a result of our thinking thus far has problems which cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them.
If we persist on our present course, what will likely happen is a shift of the pendulum from the intellectual toward the emotional – or some other opposite of our present approach to understanding reality and life. As these issues and questions are similar to the challenges faced by quantum physicists, we are in what might be called a “quantum conundrum.” Scientists are still trying to solve the problems of quantum physics with the analytical mind. What is needed, rather, is the kind of mind that sees not only the parts but especially how these parts are interconnected and how they work together to create the whole picture. Although it is still not easy, that kind of a mind or thinking is able to play with the parts until it becomes able to juggle them in a way that is harmonious and amazingly simple and which corresponds to their natural state.
Enter Quantum Polarity, a new way of approaching these kinds of questions and challenges. Although seemingly simple in its essence, it is able to connect all parts of the issue, including the whole, in a way that includes both independence and dependence between all aspects in a mutually beneficial way.
A New Reality
As anyone with sensitivity can see, the world is in process of falling apart. The forces playing a part in this are tremendous in many areas: global warming, pollution, the rainforests, impending economic collapse, population growth, the dying out of many species of plants, insects and animals, the growth of materialism and consumerism, the growing disparity in income and increasing poverty, increase in the speed of life, etc. What is not so obvious to everyone is what’s really behind all this and how to turn it around.
I will offer one perspective that may make a difference, and that has to do with perspective itself, or rather cognition. Our minds have one way of seeing and processing the world that have served us well in the past, but this way has rendered our reality out of balance and many things have now gone to an extreme. The unbalance of the mind has to do with reason which has not been complemented with imagination, humor, the arts, and other factors. These have not been taken seriously nor contributed to our understanding of reality and how reality is put together. For understanding reality we use only the scientific approach, which requires if we are going to believe something, that it has to be backed up or confirmed by solid reasoning and material evidence.
But going deeper than this, we see that in the scientific approach our reason and material evidence are based on our senses. Our cognitive framework is the basis not only of our perception, but of how we form our reality from our perceptions. This can be seen quite clearly by the image shown, which is either a vase or two faces (and is also both). We rely on our cognitive framework to interpret what comes through the senses and create a reality that “makes sense,” i.e. where there is coherence in what we have received through the senses. There is a story that when the Europeans arrived at the “new world” the natives could not see the large ship on the horizon. This may be an urban myth, but its point is that we cannot see what does not “make sense” or fit in with our understanding of reality. This happens for example when scientists deny observed facts that are incompatible with current theory.
The relationship between a cognitive framework and so-called “reality” is like the relation between a map to the territory it depicts. If the correspondence between them is not accurate, relying on the map will cause us trouble. At the same time, any map cannot portray all of the territory it represents. We have road maps, topographic maps, weather maps, and so on, each depicting part of the territory. Each map reduces the territory to a limited aspect of its reality.
The cognitive framework we currently use is based on what we receive through our senses and is thus one that portrays the outer, material world. But reality is much larger than that. It includes the inner world which includes the mental, emotional, spiritual and other worlds we know little of. Our present cognitive framework cuts out much of that and leaves us with a severely limited view of reality.
Going deeper again, our present cognitive framework, being based on the senses and the physical world, is grounded on the concept of simple polarity. We use polarity to differentiate between things in our space-time reality using size, weight, distance, and so on. Things are high or low, heavy or light, far or near, dark or bright, hot or cold and so on, with a spectrum in between those dualities/polarities.
Our present cognitive framework is severely limited and does not accurately portray reality in its fullness, a reality greater than what our senses offer us. When replaced by one that is more in harmony with this larger reality, we will come to function cooperatively with all that this reality includes. Once this happens, only then can we be in harmony with the world and the world can come to a state of harmony and peace not previously experienced.
A cognitive framework that can hold much more than what is provided through our current cognitive framework is one that is based on what I call Quantum Polarity. It does this by taking simple polarity and applying it to itself in a way that creates a system that is both self-referent and intertwined. It addresses both the human quality of self-awareness and detachment, as well as the complex interconnection and interdependence of the natural world. As such it creates a bridge between two worlds that at the present time are often separated by an abyss: the human and the natural.
Editors Note: Dirk Kelder is the webmaster of CES. He has training in physics, theology and psychotherapy. In his early career he was a computer programmer and in his later career a counselor. He has developed a way of understanding the world known as “quantum polarity.” Here are two introductory articles to his thinking from some years ago, and a poem he just wrote. We will continue to provide articles by Dirk on quantum polarity. It is a way of knowing and understanding that overcomes dualistic thinking.