Principle 5 Acceptance 4 – 2020

“If day and night, summer and winter are well with you, you have surpassed the contradictions.”
Principle 5. Acceptance. Fourth Week.
Last time: Inner War — Inner Peace
This Time: The Illusion That Things Don’t Chang
This Week:
Over the last three weeks we considered the principle in general terms, as well as seeing how it related to past and present situations. This week we turn to what we imagine the future has in store.
Behind, or perhaps more accurately “copresent” with this effort we are always trying to amplify our vision of how we can turn the principles into a dynamic and permanent meditation. That is to say, into a practice applicable at every moment of our lives. In that way we go on shaping  a style of, or way of, engaging with life.
General Considerations and Personal Reflections:
Here are some personal reflections. I offer them in the spirit of dialogue and exchange, and look forward to hearing your thoughts about, and experiences with, this principle.
In previous weeks I’ve focused on the meaning of day and night, etc as opposites, and on the meaning of overcoming contradiction. So far during my attempts at this weeks meditation my thoughts have drifted quite far a field — as they tend to. Continuing further along this path it seemed to me that besides being opposites, day and night, the seasons, etc are, each one, also moments in a cycle (whether its the Earths rotation on its axis, or moments in the orbit around the sun, etc). And I realized that one of the very basic illusions that condition my thinking is, what Silo sometimes called the illusion of “static naturalism”. That is the belief that what is at this moment always has been, and always will be (it’s static), and that’s how things are (naturally).
Those who understand the “I” as the central illusion of consciousness might also understand static naturalism as the equivalent of that illusion  on a social level (or vice versa).
I am old enough to recall life during the cold war, how the USSR appeared not only as a great superpower but a impenetrable monolith,  (some believed it was the greatest in terms of military and economic potential — people believe all kinds of shit). It was one of the two great empires (evil or not) that divided the world into West and East. I remember even after Gorbachev announced his policy of Perestroika (restructuring) and Glasnost  (openness) how so many political leaders and pundits in the West said it was all just a trick to get us (the good guys, the West) to drop our guard. Later of course they shamelessly denied this and all jumped on the bandwagon. Suddenly it was common to hear those same “experts” explaining how “we all knew that that the Soviet Union was about to come apart.”
As a look back at old editorials and news reports makes plain, that was unmitigated bullshit then, and it is unmitigated bullshit now. However, watching all that occur I couldn’t help but feel that I had the inside track on this astonishing destructuring of the established world order. I remembered how a few years earlier Silo had said to us that, the Soviet Union had already collapsed; the Soviets just didn’t know it yet and it will take them a few years to realize that their empire has fallen.  I for one nodded my head knowingly as if I understood what he was talking about. He went further and claimed something apparently even more ludicrous. He said this (the Soviet collapse) is for all intents and purposes done, but its fall would allow Islam to move with renewed fervor into the West and create enormous upheaval.
The Soviet Union gone, some old religion disrupting the world of global economics and real politic. It was like a joke. The politicians, and pundits (and I along  with many of my friends) prefer to remember the extraordinary events that occurred as things we foresaw. We didn’t foresee anything, well clearly Silo did. But as for the rest of us we (and this is my point at last) were all hypnotized by a kind of static naturalism, in this case a vision of the world where a powerful Soviet monolith ruling half the world, immovable, and unchanging.
But things do change. Everything is in movement. And from where we sit that movement often seems like a series of cycles. Empires rise and fall. Civilizations are born and die. Day follows night and night is followed by day. The Winter comes and goes making room for summer once again. No wonder some people explained the underlying reality of the world as obeying a law of cycle.
This is now clearer than ever: who — a year or two ago would have thought the United States could so quickly find itself in it’s current situation? Who months ago predicted what would happen when a global pandemic struck? Well a number of experts did of course, but static naturalism made their informed observations seem unbelievable. Now of course everyone can see how long standing internal divisions have widened into chasms threatening that nation’s stability. And what about the EU? Do these enormous instabilities herald the end of a world, or the beginning of a new one. Today, we all are beginning to understand the fragility the system in the face of what is in fact a relatively minor pandemic (imagine if it were as deadly as ebola or small pox and as contagious as measles).
This principle brings me to consider that perhaps this moment that I embrace or reject, celebrate or loath, is a really moment in a larger dance where what was wet becomes dry and what is dry becomes wet, the old fades and the new arises, the decay of death makes the ground fertile for new life.

In fragment DK22B60 of his (fragmentary) writings our old friend Heraclitus is recorded as saying:
The road up is the road down.

Sometimes meditation require you sit down and close your eyes but that’s less than half the story.
Daily life makes your meditation possible. This is where you gain the raw material that nourishes your reflections just as it is the testing ground where you prove the results. 
Worth Repeating:
“All worlds you aspire to, all justice you demand, all love you search for, all human beings you would follow or destroy are also within you. Everything that changes within you will change your direction in the landscape you inhabit.” 
The Internal Landscape, chapter four_ Silo
Coming up:
Next week we’ll look continue with the Principle 5, also known as the principle of acceptance. We will use this fifth week to dive a bit deeper into that key idea contradiction and what it means for us.

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