Crisp, white triangles shift back and forth against the backdrop of the city. Solitary and glowing proudly in the morning light, they seem as enthusiastic to touch the waters of the Charles River, as a dog is to take a walk in the park. 16 floors below me, the city street is ripe with people dragging themselves to work. Nearly everyone is looking at their cell phone while walking. A symptom of a greater issue here in this city. I have nicknamed Boston the “mind your own business” city. There is no sense of camaraderie here. Because everyone here is doing their own thing, the people of the city have not come together to bring an identity to the city. The city is not alive with any particular culture or any particular way of being. Instead, it is a cerebral city. Perhaps this is why Boston is so famous for higher learning. The predominant suffering here is one of isolation; but not isolation for lack of people, isolation in a crowd. This is the first place I’ve been to, where the drivers in the cars do not care to know what the people in the other cars are doing or thinking, or who they are. The energy field of people’s emotional bodies and mental bodies does not bleed between the cars. It does not extend towards one another. It is as if there is a bubble around every person, and inside that bubble is where that person lives. It is a kind of self-imprisonment to keep oneself so contained. When a person lives inside a bubble, the only company they keep, is their own mind. This is why the people of Boston are thinking so much, always thinking. In general, there is a mass addiction here to knowing. And this negative condition of containment and perpetual thinking has of course given birth to what I consider to be the gift that this city has to give the world… Questioning. When people only truly have themselves for company, they think so much that they end up asking a lot of questions. The collective consciousness of the people here radiate the open state of questioning and that state, is calling forth great answers. Boston heralds grand expansion on a mental level.
Speaking of mental expansion, I visited Harvard Square while I was here. I was excited to feel the legacy left behind by generations of people striving for academic excellence. I wish I could give a glowing report. But instead, I left the courtyard feeling sad. Like a ghost, the glory of what Harvard once was hangs in the hallways and lurks in the windows of the numerous red brick buildings. But Harvard’s day is done. It survives in name alone. Prestige is what has kept Harvard going, like a ventilator keeps air pumping in and out of a dying person’s lungs. The pride that used to adorn the person who was accepted there, has been replaced by panic. I can only guess that the courses offered there are rigorous to say the least. Student after student passed me with the same pattern in their auric field that I see when people are tightrope walking. The fear of letting people down by failing is nearly unanimous amongst the Harvard students I had the privilege to watch. To my surprise, and contrary to the public perception that Harvard students are the most straight and narrow of students, many of them are coping with the stress of that condition with drugs. Street drugs and prescription pills. The chemical signatures of these drugs have a super recognizable pattern and scent. It emanates from the pores in their skin.
As we venture as a species into a more collective, united way of living, our cerebral efforts will be less of a priority for us all. It makes sense that many of these grand places of mental learning are losing their vital force. It is not that we will not see any more mental advancement. It is that our priorities will change. They are already changing. Individually, people will want more than what the current society is offering. No matter whether you are attending a community college or a Harvard, currently schools are designed to do one thing and that is to fit you into society. You are free to push the envelope of society, as long as you do not rip it and make society get a new envelope. But in the face of our world’s major conflicts, and the harder it gets for the average person to live and the more the middle class disappears, the cry for a new form of society will raise from the consciousness of the people. And the law of the land is “ask and you shall receive”. As a new calling for a new form of society is heard, our way of learning and our way of teaching will change. It already is changing. The progression of thought and the leading edge of learning will no longer take place in schools or universities. The consciousness will flow towards other pursuits and places like Harvard will be converted into tourist sights and museums. Which is what Harvard is already starting to feel like. I must say, I was not expecting to see that as I stepped out of the car and onto the site for the first time. The squirrels that were running up the enormous trees in the square were adorable. They were the most alive thing about the place.
I feel myself getting sucked inside my own mind in Boston. I can’t help but think that this was a perfect setting for the movie “A Beautiful Mind”, because it’s as if this city is rampant with a highly contagious “A Beautiful Mind Syndrome”. When you get sucked inside your own mind because of the containment and constriction of consciousness to the self, you start to feel a little mentally ill. I would not be surprised if you interviewed people here one by one only to find that everyone secretly worried that they were crazy. I wish that I could plaster frequencies for openness and for camaraderie all over this city. This city is in need of both a random acts of kindness movement and a mass scale catharsis. This issue is not isolated to Boston. As people, we become addicted to knowing. We become addicted to the acquiring of knowledge. When we grasp a new concept, our brain releases a dose of chemicals similar to opium. Knowledge addiction gives the physical human a strong evolutionary advantage. We are guaranteed to progress if we are hard wired to learn. The human biological system, being a reflection of the greater universe (which is geared towards expansion), is essentially designed to maximize the rate at which new but understandable information is acquired. Once you have acquired a new bit of information, you spend your time learning something else. Without thinking about it, we pick out experiences that are new; experiences which cause us to know more. A biological addiction to know more is perfect design because it endows the physical human with a perpetuating beneficial learning behavior, even if misery and negative consequences are experienced along the way. This is helpful in an environment of contrast such as this. This desire for knowledge is not in and of itself negative. But there is a shadow side to the quest for knowledge. The shadow side is that knowledge is often used by the ego as a security blanket. The ego uses knowledge to avoid things that it fears. Things like insignificance and worthlessness and pain. Knowledge is worshipped by cultures the world over and knowledgeable individuals are valued. They command respect within their society. In society, knowing more about something than somebody else boosts one’s social status. We become significant to others when we know something more than they do. We become significant when we are the venue through which they can get their knowledge “fix”. It is easy to see then how the ego could use knowledge to avoid insignificance, personal insecurity and worthlessness.
Knowledge also helps us to avoid future calamity. If we know the winter is coming, we can stock up on food and survive the winter. If we do not know it is coming and do not stock up on food, we may die. If we are a person who worries about the future and most of all who does not trust ourselves to create a reality that feels good to us, knowledge becomes a tool for self-protection. Knowledge is the worrier’s best friend. Knowledge is often used by the ego to keep itself away from the rocky seas of uncertainty. Cognitive closure makes us feel safe. If we look at the ego for what it is, which is an identity (the identity you call by your name, which is temporary and also illusion), we quickly see that the ego’s goal is to stay alive and serve as contrast for our true self. The ego serves us by facilitating our expansion. And one way it does this is by keeping you alive in the physical long enough to learn/progress. And if the ego’s goal is survival, knowledge is more essential than even food or water is. After all, knowledge is what allows us to find food and water in the first place. All humans are knowledge junkies as long as they are identified with themselves.
We are set up to go after the goal of realization or the goal of grasping a concept. We go after the goal of knowing instead of the process of learning. This makes the learning experience uncomfortable. This makes learning something that we have to “get through” in order to get to the mental carrot we are chasing. You’ve heard it gain and again, we fear the unknown. Guess what? The idea that we fear the unknown is total BS. We don’t fear the unknown. If we truly feared the unknown, babies would fear everything and they do not. What we fear is what we project into the unknown based on our previous experiences. When we are facing the unknown, the mind goes to work projecting it’s already acquired fears into the unknown to try to predict what lies in the unknown and then goes to work trying to figure out how to avoid those fears. It’s those projections that we fear. For example, if we quit our job that we have been working at for 10 years to do something radically new and different with our life, we are venturing into the unknown. But we don’t fear that unknown in and of itself. We fear the potential failure and fall from grace that we could experience socially by venturing into the unknown. We fear this because we have experienced the feeling of failure and fall from grace before and wish to avoid this feeling at all costs. We do not fear the unknown in and of itself. We fear the potential unwanted things we predict that the unknown could contain. If we learned to not project our fears into the unknown, the unknown would no longer be scary. The ego is obsessed with the quest for truth and knowledge because it’s convinced that knowledge and truth will keep unwanted things from happening to it. But the unknown holds a glaring truth; like a clam holds a pearl and that truth is that the state of learning is a higher state than knowing. The open state of inquisition and questioning is a state open to all possibilities. The closed state of knowing shuts the door to further learning. In a way knowing is ended-ness. You can’t know everything about everything. Source doesn’t even know everything about everything. There would be no reason for life to exist if source knew everything. Source only knows what it knows up unto this point. You, being a microcosm (a fractal) of the larger universe, only know what you know up to this point.
Most of us fear not knowing because we fear that as a result of that lack of knowing, we will end up going through a “bad” experience. Your worry will greatly be reduced when you train your focus to see that value is contained in every single experience. There is a Zen master that once said, “the barn is burnt down, now I can see the moon”. Inherent in that statement is the idea that even the things that we would identify as a tragedy contain value. If there is value in all experiences in our lives, we will not run around trying to avoid certain experiences. That in and of itself is liberation. Bad experiences or Unwanted experiences are only what we call experiences, whose part in our growth and integration we do not yet understand. The minute we understand that all experiences enrich our life because they all cause learning and growth, we cease to see any experience as bad. We begin to see experiences from source perspective. Source does not see “bad experiences in life” as bad. Source sees every experience, no matter how uncomfortable as an integral, valuable experience. The experiences we go through are open to interpretation. That’s the beauty and the pain of it. We can interpret any experience in a way that causes us to suffer or we can interpret it in a way that causes us to grow and integrate, thus becoming more whole in and of ourselves.
You cannot know everything about everything. Expecting yourself to know everything about everything is cruelty. It is also the result of fear. The universe works like this, questions lead to answers, which lead to more questions which lead to more answers, which lead to more questions and no one, not even the universe at large, knows if there will ever be an end to this cycle of questions giving rise to answers giving rise to questions giving rise to answers. The progression of thought may be eternal and it may not be eternal. You have heard the expression “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”. What If I was to tell you there is no destination? Now it really is only about the journey and all life is nothing more than a journey. All life is based upon exploration, expansion, adventure, the progression of discovery and learning. So how do we come to love learning without becoming attached to knowing? We release the fears we have surrounding the idea of not knowing. We admit to what we are really afraid of. For example, I might be afraid of not knowing because I have chosen a career that is built upon the expression of information. I might be afraid that if I do not know all the answers to everything, that I will lose my value to the people who come to seek my knowledge. I may fear that if I lose my value to them, I will fall from grace and be rejected by the very people who profess to value me now. Or I might be afraid of not knowing because if I don’t know, I could make a tragic mistake. And if I make a tragic mistake, I would feel bad about myself and it would revive my childhood feelings of shame, which are painful. We need to be brave enough to face what we are trying to avoid by knowing. We need to own up to and face what we are really afraid of. We need to turn around and face the fears that we are projecting into the unknown. Because the unknown has become a scapegoat that keeps us locked in a vicious pattern of avoiding what we are really afraid of, which I can assure you is not the unknown. I am going to take advantage of being near such beautiful bodies of water today before flying home to the alpine mountains by going on a boat tour. Yes, you heard me right; I’m going to act like a proper tourist today. I hope that leaves you with a mental picture of me to laugh at; Hawaiian shirt and camera not included... Or are they?
Here is a picture taken by Kevin Thelwell from the Workshop this weekend.