Let me start with some wise soul’s quote:
“You have to create the conditions for insight to arrive. You have to stand on the edge of the unknown.
If you rearrange the pieces of the known world you still have the known world.”
How to translate this? My reading of this is that we need to create a culture of bliss, touch and attending to our own emotional needs before we can move forward. This is not promoting a bleeding heart philosophy where our emotional worlds run riot over reason. Rather, I am calling for techniques in our daily routine allowing the time and space for that “gut feeling” to arise. Once we have established our “gut-feeling” do we throw reason and logic out the window? No. We could allow our intellect to be at the service of out instincts rather than the other way round. What then, is the correct course of action when we are not in over stimulation mode or in a state of emotional chaos?
In the present maelstrom of western culture, mental problems arise due to the increased complexity of actions and functions we are required to perform, in the benignly enforced pursuit of survival or economic gain.
This is not to say that fair economic gain is not of value. What if our culture created a form of economic or status reward for reflecting upon matters of a philosophical or internal nature?
Given that we have a general apathy toward substantive philosophical introspection in Australia’s mass mind, what is the next step for like minded souls who want a substantial shift in the culture of our thinking from reactionary to visionary?
We have a culture in Australia of “not rocking the boat”, both in our personal worlds and in our political worlds. Our larrikin nature is rarely witnessed in the political sphere or in our personal inner sphere. Our larrikin nature just gets swallowed up by social reverie.
Key to the answer is learning from direct experience. So many sources “inform” us about the state of the world “out there”, and often, through the power of suggestion, how to react or respond to such “outrages” or “crises”. Global warming is a case in point.
Both town and rural dwellers can see first hand every day the gradual shift in the physical conditions of trees, paddocks and rivers from “normal” drought to “extreme” drought. Responses to this dire state of affairs are very mixed. Some want to just walk off their farm and retire early. Some want to cash in their water right and change course. But is there any substantial shift in the direction away from domination of the landscape? It would appear not. Whilst direct experience of changes in the physical world starts to play a role in shifting attitudes, it is not the full picture.
Shifting attitudes, however, are more powerfully seen in western culture’s noticeable shift in how it deals with mental illness.
Thanks to the rise of diagnosis and treatment through new generation drugs for depression, it’s out of the closet, big time. That is to say that mental health issues are forefront of our public health providers and thanks to organisations like Black Dog and Beyond Blue the stigmas around mental health issues are breaking down rapidly.
Things have clearly moved on from one hundred years ago, when people used to go and picnic on a Sunday in London parks and pay to laugh at the lunatics let out of the asylum for the day. Now we are all involved directly or indirectly in diseases of the mind. And no one’s laughing.
How do we deal with this as a society? By self-medicating with mind altering drugs, whether illicit or prescribed. But even this relief valve can only go so far, as evidenced by the drug user getting to a point of either bodily disintegration or spiritual crises where extreme selfishness sets in - the ego’s last stand.
What valid techniques are out there which are just as powerful as illicit drugs such as ice, ecstasy, LSD or prescribed anti-depressants? To meet the deep need for connection to non-ordinary states of consciousness, we need new schools of training which can address the multi-dimensionality of consciousness.
Inducing altered states without the use of drugs is simple and powerful. These states can lead to visions, insights, and intense feelings. All these states can assist the individual to gain insights about problems, issues or other blocks to moving forward in life in our day to day lives.
Whilst the new age is often ridiculed for its soft cushioning effect from life’s hard realities, if we can pick the best fruit from the new age tree and present it to the mass mind like a juicy apple, we are on a winner in terms of the transformation of the western mind from robotic and reactionary to unique and visionary.
Cutting edge healing techniques such as “peak states” which accesses biological genetic memory and “breathwork” which uses elegantly simple accelerated breathing to induce trance states are beginning to make inroads into previously very conservative populations, such as Canberra’s.
There is strong anecdotal evidence that previously spiritually conservative people are seeking a way out of the western mind’s prison without resorting to a medicated solution or aligning strongly to a religious faith.
This exciting trend in western society is the future of transforming our personal and professional relationships and our landscapes.