There's No Beginning and No End
One of the most inspiring and profound things I find when studying the mystics yogis or the Indigenous peoples of our Earth is that they are not fanatic when it comes to ‘knowing’ where it all began. The big questions of life to these people it seems are understood... they’re answered before they’re asked.
Therefore, it appears that these types of questions belong to the struggling mind. This type of mind is discontent with staying still and perpetually looks for something outside itself.
I think this outwardly fixation means that in modern times we’ve become narrow, and this narrow gaze is how we’ve been educated. Everything compartmentalized. History belonging to history, geography to geography... and somehow the notion that Intelligence only belonging to humans…?
Humans are somehow outside of it all. Analyzing and fragmenting it all, only in order to put it back together again, except less cohesive and more wonky.
What this has given rise to is the rigid, dogmatic paradigms that are normally Euro, white-centric (Materialism, Rationalism, Christianity etc.) all of which claim to have thee answers. Ignoring what they don’t know and honing in on what they do.
The problem is, though, that the answers that many of these paradigms offer up, conform to, fit with, and tie together coherently alongside already established hypotheses or presuppositions in order to construct a kind ‘whole picture’.
What’s lacking, amongst many things, is that they don’t look back to see their inherent biases - and so, consequently the field - whether it’s anthropology, biology or archaeology - becomes cemented in time, unable to de-focalize from what it’s found and winds up being relentless in its quest to ‘know’ everything.
What I’ve always been content with is not knowing. The mystery. Ultimately feeling gratitude for the sense of humility this provides me.
The key is that humility begets humility.
Here’s a few things I mull over:
The insignificance of our size
Whether we go microscopic or macroscopic, the parameters of a human being just aren’t really relevant in any sort of meaningful way. A poetic way I’ve heard this is that we 'are halfway between the unmade and the made’.
Take this: if you stretched the DNA in one cell all the way out, it would be about 2m long. With all the DNA in all of your cells, if strung together, would be about twice the diameter of the Solar System.
Our sensory perceptions
We can’t see x-ray or ultraviolet light nor can we detect electromagnetic fields - all as our fellow Earth beings can. We merely view reality through a very limited lens. Aldous Huxley’s ‘Reduction Valve’ is a great metaphor for the nervous system.
Illustrated beautifully by Carl Sagan, if we take the time-span of the Universe as we know it, scale it down to the space of 365 days and place ourselves in this context, humans would pop up somewhere in those milliseconds after the 59th second at 11.59pm, on the 31st of December.
Why do we assume that our findings and discoveries - which granted, are phenomenal - represent some sort of superior form of knowledge or even further, a superior form of intelligence to what has come before or what is out there?
The Earth (and we) are porous
There is no end to ‘me’ and beginning to ‘you’. Nor is there a discontinuation of the Earth and beginning of Space. With all the above considered, why would we assume that life is limited to Earth, to what we see and most importantly based on what we currently believe? With the scale of things plus our many many limitations (and limitations, I need to stress, are not negative, they are just natural within the manifestation of any ‘thing’) life may exist ‘out there’ but equally may already have come from ‘out there’ to ‘here’.
Take fungi, it is closely related to humans sharing over 60% of the same DNA and yet it’s been here on this planet for a billion years now. A billion. To suppose that this just ‘happened’, that such an incredibly intelligent (more so than humans if the metric is based on survival and replication during this time span) is less rational and more imaginative in my opinion that theorizing that their spores - which can not only travel through space but also are able to reproduce in space more efficiently than here on Earth may have arrived to rather than come from Earth.
Resting in the Space
With the above sentiments in mind, it seems ludicrous to me that we will ever know. And why should we? Is it not just an egoic drive ‘to know’?
Perhaps it is just a petulant desire of the ego. I recently learnt about phenomena in psychology between spotlight attention and lantern attention. Briefly, spotlight attention is much like what I referred to at the beginning: we concentrate and narrow down our point of focus and in doing so, drown out, shut out and leave out all other things that simultaneously are relevant, or at the very least, exist in our field of awareness.
On the contrary, it has been noted that babies and children inherently have this lantern attention where-by their attention is dispersed and open to the full range of stimuli, experience and possibilities at any given moment.
We also know, simply if not via observation, that children don’t have the constituency of the self-reflecting and self-imposing nature of Ego that adults have. Their demeanor generally is more open to that of an adult and there is no filter in place that seeks to assert the baby’s position.
What the Yogis, Shamans and Children Have in Common
Children, much like the yogis and mystics, have not been conditioned about which things to focus on (assign value to) and which things to ignore (dismiss).
This fundamental notion results in tranquility, peace and a restful mind. It’s not to say that these characters don’t feel pain, experience discomfort and eternally live in a bubble of utopia. No. They experience all phenomena of life.
The difference is, they are not chronically disturbed by the consequences of a striving, grasping and trying ego-mind, that wants to ‘do more’, ‘be more’ and ‘know more’.
Without the conditioning of ‘what’ to discriminate between and ‘what’ to assign relative value to, there is organic equanimity that arises in the awareness of such unconditioned souls. There is no necessity to dissolve any categories or reorder any labels because they aren’t contained in the mind of such a holder.
We can take a leaf from this.
Dance in that liminal space. The space that exists between life and death, between knowing and not knowing, between this thought and the next. Everything is open there. Everything is possible.