the beauty of perception

I am astounded by the beauty of the world these days.

Even as it seems that some of us are at our ugliest and our nastiest, the intensity of that side is only articulating even more vividly how beautiful, kind, and loving we can be.

The response that individuals and organizations are offering to the archaic and maniacal actions of Trump and his followers (and the other similarly possessed in the world) is just fantastic. We are being roused by the insanity. I am in no way suggesting that what Trump is attempting to DO is fantastic--it is still diabolical and offensive work--but it is creating response. Necessary response. 

This rousing is why all of this is happening: so that we are awakened from our passive slumber. It takes discomfort to bring people to action, and things until now have been calm enough, gentle enough, Obama-enough that we could all just sit back and whinge about what was happening but not get involved. But no longer. 

We are, collectively, in a battle of opposites, a duel of dualities right now. In that duel, the amount of intensity on one side will always have to be balanced by the other, or it would not be a functional system: for all the bad in the world, there is always an equal amount of good.

Our brains don't see this because they are biologically programmed to seek dangerous and unfortunate things, but the good is there. It's just as massive as the nastiness. It is beautiful how people are responding to this chaos. 

These are intense times. In our current system, just like at the precipice of all great change in any system, we see the far left and the far right have become so polarized that the system cannot hold. Far larger change is upon us.

As Yeats wrote in The Second Coming: 

Turning and turning in the widening gyre, 
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, 

We have come to a place in our evolution as a species where the intensity of our fight from left to right and the intensity of our dualities cannot continue. We cannot go on pretending that the way we live on this planet is sustainable, and that lack of sustainability is not just about how we cut down trees or mine ore: it comes from the misuse of our own consciousness. We have been given marvelous minds capable of great perception, but we use them too often only to draw lines in the sand or separate ourselves in fear from all that is. 

The 'center' of our existence cannot hold, for there is no middle any more, only a deeply polarized population fighting for their fears on either side. 

In physics, it is said that when a previously dualistic system is ready for change it engages in what is called the 'tension of opposites'. What this means is that the two sides of the system seem to pull apart from each other as far as they can: the 'negative' goes far to one side, the 'positive' goes far to the other (or we could say the black and white, the yes and no, the right and wrong, the conservative and liberal...it doesn't matter how the duality is expressed).

The energy that is created between these two opposite poles pulling away is immense, and cannot be sustained for long. The tension builds enormously within the system. In this moment, neither pole seems to understand that their existence is entirely dependent upon the other, and so keep trying desperately (and with futility) to distance themselves from the other.

But we know we cannot have black without white or wrong without right, right? 

But neither end sees this at first, and they continue to try to distance themselves from the 'other side'. It is the tension of the pull itself, the widening gyre between the poles that creates the possibility for a new 'thing' in that system to be born. This new 'thing' is called the 'emergent property'.  It is something that has never been seen before in that system but emerges out of the chaos of that previous tension, and is able to go beyond the previous limitations of the duality.    

The brilliant theorist Ken Wilber believes that we are currently birthing a new type of consciousness on the planet, something he calls the 'Integral Consciousness'. The key hallmark of this type of perception is a lack of engagement with duality. A person with this form of consciousness is no longer consumed by trying to label things good or bad, but is instead capable of accepting life as it is, with equanimity in all situations. This allows them to utilize the full extent of their personal power to then create change if change needs to happen, no longer losing energy to fear, worry, hatred or doubt. 

We lose too much energy and power in the hating of things and experiences that it becomes impossible to then do much about them. This level of awareness is able to move beyond that. It has no interest in exhausting itself in fighting the 'other side', knowing, clearly, that the other side cannot exist as thing to hate if it has compassion for all. It is the Taoist mind, the enlightened mind. It is full, uninhibited human consciousness (at least for this level of our evolution), and sees beyond any polarities. 

The idea is that the chaos we are going through right now is actually creating this consciousness already. People are already coming to a place of compassion and understanding for the 'other side', refusing to label them as the bad or the wrong, and instead attempting to cultivate conversation and connection that would allow everyone's needs to be attended to and expressed. I'm not suggesting that this is all going to turn to roses--we are going to go through a dissolving, and that's not going to be entirely pleasant--but that the emergent property has already begun, and that is beautiful. 

Should you agree with this kind of idea and want to align your mind with the perception that is being offered, there is one marvelous practice you can engage with even as you continue to fight oppression and stand up for what is right in the world: the perception of beauty. 

I speak not here of beauty that is trend-based or subjective, not the beauty that is generally scored only by the understanding of ugliness as its opposite. This is beauty as Confucious spoke of: the beauty that exists in all things. 

To look at humans and see this beauty is difficult, because our minds have been trained and enculturated into not seeing it. But we can always look to nature to retrain our perception and take our mind beyond the dual. There is no ugly in nature, only the perfection of each creation and moment in time, balanced perfectly within the system. 

Even as the world appears to be getting uglier, command your consciousness to perceive what is good and beautiful. It will not make you not care about what is happening--in fact you will care, and love, more--but it will contribute to the continued creation of a new level of consciousness on our planet, and this is what we are all in need of.