Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 31: The Fisherman)
The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution.
The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.” 31.
The Fisherman Around noon on the East beach on the island of Allandon, the fisherman sat at a makeshift table gutting and cleaning his morning catch. He was so focused on his task that he took a while to notice his dog standing beside him patiently, wagging his tail with a large stick in his mouth. “I don’t suppose you came here to help me prepare the fish for market,” he said playfully.
The dog continued looking up at the fisherman, eyes full of anticipation. “No you just came to play,” he said as he scruffed the dog’s head briskly. “Play, eat and sleep, that’s your life, isn’t it?” He put down his boning knife and wiped his hands off with a nearby cloth. “Well, I suppose I could take a break,” he said to his dog. He took the stick from his dog’s mouth and ran along the beach, leading the eager dog with the stick.
Then he threw the stick far down the shoreline, and his dog ran after it at full speed and retrieved it for him. After a while they returned, and the fisherman put out some of his dog’s favorite food, which the dog dove right into. “Sometimes I wish I had your life,” said the fisherman as he picked up the next fish to work on. “I mean, you seem to have it all.” The fisherman looked over to the dog, as if he was expecting a response. Of course the dog paid no attention to the fisherman, and kept on eating. “Well there is one thing I have that you don’t, even though it probably causes more trouble than it’s worth,” said the fisherman, raising his boning knife with mock pride. “At least I can wish for a different life!” What differentiates us from the animals that grace our planet is our self-awareness. We recognize ourselves as separate and distinct from our environment. More than any other we are the species that has traveled furthest from the Dao and have forged deep into the darkness of the universe. This is what puts us on the leading edge of consciousness, and what actually makes the discovery of who we really are all the more exciting and magical. If we identified solely with the source, the act of creation might be felt as something happening outside of us, rather than through the prism of our individuality. Since animals are closer to the Dao than we are, they are more or less in flow with life all the time.
They don’t have much of an Ego Self holding them back, and so they cannot help but live in the moment, grounds for occasional envy amongst us humans. And yet, even if it were possible to do, few of us would honestly want to trade places with them. Down deep we sense that the greatest experiences life has to offer are predicated on awareness, and the more conscious we become, the more sublime our experience of being inspired becomes. This inspiration has grown with the growth of our consciousness, and today is moving us towards the penultimate revelation: that we create our reality by the way we think. Kernels of the idea that our mental state actually has some creative impact on our world and what happens in it have been circulating in our society for quite some time. In recent years, the conversation has intensified around the power of positive thinking, the value of visualization, the influence of intention.
The full extent of the effect of our thoughts and the role they play in our endeavor to fulfill our deepest desires is something that I believe we are just coming to grips with today. It is not a matter of much debate that we will be able to more easily ‘win friends and influence people’ if we think and act confidently and positively in their company. And with the power to draw strength from our relationships it is no big stretch to see how we can directly improve upon our esteem, our career and monetary success, and our overall enjoyment of life.
The idea of visualization is a bit more amorphous, but it has certainly penetrated many aspects of our lives in relation to the outcome of our performance. My own experience in sports like golf, for example, has made me a solid believer in the assertion that we have to visualize a good result in order to ensure a good result.
The clearer our vision is of what is to come, the more likely the intended outcome will occur. Be the ball, a conscientious golfer may remind himself. In general, the idea that we will be successful if we believe we will be successful is not so hard to accept when we can make a direct link between our attitude and our own behavior, and then see that our behavior has a direct effect on our environment in terms of the way in which people and circumstances react to us. However it is entirely another thing to suggest that the way we think can affect the world around us at a distance as it were, with no visible ties to what we are affecting. Can we really believe that positive thinking can attract the right person into our lives at the right time? That visualization can bring us abundance from an unexpected source? That intention can actually affect the weather? Actually, in some sense, it is only modern Western societies that have been skeptical about these possibilities. In earlier times these ideas were not only accepted, they were the foundations of tribal rituals and religious practices of all kinds.
These practices ranged from carrying out personal vendettas to bringing much-needed rain to the communal crops. Perhaps the only difference is that rather than believing the power to be within the minds of each individual in their culture, they vested it in the particular deity that they were devoted to.
There was no doubt in their minds, however, about the invisible connection between discreet things in their environment, and the ability to tap into this ever-present web of influence through prayer and other acts of devotion.
The advent of science, which ushered in the mechanistic world view, has made it difficult for us to give credence to these invisible connections between our thoughts and what actually happens in the world. More than ever in human history, our attention has been focused on the material connections between things, because it has been seen as the only way to gain the power to get what we want in our world. This in part explains the all-consuming supremacy of money in our modern world which, for all intents and purposes, we have made into a material ‘thing’ that is the main source of acquiring the other ‘things’ that are supposed to fulfill our desires. When a claim is made that someone has brought something material into being and fulfilled a desire by their thoughts alone, the inclination of our materialist mindset is to write it off as superstition, voodoo, or the opiate of religious fervor, maintaining that we have evolved beyond such mysticism. When uncanny events occur that seem to present us with exactly what we want, need, or have been asking for, and no clear cause-and-effect relationship can be found in the visible world, our habit of thought has been to simply attribute it to coincidence and haphazard randomness. Like many habits, this habit of thought has been hard to break. But we have begun to do just that.
The evidence to the contrary has started to become too overwhelming. And more and more this evidence has been coming from an unlikely source—science itself. Contemporary research in physics and other scientific fields demonstrates that the mechanistic world view itself may be one of the greatest superstitions in human history. Mechanism has no choice but to maintain that our thoughts are simply random offshoots of physical processes in the brain, without transcendent design or purpose.
The notion that we have any intelligence outside of the domain of our physical bodies, and that this intelligence can actually have an effect on matter, is untenable in a mechanistic world. However the discoveries of modern physics beg to differ.
They are actually demonstrating that it has become more reasonable to assert that mind creates matter rather than matter creating mind. It is no surprise that Albert Einstein, whose driving ambition in his scientific pursuits was to ‘understand the mind of God’, was a key player in the modern revolution of scientific thought, and of thought in general. In his seminal 1906 paper On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, Einstein essentially put our idea of objective reality on the shelf forever. He showed that both time and space—the underpinnings of objective measurements—were themselves subject to the conditions by which they were being observed and experienced. In other words, the actual passage of time and measurement of space are relative to the perspective of the observer. With relativity, the nature of things breaks away from the cold calculations of pure objectivity and suddenly becomes subjective. Relative is how things REALLY ARE, meaning that there is no absolute or objective reality as such. While it has taken quite some time for us to catch on to this fundamental idea—over a century, to be precise—our way of thinking and living is starting to come around. We are beginning to discern that what we used to consider to be objective truths are simply unconscious agreements, collective habits of perception that are so ingrained that we consider them unchangeable objective facts. Now certainly we need many of these agreements in order to live and relate to each other, but that is not the same as saying they exist independent of us. In other words, they need an observing consciousness to become ‘real’.
The proverbial tree that falls in the forest with nobody around, then, actually does not make a sound—although it is debatable as to whether there could ever be ‘nobody around’.
The discoveries of quantum physics, which studies the behavior of sub-atomic particles, have only further refined Einstein’s notion, showing that the objective world is not so ‘objective’ after all. Let us take for example any experiment conducted by a scientist, purportedly an unattached and objective observer who desires to report on exactly what he sees and draw conclusions from it. This seems all well and good for ‘traditional’ observation in which a scientist can stay unobtrusively a safe distance away.
The only problem is that with sub-atomic physics, the physicist cannot stay a safe distance away because he cannot escape an intimate relationship to that which he is observing, influencing its behavior just by observing it. In fact, it has been shown now that some kind of exchange goes on between the observer and the observed in every act of observation. Its effects are simply more noticeable at a sub-atomic level. Heisenberg’s famous uncertainty principle confirms this very fact. Electrons exist around a nucleus not as ‘things’ as such but rather as ‘probability clouds’ that necessarily wait for the attention of an observer to bring the electron to an actual position in space. Without that attention, the electron is actually and truly nowhere in particular. Now in the broader phenomenal world that we live in every day, the effects of observation are not so instantaneous.
There is much more to do than to position a single electron. However, while the processes might be more complex, science is starting to prove that consciousness is a participant at all levels of activity. As Lynn McTaggert says in The Intention Experiment, The implication of these early experimental findings [of quantum physics] were profound: living consciousness somehow was the influence that turned the possibility of something into something real...living consciousness is somehow central to the process of transforming the unconstructed quantum world into something resembling everyday reality.
The study of sub-atomic particles, the building blocks of life as we know it, has brought scientists to the unavoidable conclusion that consciousness affects matter by way of a unified energy matrix that orders the universe and weaves an intelligent design throughout the largest and smallest of entities, and all those in between.
The long search of science for a unified field is now being conceived as an energy storehouse of all possible events in space and time. All things material originate in an energy state, as potential, waiting for consciousness to put sufficient attention on one possibility to bring it into material existence. In other words, material events don’t just happen, they all originate from the focused attention of an observing intelligence on a given possibility.
The next big step science is in the process of taking is determining whether we are restricted to the role of observer, of passive consciousness, or if we can actually affect the world of our everyday lives with our consciousness in ways that we actually want. What spiritual traditions have been claiming all along—that we can shape our world and our lives with our intentions—has become the subject of rigorous scientific inquiry. Ground-breaking work done by people like biologist Rupert Sheldrake is opening up a vast new field of possibilities. His explorations demonstrate that not only can intention intervene in the bringing-into-being of matter, it is actually the foundation of such processes.
There’s a kind of intention, a kind of goal-directedness inherent in the very nature of life in the most fundamental processes that enable embryos to grow and even protein molecules to form. And I think that the kind of conscious intention we experience as part of our mental life has its background in this goal-directedness which is inherent in all living creatures, and is an essential part of the nature of life and an essential part of the nature of the organizing fields that organize living organisms. At the height of scientific materialism in the West, large numbers of people were skeptical of all things immaterial and came to doubt that there was any purpose to our being created at all. But purpose, goal-directedness, and intention are being seen more and more as the foundations of material life. As science gets turned on its ear, it shifts from being the strongest proponent of a universe devoid of meaning and conscious design to validating the role of consciousness and the existence of an invisible world of spirit out of which the visible world emerges. It was not long ago that science took pride in its orderly mechanistic vision, one which had us living in an unspeakably beautiful, highly sophisticated and fully functioning natural world and yet seriously doubting that there was an intelligent design behind it and a purpose to our own existence. Today, no longer is science strictly the domain of the visible and religion the domain of the invisible.
The line in the sand has been crossed, and the tacit agreement between the two camps has begun to dissolve.
The result is that we are starting to feel whole again. This did not all happen by accident. For me, this is the master stroke of Creation itself. It was intended that the illusion of materialism become so powerful that we could doubt there was an intelligence behind it—because this doubt itself had a highly transcendent purpose. With this doubt, born of the emergence of the Western paradigm, of the aggrandizement of rationality over intuition, of the separation of science and spirituality, we have been brought to greater heights of individual self-consciousness. We have been propelled into a complexity that distinguishes us even more from our source and yet holds the possibility that we can feel ever more of its power. In the universe consciousness cannot contract, it can only expand. Expanding consciousness is the flow of life and the inherent mandate of all living things. Our capacity as human beings to be conscious of ourselves brings us to the brink of a great epiphany about our purpose here: we were created to experience being creators ourselves. We have begun our ascent into a higher level of complexity, one that empowers us to create our world anew out of our conscious intentions, grounded in our deepest personal and collective desires. Due to the pressure of mass censorship, we now have our own censorship-free, and ad-free on demand streaming network! You can stream conscious media 24/7 and enjoy mind-expanding interviews, original shows, and documentaries and guided programs. Click here to start a FREE 7-Day Trial and watch 100's of hours of conscious media that you won't see anyw.
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