Tuesday, July 3, 2018

An Emptiness of Thought

From a series of notes to myself written during May 2018.

When the thinking part is still, the stillness is at the center of the intellect, not in its periphery, where things always remain in motion.

That stillness can be preserved even in the middle of ordinary life when there are a thousand other things going on in the intellect. It is, in practical terms, possible for all of the peripheral activity to completely cease; but this isn’t absolutely necessary, and the experience can be disturbing if one isn’t prepared for it. The stillness at the center of the intellect needs the support of the motion at the periphery in order to engage; otherwise, while it has all the potential to see quite clearly, it is in the position of a magician that needs to keep reaching into the box to pull out the right creature for a response. It can do this in an almost perfect way; but that experience is bewildering if one doesn’t understand how the function is constructed.

In any event, this begins to sound complicated, and I think my point is that intellect, in its pure form, is an ideally uncomplicated entity. It simply exists and perceives; what comes afterwards may be interesting, but it is not the center of gravity. If existence and perception of the center of gravity and intellect, intellect functions quite differently. For one thing, it’s much quieter; and it also sees more of what takes place. It has no attitude towards what takes place or desire to change it. Attitude and desire continue to function on the periphery, and it’s possible to see their growth and decay from moment to moment as they arrive, manifest, and pass. There is no absolute need to be involved with either one of them; they are relative phenomena that take place and are true. But they do not own me.

I think there is a misconception about thought, that folks think it will go away if the centers align themselves properly and everything works in a healthy manner. But it doesn’t go away. It just becomes poised and still. It does not become silent either; but the sound that it makes is not a sound that is heard in musical notes or words. The sound is the sound of presence, which does not have a better descriptive to define it. Presence itself is a note that sounds; and it sounds inwardly, not outside of myself.


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

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