Today’s “Meditations on Eckhart Tolle” quote: “The next step in human evolution is not inevitable, but for the first time in our history of our planet, it can be a conscious choice. Who is making that choice? You are. And who are you? Consciousness that has become conscious of itself.”
I’ve been watching the Netflix series on the story of the Buddha, and I’m reminded that the whole push of life in ancient India was to evolve consciousness. This is an inward journey, a subjective journey. The West, when it woke up in the Enlightenment devoted its energy to evolution in the material world, making better tools and material condition. The East wanted to understand who I am from the inside. The West wanted to know who WE are from the outside. East is inside; West is outside.
The time of the Buddha was what is called the Axial age because at that time there was a flowering of human consciousness in these great Lotus Beings:
Confucius and Lao-Tse were living in China, all the schools of Chinese philosophy came into being, including those of Mo Ti, Chuang Tse, Lieh Tzu and a host of others; India produced the Upanishads and Buddha and, like China, ran the whole gamut of philosophical possibilities down to materialism, scepticism and nihilism; in Iran Zarathustra taught a challenging view of the world as a struggle between good and evil; in Palestine the prophets made their appearance from Elijah by way of Isaiah and Jeremiah to Deutero-Isaiah; Greece witnessed the appearance of Homer, of the philosophers – Parmenides, Heraclitus and Plato, – of the tragedians, of Thucydides and Archimedes. Everything implied by these names developed during these few centuries almost simultaneously in China, India and the West.
— Karl Jaspers, Origin and Goal of History, p. 2
The consciousness of man took a giant leap during this age, and we’re still trying to reproduce these lotus flowers. And today with the internet all the wisdom of the ages is just a click away. Surely we are mixing a new recipe here. If we don’t…we are going to cook and eat our own planet.
In the mythologies of the Savior through out the world, when times are bad and mankind is suffering, the Avatar or Savior appears. God in his infinite compassion sends his Son to restore balance and unity. Some Christians today wait breathlessly for the rapture of the Son’s return, but this is just a belief in death as the answer. Everybody dies but us.
But could this not be a mythological way of describing evolution, the evolution to a higher unity, a greater whole that includes the previous dead-locked forces. When a system reaches its limits and become dysfunctional, a new system is created that includes the previous systems, but at a higher unity. The old order cannot conceive of the higher order because it does not exist yet. But the higher order can know the lower orders because they are unfolded within the higher order.
The child unfolds the infant; The adolescent unfolds the child; the adult unfolds the adolescent; the wise senior infolds the adult. Evolution and life are really One. Life is change. And life evolves greater and greater Whole, each containing what preceded it. The Sage in-folds humanity.
The lotus grows out of the mud and is untouched by the water of the world. Life is Desire, and the ultimate desire of Life is to be conscious of itself…That is your and my desire, isn’t it. To be more conscious. To have more understanding, and in consciousness, one is joyous and free. If you are reading this, it is that desire to evolve that is reading this.
Man is an explorer, and now that Western man has explored the material realm and come to the edge of the abyss, he is turning within to explore the interior, and these Eastern lotus explorers are our guide to transcend the material exterior world.
I noticed that I really didn’t connect the talk to the title: Evolve and die/live. Evolution requires a death that is also life. Jesus says it perfectly: “When a seen falls to the ground and does not die, it stands alone; when it dies it bears fruit.” Evolution is the death of an old order so a higher order can come into existence. The higher order holds the conflicts of the lower order in balance, but the higher order is greater than its parts. The lower order cannot know the higher order it is becoming, so to the lower order the higher order looks like death, and it resists its own evolution, as if it were pulling it over an abyss.
This Seeing requires a Leap, a SNAP, a new gestalt that suddenly snaps into place like a new lens. The pain of not seeing the whole stimulates the final leaps that goes beyond what you know. Like the detective whose I Know Who Did It, the greater Seeing snaps into place. Seeing is always whole seeing. Seeing is not divided.
But when Seeing and Not seeing, or Consciousness and Unconscious are in conflict, the push to ether See or self destruct becomes unavoidable. The refusal to See is self destructive and ends in death.
So either way you have death: the death of the old seeing or the death of the old seeing. In the former death you get to see the New World; in the latter you don’t.