By Joe Perez
You climb to the top of a mountain or the roof of a tall building and look around. The feeling that you are on the top of the world is awesome. With such broad views, your feelings are enlarged to encompass much more than your ordinary awareness. But these are changes in feeling and perspective, not in your core sense of Who You Are. For your self-sense to expand, you must have a shift in mental framework (philosophy, theology, or “right view” as Buddha taught), particularly those notions which construct and contextualize the self. In so doing, you may find yourself on the route from finite or partial self to True Self to Unique Self — the unending evolutionary process of self-clarification, or “coming out of the closets” of Your Supreme Identity.
Talking about a shift in mental frameworks isn’t the easiest or sexiest conversation to have, particularly in a culture with intellectual streams as diverse as ours. Pre-modern frameworks have certain strengths and weaknesses. Religious frameworks are already comfortable with looking at the world as a meaningful unity, and if someone is able to move beyond fundamentalistic tendencies, this can be a very powerful station from which to draw wisdom. Modern frameworks can tend towards scientism and reductionist ideology stripping the world of magic and intrinsic meaning, turning it into an object for inspection, manipulation and control. But they also offer strong medicine for healing from the sickness of superstition or naive realism. Postmodern frameworks remind us that no medicine is without its side-effects, so modernity’s excesses are remedied by recognizing an extraordinarily pluralistic set of values and perspectives and its claims to truth questioned with a hermeneutic so suspicious it turns against the act of interpretation itself. Whether you are conversing in spaces dominated by pre-modern, modern, or postmodern frameworks, the key to Spirit’s next move is to get the conversation turned to the framework.
It’s tough to get people to see the framework that they’re in clearly and, more importantly, work with this insight in order to progress on an integral path of self/world-actualization or enlightenment. But it’s a key part of the task of the present moment. We are asking people to take a climb to the top of the highest mountain in their mental universe and look around. Limbs will get sore. Food and water are scarce. The body’s capacities are stretched to the max. Let us get to that peak together, and return to it with enough regularity that we build our bodily capacity to integrate its sights and sounds and feelings. Exit your closet, and I leave mine. It’s a deal. You get to your peak and stretch out a hand to me; I will get to my peak and stretch out a hand to you. Come let’s look around together.
Picture: Wonderful Greece