This week, as I walked down the hallway, someone passed me and asked, “Hey, how are you, Britany?” I responded, “I’m doing well. How are you?”….and then kept walking. I obviously had NO intention of listening to their answer and of finding out how THEY were actually doing. I responded simply as a formality.
This week sums up the Chakra series at CorePower Parker; for the last seven weeks, each teacher has themed on a designated chakra, so the concluding chakra this week was the Crown Chakra: our connection to all things in the Universe. I’ve been asking myself: How am I connecting to the Universe? (Obviously, not very well since I didn’t care about my co-worker’s response).
In the movie, “Waking Life” (my favorite Existentialist film), Ethan Hawke discusses this idea of the collective human consciousness–an unseen universal force that we all tap into and we all contribute to. He uses a study of crossword puzzles to prove this may exist–researchers studied how long it took people to complete a crossword puzzle that day AFTER it was printed, and found that people finished the puzzle quicker on that second day–because the answers from the previous day were sent up into the collective human consciousness, allowing minds the next day to tap into, and bring down to finish the crossword puzzle; once a thought has been thunked, it travels into this unseen space in which any other mind can therefore reach up and retrieve.
We can see this in innovative patterns throughout history. Our human history spans thousands of years, but how come it is only during small pockets of time that are clustered together–do we see all of the inventions and innovations taking place?–da Vinci, Michelangelo–the Wright Brothers, Alberto Santos-Dumont–Bill Gates, Steve Jobs. People who have NO association with each other, rest in completely different parts of the world, can’t even speak the same language–are somehow ride on the same wavelength, invent similar products, are finding the same answers to the same problems. Coincidence, or a fault of the collective human consciousness?
IF this is true, and there is such a thing as the collective human consciousness, then this would also mean that we, as humans, have a responsibility to be very careful about the kinds of thoughts we allow ourselves to think, that will inevitably infiltrate, that human collective conscious.
As I’ve meditated on the Crown Chakra this week, and I’ve paid attention to how my own connection to the Universe, I’ve caught myself passing some thoughts that could actually be quite damaging to others if those thoughts did, in fact, make it into the collective human consciousness. I might be scrolling through my social media and notice that another Bachelor couple broke up, and my first thought is, “I bet he cheated on her. Ouch. Should have seen it coming”. Or, I’m driving, and the car who has been tailgating me gets stuck behind a slow-as-molasses cement truck and I think, “That serves him right!”. I’m watching Dancing with the Stars, and I think, “I really hope Bobby trips over his shoes during that lift”. My friend gets a dog (that I disagreed with) and she posts about how the dog chewed up her couch and I think, “She’s obviously not training the dog properly”. I’m reading a book, and I get some kind of strange pleasure when I notice a typo and I think, “SOMEONE is inadequate at their job”.
(Of course, I certainly did not SPEAK those thoughts out loud nor did I actually type out my judgmental, competitive, ego-seeking, hope-they-fall-flat-on-their-face schadenfreude kind of comments. I simply allowed these types of thoughts to bubble up and permeate into my brain).
And are thesereallythe types of thoughts that I want to send up into the human collective consciousness, available for other people to grab and pull down?…Do I really want to contribute to the potential pain and suffering of others? Do I really want to hope that people I don’t actually really know fail and have bad things happen to them (because it gives me pleasure to watch from the backseat)? Are these the types of contributions that I really want to make to the collective human consciousness, giving other people the ability to bounce off (and maybe even think the same things about me)?
I love this analogy of a coffee cup, in learning to produce and control our thoughts:
You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.
Why did you spill the coffee?
“Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”
You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.
Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.
Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.
So we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”
When life gets tough, what spills over?
Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?
Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?
I always think the “best” representation of who we are as people is when we are stressed, sick, hungry, tired, burnt out, on emotional overload. Because, when we are well rested, healthy, well fed, idle, our fuses are long, our filters thick, and our reactions in check–we have the time, the energy, and the capability to refine our reactions to situations, to calculate for the most altruistic action, to consider alternatives and respond in the most socially appropriate way. When our mother-in-law gives unsolicited parenting advice, we have the patience to respond to her in a thankful and appreciative way; we have enough mental energy to consider the outcome of the situation if we were to express our true feelings, and so we can filter out those feelings in our response. When our co-worker makes a potentially snide and offensive comment about our new haircut, we have the time to walk ourselves through our mental checklist to eliminate any judgmental and revengeful thoughts; we can remind ourselves, “Well, maybe I heard it incorrectly”, “Maybe she was talking to someone else”, “That’s OK–everyone has the opportunity to share their own opinion”. When our neighbor tells us she was just diagnosed with a disease, we have enough mental capacity to remember her when we are grocery shopping, and we pick her up some meal prep items.
But, when we are beaten down, exhausted, overtaxed and overwhelmed, our fuses are short, our filters narrow, and we do not always have the time, space, and mentality capacity, and all of our defenses down, whatever comes out is probably closest to our truest nature, and this is where the real work begins–paying attention to our thoughts, our reactions, listening to those around us, the energies, the environment, taking ourselves outside of our own heads, and training ourselves to contribute to the collective human consciousness in productive ways.
In her book, Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver writes about the odd migration of the Monarch butterfly (it’s a book about climate change); the scientist, Ovid, remarks, “I never learn anything from listening to myself”, and in the story, he sits presently, patiently, asking Dellarobia (the main character) about her interactions and observations of the Monarch butterflies, and I can only imagine that the thoughts he allows to slip into his mind are not those of what I listed above, but rather ones of kind, genuine, and progressive inquiry, and I wonder what would happen if we trained a society to think–and contribute to the collective human consciousness–in these same altruistic, positive, and empathetic ways.
What we put in is what we will get out.
(Photo Credit: Fiverr.Com)