Ecology is the science of the relationships between the living entities and their environments. The relationships are shaped through a continuous process of learning: the entities learn to interrelate and interact so as to better adapt to the external changes and co-evolve in harmony with the evolving nature. In this sense, ecology and learning are inseparable: the all-embracing ecological web of nature exists and evolves because the living entities are able to constantly learn how to relate with one another and with the environment, and vice versa, the living entities are able to constantly learn and master their relationships with one another and with the environments because of their dynamic interconnectedness through the evolving ecological web of nature. This web includes not only the living entities, but also everything that exists.
Ecology of Learning considers the processes of learning vital for the ecological web to evolve and self-sustain. The urge to learn is an expression of the self-organizing drive inherent in each living entity - a drive towards realization of the potential that a specific entity is endowed with.
While nature guides the ways in which the plants and animals learn to adapt and co-evolve in order to fully realize their potentials and thus preserve the integrity and harmony of the ecological web, the endowed-with-consciousness human beings are solely responsible for the development and realization of their learning abilities.
Unfortunately, the direction of our learning has been towards development of knowledge with disastrous effects on the integrity and harmony of the ecological web. The air that we breathe is full of poisonous gases discharged from our cars, planes, rockets, pipe lines and all kinds of industrial and military complexes, plants and factories spread all over the world. Huge amounts of dangerous chemical and nuclear wastes are continually released. The extinguishing of natural species goes with an ever-increasing tempo, together with an intensive deforestation. The soil and water are irreversibly contaminated in many places on the planet. Ozone holes make the sunshine cause cancer on the skin of our bodies. Saturated-with-chemicals or genetically modified agricultural products place human health at risk.
We learn to acquire knowledge, but this knowledge does not make us wise. The highest realizations of our intellect have been always used for accumulation and realization of military, economic, and political power in society: to invent advanced tools for killing one another and make those with less power follow the will of the strongest. Wars and bloodsheds accompany the whole history of human civilization. Today's production of tools for killing one another and destroying nature has achieved far more advanced levels of technological sophistication and efficiency than ever before. The frantic establishment of global economic order fosters social injustice, cultural suppression and merciless exploitation threatening to turn the largest part of the world population into economic slaves.
We see the mission of Ecology of Learning to help people sublime (transform) their knowledge into wisdom so as to enable them live in wholesome and self-fulfilling ways - not against, but in accord with the life-sustaining impetus of nature.
We shall refer to the type of learning that is able to trigger sublimation of one's knowledge into wisdom as sublime learning.
Sublime learning relates to the most essential, the highest kind of knowing, as it aims at realization of the primary existential purpose of each of us: to open and fulfil the inner urge we are endowed with, to nourish it from within and let it blossom into all that one truly is - a unique embodiment of the infinite creative power of nature.
There are substantial differences between knowledge and wisdom.
Knowledge comes from without, wisdom wells up within. Knowledge can be transferred, can be borrowed from books, can be imparted and taught, while wisdom is not transferable. Wisdom is learners' own revelation of the unbreakable unity of the ecological web they are imbedded in, a self-discovery of The Individual as a microcosm of The Universal.
Knowledge looks for insights and inspiration from outside. Wisdom finds them inside. At the moment when we turn our attention to an object that is outside us, it immediately projects onto our inner space and the perception of this object becomes encompassed and penetrated by our inner dynamics - the dynamics of our own thoughts, feelings, attitudes, intentions, aspirations, inspirations. The mystery of our creativity is hidden inside us: we can see so much from the outside world as we have developed inside by expanding and honing our ability to explore the depths of our own nature, to reveal and discover its enigmas and secrets. The study of our inner world is of vital importance for comprehending and dealing with the world outside us. It is in the inner space of our intimate experience where we can look for the umbilical cord connecting us with the self-sustaining source of the existential dynamics.
Knowledge prefers logical explanations to paradoxes, while wisdom thrives on paradoxes and puts stress on the spirit of the process of learning rather than on the search for intellectual solutions. Paradoxes cannot be resolved intellectually - it is learners' faith and will, motivations and drives, creativity and intuition that make paradoxes dissolve.
Knowledge is partial. When it is objective (that is, based on observations, facts and experiments), it breaks reality into many separate fragments, labels them, sets boundaries between them, 'digs' deeply into each fragment, and thus makes impossible for the inquirers and learners to grasp realty as a whole. When knowledge is subjective (that is, based solely on individual experiences), it can be easily trapped into one's habitual patterns of thinking and prejudices, and influenced by the individual desires, selfish drives and subconscious impulses.
Wisdom is holistic. It deciphers the holistic symbols of The Universal, unites The Individual with The Social, and moves beyond the duality of objectivity or subjectivity of knowledge. It sees the sources, causes and drives of the observed phenomena and changes not separated from but in integrity with the sources, causes and drives of the individual life dynamics. While thriving on intuition, wisdom understands the language of heart and soul and widens the horizons of spirit.
Wisdom mirrors the wondrous dynamics of a seed - united and compact when in a state of implosion, spontaneous and expanding when in a state of growth, allied and centred at every stage of realization of its unfolding power. It is Mother Nature who nourishes the seed; the seed is her own creation and embodies her timeless urge for self-fulfilment. In the same way, nature nourishes us, as we are her creations too. The same forces, which pulsate in nature, pulsate within us - they energize the unfolding of our inner potentials and the expanding of our consciousness; they are behind the sublimation of our knowledge into wisdom.
There are examples of wise individuals in the history of the humankind. Unfortunately, there are no examples of wise societies. According to one of the discoveries of the science of human self-organization (Dimitrov, 2003) society is deprived of ability to transfrorm the wisdom of the individuals into a collective wisdom.
Society can grow in size, generate complicated social structures, produce scientific, technological and cultural 'miracles', but it is deprived of ability to 'implode', to silently concentrate inwards, relax, contemplate and meditate. It is a product of outwardly directed, 'explosive' dynamics, which inevitably dissipate. The civilizations in human history inevitably ended with self-destruction; it is not hard to see the symptoms - social, ecological, economical, cultural, moral - of an intensive and irreversible self-destruction of today's 'developed' Western model of civilization.
Carl Jung once said: "Society is nothing more than the concept of symbiosis of a group of human beings. A concept is not a carrier of life. The sole and natural carrier of life is the individual and this holds true throughout nature" (Jung, 1970). The individual has heart, will and intelligence; the society has none. With no heart, will and intelligence, society cannot act wisely.
By harnessing the power of their will, the individuals are able to learn from their mistakes and experiences; for society as a whole, this is an impossible task. Through enhancing their levels of awareness and understanding, the individuals can learn to discriminate between lies and truth, manipulations and righteousness, good and evil, and transcend the duality of these types of discriminations; society cannot. "Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes; it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is christianized, it is rich, it is scientific; but this change is not amelioration" - wrote Emerson in his essay Self-reliance published in 1841.
The distorted impetus of social self-organization is another factor for its inability to understand and develop the perennial wisdom created and sustained by the enlightened. Human societies have been always dominated and controlled by powerful cliques of different origin - religious, military, economical, political. Through permanent suppression of people's actions against their hegemony, these cliques have irreversibly distorted the impetus for self-organization of social dynamics - an impetus that can be fully realised only in societies where people are equally empowered to unfold their potentials. In the whole history of the humankind, there have never been conditions in favour of people's equal empowerment. There has always been an unsurpassable gap between a handful of the richest and the most powerful social players - 'the elite', and the large majority of economically enslaved people - people destined to work hard all their lives in order to etch out a living while supporting the superior life style of the elite.
The lack of wisdom opens society to manipulation and deception. Mighty propaganda machines installed in service to the elite permanently mix truth with lies and thus distort human perceptions of society and its dynamics. When dissolved in lies, truth can never be discovered. So efficient is the functioning of the machines for delusion and brainwashing in the countries with 'developed' Western type of democracy, that it has made the majority of people believe that they are free, that their votes matter, that those who rule the system listen to their needs. "None are so helplessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free" - said Goethe almost two hundreds years ago and his words reflect precisely the present socio-economical conditions in the 'free' capitalist world.
In today's society, learning is primarily directed towards acquisition of various kinds of expert knowledge aimed at decision-making and solving problems. This type of learning is centred in mind (conceptual knowledge) and body (practical skill), and crucially depends on development of learners' ability to think in a rational way, to analyse and synthesise, to extract and study cause-and-effect relationships, to generate hypotheses and test them experimentally, to draw out logical conclusions and master skills for performing certain actions.
The processes of design, implementation, development and innovation of ever-increasing in number and diversity artificial systems require a great deal of expert knowledge and therefore the educators in society keep busy packing and spreading it. The deeper we immerse in this type of knowledge, the narrower becomes the niche for researching ourselves, the less able we are to hear and understand the subtle voice of our inner nature and distinguish it from the roaring noises coming from outside. The majority of people have lost their ability to decipher the messages, which the every-day events of their experiences convey to their hearts and souls, or the symbols of The Universal, described and interpreted in the sacred books of the ancient thinkers.
For example, the prevailing attitude of today's society to the human health is mechanistic: if you do not feel healthy, go to the doctors and they will 'solve the problems' of your health and 'fix' it. Society continues to spread this delusion, as there are strong economic forces behind it: the multinational pharmaceutical corporations make unbelievable amount of money by offering them 'tools' to solve their health problems. Unfortunately, health is not a machine to be fixed; it is a holistic expression of one's life with many dimensions: individual and social, physical and emotional, mental and spiritual. Without developing our inherent natural ability for self-healing and making it work, no medicine can 'fix' our health. The more intensively we use medical drugs, the more addicted we become to them. The more addicted to drugs we become, the more serious their hard-to-predict side effects on our organisms. The worst is the numbing effect that any 'curative' chemical substance exerts on our self-healing potential; eventually, the use of drugs irreversibly destroys this potential.
Society needs experts for manufacturing and prescribing medical drugs in the similar way as it needs experts for computers, robots, military and cosmic technologies, genetic engineering, extraction of natural resources, business, communication, etc. When experts and authorities interpret our reality for us, it becomes easy for people to "bury their navigational equipment that allows them to move authentically through life" (Somerville, 2004). Society needs experts but not people of wisdom. As seen from the history of the humankind, if some individuals wholeheartedly persist in pursuing wisdom and truth, society condemns them to the stake, crucifies, stabs them in the back or guns them down. The enlightened people are seen as a threat for the elite possessing and exercising the power in the social establishment. It has been always much easier for the elite to deal with experts in narrowly fragmented fields of knowledge (to reward them generously, if they serve the Establishment and punish them severely, if they resist to do this) or with herds of economically enslaved, stressed, frightened, sick, addicted, or simply ignorant people than with those who have broad and deep understanding of reality and endeavour to see the truth, to reveal the acts of manipulation and social injustice, to rely upon the power of their own will, intuition and spirit.
As long as the process of education in society is under the surveillance of the Establishment, it resembles a scientifically informed brainwash, which instead of stimulating human urge to wisdom, teaches them how to better fit into the requirements of the Establishment, to follow its rules and remain mesmerized by all kinds of meaningless images and dreams for consumption-centred happiness.
who blindly follow the instructions of the Establishment and contribute in its
perpetuating and reinforcing, can never become wise.
Without being aware of and protecting oneself from the destructive and delusive influences of society, one cannot trigger sublimation of knowledge into wisdom.
Being aware of and protecting oneself from the destructive and delusive influences of society do not imply one's isolation from the life of society. On the contrary, one needs to live in society in order to understand the impotency of The Social to acquire and radiate wisdom. Moreover, while society creates obstacles for the individuals on the way to wisdom, it provides perfect opportunities for learning to those who can see and realize these opportunities: it is in society where the strength of one's individual mind and will is constantly tested, and where the genuineness of one's compassion and tolerance, empathy and love, honesty and courage undergoes its ultimate ordeal (Dimitrov, 2003; p. 182).
The Universal refers to
the existential infinitum. Being without boundaries in space and time, it
includes all the substances, forms, energies and forms that exist in the
universe at all the levels (scales) of its manifestation - from quarks to
galaxies. At any level, The Universal exercises its self-organizing -
self-creative, self-sustaining and self-destructive dynamics repeated in
endless rhythmic patterns of emergence, unfolding (blossoming), enfolding and
implosion. In the wholeness of the existential dynamics, where everything moves
- arises, sustains, disappears and re-emerge, must be a centre - an essence that holds
all the dynamics in an unbreakable unity (Bohm,
1980). As the existential dynamics have always been, are, and will always be,
their uniting centre or essence is timeless - non-temporal, permanent, eternal.
However uncertain the human knowledge about the nature of the all-pervading existential continuum, today's science assumes that the wholeness of the universe, at its macro level, represents a gigantic galactic spiral - a multidimensional whirlpool (vortex). One can imagine the infinity of the existential continuum consisting of countless number of galactic spirals; the centre of each spiral mirrors and relates to the centre of a larger one, in a similar way as the centre of our solar system mirrors and relates to the centre of our galaxy, and the centre of our galaxy - to the centre of a larger 'mega-galaxy', and so on ad infinitum.
The human embryo also develops as a kind of living spiral centred in the naval through which the umbilical cord passes to connect the embryo with the organism of the mother. In this sense, our bodies represent symbols - iconographic miniatures - of The Universal.
In the same way as the whirlpools in the water and the tornadoes in the atmosphere are sustained by self-created forces emerging at the centre of their swirling dynamics, the existential spiral of The Universal is sustained by the self-created forces at the centre of its vortical dynamics. One can recognise the work of these forces in the blossom of a flower and in the waves of the ocean, in the pulsation of a simple cell and in the beats of our hearts, in the rhythm of our breathing and in the rhythm of the cycles of the solar activity.
According to the wisdom of the ancient Vedas considered the oldest written text on our planet (coming to us in written form between 4000 to 6000 years ago), it is not important whether we are finite or infinite, mortal or immortal, but whether we consciously identify ourselves with the infinite and imperishable or with the finite, transient and ephemeral. Human body, ego and mind are finite - the body disintegrates and together with it the ego and mind cease to exist.
Is it not wiser then to consciously identify ourselves with the timeless source (centre, engine) of the self-sustained energies and forces, which keep the integrity of the existential wholeness, rather than with our bodies, egos and minds?
This is not an impossible task. Each human being is already connected with The Universal: human dynamics form a specific level in the vortical dynamic structure of the existential wholeness. The challenge is to be aware of this connection and make it work in the span of one's physical life.
Without being aware of and consciously centring one's life trajectory in the timeless source of the existential wholeness, one cannot trigger sublimation of knowledge into wisdom.
To centre our lives in the ever-operating engine of The Universal means to see ourselves "as exponents of a much greater Life which extends beyond its physical manifestation" (Dimitrov and Hodge, 2002, p.16) to experience and explore the hidden spiritual dimensions of existence.
The 'energy level' of our inner potentials, expressed through the level of development of our awareness (consciousness, vigilance, sensitivity) must be high enough in order to make the sublimation of knowledge into wisdom possible. How can we heighten the level of our awareness and thus saturate our inner potentials with creative energy?
The ancient techniques of concentration and meditation significantly contribute to this endeavour. When learnt under guidance of advanced masters and practiced persistently, these techniques result in emergence of inspiring creative insights and help practitioners experience their connectedness with the inexhaustible life-sustaining source of creative energy of The Universal.
Practicing the techniques of concentration and mediation is the first necessary condition for triggering sublimation of learner's knowledge into wisdom.
Knowledge is always under control of mind, and mind is susceptible to delusion, manipulation and brainwashing. Mind is overcome by the illusion of identification with the ego, as the primary goal of mind is to protect the individual's ego and satisfy its appetite for recognition and power, as well as for experiencing comfort and pleasures. Mind looks at reality through the lens how to better serve the ego and to respond to its constantly emerging desires and ambitions. The deeper one's mind immerses in egoism, the lesser one's ability to see and experience reality in its vibrant wholeness.
of the traps of the ego and determined to avoid them, one is on the way to
destroy the dominant power of the ego over mind (Brunton, 1989) over mind.
This leads to a release of significant amount of energy which, when embodied in
altruistic actions of the individuals, stimulates their growth in wisdom.
Liberating mind from the dominant power of the ego is the second necessary condition for triggering sublimation of learner's knowledge into wisdom.
Learning about ourselves - about the sources, causes and drives of our inner dynamics - does not mean escape from society. On the contrary, with a deeper understanding of ourselves, the motivating factor for our reactions to the injustice, oppression and exploitation in sociaty are no more hatred and vengeance, but pursuit of truth and equity, as well as readiness to help those who suffer from the social injustice.
The changes we create in our inner dynamics are able to trigger changes in our environment. A heart full of love evokes love in the hearts of the others; a mind full of good will brings forth constructive changes in the life of community; a soul full of inspiration radiates inspiration the souls of others. We can bring peace and harmony in the world around only if we have them in ourselves. The opposite is also true - a stressful and tensed personality emanates stress and tension; an ignorant mind cannot help those who seek understanding and wisdom
Love expressed genuinely and illuminated by the spirit of a loving and caring person creates miracles: flows of energy, for the nature of which the science has no explanation, generously pour in the heart of this person and re-vitalize her or his body, mind and soul. In one of his wonderful poems devoted to love, Rumi wrote: "Love is the energizing elixir of the universe, the cause and effect of all harmonies".
When the thoughts and feelings are saturated with genuine unconditional love - the kind of love that Mother Nature feels towards all its creations, the mind is free from the selfish grasp of the ego, and the destructive and delusive influences of society cannot enter one's heart to suffocate the waves of inspiration it radiates.
The ecstatic experience of one-ness with the creative power of nature, which love evokes, can be compared with the bliss experienced in a state of deep meditation.
Genuinely experienced unconditional love is the third necessary condition for triggering sublimation of learner's knowledge into wisdom.
Love illuminated by genuine spiritual aspirations and beliefs is the most powerful catalyst for sublime learning.
Although invisible, the forces of human spirit sustain the integrity of our bodies, inject inspiration in our thoughts and feelings, keep us connected with the rhythm of the universe through the pulsations of every single cell, fill our lives with mysterious coincidences (synchronicities) and happenings, design our dreams when we sleep and create unique phenomena in our experience which science of today is helpless to explain.
Human hearts and souls are open to feel and experience the limitless power of the spirit. The way to nurture it is through spiritual practices free from pre-imposed religious dogmas.
Nurturing the spirit is the fifth necessary condition for sublimation of learner's knowledge into wisdom.
When learning to understand an unknown object (a phenomenon, a process, an experiential event), we try to move beyond the fuzziness (uncertainty, vagueness, ignorance) of what we know (or do not know) about this object using the findings of other researchers and our own exploration.
If we explore ourselves, we rely on our own knowledge about ourselves to move beyond the fuzziness imbedded in this knowledge. And there is no other way to move beyond the fuzziness, except by using our own knowledge, that is, the knowledge characterized by the same degree of fuzziness. So the process of understanding ourselves, which is at the core of sublime learning, is a process of realisation of a self-referential procedure - a 'bootstrapping' of fuzziness, that is, pulling of fuzziness from one's knowledge by its own bootstraps and moving from one level of one's understanding and knowing to another level (presumably, higher than the level from where the fuzziness moves). The challenge is to create conditions, which facilitate this bootstrapping.
The ability of learners to create conditions for fuzziness 'to pull itself by its own bootstraps' mirrors the degree up to which they have succeeded in subliming their knowledge into wisdom. The higher this degree, that is, the deeper and broader one's understanding (knowing, experiencing, thinking, feeling) the more 'energetic', active and flexible is the fuzziness and it is easier for the learner to make it move and change - shrink or expand, accelerate or slow, 'harden' or 'soften', transform and transcend (Dimitrov and Hodge, 2002). By exploring the fuzziness - its sources, causes and factors affecting its resilience, one is able to find out how to activate its bootstrapping.
When we say that fuzziness of our knowkedge has moved to another level, this means that our understanding has moved to another level also, and what seemed fuzzy and incomprehensible for us at the level, from where fuzziness has pulled itself, has become clear and comprehensible. Of course, this does not mean that there is no more fuzziness, that we have won the battle with it and succeeded in extinguishing it once and for all from our consciousness. Fuzziness is still 'alive' at each new level of our understanding: full of vigour and potential to become denser or expand wider. One can call the new level 'higher' or 'deeper', it does not matter; what matters is that in the process of learning one's understanding has become deeper, that the limitations imposed by fuzziness at one stage of the process of learning have been transcended. The learner will soon encounter the limitations that another kind of fuzziness imposes. These limitations challenge us to persist in our learning: to continue exploring fuzziness further and testing the degree of development of our wisdom, while trying to make fuzziness 'bootstrap' again.
The more the learners know about themselves, the greater the chance for them to trigger sublimation of knowledge into wisdom. Around 2500 years ago, Socrates articulated this in his magic formula: "Know Thyself!" The main emphasis of sublime learning is on exploring ourselves.
Human nature is full of enigmas and paradoxes. Therefore the knowledge, which we have about ourselves, is fuzzy (uncertain, unknown, vague). Sublime learning does not try to eliminate the fuzziness from it. To eliminate fuzziness would be equivalent not only to stop learning but also to distort our ability to perceive, experience, think, feel, understand, know, aspire, dream and act, as the uncertainty is inseparable from each and all of these vital processes for human existence.
Through sublime learning we try to create (seed, facilitate) conditions for fuzziness to pull itself from our knowledge about specific aspects of our nature and thus to facilitate, energize, strengthen, broaden and deepen our understanding of these aspects.
Below is a heuristic methodology for creating such conditions. It contains three main phases.
First Phase: Preparation
This phase includes application of technique(s) for honing individual awareness of the learner through exerting volitional efforts, that is, efforts supported by the power of one's mind and will, for an overall strengthening of individual capacity for perception, experiencing, sensing, thinking, intuiting, knowing. Example of such kind of techniques are the techniques of relaxation and concentration, combined with practices oriented towards triggering sublimation of knowledge into wisdom:
- being aware of and protecting ourselves from the destructive and delusive influences of The Social on The Individual
- keeping consciously connected with the inexhaustible source of the life-sustaining forces of The Universal
- mastering the techniques of concentration and mediattion
- minimizing the power of the selfish ego over mind
- experience and realization of unconditional love
- nurturing the spirit.
Second Phase: Exploration
This phase pursues a careful exploration of the sources, nature, dynamics, causes and effects of fuzziness imbedded in learners' understanding (experiencing, thinking, feeling, knowing) of various aspects of their nature. It includes two stages.
(1) Identification of what appears fuzzy (uncertain) to the learners in the exploration of certain aspects of their nature. This is also a stage of inquiring into the research findings of other authors who have explored similar aspects, as well as studying the ancient wisdom.
(2) Concentration: applying volitional efforts for focusing and channelling individual awareness on what has been identified as fuzzy. This is a process of self-finding (self-discovery). The learner goes deeper into various experiences related to the studied aspects and interprets (makes meanings) of these experiences.
Third Phase: Transformation
During this phase the learner tries to create conditions facilitating the bootstrapping of fuzziness and withdrawing its limitations from learner's capacity to understand (think, feel, experience, know) the studied aspects of one's own nature. It includes three stages.
(1) Meditation: exerting holistic, body-mind-soul 'efforts', which are non-volitional (not controlled by one's mind or will) but rather meditative ('let-it-go') experiences of calmness, peace and integrity, which bring forth inner clarity in the learner's knowledge. It is in the light of this clarity where the fuzziness related to the studied aspects of the learner's nature 'burns-out', dissolves, becomes transcended.
(2) Mental Verification: This phase deals with the question: Is the identified fuzziness transcended (dissolved)? If the answer is "no", the methodology is applied again from the beginning with a special reinforcement of the preparatory phase and also of the stage (2.2). If the answer is "yes", one can move to the next stage.
(3) Contemplation: This phase deals with the following questions: What has become clear for the learner as a result of transcending the fuzziness? Did a new meaning emerge, a new insight? What kinds of thoughts, behaviours and actions did the achieved clearness evoke (stimulate, impede, sustain, lead to)?
It is important to underline that when applying the described methodology, the learner does not fight with fuzziness in order to eliminate or reduce it, but rather interacts with it. The phases 1 and 2 help learners initiate creative 'whirlpools' in the space of their thinking, feeling and experiencing. In the process of sharpening their awareness (stage 2.2), while integrating the experiential streams of their own explorations with the knowledge and experiences of the other explorers, the learner tries to centre the created whirlpools. The phase 3 is where the forces emerging out the whirlpools become so intensive that the learner is able to capture some subtle and yet perceivable signals announcing emergence of creative insights or new discoveries.
The above methodology bridges Ecology of Learning with the research findings of Fuzziology: the study of fuzziness of human knowing (Dimitrov and Hodge, 2002).
Our knowledge about the phenomenon of death is saturated with fuzziness (uncertainty, ignorance). Let us apply the above methodology for expanding our understanding of this phenomenon.
The first stage of the Phase of Preparattion reveals that the source of fuzziness in our knowledge of death is in the lack of our own experience of this phenomenon. What intensifies this fuzziness, what makes it dense and depressive is our fear that the death will put an end of our individualities, of our egos with all their achievements, acquisitions, aspirations and dreams.
In the second stage of the Phase of Exploration we concentrate on different views about death and how do they affect the fuzziness of our knowledge. We read and contemplate on what the ancient thinkers said about death (particularly, in the Ancient Egypt and Tibet), what has been written about death by researchers involved in diverse scientific and religious inquiries. We explore different ideas articulated by people involved in various spiritual practices and particularly by indigenous people. We read what different philosophers and mystics share about death, consciousness, existence, spirituality, immortality. We remember novels, poems and essays, as well as movies, plays, pictures, orchestral compositions and songs - all related to human death or immortality.
The Phase of Transformation is where we meditate and contemplate on what we have read and listened, on our own experience with people who died in our presence. The thoughts and feelings emerging out of the processes of meditation and contemplation offer insights from within the dynamics of fuzziness of our own ideas and emotions related to death. They help us clarify that it is the separate individual ego that fears mostly from the approaching death. If there were not a separate ego, there wouldn't be reasons for fear: why should we think that the death is a fearful experience when we never had it? It is obvious that one cannot do anything in order to save the material substance of the body (there is absolutely no fuzziness about this!), but maybe one can succeed in dissolving the individual ego before the moment of death.
We mediate and contemplate also on those conditions of life, which could help us dissolve the power of the individual ego over mind. What kind of behaviour, what kind of mental, emotional and spiritual efforts are required from us in order to transcend the limits of the separate individual consciousness and unite with the source of forces sustaining the eternity of the existential wholeness? In the same way as our planet Gaya is a living organism, the whole universe also breathes and evolves. Is not the consciousness that each of us is endowed with through the evolutionary impetus of the universe created and sustained by the energies and forces responsible for the timeless integrity of the existential wholeness? Of course, it is! Can we expand our consciousness and become at-one with the existential wholeness? Then there would be no separate individual ego and therefore there would be nobody to die. Of course, we can, because we are the existential wholeness and embody in us its transformative power. Both the life and death are manifestations of this eternal power. As long as it exists (and it never ceases to exist), we exist also. The mental verification of this kind of insights places the second necessary condition for transforming knowledge into wisdom in a much broader context: how to liberate our entire consciousness from the power of the ego. At the final stage of the Third Phase we emphasize again the crucial importance of meditation as leverage for advancing on the road to wisdom.
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