Traditional wisdom says that an eclipse is a good time to go inside. This was thought to be especially important for pregnant women. The eclipse is a time to avoid any activity, and just get quiet, get still.
I think there is a great deal of wisdom hidden in that saying, and I’d like to take some time to meditate on it here and draw it out.
Life is lived from within out. The source of all existence is within us, and what we experience around us is the effect, the outpicturing, the reflection, of a deep internal process.
This does not mean that reality is a cosmic shopping mall, spread out before us to exploit with the Power of Positive Thinking.
I don’t think we individually create our own separate realities; rather, I think it is closer to the truth to say that we participate in a deep, multi-level process that we can contact within our own consciousness, a process that operates in and through all of us.
The act of creation starts with the One, works through the Gods, and finally eventuates with our outer experience, individual and collective. It originates with the One and concludes with the One, and we each are blessed with our individual focus of consciousness, both within the One, and containing the One within us.
Consider the image of your consciousness as originating at the center of a sphere. The source of all is the point of origin, the still point at the center, what the Platonists pointed to with the names, The One and The Good. The surface of the sphere is the result, the outer world experience where we spend most of our conscious time. In Bucky Fuller’s elegant and evocative metaphor, we are situated at the center of an omni-directional tv screen.
The level at which you focus your attention makes a world of difference in your experience. The closer you are to the center the more still, peaceful and powerful it is, and the closer to the surface, the more ephemeral, shifting, and turbulent it is – literally, more superficial.
Think of the effects of a violent thunderstorm on a body of water. There is an enormous difference in the experience between being thrown about on the surface of the water, and being at a distance below the surface, where things are much calmer and more quiet.
Life is lived from within out. Internally, when we are deep in thought or meditation, when the mind is centered and collected, things are quiet, peaceful, still – deep below the surface, closer to the center still point.
On the surface of consciousness, when we are not grounded, we are easily knocked off balance, thrown off-center – by external events, by a rude driver, by a thoughtless remark – or by tuning in the news media any time, night or day, and getting caught up in the sound and the fury of the daily noise that keeps our culture hypnotized.
Part of the intent of the news media, and much of the government, is to keep us in a constant state of anxiety, semi-hysteria and panic – because we are very easily manipulated and controlled when we are in that unbalanced, thoughtless state of mind.
The more we focus on the turbulence and the noise, the more it is amplified – a feedback loop. Fear breeds fear, hysteria breeds hysteria, panic breeds panic, violence breeds violence in an ever-escalating spiral.
Our internet-driven, real time communications media acts to further amplify and accelerate the feedback process.
Conscious, reasoned response requires time, quiet, and conscious thought, and conscious thought is impossible when your mind is in a turbulent, harried whirl.
For the majority of our culture, this unbalanced, semi-hysterical, overheated state of mind is the conscious focus we are bringing to the experience of the eclipse. This is what we are amplifying by our focus.
Consider the implications of this.
First of all, the main focus of this particular eclipse is the United States of America, so that is where to look for its main effects. (My previous blog post, American God, is my own extended meditation on the significance of this solar eclipse for America.)
In true American style, the eclipse is being turned into a PR marketing spectacle – eclipse viewing parties, mass meditations and rallies, and guaranteed wall to wall media coverage and commentary, with live video streaming. There will be as many IPhones as Eyes pointed at the eclipse itself, and twitter and Facebook feeds will be deluged with the minute to minute reactions. (Eclipse Selfies, anyone?) This is focusing on the external thrill of the event, like a cosmic shot of cocaine, or a massive sugar binge.
The American focus is just as superficial as it is possible to get – right at the level of consciousness where the energy is the most turbulent and unstable.
An eclipse is an intense and unsettling focus of energy. This one is a North Node eclipse, so the effect will be like a massive power surge. I am convinced that our individual and collective state of mind can have a profound effect on how the effects of the eclipse will play out – and collectively, the situation looks very bleak.
America, by collectively focusing so very intently on the external, superficial spectacle level, is magnifying the turbulence and unbalance that the eclipse will produce. The effects are most likely to be felt where we are already turbulent and unbalanced.
So, given this state of affairs, how can we, as individuals, thoughtfully respond?
Number one, back off from all the overheated media hype that is turning this event into a PT Barnum spectacle.
Number two, consider ways that you can focus your attention in a calm, inward, peaceful, recollected sort of way. The more calm and centered your energy and consciousness, the more even and balanced will be your response to the effects of the eclipse as they unfold in the coming days, weeks and months. The closer to the surface, the more un-centered and agitated you are, the more you are amplifying the turbulent effects of what is already a very turbulent event, and a turbulent period in our country’s history. As the Gods know, America is an utter master at approaching events in the most superficial and exploitive way possible – and oh, man, are we reaping the consequences of that approach!
I do not think this means that, if a large enough group of us can all just concentrate hard enough and Visualize World Peace, that we will somehow miraculously transform the world in the blink of an eye. That particular belief is a peculiarly American style of hubris, and I don’t think reality works that way.
I also do not think that the best approach to the eclipse is to focus on your own private Positive Intent, and use the time of the peak focus of the eclipse as a kind of large screen When You Wish Upon A Star. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I really do think that we are here as part of a larger order, purpose and process, and that the eclipse has a message for us rather than the other way around. This is a time to be aligning ourselves with the Order of the Universe, not exploiting the order of the Universe to fulfill our personal desires. Not, How to make the Eclipse work for you, but if anything, how to work with the Eclipse to further the work of the Gods in our world today.
We are all in this one together in this world, all crowded into the same leaky rowboat, watching the dark clouds gathering, and waiting for the hurricane to hit. The one domain where we have any consistent control, any consistent choice, is our response – our conscious minds, and our ability to think, to reason, to ponder, and to choose our focus. The Platonists know that, the Stoics know that, the Buddhists know that, the Daoists know that.
The ancients viewed an eclipse as an act or omen of the Gods – and the ancients may be much wiser than we know.
Eclipse! Go Inside!