Solving cognitive dissonance: matching head with heart

25 Nov


You know why we can’t comprehend and act on things as big as climate change? It is not because we can’t. It is because we are addicts and inhibit our higher faculties. I guess I’d have to prove this before I start ranting, by becoming some kind of purist. But I can certainly tell you from my experience that I am more aware of the things that matter when I abstain not only from excessive consumption, such as food, shopping, the throwing away of goods or watching television, I find that I must be able to abstain from anything done in excess. Then you have to understand what is excess. It is a matter not to allow your focus to be entirely directed at something that makes you forget all the other important things around you, which you depend on to make that something continue. It is also an appreciation of all those other things. There is the consumption of things and then there is your focus being consumed. Too much of anything consumes you and that is something we learn to a certain extent as we go through life.

I say, collectively we have gotten stuck in a rut of societal norms which consume us all. For instance, I may wish to do something healthy with my friends like go for a hill walk or construct something in a garden. But if they wish to play computer games, I might end up just going along with the pack. For at least a part of our day we need to not only reach our higher faculties, but pursue things that expand our awareness. Even being heavily engaged in climate research could prevent you from expanding your awareness. You might be very passionate about what you’re doing but you might also easily forget each day what the climate’s relationship is to your survival and to a happier world. That is, you may know these things in your intellectual memory, but you do not feel them in your heart because you are so narrowly engaged in what you are doing.

Essentially, your focus might be consumed. Meditation is a way that can allow you to decouple from one excess and reconnect to both your deeper self and to its inherent relationship with the external universe. But this doesn’t mean you have to sit and chant ‘Ooohm’. It is simply allowing yourself to breath and relax at any moment of the day, not by shutting yourself down but by embracing whatever energy enters your body or thoughts. Meditation can be energetic.

In a moment of stillness, it is easy to feel anxious and distract yourself by dampening your senses or distracting yourself. But if you give it a chance on a regular basis, and trust that it can get better when it may be feeling worse, even if for a few minutes a day, you can learn to become who you were always meant to be. The anxiety, depression, frustration or numbness that might come to you when you take a step back, from the melee of life, is merely the habitual unfamiliarity of sensing your arising nature coming to life. And in noticing a sensation that you have often rejected, you are not immediately living the sensation – i.e. your vibrant self. Just give it a chance for a short period of time. It could be hours and it could be seconds. Whatever way you choose to do it, it can benefit you. I should know, I have been exploring this stuff first hand for years. And it turns out a lot of people are doing pretty much the same thing and getting the same kinds of results.

Now, you might also find that you are a very happy, content or energetic individual, yet still feel no pressure or role in facing a big challenge such as climate change – other than merely staying positive. You might not often stop to think, or feel, how inaction is affecting other people’s happiness and survival, or indeed your own in the future. The overwhelming thought process may discourage you from caring. This comes to you as a sign that you still have internal and external battles to face, if you are to truly maintain your will to thrive. And this may scare you, but need not send you into a panic. Again, the thought that you shouldn’t give up might trigger something tired and forgotten inside you to give up even further. But the ember burns inside us all, no matter how big or small. If you still don’t know what to do, give it time; consult with your neighbour; find others to talk about this. I tell you, if you don’t find the answers in you, someone out there will have the answer. And they will tell you that the answer lies within you. This need not seem daunting. How can you believe in it if you have not yet recognised that it’s there? Don’t worry if it doesn’t always work out. Let it come in time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: