Friday, December 3, 2010

To Hell with Closure!

Since the first chapter of ‘The Art of Navigation’ is entitled ‘A Cognitive Dissonance’, I have been getting a lot of questions about this concept during a recent series of radio interviews. As a result, my fascination with this phenomenon has deepened exponentially. 

A cognitive dissonance describes the discomfort that arises when we are holding two conflicting and apparently irreconcilable ideas simultaneously. A simple example would be that we suddenly learn about the serious criminal past of a person for whom we have the utmost respect and with whom we had only positive interactions.

The linear mind immediately wants to reduce the emerging discomfort by rearranging beliefs and perceptions to arrive at certainty, usually at the cost of truth. If we resist this automatic response, however, a beautiful, unexpected and fresh spaciousness can arise that is the more pronounced, the stronger the dissonance.

Profound cognitive dissonances can lead to extended periods of internal silence. We literally don’t know what to think anymore. These episodes naturally allow our attention to merge with the undifferentiated, non-dualistic, and pre-cognitive background awareness that is the source of all existence – a (non)experience that is usually not available because our attention is distracted, mesmerized, and isolated by the unbroken stream of our thoughts.

On deeper examination it seems apparent that the mind’s obsession with certainty and closure is actually a tremendous liability for our natural evolution towards freedom and true Self-realization.

Rather than trying to make a more comprehensive case in this regard, I want to urge you to explore this for yourself and experience the defiant freshness and rapidly increasing openness of resisting the mind’s respective conditioning.

There is a very wholesome excitement that comes out of defying the mind’s dualistic obsession with good and bad, right and wrong, and one-pointed, dead ended certainty.