If we say that coherence is meaning that flows through us – and by extension – through society without blocks, then we should be clear on what those blocks are. If we compare meaning to a river, what blocks a river are dams (deliberate constructions) and fallen trees or eroded banks and so forth (which evolve naturally). Obviously, the blocks that impede the free flow of meaning – that cause incoherence, say – are not fallen trees and dams. They are thoughts. Or, better, they are habits of thought.
So what we are suggesting then is that meaning flows until it encounters some thought or pattern of successive thoughts that gums it up. These blocks are pernicious, even dangerous. At best they breed confusion, a sort of continuing daze, but at worst they render us murderous and destructive. So getting to them and undoing them is important. But how?
Obviously if they blocks were easy to find or dissemble then we wouldn’t have come to grief. So there is work involved in this – real work. But still. What does it mean?
I have suggested in previous posts that we are moving in the direction of coherence when we are aware – that is, when we are attentive in a sustained and energetic way. This attention is not active in the traditional sense. It isn’t trying to find problems in order to solve them. Rather, it simply wants to observe – to take not without judgment – of what is going on. Its objective is seeing – a clear and sober seeing.
When we watch our thoughts – the movement of our minds – we will begin to see that certain things will cause blockage. We might compare thought to a stream, right? And everything is just passing by, slow and steady, and then suddenly the image of a parent, say, shows up and suddenly we are feeling all sorts of things – anger, sadness, confusion. And other images fly up as well – of our childhood, of certain arguments, family holidays and all that.
What is called for is not to follow all of that – not to leap into the river, clutch at the flotsam and go flailing along with it. Instead, we just calmly observe the movement. We see the intensity, its effect, what flows from it.
What we might also see – or catch a glimpse of – are the lenses through which we perceive this stream. We might see how we actually judge the thoughts. I shouldn’t feel this way about my father. I am being disloyal or subhuman even. And we begin to see how those lenses affect what we are seeing – indeed, in essence, they become what we are seeing. Mothers should do this, children should do that. Family means this. All of that shapes what we are seeing. It is actively shaping it.
A moment of insight can flow from this – we might begin to intuitively appreciate that we are doing this to ourselves. That the thoughts are not separate from the thinker. The one is moving in the other. Indeed, the one is the other. So we see that the block is not some external fact or truth or reality but simply a habit of seeing, of judging really, that stymies the capacity of meaning to simply continue moving.
Thus, we can find our blocks by carefully watching what is going on inside of us. The idea of the parent as a block is an old one, even a stereotype, but perhaps makes clear the point. There are obvious blocks but the blocks can be quite subtle. Nor are they limited to the past. It really requires a great deal of sensitivity to perceive them and – having perceive them – allow them to be pass, keep drifting on.
It is a process. We are learning to give less importance to thought. By becoming more aware of thought – which functions both as river and block – we are becoming more sensitive to how meaning is made and how it moves. This sensitivity will move us away from grief and towards peace and healing. It is a very important undertaking for this reason.