The principles and processes of contemplation are the principles and processes of communication and dialogue.
All dialogue is within oneself, with oneself.
The parts of our minds we identify with are stated as 'I'.
The parts of our minds that we suppress are seen as the 'other' and its attributes are projected on to the personal or social 'other'.
The dialogue is between these two parts, our divided selves.
All conflicts are collective projections of the conflicts between our own variously identified or unidentified divided selves; personal neurosis equals and generates collective neurosis.
The purpose of dialogue is to re-establish internal harmony.
The personae and societies that are in full harmony within themselves do not initiate conflict with 'others'.
If they do happen to come into such conflict at the initiative of the 'other', they help resolve the conflict within the 'other' and thereby reduce the friction and confrontation.
In contemplative processes, one brings to manifestation in the conscious mind that which had been lying unidentified.
One does not view these divisive parts as principles in opposition to each other but examines them to see where and how they complement each other, and render to one the complete picture of oneself.
Nor does a contemplative person postulate opposites in the universe but observes and understands the interaction among complementary forces without each or any of which the universe would be incomplete.
Communication and dialogue then becomes an inter-contemplative process; two together contemplate the various divided parts in order to manifest the picture of the complete and harmonised whole which will then become the new identity among the multiple dialogue partners.
When 'I' views itself as the primary and someone else as the 'other', so also that 'other' views himself as primary and views my 'I' as the 'other'. The abolition of the 'otherness' is the goal of all communication and dialogue. Then there cease to be two primary 'I's and no 'two' seek to work in partnership, there no longer being 'two'.
In the inter-contemplative processes of this nature, the one, with all its parts assimilated and manifested in its own 'whole' being, works to produce all that is beneficent to the complete 'All'. This is higher than altruism where 'one' selflessly works for the benefit of an 'other' ' the 'other' yet remaining a force or principle recognized separately in its own right.
The inter-contemplative dialogue begins with the primary 'I'
(a) identifying that which lies un-manifest within oneself and is projected into manifestation in the 'other';
(b) then, seeing this 'other' in oneself, one brings these different parts of oneself into harmony, finding a place for each as a component of the Whole, and
(c) thereafter, finding all arguments in support of the projected 'other', and voicing as one's own opinion that which the erstwhile opponent, now inter-contemplative partner, would have voiced if the two were in opposition,
(d) one begins the inter-contemplative dialogue. Each partner here proposes that which heretofore s/he opposed ' and then helps the 'other', who is now playing the role of the primary 'I', harmonise the various components into one.
The cognitive as well as ethical principles in these internal or interactive, inter-contemplative, dialogues are:
* a search for the deepest, most un-manifest, layers of one's consciousness (achieved through expertise in meditation);
* not merely pacification of current conflict but the motivation for establishing internal and thereby external peace (non-neurosis) as the effortless and natural state among all constituents of one's self as well as of the collective Whole;
* full cognitive realization of the principle that the completeness, wholeness, peace are achieved only by incorporating that which was rejected, that
* one reaches one's end goal by taking opposite direction, and
* loses by trying to win.
* Non-attachment, renunciation; the will to make sacred, that is, sacrifice.
These cautions are partial applications of the traditional training in meditative and contemplative processes.
Human beings are creatures of habit; all our choices, emotions and reactions are habitual. To de-habituate one self is part of gaining freedom from that which constrains us. In the process we often tend to fall back to our habits and cancel out that which we would have gained through freedom. In the inter-contemplative process we must keep looking at ourselves, and also remind our partners in the most amicable way ( like a friend with whom we are taking a walk in the forest and s/he is about step into a slippery puddle) that s/he is slipping into a habit pattern and must extricate oneself from it in order to ensure the achievement of the common goal.
Human beings are reactive when subject to their habits. We must re-train ourselves only to act from a space that is free of such conditioning. In the inter-contemplative process we are often likely to react out of our conditioning and must observe ourselves to maintain caution, and to help the partner also in this self-observation.
Personal emotional insecurities and fears are often projected on to collective (national, international, inter-faith) situations and are given the guise of ideals. A leader says that he is securing his nation against the enemy but in fact he is shielding himself against some childhood insecurity. It will take very careful observation and analysis to avoid such idealisation of emotional weaknesses.
One often tends to lapse into 'What do I gain', or 'What does that 'nation', 'religion', 'tribal group', 'company' with which my primary 'I' identifies gains' instead of sustaining the ideal that in gain for all is the gain of each. One must continuously remind oneself that in the fullness of the Whole is the enrichment and nourishment of all its parts. The roots nourished nourish each leaf.
'Since I am unselfish (see how unselfish I have been as against the ever-selfish other!), it is my duty to protect myself in the interest of others'--Such a view easily creeps into the mind of each partner and must be carefully avoided. Rather, one should look at one's own failures in ethical practice and perfect oneself.
In all debates among nations, religions, spouses, it is seen that one tends to give examples of one's best behavior and the 'other's worst behavior (look, what the Hindus do as against what us Christians do; look how stupid the other religion's scripture is as compared to mine). Instead, one must fully study and comprehend the 'other's view of himself (his country, nation, religion) and only then enter into inter-contemplative dialogue. Let not one be permitted to lapse into the partial views that favour one self.
Associative terminologies, emotionally loaded terms, used in dialogue can destroy the entire process. One must train oneself to avoid such loaded terms. The word 'idol' used for the sacred icons of another religion subliminally suggests, and invokes the reaction, that some dominant faith is threatening the repeat of history in which the temples of other religions were destroyed and reconstructed as the conquering religion's shrines. Many such examples may be given. Without total respect, and recognition of the 'opposite' point as an equally valid constituent of God's (the word God is used here figuratively) universe, no inter-contemplative dialogue can take place.
One also lapses into finding plausible excuses for one's wrong behavior or interprets one's motive to have been altruistic. One constantly needs to remain watchful against such favoring of oneself.
One starts the 'negotiations' from a position of 'strength' or power, or from a statement of 'NO'. Since the purpose is to arrive at a unifying YES in all areas, humility and apology must be regarded as the symptoms of strength, an inner security and non-fear.
Starting from a place of fear contributes to aggression and violence as much as the exhibition of 'strength'. Trust and an inner peaceful resolution are the right mental conditions from which to begin.
The inter-contemplative partners first find all the possible common denominators and do all that is possible to strengthen them. With this taste of gentleness they will feel encouraged to go further to overcome the differences.
In the search for oneness the words like 'NO' and 'NOT' must be avoided; a whole new approach to language is essential.
The utilitarian and contractual approach (if you go a mile I will go a mile; if you do not sacrifice how can you expect me to sacrifice) defeats the purpose of inter-contemplative partnership.
The principle of compassion, and not the utilitarian and contractual view, makes us feel the pain and the difficulty of the 'other' as it would be one's own.
The end goal is not resolving a temporary conflict or avoidance of (further) confrontation but the full integration of one's own internal self, be it personal self or the social, national, religious collective self.
Finally: Any internal contemplation or external communication and dialogue must begin with a meditation session. Only the calmest mind will find its inward way into the space of integration and harmony. It will become a clear mirror, de-conditioned and de-habituated enough, for truth that is love to emerge from any inter-contemplative communication.
Full transcripts of Swami Veda's dialogue with the Taoist Guides and Buddhist Abbots of monasteries are being prepared and will be available in due time.
Please visit this web page for a special report by Amy Gage from Beijing about the International Dialogue DIVING INTO HARMONY.
© PROMETHEUS 96/2005