Duality and our responsibility to be cool cats.
When you look at this image what do you see? Two cats squaring off in an aggressive stance? A female and a male ready to make sweet cat love? Hmm, the answer can be both, but my intention was the former. It was also my intention to communicate the duality that us humans project through our eyes. The separateness we all perceive. The ideas our egos tell us, “I think therefore I am” -Rene Descartes.
I learned about that quote from the book A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. In Chapter 2: Ego; The Current State of Humanity, Eckhart wrote:
From Descarte’s Error to Sartre’s Insight:
The seventeenth-century philosopher Descartes, regarded as the founder of modern philosophy, gave expression to this primary error, with his famous dictum (which he saw as primary truth): “I think, therefore I am.” This was the answer he found to the question “Is there anything I can know with absolute certainty?” He realized that the fact that he was always thinking was beyond doubt, and so he equated thinking with being, that is to say, identity, I am, with thinking. Instead of the ultimate truth, he had found the root of the ego, but he didn’t know that.
It took almost three hundred years before another famous philosopher saw something in that statement that Descartes, as well as everybody else, had overlooked. His name was Jean-Paul Sartre. He looked at Descartes’s statement “I think, therefore I am” very deeply and suddenly realized, in his own words, the consciousness that says “I am” is not the consciousness that thinks.
What did he mean by that? When you are aware that you are thinking, that awareness is not part of thinking. It is a different dimension of consciousness. And it is that awareness that says “I am.” If there were nothing but thought in you, you wouldn’t even know you are thinking. You would be like a dreamer who doesn’t know he is dreaming. You would be as identified with every thought as the dreamer is with every image in the dream. Many people still live like that, like sleepwalkers, trapped in old dysfunctional mindsets that continuously recreate the same nightmarish reality. When you know you are dreaming, you are awake within the dream. Another dimension of consciousness has come in.
The implication of Sartre’s insight is profound, but he himself was still too identified with thinking to realize the full significance of what he had discovered: an emerging new dimension of consciousness.
To my understanding, what Eckhart is saying is when we quiet our minds and stop thinking there is a level of consciousness that is beyond the mind. Sometimes we get samples of this, mainly when we are doing something meditative like activities that get us in the present moment. When we are in this state, as brief as it may be, we are united with “all that is.” Our egos don’t interfere and we are simply, being.
When our egos come back into play, our thoughts, beliefs, programmed data that we recorded over the years, our fears, our judgments, and criticisms—everything, has an influence on our perceived reality. These differences in perceived reality don’t have to be so bad if we learn to identify when our egos are running the show.
By being more present and more in tune with the level of consciousness that says “I am”, we can filter out the ego and choose to speak and act on the thoughts that arise. We can also be in touch with that wonderful feeling of “all that is.”
If you are asking, “what’s up with the target crosshairs in the image?” I put those in to point out the product of our perceived realities. The black and white cat that is facing us in the middle. A representation of all of our thoughts and actions of everyone—the world we live in.
Our dualistic nature can create some wonderful things as well as some horrific ones. It is our responsibilities to take control of what we manifest in our worlds. Because what goes on in our inner worlds, make up our outer world.