The Next Age of Exploration

“The great thing about reality is you get to test it out for yourself”
– Daniel Ingram

mapThe first Age of Exploration happened between the 15th and 17th centuries, when Europe’s great powers dispatched their flashy galleons to mysterious new continents. Maps filled with sea monsters and vague sketches of broken coastline accumulated richness and detail. More importantly, encounters with local indigenous folks prepared the ground for a revolution in human knowledge and self-understanding. They gave us perspective and tobacco; we gave them diseases and bogus treaties. The Age of Exploration became the Age of Enlightenment.

explorerSometimes I wonder if our civilization is about to enter the Next Age of Exploration. Except this time, since all the physical real estate has been chewed up, the terrain is internal. Not just our individual minds, which orthodox psychology is doing its best to plumb, but the larger mind of nature –  the mother-sea mind, the great oceanic source of awareness that virtually every contemplative tradition in every culture speaks to, although in very different ways.

That it’s possible for a human being to slither down inside this cosmic inheritance is completely bananas, especially since doing so can have such a dramatic effect on how we live. Most say it’s for the better. Yet it is also true we can be changed in ways our culture would find shocking – for a fascinating panel discussion on exactly this, see here.  Perhaps the real Age of Enlightenment hasn’t happened yet.

Intermediate Zone Weirdness

dimensions-of-weirdThere are also intermediate spaces waiting to be explored – the visionary realms of shamans and mystics, the deep absorptions and subconscious processing of meditators, the strange energetic fields of yogis and Brahmins. Orthodox psychology has very little of interest to say about most of this stuff – at least not yet. But they are real as experiences, among the most personally significant and transformative a human being can have.

What does all this have to do with you? Find out. Make the exploration. Those looking for orientation can check out this detailed post Avi and I just wrote about the terrains of practice and challenge.

Many of the territories we explore at the CEC are scalable – that is, you can spend years learning to experience them more fully, or you can taste a flavor of them in a single sit. There are many practical benefits for doing so – you can learn about yourself, you can work though stuck patterns and habits, you can get more present and peaceful and patient, and best of all, you can free up energy and motivation to more effectively help others.

You can also just have a good time, because why not? Life is short and the inner continent is V-A-S-T. For more, see my talk, How to Explore Consciousness.

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