If we are looking for proof of awareness in inanimate objects such as stones, we don’t have the equipment in technology to answer that. That’s also a little like saying to a person in ancient Rome that it’s possible for a human being to speak in a whisper and be heard and seen all over the world by billions of people. You would have a hard time convincing him of that without a cell phone hooked up to YouTube on the World Wide Web. He would say, “Prove it to me,” and you would say, “Someday I will.” He would laugh and walk away.
I am looking at a river rock. On its surface has been carved a set of eyes in Tibetan stylization. Buildings in Tibet wear these same eyes and overlook the cities of Tibet. These stylized eyes are ancient. Ancient symbolism such as eyes carved into stones imply that the ancients believed that all things are sentient. When I suggest that rocks have awareness, the same awareness that you and I are expressions of, in the American culture,I am being too far out to be taken seriously, yet for thousands of years millions of others have not only believed the same, but have sung its praises and celebrated its truth.
Are rocks and stones aware or are they not? Whichever way this answer falls, is a turning point in how the world goes. If rocks are not aware, then we may continue to have the same abusive, exploitive ownership relationship with our earth as we have had since the Industrial Revolution began. If rocks are aware, then we need to cultivate a new culture and consciousness that would allow Americans to have an actual relationship with our Earth. The Natives of this country related to the spirits within the land, the stones, the animals, the trees as eye-to-eye sharers of the universe they were in. They asked the clouds for rain, and the birds to help them on their hunt. They negotiated with the animals they hunted for a life-sustaining hunt. In turn, they gave back to that species as a whole. They lived in a world of mutual respect and negotiation with the elements. We don’t, and we’ve burned our options out in a few hundred years, compared to sustained living for thousands, that would have gone on for thousands more. Are stones aware or are they not?
Let’s say that you are what or whomever you believe to be the highest order of Awareness. You are God or Existence, God’s nickname, and you are creating a universe. Your scope of experience is not limited to only being a human being. That is obvious, because there are lots of funny-looking things that swim in the oceans that human beings never get to see that are or were doing just fine. Somehow, without being human, they are imbued with enough consciousness to have gotten food, a mate, raise their kids and get some rest, without our knowledge of them. This implies to me that God or Existence cares about experience at large.
While we little moving things are fascinating, a grander portion of existence moves slowly. A great quantity of what exists is, in fact, rock, molten or frozen, and it cohabits in large social groups called planets, moons, stars and galaxies. To shut the experience of their being out of God Awareness would be like a person building his or her home with six hundred extra rooms, none of which have entry doors or windows. “No, there’s nothing going on in those rooms. They didn’t need doors or windows. This one room is the only interesting room.” How absurd would that be? Why build six hundred and one rooms, close off six hundred and live in one? That is equivalent to living in a universe filled with objects which have incredible ways of being, and having only human beings with the ability to experience being.
Now let’s look at a rock and see whether it has had anything whatsoever worth experiencing, given that it has equal awareness. It may have once been molten. It slowly cooled, was tumbled round and smooth by a river for five thousand years. While it remains in meditation, it still has a body that lasts and lasts, to literally ground it. Each day, if it is on the surface of the planet, it experiences the expansion created by heat of the sun, and then at night it cools. It is on the same frequency of being as other rocks, and can therefore feel their presence. This awareness has found a place to remain in a deeply meditative state for thousands of years. It also gets to experience its transformation from a molten mass into a specific form, and this form slowly is eroded down to a grain of sand over millions of years. Since it lasts so long, it has another sense of time, and a year to us is possibly like a minute to it. Each rock is different in its composition, and therefore more or less vulnerable to the elements surrounding it, much the same as we humans are, both physically and psychologically.
Now let’s ask another question. If rocks are aware, what does it mean to us? It means that we can have relationships with them that are as a child to an ancient elder. We can learn from them, and be taught by them. One of the world’s greatest spiritual masters, Sri Ramana Maharshi had a lifelong relationship with a mountain, Mount Aranachula. He spent his entire life at the foot of that mountain in order to feel the mountain’s presence. Anyone who ventures to spend a night on Mount Shasta comes away knowing that that mountain is aware. In the high desert of San Bernardino, with no city distractions, one feels the force of a nearby mountain’s awareness of you as you become aware of it. At night, in the high desert of San Bernardino, where a person can still see the stars above, they hang as fat, molten drops of pure awareness in intense relationship to one another. There are still billions of stars out there and they are perfectly visible in the high desert. Why in the universe would awareness, mysterious beyond our ability to conceive, withdraw itself and abstain from being the consciousness of a star, a galaxy or a river rock?
In my world, rocks are aware, because awareness is all-pervasive. I can sit with a boulder when I have reached the edge of my world, and synthesize with that ancient intelligence and be helped by it. I once made a stone sculpture that was of an old man with a great and inviting, life-sized lap to sit on. I would sit outside on its lap and think an unsolvable question to it. In a few days, I would return, and listen to its answer. Stones are elders, by a factor of millions of years. They, like all things in the universe, are energy expressions of their particular description of what it is like to be eternal awareness. They say with their being, “Being eternal awareness is like being a mountain, that transforms into a boulder, and into a river rock and into a grain of eternal sand, happy to be blown here and there, and hold, in its crystalline structure, all of the memories from when this earth began.”
One by one, we may, secretly at first, strike up a relationship with a boulder, a mountain or even a stone that we carry in our pocket. With our hand wrapped around it, we have the strength to get us through whatever we must do that may frighten us. We have the grounding to quit any habit we want to shed. It will absorb and ground out our fears or anxieties about quitting anything. We have the wisdom of millions of years of awareness there in the palm of our hand. We have a lifelong love and an eternal friend. We also have the beginning of a culture that reopens our relationship with the awareness in nature, eye to eye, as one conscious being to another. We will, as an American culture, begin meeting and befriending the physical world we are in as equal expressions of what it feels like to be eternal awareness.
Ross G. Drago
Paint Rag Magazine
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