I was watching the President’s speech tonight and the MSNBC pundits’ commentaries afterwards. Often during this whole Iraq debacle I’ve had the thought, Beam me up, Scottie. Let’s just go to another planet, why don’t we?
If you’re a Star Trek fan, you know immediately what "Beam me up, Scottie" refers to. We are both avid science fiction fans and have favorite shows on the SciFi Channel – Battlestar Gallactica, Stargate and Stargate Atlantis. We’ve seen every Star Trek movie and all the Star Trek TV shows, especially all the later ones, like Star Trek Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.
Even if you’re not a Star Trek fan, "Beam me up, Scottie" has become such a part of our American lexicon that you probably know what it means anyway – at least intuitively.
Then I remember that the only technology capable of "beaming" me into another reality is my own consciousness. And right now it’s not taking me to any other planets. This is it, for now.
I had been working professionally as a seminar leader and trainer in the self-improvement field for fourteen years when I enrolled in a rigorous two year business program. It was one of the most life changing, world-view-shifting experiences of my life. This program was modeled after the work of the former Chilean Finance Minister, philosopher and linguist, Dr. Fernando Flores.
One of the seminal texts of this program is a book entitled The Tree of Knowledge by Drs. Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, both neurobiologists concerned with, among other things, the nature of perception and how our nervous systems interact with the world around us, creating the world as we know it.
"Knowing how we know" is the subject of this book. Maturana and Varela present a new view of cognition that has important social and ethical implications, for, they assert, the only world we humans can have is the one we create together through the actions of our coexistence.
After decades of spiritual and metaphysical studies and deep, life changing transformational experiences, what I learned from this book and business program changed me forever. What I came to understand in a profound way is that our brain and nervous system receives raw vibrations of certain frequencies and translates them in such a way that what we see, hear, touch, smell, taste and interact with, and take for granted as an objective world "out there", is in fact being brought forth moment by moment by our individual and collective interactions with those frequencies — and with each other.
My lived experience that the world is "coming at me" is, in fact, an illusion. The world I experience with my senses is being continually "brought forth from within me", literally.
Now, I can get that spiritually and metaphysically and conceptually. But, getting it biologically was an epiphany for me – especially in a hard as rock business program!
And what it means, to me anyway, is that I am contributing to the world I see, including George W. Bush, the war in Iraq, the Madison Avenue marketing machine churning out ever new things to want, the natural world of the Sangre de Christo Mountains outside my office window, a multihued sunset, the pristine snow falling in our yard, my beloved Layne — all of it, every bit of it — and there is no escaping the effects of my interpretations.
I make up the meanings of the things I experience and I live with the consequences.
It’s easy to be thrown into a deep, dark pit of existential despair, thinking I cannot possibly make a difference, there’s nothing I can do anyway and just give up. Or, perhaps worse, I could become narcissistically self-involved in just getting whatever I can get while I’m here, ’cause this is all there is, Baby.
Another choice, and the one I endeavor to make, is to act as if the truth is true – that who I am makes a difference in the immediate world in which I find myself – and to make the most empowering interpretations I can imagine and take enlightened action where I can. Since I do not have the President’s ear, I will write to or call my Congressman and make my views known. I try to live lightly upon the earth. I endeavor to be kind to others. I look for ways to participate in such a way that the world I want to have manifest through me might actually come to pass.
In short, I spend time on my meditation cushion and I get up and participate in the world as I find it.
Scottie isn’t going to be beaming me up any time soon!