Insects, Ideology, and Meditation

Insects of the night bounce off the window screens just prior to sunrise. In less than an hour the sun will rise, but in order to work during these early morning hours, I’ve turned on a light. What is it about the bright light that causes the insects to crash into the window screens with such vigor? Why don’t they fly high into the sky toward a bright moon? Is it that their guidance gets a little messed up from the overpowering luminescence of a lightbulb? Some researchers seem to think so. That’s the trouble with darkness and light: when born within one existence or the other, navigation gets a little troublesome when the scene changes. Those who navigate by daylight can become just as blind in darkness as those who navigate by night do in daylight. It isn’t the darkness or light that is the problem; it’s being blinded by the change, and the blindness caused by the change is something both share.

This morning I’ve been thinking about introducing a new class of characters into the sequel to my first novel, Misunderstood. I’m not sure what all traits they will have, so I hesitate to call them a separate species. But the primary trait, the one that brings their need into existence is the ability to see well in both darkness and light. It isn’t the dark or light that defines them; it is their ability to see well regardless of their environment. Unlike creatures of the day or night that may exist in either but become blind when forced to exist in opposite settings, these characters will stay true to their nature which is to remain unaffected by change and stay calm despite it. The inspiration to write them comes from these insects crashing into the window screens, the continual clash of ideologies that can arise from differing group experiences, and the determination of meditation practices to train the mind to learn to experience emotions without being victimized by them.

A course I once took taught that for a very long time our biology evolved to be reactive first and foremost. For our ancestors, survival was dependent on it. They needed those instincts to kick in when there was little time to think, especially when competing against a variety of predators. It isn’t that we don’t still need this reactive response; there are still plenty of threats today. There certainly are times when one should not question the natural response to fight or flee. But when communicating with another human being, it’s best to think about internalized reactions first, before responding externally. Otherwise, flying into a window screen because of some bright light may be the only reality ever known.