With ordinary consciousness
you can’t even begin to know what’s happening.
– Saul Bellow
The Dean’s December
Within the paradigm of the culture in which we have grown up, it makes no sense to meditate. But a paradigm is simply a (collectively held and agreed upon) world-view. It is not REALITY. Basically, it’s a big IDEA … an idea with lots of parts.
The LAWS governing ideas … fall out of how they work.
The power of any idea is proportional to the degree of resemblance which it bears to the thing it is an idea of.
A 10-inch plastic model of an F-16 Fighting Falcon … is bound to be a mere model. It will NOT be a fully-functioning (very small) version of the real fighter. It would be a ‘good model’ … if it has the same proportions as the real F-16 … and most of its external weaponry and general anatomy.
Like that … an idea is a ‘brain model’. If it is a ‘good’ idea, it will bear a strong resemblance to whatever it is a model of. But the degree of resemblance is BOUND TO BE imperfect … incomplete.
And it is this fact which gives rise to ‘First Law of Ideas’: Any idea can be wrong.
(since all ideas are already wrong … simply because they are a model of something else.) Mmm?
So … does this mean that our (beloved) cultural paradigm is wrong?
The concepts which (if they were present in our paradigm) would allow us to have a single intelligent thought about the fundamentals of Human Life … or about Meditation … are simply absent.
I recently had the good fortune to watch a film – “Mindfulness – Be Happy Now” (2015)
(Mindfulness – Thich Nhat Hanh … also: Deepak Chopra, Dr. Blaise Aguirre, Cesar Millan, et al.)
I highly recommend this film.
“Mind” certainly implies “awareness”; however … it does not necessarily suggest any distinctions (any internal, spiritual anatomy. And in the film, “mindfulness” is not used to evoke ‘internal structure’.)
I would like to offer some.
“Mind” also (in addition to ‘awareness’) includes: thoughts, perceptions, perhaps even emotions … plus the ability to think – to discern, discriminate, to compare & contrast, to analyze, synthesize, create, make judgments, etc.
These are qualities (concepts) which already exist in our paradigm; but there are others (which do not) –
Consciousness has two aspects – Experiencer … and Experience.
Part of our consciousness poses as something (our experience … whatever we are aware of) … and the other aspect (the Experiencer) simply does the experiencing.
Like an ocean … which may have waves on it. The waves are our experience … the ocean is the experiencer. (the ocean experiences its own waves) Mmm?
The number (percentage) of people (in the US) practicing meditation … is growing rapidly … but that group is still a small minority – 14% (as of 2017)
The fact that you have read this far means that this (meditation) is something you’re interested in trying … or perhaps – that you already meditate, but would like to understand it better. Or maybe you have meditated, but have dropped the practice … but you keep wondering if it’s something you should take up again (and perhaps commit to).
You may like to look at my posts from last year –
I am now satisfied that we should not presume to judge what happens during a meditation; we are simply not equipped to do so. –
I want to tell you about a certain meditation I had.
It must have been in the fall of 1978
shortly after the students at MIU had received the (new) Sidhis Program.
This was before the big wooden geodesic dome was even started.
We would gather in what had been the old gym
(built at least 75 years ago for Parsons College)
And it had Steam Heat.
You could see the big iron steam pipes up high, along the walls.
And when steam came into the cold pipes, they would expand (a little)
but not uniformly (for the heat came very quickly)
And the joints (or maybe the hangers) would occasionally make HUGE noises !
As though someone was BEATING on them – with a 2 pound hammer.
A single ‘blow’ … just every now and then.
So – we’re all (perhaps 300 students) sitting in meditation on the floor of the old gym
and (on a cold morning) – there would be these sudden and HORRIBLE NOISES.
Well, on this certain morning – I can remember feeling my Autonomic Nervous System ‘flare up’
whenever one of these big ‘Bangs’ would occur … (the ‘Fight or Flight’ Response)
And it struck me as FUNNY – because you’re supposed to choose a QUIET place to meditate in. Mmm ?
Anyway, after maybe 3 of these big noises (and the resulting Autonomic Flare-up)
But I did not know it.
I ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT HAVE TOLD YOU – that I was now different.
(Subjectively: NO CHANGE)
When the NEXT noise occurred (JUST the same as the others)
it produced NO REACTION IN MY PHYSIOLOGY. Not a RIPPLE !
The sound was the same; but my RESPONSE to it was totally DIFFERENT.
(if not for the Sound – I would NEVER HAVE KNOWN – that I had changed) !!
What does this mean?
It means – that WE CANNOT (accurately) EVALUATE OUR MEDITATION
ON THE BASIS OF WHAT WE EXPERIENCE IN OUR AWARENESS !
There are things going on – BENEATH (or at least BEYOND) our Awareness.
trailer (to A’Journe’s Talk 1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlfqsL3hTK0