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Correct Meditation

 

This post follows on directly from my previous post Passivity and Duality and I recommend reading it first if you have not already done so as this post builds upon some of the ideas dealt with in that post. There are many forms of meditation taught nowadays but it is interesting to note that there seems to be a dearth of people who actually make a significant degree of progress with it. Many people become disillusioned and disappointed at their lack of progress and long for a technique that might produce more tangible results for them. Others fall back on the idea that they are already enlightened and that they therefore do not need to do anything. They then play a game of pretend enlightenment by attempting to “integrate enlightenment into their daily lives”. Of course these people are not really enlightened at all and the idea of integrating a non-existing enlightenment into their daily lives makes enlightenment some sort of add-on to life rather than a state of being. Real enlightenment does not need to be integrated into anything. It is a state of being just as non-enlightenment is a state of being. No one talks of integrating non-enlightenment into their lives because the state already exists in their lives. It is simply how their being manifests and how they perceive the world at that particular point in time.
So why do so many people seem to make so little real progress with their meditation. A large part of the problem is that so much of what is taught as meditation is actually dualistic in nature and therefore could not overcome the dualistic state that most people naturally exist in. For example, people are often told to look within in an attempt to perceive their real inner being. The problem with this is that it is dualistic in the extreme and posits something that is actually impossible. We have in that situation someone who is going to attempt to use what they currently consider to be themselves to look at their “real” self. But the question then arises as to how a person can have two selves that can apparently observe one another. Which is the real self? Is it the one doing the observing or is it the one being observed? If the one being observed is actually their “real” self then why can’t they swap places with it? And if finding the “real” self always involves another self then how do we ever get to the point where there is only one real self?

What we actually have in this situation is an ego that the person perceives to be their real self observing some other part of their consciousness dualistically. But because the ego never dissolves in this process, the dualism never dissolves either and hence enlightenment remains as far away as ever for this person. The problem for the unenlightened person is not that they cannot find their real self, it is that they cannot get rid of the dualism. Though they may not know it their real self is right in front of their eyes because the mind exists everywhere, but they fail to perceive it because of the dualism inherent in the egotistical state.

The unenlightened persons problem is not that they cannot find their real self, it is that they cannot perceive their real self because they cannot dissolve the dualism.

If this is the case, then any meditation which involves looking for something is by it’s very nature erroneous. It will not produce results because it is based on an entirely false premise. A person cannot dissolve the dualism by engaging in dualism. Such a process will only maintain the dualism and thereby render the very goal of enlightenment beyond grasp.

How then do we overcome this problem? The only way we can overcome this problem is to devise a meditation technique that is non-dual in nature and that does not go looking for anything at all, but rather seeks to dissolve the dualism itself. Only by dissolving the dualism will enlightenment come upon the person. Without it’s dissolution enlightenment is impossible.

If you have read my previous post you will be familiar with it’s final statement “Do not conjure”. This is the key to enlightenment. It is the ego which constantly conjures and it is the ego which is the source of the dualism that keeps us from enlightenment. The ego conjures because there is an egotistical pressure in mans psyche and it is this pressure that keeps the mind in constant motion. Any successful meditation technique must therefore be capable of dissolving this pressure and with it the dualism inherent in mans psyche. The task then is as follows:

We must bring the mind under control and allow no conjuring, be as still as the external world, imitate it, be “like ashes”. 

Once this state is achieved or it is achieved to a reasonably high degree, pressure will build in the psyche producing a feeling of discomfort, a feeling that is somewhat onerous in nature.

This sensation should be dissolved gradually by inducing humility into ones being. It is no good running from the feeling, the feeling must be lived and dissolved with humility.

It can be seen that in this process there is no seeking for something, no looking for ones real self. Instead we are attempting to dissolve the dualism by dissolving the egotistical pressure that builds when the mind is prevented from conjuring constantly. This process can be practised in many different situations, not just sitting meditation. It can be practised when walking down the street, when eating, when working, when sitting quietly. The important thing is to remember to be just like the external world. Don’t constantly mentate, don’t constantly conjure. It will not be easy at first but the more you do it the more you increase your capacity to be successful at it. It is a slow but worthwhile process, one that will eventually bring many benefits.

The diagram below illustrates the relationship between the different factors involved. It can be seen that enlightenment occurs when the degree of conjuring and the egotistical pressure both approach zero and humility is at it’s zenith. Initially egotistical pressure rises but subsides with the advent of greater and greater humility.

Diagram 1

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4 thoughts on “Correct Meditation”

  1. I just found your blog, and want to thank you for your very helpful postings (and thanks to Chico, whose reblogs led me here). This post is especially helpful because I have been engaged in a direct looking method. It has helped cut through a lot of the dreck in my thoughts. But I’ve been feeling stuck recently, and this helps to loosen things up quite a bit.

    1. Hi unhistoricist, very glad you found it useful. The direct looking method is full of pitfalls as my post points out. It is fundamentally flawed as a method. The mind you seek is in front of you but to perceive it you have to become like it. This is one of the reasons Buddhists retreat from intellection. The intellect in an unenlightened person is inherently dualistic in nature and thus the more you use it the further it takes you from your goal. Buddhists refer to this as “Piling tiles upon ones head”. Just try and relax, don’t fight the external world. You may find you sink into it more easily than you imagined. Psychological engagement with the external world is a kind of acquisitiveness. Understand this and you can begin to halt the mind.

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