A little while ago, I got a bit grouchy about Meditation!
I was thinking along the lines of a monk in the mountains, abducted from daily life, sitting in meditation for hours, doing nothing constructive for the world.. and the more I thought, the more I growled.
I’m feeling a little better disposed these days, the more one opens one’s mind, the more one cogitates, the better one’s view becomes of the wider world!
Some people live their lives in a crazy whorl of information, gorging on as much of the stuff as they can, all day! News, social feeds, more news and add a dollop of gossip!
Some people don’t gather so much external information, but rather chew over the existing thoughts they have, time and time again.
The second of these is particularly exhausting and futile! Imagine an event that took place in the past, let’s say an argument. You spent an hour with a partner arguing over bills. Now, each time a bill comes in, you spend another hour thinking about how they treated you, all the old patterns coming up. How many hours will this thing in the past consume!?? Present time and energy being wasted by past events!
One of the reasons we sleep is to calm this daily storm, and to “draw our energy back inside” — to switch off the thinking processes..
From a physiological perspective you are moving from “Fight or Flight” living to “Rest and Digest” regeneration for the body.
Here then we have one of the main functions of Meditation. Initially meditation will lead you to a quieter mind, and allow you to flip over into the Parasympathetic healing mode of the body.
Another effect or aim of Meditation as one becomes more practiced is to observe one’s thoughts as they invade your brain. It’s estimated that we have between 50 to 70,000 thoughts per day, and that only 5% of these are actually conscious thoughts! There’s a crazy amount of stuff going on up there!
You can learn to become the observer of this maelstrom, perhaps with a view to analysing them and finally eliminating them.
As you sit quietly, and watch them come by, try searching for the root. “Why did that idea come up, where does it come from, what’s it connected too?” Soon you’ll start to discover the roots, often things like “Mum, Dad, school, ex-partners” — need I go on!?
By shining a light on these, you can start to stop their reappearance, and quieten the inner landscape..
As Gandhi said:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
So, who wouldn’t want to recharge their batteries, and clear the noise a bit? It all sounds good doesn’t it?
There is an inherent problem I feel however with becoming “Really good” at something, it’s the “Ego trap.” I.e, “look at me, I can meditate for hours, it makes me feel so good…etc”
If your meditation is just taking you back to “sleep” — then what’s the purpose? A friend said, “I can meditate for hours — but I’m finding it’s not enough!”
So where are we going with self-development practices? What’s the point?
All that Qigong, Yoga, Meditation or Tai-chi — what is the point!?
Time’s an interesting idea, we came up with it, because we seem to have this internal imperative to “Move forward” built into our Genes. We don’t ever really stop, we are always planning our next move. This seems to be one of the blessings or curses of being sentient beings, the need to constantly move forward.
We where’s it all leading us then? (Apart from towards the grave!)
What’s the end game?
Honestly, I’m not convinced that there actually is an end game. Perhaps it’s just too depressing to think “I march forward through life, then suddenly I’m dead!”
Like a virtual reality game, we climb into these fleshy players suits, dance our way through the game, and then suddenly lose!
Perhaps we might as well sit in meditation and wait for the inevitable, with a smarmy smile playing round our lips, like we know the secret when in fact we are just holding tight and hoping it’ll turn out alright..that our Spirit or our Souls will eventually find their way back to the start of the next game..
But hang on, is it Spirit or is it Soul? What are they, which is which?
I’ve long pondered this question. A wonderful student of mine help me to refine my ideas around this.
I said “Soul” people often seem to be wonderful, soft-hearted, loving of all, types of people. But is that enlightenment?
My theory was that many of the Enlightened beings I’d encountered (In writings and stories) seemed often to not be terribly nice people in a worldly sense.. were these Spirit people and not soul people?
And what was this enlightenment anyway?
My friend guided me to the Kabala, that has two “paths.”
The path of Wisdom, and the Path of Love.
Both paths are ways to the top of the tree, but require equal development to eventually lead to whatever is above and beyond. — (Enlightenment I’m guessing, whatever that might be? Certainly it is something you can find in this life, and not something you have to die for!)
So, is meditation THE path to the top of the mountain?
Clearly, there are 1000 paths to the top of the mountain. What works for me will probably not work for you!
I think it’s worth noting a little bit of information I gleaned from talking to Amit Goswami.
His maxim is DoBeDoBeDo! What a lovely happy man he is!
So, he says DO, as in do something to help you move forward, then BE, be with the information for a while and let it integrate into your life.
Do self-analysis, as before, allow yourself time to look for the patterns, and then after analysing them, just BE for a while with that information. Let it Integrate and inform the next process..
My friend called this “Meditation and Cogitation.” This particularly struck a chord, as this is my exact process which has developed over time but never really been shown to me so clearly.
Who knows where we are heading, or what if any prize lays along the path.
But for me, it’s a much clearer path now, and as the saying ascribed to Plato says… “The unexamined life is not worth living…”
Whatever method you chose, I suggest that this is how to ensure good health. Dig out the old toxic roots, learn the lessons from life, and move gently onwards with a genuine smile on your face!