Reflection on Descartes Meditation 1
In Meditation 1, Descartes begins by stating “there is no novelty to me in the reflection that, from my earliest years, I have accepted many false opinions as true, and that what I have concluded from such badly assured premises could not but be highly doubtful and uncertain.”
Something that I have come to understand is that there is no certainty in the future, and even our past experiences are shaped by insight which is somewhat clouded by our cultural environment. I am constantly reminding myself that I need to be mindful of the present moment in order to see my true nature.
For example. the instant your hand makes the noise is the present. Any judgement thereafter takes your mind out of the present. Try it. The present moment has passed before the sound is heard by your senses.
Descartes goes on to say that “I have found a serene retreat in peaceful solitude”. I make an argument that peaceful solitude can not be achieved as nothing exists independently of itself. I also argue that because he claims to have no passions but was committed to taking action is a contradiction within the short span of this meditation.
I find myself to be in a way like Descartes. At times I believe that I am a great philosopher, meditator, and linguist. At other times I find myself whimsically dreaming of a better world not knowing if I am in the dream state which he describes. After all, sustainable peace is attainable.
I must learn how to let go of my perceptions and turn my thoughts in to action. As I reflect on this meditation, I begin to see that I too am deluded by insight that is the culmination of my egocentric karmic conditioning I have accumulated throughout my lifetime.
What Descartes fails to acknowledge during Meditation 1 is the fear to look within. To see the light and the dark within oneself. The only fear he has during this meditation is waking from a peaceful slumber which he does not know to be when he is waking or dreaming.
Yet, he is starting from the beginning so perhaps during this meditation he has not yet taken the steps to see the darkness within. I have been on a journey to dispel the darkness of my own cave for over four years and realize that I am responsible for what I see. I have begun to understand that my present reality has been created by my mind alone.
I am beginning again and learning how to reflect. What I experience through my meditation practice I will make manifest. If I am not a guilty party throughout my journey then I have nothing to fear.