Tuesday, 17 March 2009
My thoughts on meditation
The last few weeks, I have started doing meditation. I do twenty minutes in the morning, or early afternoon, and the same amount of time at night.
I have really noticed an effect! A positive one.
It's funny in a way in that, in the past, I have usually criticized 'meditation'. This is mainly because of the attitudes I have observed, usually from Buddhists, who seemed very anti sacred medicine, but quite pompous about the 'superiority' of meditation'
And with this comes the entrenched 'demanded', formalism of this activity, and the hierarchical nature of who can do it best--sit crossy-legged with aching legs--and who has advanced to such and such a level. ALL of that turned me right off!
Also, I went through quite a long phase reading the writings of Jiddu Krishnamurti (K). He criticized the populist notion of meditation too, when it involved sitting down and concentrating on the breath, or any focus, in order to 'still the mind', and was especially scathing about meditation which involved repeating a mantra.
He would tell his listeners to experiment. That instead of saying their secret mantra (usually only known when they have been initiated, and often having spent quite a bit of money to receive their 'unique' mantra), to try instead just saying 'coca cola coca cola' etc etc, or any absurd name, and see what happens.
And what happens K said is that you get a superficial quietness of mind and body. You are in effect masking how you are really feeling. And his way 'negation': To listen to everything was the more authentic. And that this could be done when moving. IE>, for K meditation was just that~~Listening and Observing and vice versa!
Now I can accept that more than the whole imitatio-'Buddha' 'trip', but I --thankfully--fell out with K when I discovered about his private life, via a book I found written by his mistress.
I hadn't realized but I had gotten quite sucked into his perspective on reality, so I felt very betrayed, and also traumatized when I found out
It was good though because it has put me off gurus for life!
The ironical thing is that K always stressed he was not a guru, and one was not to take him as an authority. But you see the tra/ip is this: the 'needy' seek out those who say the have what the needy want. And he would slip in that he was basically ecstatically close to nature.
I remember, one book I have of his is called The Awakening of Intelligence
which contains photographic images of him, and one is where he is looking at nature, and his eyes are so very intense. Such as that draws in the unwary. You get into this sorry idea that you are lacking and (usually) 'he' is not. The guru-disciple complex.
I went onto explore more how this game can play us by reading this must-read book: The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power, by Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad
Although I appreciate K's version of meditation more so than the more populist versions, yet, still, he was coming from an Advaita Vedantist perspective of 'negation' meaning that all forms of imagination should , yes be deeply listened to, but only in the process of negating them so as to come to a place of 'awakening'. In order that--he claimed--when you observe nature, a tree, bird, face, cloud etc there is no psychological gap in between observer and observed. The observer realizes the observer and observed are one.
Now, of course, that all sounds very seductive doesn't it? But you see I have experienced that with psychedelics, and anyone else can if they respect the experience. But K was very critical of psychedelics--as most of the gurus are, and major religions etcetera (too much competition!), and believed the anti-sacred mecicine propaganda he would read in Readers Digest!
So, like they all do, he would claim that only he really knows what he means, implying that you/me aren't 'there' yet. So....more books sold, more paying audiences, and sold out tours. A business. Making the punter believe they are lacking.
I have just finished reading a really interesting book, Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld, by Patrick Harpur, and he writes something very interesting, in explaining Jung's views on Oriental meditation:
..."he [Jung] was simply aware of the danger of oriental disciplines, such as meditation and yoga, which seek to obliterate or to transcend the outpourings of Imagination, and so become a new kind of repression, denying the images of life."
, page 281.
As an artist, I most definately do not want to do that! I, of course, see danger of images when they are used by unscrupulous people to mislead, and manipulate, but that is not the fault of the images.
And Imagination is very important in connection with the partaking of sacred medicine, where one is to enter deeply with the process of images and doing so this can be an extraordinary healing experience.
So it doesn't make sense to me to try and obliterate, negate, 'transcend' Image-ination when meditating. So I don't! Hence when I meditate I allow bodymind to think, feel, whatever happens. And I feel very peacefull when doing so. Breathing becomes deeper without any effort. It is just sitting down, being quiet, and listening to flow.
I love it when I see horses 'meditating'. I have often seen more than several, when sun is hot, under a tree, some facing its trunk, and eyes shut. I wish I had taken pictures because this would have been image I would have headed this article with!
They are naturally just being still and quiet. Just that.