Wednesday, May 14, 2014
If you go to the above site, you will find a "high level" discussion, mostly from Dan Harris, who helps anchor Nightline and also appears on Good Morning America. As the link suggests, the discussion focuses on how "meditation" focuses the mind, helps to dispel the illusion of a separate, ego-centered self, and improves health and outlook. He is in conversation with Sam Harris, noted agnostic/author, who has written such books as "The End of Faith" and "Letter to a Christian Nation." He is CEO of an organization devoted to spreading secular values through society.
This discussion is highly sophisticated and will challenge all but the most intellectually adept reader--the concepts it presents are not new, but neither are they (I believe) truly comprehensible if one has not had the experiences they describe. The technique discussed is called "mindfulness meditation," and doubtless this approach has helped many over the years--today many thousands follow this practice, and surely they would not continue if they did not find the method productive.
Frankly, I have never truly understood why this form of meditation is so appealing to so many. I think my primary concern is that it does not (in any deep sense) take into account the body as a source of pure delight--and as for bliss--forget it. Bliss, ecstasy, rapture--these terms never enter the discussion. Nor does physical movement or such stimuli as music, so often effective triggers of bliss states.
Many years ago, not long after my Kundalini opening, I was persuaded to try Transcendental Meditation. Following the direction of my "inner guru," I had been having morning sessions of simply contemplating certain (inner) images of the deity, such as Shiva and Krishna, and this easy form of "meditation" aroused intense inner feelings of delight--pure ecstasy at that time. Once I left off that simple visual practice and substituted a "mantra" (assigned to me by my T. M. teacher), the bliss flows ceased and soon I was suffering massive headaches (migraine). As someone noted, it was as if a lid had been placed on a boiling pot. I had promised my teacher to continue this meditation for six months, and I grimly continued to repeat my unwelcome mantra each morning. Finally, when my doctor proclaimed that obviously I had a brain tumor, I felt that enough was enough and I ceased to perform this disturbing rite. A brain scan revealed that I did not have a brain tumor, and I went back to my earlier process.
Again, I should note that doubtless many have profited from the form of meditation taught as T. M., but obviously it was not the right choice for me.
I feel that neither of these discussants has ever "felt god in the blood", the most convincing experience of the reality of a divine source. Until that happens, seekers are thrown back on mental approaches of one sort or another (even when they enter "pure consciousness") and are convinced that "what they see and personally experience" comprises ultimate truth.
The end of the mystical path is annihilation into the Beloved. Whether this state can be taught as a goal or intention, I am not sure. I do know that for me union with the Beloved Within is each time a kind of final realization, an ultimate connection that truly tells me "who I am" without words but rather through profound feelings. It involves not a deliberate procedure of quieting the mind, but rather a shift into another state of consciousness, and allowing "it" (somatic bliss) to happen. For me, this is truly "home."
But, as they say, there are many paths up the mountain, but they all converge at the top.