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Meditation December 2, 2010

Posted by ekarlpierson in 12) Meditation.
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PARTICIPANT: Where does meditation fit into all of this—to gaining an understanding of life and the way it works? I have tried a couple of different types of meditation with some degree of success, in that it does bring about a sense of quietness and clarity of thought. You seem to have some things well ironed out, and I guess I’m wondering if you meditate for clarity and understanding. Some of the eastern practitioners can even reduce their heartbeat and change brainwaves and so on.

WW: As with most questions, you’ve brought up several points. Let’s first ask, “What is meditation?” …Go ahead. What is meditation?

PARTICIPANT: I use a mantra. I concentrate on that until I find that relaxed state where I can feel that I am “one” …that I have a degree of clarity of thought.

WW: All right, do we want to address concentration first?

PARTICIPANT: Concentration. Good.

WW: I prefer to go through ideas point by point. We tend to go from one point to another without stopping to examine the validity of any one point, like a frog jumping from one lily pad to another, making a simple observation into something quite complex. It can be very difficult to communicate with people in most venues because people very rarely want to really listen to anyone, even themselves. They hear a point, look at it with the same old partial view, then immediately drop it, and move on to another partial idea. In this way, people don’t have to listen.

Communication ceases. In this venue I have a bit of a cakewalk because I can manipulate the format instead of jumping into questions without examining each point. In fact, I would like to thank everyone here today for bearing with me as we go through these points so slowly.

You can find this phenomenon in the writings or speech among people of all levels of education or intellect. Those who are of higher intellect and education use more twenty dollar words and elaborate sentences to fool themselves with a higher level complexity. Still, one can slowly and intentionally read through a text and critically evaluate the position of the author. I don’t know about anyone else, but my mental processes operate too slowly to ever consider speed-reading. For me, speed-reading would be like plugging myself into a data cable and absorbing whatever came through. I prefer to have less information, but understand it well.

Okay, concentration and a mantra. Although I have never been a practitioner of mantra meditation, except for a few trials, I’ll give it to them that it can increase the power of concentration, possibly to the degree of major physiological changes. I, however, am not interested in furthering the concentration of the awareness function. My interest is, instead, to see if we can work on expanding the awareness from the miserable, fragmented state that it is usually in. Anyone can sit and chant and concentrate and work oneself into some sort of state. Hell, I can lie down for my afternoon nap and be in a different state in a manner of minutes. None of this, though, has anything to do with the serious work of dis-identifying with the self.

I’ll go further on this matter and state that meditation may even be detrimental because it encourages an individual to ignore the trolls. All of the guru talk about “unlimited consciousness” or “pure awareness” or some similar tripe is nothing but empty words when they devote nothing to re-examining one’s ideologies. Of course, a guru won’t give his students legitimate instructions about examining the validity of convention! To do so would be to lose their followers! When someone sets himself up as an authority, would he then tell you to question authority? What do you think these gurus are doing when they hook up to sensors to monitor their heartbeat and brainwaves? Aren’t they trying to set themselves up as authorities by pushing evidence that they are right? Aren’t they going against the idea that we have been discussing, pushing their authority instead of examining authority?

We have trolls on side two of our picture that seek out authority—trolls that are “true believers”—trolls that look for a measurement of success. The gurus play on our urges, rather than exposing our urges. I’ll say that again in different words. The meditation gurus, rather than encouraging the examination of conditioning, gain followers by taking advantage of conditioning.

This reminds me of an incident whereby a young lady was sitting in the officially authorized position, contemplating her officially recognized “center,” chanting her officially authorized word, when she became a bit irate as she was disturbed by someone. Did we get that? For all of the effort that she put into this, her basic and unrecognized drive was to be undisturbed, our most basic interest. Obviously, the driving force in doing meditation was to gain pleasure and avoid pain. Our most basic worldly drive had gotten completely past her! I enjoy an occasional shot of whiskey, but I would never claim that is has some sort of purpose for spiritual advancement!

Let’s talk about another point of your question: the sense of quietness. I’m not making an argument that meditation doesn’t give a sense of quietness. Does that quiet come after a day of inner conflict? Isn’t the effort of meditation put it to use after the fact? Can a person meditate during the middle of an intense business deal? Can a person meditate while being flipped off by a rude driver on the freeway? I’m not interested in some stopgap measure that’s too little, too late. I’m interested in a more pragmatic approach. I’m interested in working with a way of seeing events throughout the day on a moment-by-moment basis. All of the meditation in the world will just be one more way of evading the real issue, which is, “How do I see?” If we can recall a discussion that we had earlier, the determining factor of our attitude is how we see the world, self, and events.

Meditation is about the past and the future. That “how do I see” question must be answered on a continuing basis, not the evening after or the morning before.

Do you want to check out another aspect of meditation? One that is possibly less examined and less understood?

PARTICIPANT: Hey man, I’m into this. Let’s do another one. I have got some meditating friends that need to be here for this.

WW: How about a question of violence? Is there anyone in this room who would advocate violence against another person for having a view of which we disapprove? Would anyone here use psychological force on another person because of his or her view? Would you shut down someone during a discussion because you didn’t like what he or she said? Would you keep saying, “Shut up, shut up, shut up” until the other person relented and quit expressing his or her opinion? Wouldn’t it be a form of violence to use any means of force or coercion to silence another person?

We usually think of violence in terms of physical violence, silencing someone by punching him in the mouth. Maybe there isn’t a person in this room who has ever done anything like that, so we can think of ourselves as nonviolent …but there are other forms of violence. We could even go so for as calling a dirty look a form of violence because it’s a type of force or coercion against another person. That may sound a bit extreme at first, to refer to that as violence, but let’s look closer. I’ve been busted up quite a few times over the years in various types of accidents, but the pain and suffering from physical pain pales in comparison to the pain and suffering from inner turmoil. I would even go so far as to say that the inner turmoil is more real than the physical pain. Wouldn’t it be a fair statement to say that any type of force or coercion is a form of violence?

PARTICIPANT: How does this relate to meditation?

WW: We asked the question earlier, “What is meditation?” The holy men and gurus of the east recognized, centuries past, that inner turmoil was standing in the way of inner peace. What to do? They obviously didn’t realize that the key was in understanding self, so they reverted to what they knew, and that was force and coercion. If a person repeats a word, slogan, or mantra for long enough they can, in effect, shout down the trolls. I assert that chanting silences the trolls by what is a hypnotic means. I wouldn’t argue that it doesn’t work. Perhaps it works very well. It is, however, a form of self-coercion, a violation of awareness function. It is only very temporary and it doesn’t address the issue of the trolls any more than does a shot of whiskey. Can you see how meditation can be a violation of the awareness function?

PARTICIPANT: But that doesn’t mean meditation is violent.

WW: If meditation and the chanting of a mantra is a violation to the awareness function, forcing the shutdown of the awareness function or the trolls, then it must be violent. The purpose of meditation is to quiet the loud party that’s going on inside—to quiet the trolls. I don’t want to quiet the trolls; I want to understand them. Look, why are we doing things from back to front?

How about this for an experiment? Go down to the shopping mall, slowly walk against pedestrian traffic and put a stupid, gawking look on your face. Watch and wait for one of your trolls to jump in and try to take over when someone at the mall gives you a disturbing look. Make this troll-hunting business into a game. You may find that it’s fun. The little boogers may hide behind a rock and peep out to see if you’re looking for them. They don’t want to come out and make too much trouble when they see that you’re looking for them. The trolls are most active during active relationships. Hell’s bells, the trolls aren’t going to come out and give you any trouble when you’re meditating!
Look at what comedians do. They say the most embarrassing and self-deprecating things in front of throngs of people, but they aren’t a bit embarrassed. They’re not trying to eliminate embarrassment, they’re looking for it, but they instead find humor.

PARTICIPANT: I’m not getting this business of meditation and coercion. I’m interested in meditation as a means to be free from inner turmoil. Isn’t that what all of our talk is about, to be free from inner turmoil?

WW: No. Do you see the inner turmoil in the statement that you just made?

PARTICIPANT: No.

WW: We’re very insensitive. Excuse me, but I’m not picking you out of the crowd. I said “we.” We’re very insensitive in this regard. Movies and television depict blood and body parts being splattered around. We have conflicts with others in the workplace. We have conflicts in business deals. We have family conflicts. These are all inner conflicts even though we usually see them as only outer conflicts. We have so much and so many conflicts that the noise of the greater conflicts obscures the lesser ones so we are unaware of them. Any time we see something and then project an image that is bigger or better than what we see, we are participating in the stress of duality, unless of course we have dis-identified with the self and see the ideal as an illusion.

One of your trolls has tricked you and you’re certainly not the first to fall for this one. Inner turmoil is what you see, and the elimination of inner turmoil is your projected image. With my usual redundancy, your sense of conflict is what you see as the event. The elimination of that conflict is your image of something better. You’re in turmoil from the beginning. You see that you have inner turmoil and you want to escape from it. Don’t try to be free from it. To try and be free from something is turmoil. Instead, be free to experience it. “Free from” and “free to” are quite different things. The urge to be free from what we see is the beginning of violence. This may sound like a rather innocuous form of violence, but it’s what keeps the emotions churning and keeps us in a state of stress.

Could it be that perhaps, there is a legitimate form of meditation? If there were, it would have to be something that an individual would do throughout the day. There is one thing that we have the right to do at any given time. We have the right to dis-identify with the self at any given time or place. That type of meditation is not something one does as a holiday game, that’s the meditation of hard work. That hard work is the parent of real personal power. That is the power to defeat convention.