Divine seeds

Insights

I always finish my meditation with some reflections: after 20 minutes of mental silence and peace, I present to such mind some difficult question, like “what is time?”, “what is ‘evolution’ “? “what is the relationship between our inner observer and the whole”? etc.  and then I remain silent, trying to see, catch, receive some information about the question, without any intellectual activity, only listen, so to speak. Is a “reflective meditation“.

Sometimes, not always, acting in this way, I really receive some insights, and sometimes, then, I try to write it here, you know, is not easy transcript an insight in words. It has happened sometimes that when I look for some more information about an insight, I find it described in an old tradition, maybe the Upanishads, maybe the Kybalion, etc.  In such times, of course, I feel excited, seeing a coincidence between my intuitions and the intuitions of writers occurred centuries ago.

One of the most lucid and powerful insights I have had was the existence of an Universal Mind pervading everything, in fact, all around us, even ourselves, are pure energy which it is given material form through Nature Laws (like gravity, nuclear forces, etc); such laws are information, like a program in a computer, and the execution of such program is the task of a Mind. Even our individual mind, hosted on our brain, is governed for laws executed by a Mind, as I explained in a mind inside a Mind. I know such statements can sound   incredible, but partly are based on Physics science; Bernard d’Espagnat, a physicist who was very interested for the nature of reality, wrote is their book “In Search of Reality:

…the contributions of physics are essential to achieve a valid world view, not superficial and not arbitrary, overcoming excessively naive or animists representations. Bernard d’Espagnat

Espagnat proposes that “reality” is essentially non-physical, and physical phenomena we observe only be explained by assuming the existence of the Self. He won the Templeton Prize for religion, and  in the nominating letter, we can read “Espagnat has constructed a coherent body of work which shows why it is credible that the human mind is capable of perceiving deeper realities.” So, why is not possible in our times a person reflecting daily were capable of find the same insights that thinkers of old times also found centuries ago?

Divine seeds

Some days ago, I was reflecting on the nature of the “inner witness” that all the meditators, in all the world and all times, has detected; our inner witness has no dimensions, is not physic, but at the same time has potentialities: awareness, perfect pure loving-kindness-peace, and pure energy; why such high being is collapsed for layers of matter, becoming unaware of himself? That was my question. And the insight was:

like a seed is potentially a tree, but needs to be buried in the ground for become stimulated to grow, like the intimate contact of the seed with the soil awakes the potentialities of the seed for become a tree, so the soul needs to be buried in the mind and in the matter for become stimulated to grow as a radiant being who knows himself as He is.

Like all the authentic insights do, this one also shocked me with the realization of a truth, beyond any intellectual rumination. We are seeds growing in the soil of mind and matter … wow! Then, as I always do, I look for some information related to my insight. Then, I remembered have read long time ago, about twenty years ago, an old book about the creation and evolution of life belonging to the school of thought named Theosophy, such book is about the subtle bodies, I found it in the Internet for free downloading : The Causal Body & The Ego – by Arthur E Powell, Theosophical Press, 1928.  And I found there some writing related to my insight:

… we must note the origination of the Monads, or units of consciousness, for whose evolution in matter the field of a universe is prepared. (…) The Monad of Theosophy,  is the Jivatma of Indian Philosophy, the Purusha of the Samkya, the particularised Self of the Vedanta.

So there are “Units of consciousness” evolved thanks to be immersed in a material, physic Universe. More on that:

These units of Consciousness, (…)  who have not yet been –”made perfect through suffering”. Each of them, is truly “equal to the Father as touching his Godhead, but inferior to the Father as touching his manhood”, in the words of the Athanasian Creed. Each of them is to go forth into matter in order “to render all things subject to himself” [ 1 Corinthians xv. 28]. He is to be “sown in weakness” that he may be “raised in power” [ibid.xv.43]. From a static condition unfolding all divine potentialities, he is to become dynamic, unfolding all divine powers.

At this point of my read, I became too shocked, too may coincidences with my insights, so I stopped and returned to my daily tasks, it was too strong for assimilate in so little lapse of time. But anyway I’m writing here about all. Next days I’ll continue reflecting about  the topic, slowly, unhurried, because such high knowledge needs a calm, fresh and opened mind.

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Reflective meditation, or meditation for wisdom

rodin_theThinker

Meditation is also thinking deeply

In the West, since the last decades of the twentieth century, it has not stopped growing interest in meditation, of which there are different types and techniques, see for example types of meditation. From my own experience, I think virtually all types of meditation that West are practicing tend to get mental silence, cultivating mindfulness detached thinking. This is a highly recommended way, it gives our focus a depth, beyond external events and beyond semi-automatic thoughts we all have.

Once you have practiced this meditation as a means to train attention, so that we can be fully lucid without being doing anything, not be thinking about anything, and has achieved this mental silence to some degree, it is not necessary to have achieved 100% , enough to have some control, then we will be able to start a different type of meditation in which we return to thinking, but in a different way than usual. In fact, the word meditate means (Cambridge on-line dictionary):
Meditate:

  1. to think calm thoughts for a long period in order to relax or as a religious, activity
  2. to think deeply,
  3. to spend short, regular periods in deep (especially religious) thought,

and for the verb reflect the dictionary introduces a different hue:

Reflect: to think in a serious and careful way.

In these definitions the keywords are:  deeply, carefully think, calm thoughts. Obviously, this way of thinking is not usual in the West in our times, perhaps it was in the past, but not now. Before the industrial revolution, life was much slower, and also the vast majority of the population did not think, in the sense of deeply reflect on something, mostly because they had no mind trained for such activity,  because only a small fraction of the population could study. And of those who had the good fortune to study, also only a small fraction of them spent some time in profound and reflective thinking. In our time everybody studies, but the flood of information, overwhelming, around us, together with a fast-paced lifestyle does not create the necessary conditions for deep thinking.

It is for this reason that we need meditation oriented to mental silence, for gain peace of mind. But at the same time, meditation without any reflective thought, well,  lot of people with a specific action-oriented personality, see such meditation like a trip to nowhere, as a nullifying himself, and have a point, because:

     Meditation is not an escape, it is a serene encounter with reality. Thich Nhat Hanh

Indeed, we should not see the traditional meditation is being done as a simple evasion of problems and hectic lifestyle that we do for a few minutes a day, but as a basic training of our mind, which must be calm before start to think deeply. And, about what we will think deeply? We can deeply reflect on two broad categories of questions: about ourselves and about the nature of reality. By the way, if we start to reflect on the reality, in fact we are following one of the schools of classical Yoga, Jnana Yoga, which aims to develop the highest and true knowledge.

Meditate on our own nature reflexively

In this reflective meditation we try to better understand ourselves, in depth: what we really are? What is our deep identity? What are our deepest motivations? What causes our feelings and emotions? etc. Following the old aphorism know yourself, old but not at all old-fashioned, on the contrary, remains a great recommendation.

As we work every day in this reflective meditation about ourselves and how we relate to our environment, we are approaching the wisdom, understood as a deep understanding of reality. The two types of meditation, silence and mental calm and reflective, are complementary, can be worked simultaneously, and reinforce each other.

One caveat: we are assuming that we have practiced meditation oriented to relaxation and mental silence for some time, and have achieved some level of mental and emotional reassurance needed before starting to think reflectively; if we do not meet this precondition, most likely to try to reflect what we end up doing is intellectualize reflection, or thinking as usual. What we seek is to reflect from the mental silence, mental “movement” is minimal, we make a question with the mind, then keep mental silence, contemplating the question, and waiting for the answer; if we are not able to keep quiet then we will not hear the answer, which comes from the depths of the mind, where silence reigns. Thus it is not a style of meditation for beginners.

Script for reflective meditation oriented to self-knowledge

We will now give a dash of reflective meditation that can serve as a simple example of what we are talking about or as a real script work, the reader can apply, adapt to their interests, etc.

1. Before you start, chose the topic on which meditate; in this example, the theme will be the emotion of anger in all its variants: outrage at injustice, hatred against something or someone, etc. It is a negative emotion (does not provide welfare and is destructive) and very powerful. What we want know? we want to know, to see, their origin in us, its true cause, and if it really is necessary, as most people think.

2. If, as is recommended to really get to the bottom, we will meditate on the theme chosen for several sessions, it may be interesting to collect information on the subject, for use in meditation. The information is abundant in our time, so this will be relatively easy. What type of information? For all serves both the analytical and scientific as philosophical, yes, trying to select quality. For example, for the topic we are using as an example, we can read writings on emotional management, emotional intelligence, anger management, etc. as well as using sources of spiritual traditions, we can provide useful for meditation aphorisms, such as:
     When lust (desire in general) is not satisfied, it becomes anger – Bhagavad Gita
He who lives without anger is the happiest – The Buddha
3. We begin the meditation as we usually do it, in our preferred site, preparing the body to not disturb us during the time we will devote to the session. The recommended position is sitting with your back straight, can be in a chair or on a cushion or meditation bench, each will choose what suits you best. Tensions relax, breathe deeply several times, releasing tension, and close our eyes.
4. We do mental silence for a few minutes; our goal is to calm the mind. If our practice is to recite mantras, we can do, the goal is the same: keep the mind not wandering. Or we use any other meditation technique we have worked. We can keep this mental calming phase for at least 10 minutes.
5. We turn to the next phase, in which we “present” to the mind, using our attention, the chosen theme; note that we use the verb present, not the verb think. This is key. We do not think, only observe with calm mind. We present an aphorism, a question, etc, to our calmed mind, without thinking about it, with questioning attitude, but with will to learn, and we expect a response, without thinking, without forcing anything, tried to capture, trying to “see” the answer, that must come from the depths of the mind. In any case our attitude must be that of someone who does not know and wants to know. The desire to know is the engine that drives all practice; the attitude to keep mental silence awaiting the answer is the one that allows direct knowledge present. In English the word insight represents quite well what we want. We maintain mental silence awaiting response for a few minutes.
6. We return to the meditative state of step 4, using the technique we usually use. No matter if we have not received a response. It can be a long process. We are planting the seeds of profound knowledge, must be patient and let nature take its pace.

7. Leaving the meditative state as usual: still with closed eyes breathe deeply, mobilized hands, legs, head, and finally open our eyes and return to take sensory contact with the environment, take your time.

Meditating reflectively in the nature of reality

The other major category of subjects of meditation is the ultimate nature of reality. Questions such as what is life? what is time? what about space? The guideline to follow is the same we’ve seen in the script of meditation: incorporate in our usual meditation session a section to present one of those topics, from a transcendent point of view, not intellectual. It is very important to get previous information on the subject, as already mentioned. For example, if we ask about the nature of space and or time, we can read introductory books  on Special Relativity. In any case, while we read, we have to get used to read  in a similar attitude to that of meditation: with full attention and interest, and open and receptive attitude.

Some final thoughts

As we mentioned in step 6, do not hurry or want to force anything, we are opening a new avenue of knowledge through our conscious mind, the answer is not given by the conscious mind, but comes from the deep mind, to which we are training to listen. And this is a process, not something that can be done in one session, you need a time. But each session, performed correctly, will open more and more aware that new channel, which does not replace the intellectual, but complements it. We have already seen in step 2 as there is a collection of information on the chosen topic; prior intellectual study enables the conscious mind on the issue, and makes it more receptive to that topic. In fact, the culmination of the process is achieved when the conscious mind grasps the information of the deep mind on the subject chosen, when we use the mind as a receiver of knowledge, complementing what I knew / guessed by ordinary intellectual activity.

Spiritual Psychology

Classical Indian mysticism compares the mind to a lake, there are strong winds called emotions blowing on the surface; as a result, the water is moving constantly, sometimes slightly, sometimes making a storm. There are two paths for overcome such storms: one is calming the mind, which become peaceful like a high mountain lake; the other is learning to dive into the depths of mind. The former can be achieved through meditation and also through other disciplines, like emotional management, positive psychology, relaxation, and others. The last, a more direct approach, as far as I know can only be achieved through meditation; what we will find under the surface of mind? The description we will give here could be named the one of  a “Spiritual Psychology”.

Just below the surface there are a small level named individual consciousness; being so near to the surface, such level is still easily stirred by the winds of emotions and sense impressions. In this level we live the duality: we identify us with our thoughts, and we believe we are separated from the world.

Underlying this level we can find the depths of collective unconscious, named “alaya-vijnana” for the Buddha. This level is non-dual: there are only one alaya-vijnana, when we reach it, our consciousness expands embracing the whole. If we learn to dive into such deep level of mind, we become free from the influence of any storm at the surface; there are no need to calm the winds, simply we are not affected by them. Is easy to find people training themselves for achieve very difficult aims,  like run a Marathon, climb the Himalayas, swim kilometers in the sea, … but of what real use is all of it? With similar amount of effort we learn to dive in our deep mind, achieving the peace which overcome any description, named “Shanti” in the Hindu tradition, or “the peace of the Lord” in the Christian one.

There are a lot of disciplines and methods that study the mind from the same point of view  also used for study the physical environment; being the mind so subtil, seems clear that such methods are too rude for really dive deep in the nature of mind. Moreover, being ourselves identified with our mind, we become unable for to be objective, living only in the surface of the mind. When we dive the mind through meditation, we discover our identity is beyond our individual mind; in such peaceful state we experience the bliss of the unified life; in such moments we live as, we are the soul, or the higher self, or the Atman, there are many names for label it, but names are not important, is a lived experience, we must live it for ourselves.

Nature evolution has given us with a so sophisticated nervous system that it be able to connect, through appropriate training and tuning, with subtil, higher orders of existence, beyond the physical world. Ancient sages of India and also of Egypt was, maybe, the first divers of the mind, about two or three thousand years ago; now a days there are hundreds of thousand of meditators, following any of the many self development disciplines. Knowing the first human beings appeared on the Earth about two millions years ago, the time between the first meditators and us seems very short:

temps humanitat

Using a scale of 100.000 years, the time between us and the first known meditators appears as a point (in the figure, the red point) in the last section of human being existence on Earth. 

From this point of view, seems we are the first of a new human species, the meditators one, and we live in a transition epoch, at the doors of a new gold age:

Tao evolución

The next step of human evolution? Image from the book “Buddha’s Nature – Wes Nisker

This post was inspired by the book “Conquest of Mind” by Eknath Easwaran, and also is based on personal experiences.

The key to happiness: a short tale

The Divine was lonely and wanted to share their Universe with somebody. He decided to create beings who could keep her company, so He did it. But one day, these beings found the key to happiness, followed the path to the Divine and reabsorbed to Him.

God was alone again, the Universe didn’t have any other inhabitant. He reflected. He thought it was time to create the human being, but he feared that he also might discover the key to happiness, to find the way to him and go back to Him. He kept thinking, wondering where he could hide the key to happiness for man not give her. He had, of course, to hide it in a remote place where man could not find it. First he thought hide in the bottom of the sea; then in a cave in the Himalayas; later, in a very remote edge of the outer space. But it was not satisfied with these places. He spent a long time, wondering what would be the safe place to hide the key to happiness. He thought the man would end descending to the most abysmal of the oceans and the key there would not be safe. It would be neither in a cave in the Himalayas, because sooner or later would find the land. It not even is well hidden in the vast sidereal space, that one day man would explore the entire universe. “Where to hide?” Continued wondering for a long. At last, the Divine came up suddenly the only place in which the man would not seek the key to happiness: within man himself. He created man and placed inside the key to happiness.


Look into yourself. “Challenge”  God and steal his supreme happiness.
This story was traduced from “Cuentos de la India” – by Ramiro Calle, a Spanish Yoga Master
singing in the rain

Is not the rain, of course, but the inner happiness the cause of such enjoying (Singing in the rain)

Searching the “I”

This is an issue of great importance because ignorance is the mechanism responsible for all our misfortunes and is something that is constantly running.

We identify with what we are, not who we are

The error occurs when we identify ourselves  with the things that we live,  the things that happen, and what we feel and think. The relationship with the world causes us a continuous series of internal movements (psychic) and each has its importance, but we do not live only its importance but we live as if we were the movements. Although I can identify with many things, all identifications are based on an original identification: identification with the idea I have of myself.

It is necessary to step back and see what little sense that you pass from one identification to another. It imposes the deal with the problem and said: “If I think at one point being that idea, that situation, that success, I’m representing that character, and then this happens, and I see that I play to be something else does not it make all this an artificial, false character? What is my true identity? Who am I, really? For, while I don’t discover who I really am, I’ll keep believing to be another thing, and I will keep heeding what will happen to that other thing which I’m confounding”.

I’m not the body, I have a body

The body is something of mine; it’s not me. It’s something that I possess, through which I express myself physically and act, but I am not the body. The body is subject to a number of changes over the years and is changing all its cellular condition, all his “tissue” and yet, I’m still me. My body now has no material element of which was 10 or 15 years ago.

I’m not my emotions, I have emotions

The entire range which is my emotions, states of euphoria, sadness, affection, rejection, resentment, illusions, etc., all that vast emotional range, are also things I feel, that I have, that I live, but I, as a subject, I’m not any of those things where I live, are things that happen through me. Because I stay and things are going, I‘m still the same before and after. So, the things that happen, the things I feel, whether pleasant or unpleasant, high or low, does not add or take away anything to my depth, the deep subject that I am.

If I learn to discover my deep identity and to live anchored in such I, then I would live all my feelings but would not be deeply affected by them. Feelings still exist because it would be natural that they exist, but the confusion between me are vanished, so I’m able to maintain a serenity and management capacity and control over situations. I’ll enjoy more the positive eliminating the negative by the absence of identification, but also I would live more authentically, more in line with the reality of my own deep identity.

Nor am I my mind nor am I my thoughts

I am none of the movements of my mind. My mind is constantly thinking, handles images and ideas and made judgements; but I’m who handled the mind. Before, during and after thinking process, I am always the same. I am the subject who is behind, and just because I am not none the thoughts, so I keep thinking and thinking and can leave remain the same.

When thoughts have a link with the basic thought of myself (the Iidea), then I confuse me with my thoughts. But a thought is just a representation of something, there is nothing in itself, is like a picture of something, is not the thing, just as the image of a person is not the person. And such representation is mine, is like an internal object within my mind.

I’m a subject, not an object

Both my body and my affection and my mind are all important, but they are instruments, are not myself. I am none of the things I can see or feel or think. I can not be anything that is an object for my consciousness, because I‘m on the other end of consciousness. I’m the subject who sees. I am the living subject.

Only when I see clearly that I am constantly making mistakes in my attitude, taking myself for my things, only then I will be motivated to try to discover who I really am. Unless I see the problem, I do not seek your solution. If I don’t find that I am living in error, I do not seek the truth. Therefore it is necessary to reflect and realize what happens when you live wrong, see what hurts and why, to discover on our own experience what are happening; rather than complain, protest or flee, look. Adopt an intelligent attitude to things that you are negatively living, and discover that what is pain or concern for me, it is because I am confused with something that I’m really not.

Then, who I am?

My conscience often live only the outer half of my experience and let forgotten (closed) the  inner end of the experience. We must be attentive to the notion that one‘s self as a subject while living everything. Is an extension of my current consciousness to include the subject rather than just the object of experience.

What I am never can be described in intellectual way, because what I am is no object. What I am is something that seems intangible. That’s why do not we pay attention. Seems nothing.  Yet it is the source of all experience arises; is the source of all my energy, all my ability of insight and understanding, all my capacity for affection and happiness arises all  from this core that I am.

We can not describe what this such “I”, because any description would describe it as giving a limited content, objective, what is essentially subject, which would be a contradiction. But we can guess that this is the most important of our lives.

What are we, and who are we?

Superficially thinking, it seems the same: what and who you are; for example, a lawyer, working eight, perhaps ten hours a day, their mind full of laws, legal proceedings, appointments, etc. When somebody ask about her … “who is she?”  the answer probably will be: “a lawyer”.  But when this lawyer arrives at home, he forgets their job and becomes a wife, also a mother, and she is able to play other rules, like a friend, a follower of their local basket team, a sister, etc. We can say she is all of these rules, and at the same time she’s not any of them. What she is is the whole set of roles, also their thoughts, their objects of consciousness, all of those “objects” are what she is, in every moment, because those objects are variable with time. But, who is she indeed?

The individual mind absorbs almost all our consciousness

Imagine a guy in front of a computer; he’s absorbed looking at the screen. The computer is running many programs, and the user is attending them, paying attention one by one, because he’s not able to attend more than one program simultaneously. Sometimes the user starts a new program, sometimes close another, but there are always many programs running; moreover, the computer never stops.

The computer is a metaphor of the individual mind, and the programs are the thoughts; programs are a bit independents, once they are started, they are able to start other programs, in a non-endless activity, like the so called “monkey mind”, because is alike a monkey, jumping from branch to branch without stop, and without any definite purpose. Eventually, the user has very brief moments in which he notice himself as an user, but the feeling quickly dissolves, and the attention returns to the screen.

It happens that from looking and paying constant attention to something external to the subject itself, the user forgets himself, and comes to identify himself with the computer, or with the programs, or both.

A network of individual minds, and the Universal Mind

Some users have noticed their computers are connected with all the other computers in a network; the information, also the programs, are flowing through the net. So they feel connected with the world. As the user was identified with their computer, when he notice all the computers are like one big one, they experience an expansion of awareness, feeling as themselves were all the computers, feeling a sense of wholeness.  Similar with the mind: all the minds are interconnected with other minds and with the environment; realizing it deeply gives us such sense of wholeness. What we are becomes the whole.

However, we still are somebody …

Even when our field of consciousness expands and eventually encompasses everything, still there are an observer, the subject, in the middle of the field. The subject always has been there, unobserved; the field are constantly changing, the subject not. Can we define precisely the subject? They are not any of the contents of the consciousness: not thoughts, not emotions, not mind; is beyond. So the subject himself is … nothing! From the point of view of consciousness he’s like a point without dimensions in the middle of the field, containing nothing at all. However, we are him, we are beyond our consciousness, our higher identity is beyond mind. Here I’m stating something I think is very important: even when our consciousness expands and becomes Universal consciousness, we retain our identity, but is a identity  very different from the low identity named ego. Is the Self, the higher Self.

God replied to Moses, “I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.”  Exodus 3:14 – Old Testament – The Bible

Is something similar to this: an identity which simply is, without any attribute.

You have no caste or duties. You are invisible, unattached, formless.
You are the Witness of all things.
Be happy. Ashtavakra Gita