I am struggling with an intellectual, and it is opening up an area of exploration I haven’t considered properly. In his case there is the usual problem, intellect cannot accept that there are areas beyond which intellect cannot go; not quite true, “it appears that” there is the Unconditioned and what is conditioned can be explained by intellect. He has given up on meditation, and the rest intellect can explain; this is not the first intellectual I have found has given up on meditation – and I think this is significant.
I don’t accept that intellect can explain the rest because of my experience of insight and rapture but relying on what experience has given me is not enough. In an effort to fit in I gave that erroneous explanation as explained in the blog “Fantastic Compassion”, but that places me in the realm of mind only – 6 senses only. Placing me in senses only leaves me vulnerable to the destruction of the intellect, yet truth has to be stronger. So what is the truth?
The key to solving this has to be meditation, and the intellect came up with a good quote from Stephen Bachelor on meditation. Here is the quote intermingled with what I answered online:-
“Meditation originates and culminates in the everyday sublime.”
What is the everyday sublime? It suggests to me at least an everyday ordinary and an everyday sublime. Meditation is sourced in the sublime. I was into the 4 brahma-viharas, and a paper “The Four Sublime States by Venerable Nyanaponika Thera” helped me not be fanciful about these states. Recent discussions here have in part considered transcendence and analysis, and both in the context of meditation. Could transcendence be considered transition from ordinary to sublime, helped or otherwise by meditation?
Then consider analysis. Analysis occurs within the chattering mind, reasoning and comparing often occurs in the chattering mind. In my meditation one of the first things I do is calm the chattering mind stopping the chatter allows me to then clear the mind. Thoughts and some insights can then come but I don’t “chatter” about these thoughts during meditation, I feel it would destroy the clarity. I think about them later. So it makes me ask “what is analysis?” Does analysis occur in different states or is it part of the everyday ordinary?
“I have little interest in achieving states of sustained concentration in which the sensory richness of experience is replaced by pure introspective rapture.” What little rapture I have had, I have enjoyed; but I see it more as a carrot, a reward for being true to the Path. Are we advised not to seek states during meditation – just happen?
“I have no interest in reciting mantras…” When younger, 35 years ago, a friend used to come home from work and meditate on his TM mantra for half an hour. This helped him. It is not for me, for me it feels like putting the mind to sleep.
“gaining out of body experiences, reading other people’s thoughts,” Are these not considered by-products not purposes?
“practicing lucid dreaming,” Doesn’t this help people?
“or channeling psychic energies through chakras,” One Summer I spent time with the chakras with the help of a Gary Zukav book. Ever since then I have occasionally used chakra meditation especially if concerned with the health of the body.
“let alone letting my consciousness be absorbed in the transcendent perfection of the unconditioned.” Isn’t it fanciful to think we can transcend to the unconditioned? Isn’t the sublime sufficient? How can we know it is unconditioned?
“Meditation is about embracing what is happening in this
“The mystical does not transcend the world but saturates it.” What is the mystical?
The quotes and my answers lead to important questioning:-
Good questions – end of blog.