Thursday, 5 May 2016

Meditation - In Silence Time Stops

During my teens, from seventeen to my early twenties, I meditated. I also practised Yoga. To this day, I still meditate and use savasana when attempting to relax. I no longer perform Yoga, I have given up twisting my limbs into ungainly positions. Tai Chi being a far better, more natural exercise. The world trouble's me. The only way I am able to change the world is by changing myself. To enable this I have again looked toward meditation.

What is meditation?

There are businesses built upon teaching people how to meditate. That sounds not only unnecessary but yet another way by which consumerism sees a way of making money. Undoubtedly there are companies out there that sell you classes on how to be 'Christ-like.' Bizarre.

Jiddu Krishnamurti has, as with everything he thought or spoke about, an interesting insight.

"Without knowing yourself, do what you will, there cannot possibly be the state of meditation. I mean by "self-knowing", knowing every thought, every mood, every word, every feeling... And merely to try to meditate without first establishing deeply, irrevocably, that virtue which comes about through self-knowing is utterly deceptive and absolutely useless."

Some see meditation as a 'cure-all,' a process through which they may achieve some sort of spirituality. I am unsure what spirituality is. It smacks of seeking guidance from someone or something mystical. I'd prefer to think of myself as moral not mystical and that by meditating I might enhance my morality by becoming self-aware therefore able to correct my faults.

There are those who meditate mechanically. This is when they sit crossed legged with wrists resting on their knees, fingers bent in a precise fashion. Or perhaps they sit with legs folded under them, hands cupped within each other Japanese style. This suits the Hindu, the Buddhist and may others but is this merely a method believed to be the key to meditating? Is this the only way to clear the mind so that self-knowing fills your being? No, it isn't.

There is the Vairchana's method which emphasises seven posture's.

  1. The legs are crossed in the vajra posture. This helps to reduce thoughts and feelings of desirous attachment.
  2. The right hand is placed in the left hand, palms upwards, with the tips of the thumbs slightly raised and gently touching. The hands are held about four fingers’ width below the navel. This helps us to develop good concentration. The right hand symbolizes method and the left hand symbolizes wisdom – the two together symbolize the union of method and wisdom. The two thumbs at the level of the navel symbolize the blazing of inner fire.
  3. The back is straight but not tense. This helps us to develop and maintain a clear mind, and it allows the subtle energy winds to flow freely.
  4. The lips and teeth are held as usual, but the tongue touches against the back of the upper teeth. This prevents excessive salivation while also preventing our mouth from becoming too dry.
  5. The head is tipped a little forward with the chin slightly tucked in so that the eyes are cast down. This helps prevent mental excitement.
  6. The eyes are neither wide open nor completely closed, but remain half open and gaze down along the line of the nose. If the eyes are wide open we are likely to develop mental excitement and if they are closed we are likely to develop mental sinking.
  7. The shoulders are level and the elbows are held slightly away from the sides to let air circulate.
There is Zazen or Zen meditation. A lot can be said of Zen but zen again.... also, there are Samatha and vipassan√°. The fact is, there are many ways to meditate. The one link is they all use rules. Rules and symbolism. I don't think you need them.

If this suits the practitioner then fine, who am I to cast dispersions, but I cannot see how this achieves the aim of why we need to meditate. It is ritualistic. The resemblance to prayer is obvious. Why would we need to meditate in such a fashion? 

Meditation is not a thing you need to practise in a certain style, a fashion-fixated on method. This is the stuff of Guru's and you don't need Guru's to train you to meditate. You don't need Guru's to improve yourself. All you need is the self-desire and self-motivation to change you.

What is required is a mind cleared of clutter, a brain that is quiet, sufficiently so for you to contemplate.  I simply don't think a thing as natural as contemplation requires certain postures. Meditation can be performed in the bath, when walking down a path, when in a shopping mall. 

"So, to meditate is to purge the mind of its self-centered activity. And if you have come this far in meditation, you will find there is silence, a total emptiness. The mind is uncontaminated by society; it is no longer subject to any influence, to the pressure of any desire. It is completely alone, and being alone, untouched it is innocent. Therefore, there is a possibility for that which is timeless, eternal, to come into being. This whole process is meditation."

To pre-empt the question that will be asked of me, am I rubbishing the ways Buddhists and Hindu's along with many others practise Meditation? No, I am not, all I can say on that matter is if it works for them - fine. Nor am I opposed to those who believe in gods. Not my business. If it helps spread love, understanding, and a little human kindness then what does it matter? 

The world currently balances on the edge of chaos. The United States, its economy in freefall, seems doomed to political failure riven by two converging schools of thought. The extreme  Republican right with its evangelical dogma and the Republican-lite, or Democrats to give them their proper name. Both seem to me to be the same deal. Both are corrupt. Democracy is a hollow sham with elections being won by those who have the biggest bank balance. The founding fathers did not envisage The United States controlled by corporate values. They sought true democracy. Would Jefferson have approved of modern America? I seriously doubt it. My money is on Bernie Sanders. That man is a true progressive.

The UK is unable to give up its past. There are still those who act as if we still had an empire, as if by right of being British that it still carries weight in the world, that we are still a superpower. We are not. The fact our government gives very little aid to our fellow man is shameful. They still believe in us and them. There is no such thing. Here, our politics are sundered. The Left is rising but so is the right.  We are dissatisfied with the politics of the last few decades. Politics of spin and manipulation.

Europe is fracturing. The TTIP threatens to enslave us all with its corporate dictates. Consumerism runs rampant. Capitalism failed 44 times during the 20's and 30's and now State Capitalism, itself having failed 14 times since 1974, is on the verge of extinction as it mutates into Corporate control. These figures, in case you are wondering, come from John Medaille and Noam Chomsky. I have heard no rebuttals so believe them to be true.

The Middle East, driven to fundamentalism following immoral if not illegal acts of war waged upon them by the west, by the USA and the UK and others, has seen the rise of Daesh. These terrorists have been granted life by the West's repeated invasions. They are a far greater danger than that of a nuclear threat. World peace? The world in pieces more like. A recent survey suggested the biggest threat to world peace is the United States. Unbelievable.

The world needs change. There are vital issues being ignored as the old order pursues the same interests they have always - wealth, power, control. Only people can change the world. And the only way people can begin to change is by changing themselves. If only the multitude meditated rather than the few. If that were the case the world would be a very different place. Am I advocating mediation as by way of making global change? Yes, I am. It is the individual within the collective that makes those changes within themselves. 

"Meditation is really very simple. We complicate it. We weave a web of ideas around it—what it is and what it is not. But it is none of these things. Because it is so very simple it escapes us, because our minds are so complicated, so time-worn and time-based. And this mind dictates the activity of the heart, and then the trouble begins. But meditation comes naturally, with extraordinary ease, when you walk on the sand or look out of your window or see those marvellous hills burnt by last summer’s sun. Why are we such tortured human beings, with tears in our eyes and false laughter on our lips? If you could walk alone among those hills or in the woods or along the long, white, bleached sands, in that solitude you would know what meditation is. The ecstasy of solitude comes when you are not frightened to be alone no longer belonging to the world or attached to anything. Then, like that dawn that came up this morning, it comes silently, and makes a golden path in the very stillness, which was at the beginning, which is now, and which will be always there."

Meditation connects you with something far greater than the individual. It is an awakening of a supreme intelligence. It is unconnected to any authority. You become part and parcel of the eternal without magic or mysticism. There are no deities to petition, only the emptiness of creation of which we are as one with. It is to witness yourself reflected in the vastness of silence as shared by eternity in a place where time stops.

At the end of the day, there can be no right or wrong way and I am not for a minute suggesting my way is the only way. Meditate how you will. As long as you do we can change the world.

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason, and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, accept it and live up to it." - Buddha

Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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