On Meditation

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I have literally been meaning to write this blog for a while, as its contents may be one of the more important things that I’ve put forth. 

During meditation a few weeks ago I made a discovery of a kind of “mind-map,” if you will, that explains how the psyche works during meditation. 

Too much theory and too many models and too many maps CAN be problematic as they can quickly become overly complicated and will essentially tell us nothing; this will be simple.

Three parts of the mind include

1) The Participating Thinker

2) The Subconscious Thoughts

3) The Ego

Now, to explain what I mean:

The Participating Thinker is the part of our mind that consciously engages in thinking, that consciously weighs options, ideas, and goes through the whole process. Someone says something, we think on it, we engage it, it happens because we’re pushing the buttons and driving the motors.

The Participating Thinker is the easiest part of the mind to relax and get settled. Focusing on one’s breath or whatever object of meditation is what will cause the PT to slowly disappear.

The Subconscious Thoughts are more difficult to deal with, mainly because we’ve no conscious control over them. I consider this part of the mind to be a kind of threshold between the conscious and subconscious, as these thoughts are the ones that seem to intrude on meditation relentlessly; one moment, you’re quiet, then the next, you’re having an argument in your head over the price of eggs or wanting to explain something to someone. 

IF you can control the Subconscious Thoughts and get them to stop, good- that’s the hard part.

Then there’s the Ego- the actual awareness of all these things going on. The Ego has, so far, not disappeared for me during meditation. I suppose one might say I’m not very good at meditating, but I’ve almost always been aware of what was happening and maintained a self-reflection in knowing that I exist. 

Now, there may well be more parts to the mind that than these three; the subconscious itself, the unconscious, what have you, but I’m saying that for the purpose of meditation, THIS is what I’ve seen, and I thought it would be good to report it.

Beaux 

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Mundaneness and the Spiritual Life: The Great Intersection and Potentially Most Difficult Part

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In ancient times, the spiritual people were of a different caste, a different breed, set apart, and often left the life that would be considered normal.

Some spiritual paths still allow for this, and many have the option of staying in the world as well.

The mystics I know by and large live in this world, the so-called “mundane” world, and thus we are meant to put up with the stresses and hassles of everyday life, from human relationships to scrubbing the toilet to traffic jams.

This path, by the way, is much more difficult, because one must juggle the attachments one has, one must be living in both the real world and the ideal world- a foot in each world, drowning in the ocean of love, and who is nearer the other shore, and at that, which shore? So goes the Sufi sayings.

Dealing with people who have little to no spirituality can seem difficult. People who have a low view of reality, people who don’t have even a rudimentary spiritual understanding or a lick of self-awareness or who are full of ignorance, can grate on one’s nerves.

This is the opportunity, then, for those of us who are awake or more awake or self-aware to become even more self-aware. What I mean to convey is that we must engage actively with people about things that we may otherwise have no interest in, things that are commonplace and unimportant, for the sake of being able to relate to those people, for the sake of being able to show compassion and understanding for them.

After all, few of us are born into enlightenment or the unitive state or whatever you may want to call it. Most of us struggle and fight our way to enlightenment, and frankly, some people, even if they’re aware such a thing exists, aren’t interested in it, period. But most us mystics have some degree of development beyond a “typical” person, even if we’re not completely to the goal. Thus, we must understand that we were not always where we are, and as appalling as it may be to see others who are asleep, they, too, have the potential to come out of their sleeping state onto the path towards enlightenment.

The balance between the mundane world and the spiritual world can be straining, and is in fact straining, but it is meant to be so, for under said strain is where we surrender our ego to the Divine. We, alone, cannot bridge the gap between Heaven and Earth. Perhaps this is one of the meanings of Christ coming as a Redeemer of mankind- that it is ultimately the Divine, not Man, that intervenes and closes the separation between the two forever. In Christ, the God-Man forever unites the Divine and Human natures.

The opposite problem can also arise. There is a potential hazard of the mystic “spiritualizing” things that aren’t, in fact, spiritual. Without falling into an absolutist position on things, it is safe to say, with reliance on reasoning and common sense, that one’s Higher Self and even God alike do not care if you eat pepperoni pizza or sausage pizza; this does not make any difference. That is not what the spiritual life is about.

In closing, I would like to extend my commendation for those who stay faithful through trying times in the mundane world and encourage them to embrace it. We cannot help that some people have not awakened as much as we have, but we can help our own awakening by progressing forward and showing compassion for those who have not yet arrived where we are, as many of us have not yet arrived to our ultimate destiny.

Beaux


Spiritual But Not Religious and More Goodies for Tackling

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How many times have we all heard people make such a statement as, “I’m spiritual but not religious?”

If only I had a dime for every time I heard someone say it.

What someone means when they say this is a little more complicated: they mean to convey something more like,

“I do admit that there is a deeper reality than the everyday reality most of us encounter, but I’m so disenfranchised from the religionists who make little to no sense or have no substantive value to their practices that I do not commit myself in a formal or enduring way to an organized religion.”

Naturally, it’s much easier to say one is spiritual but not religious.

The real problem is that yes, there is a lot of corruption in organized religion, and at times, the orthodoxy in many religions is not encoded or poetic, it’s outright incorrect and doesn’t line up with reality, and maybe even more to the point, most people are idiots.

Okay, forgive the over-bearing, superiority-complex-laden statement above, but it’s the truth. The reality is that the number of people who actually understand what a religion is trying to convey through its mystical currents and decide to ride the waves to the so-called “other shore” on those currents is depressingly small, and they are and always have been in the minority.

Now, it’s true, not every person wants to make the mystical journey, and that’s okay- it’s their right to not do so, but it is also our birthright to be able to do so if we choose.

There is certainly a time for religious and spiritual exploration. Absolutely. Do not mistake me- this period can last a long time, especially now in the age of the internet with so much information immediately accessible to us, so many different paths presented and explained, so many Gurus, Teachers, Holy Men and Women who claim that their way is the best way (sometimes going so far as to say the only way), the contradictory paths and ideas and summaries of the people who have made the journey, and it can all become rather mind-boggling.

But we must take heart and sort through the mess, and for the vast majority of us, it will be easier to choose a path and walk down that path, come-what-may.

There is likely a time when we need things such as dogma and doctrine to guide us, and that is fine- but the time for dogma and doctrine to guide us will end as well, and we’ll have to keep walking with no such signposts or rules.

Religion often exists without the mystical core, and mysticism can exist without a definitive religious framework, but it’s much easier if they work together. Psychology, especially Jungian psychology, works as a translator between religions and mystical systems.

Another thing that irks me is when people try to say a religion is not a religion. This is not exclusive to any one religious group, but it does happen among various ones: I was taught in Christian school that Christianity is not “a religion” but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ- that Christianity is God teaching Man, while religion is merely Man seeking God.

I’ve also heard the same about Buddhism. Buddhism is not a religion; it’s a way of life! Again, wrong. Buddhism pretty much falls in line with the definition of “religion,” and it’s difficult to dice it otherwise.

So, the point is, religion, even formalized religion, provides us something, something important. It’s okay to be religious. It’s okay to be devout. And it’s also okay to question the orthodoxy of a religion. There is such a thing as being too rigid.

These are just some thoughts.

Beaux