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Fear and Love, (meditation continued).

November 29, 2011

A few days ago I decided to head off on a different journey, one that I’ve been avoiding for a while, but know now is time, and because of this, will no longer be blogging, or using the net again, fun though its been. I’ve decided though, that before I go, I will finish up articulating a few of my life realisations in a few last blogs here, after all communication with words is a good skill to embed in your consciousness for later on. I have until the weekend, so have allotted a couple of hours after work each day to write, I’m also fasting so if it seems a little incoherent, my apologies.

So here goes, Love and Fear.

One of my favorite (if not the) quotations from the King James Bible is approximately this; “for there is no fear in love for fear hath torment, and he that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

This quote sums up beautifully and more powerfully than any other my experience of being physical and of being human.

Six or seven years ago I spent some time living with my parents, around nine months, for some of that time I was unemployed, for much of it I was working full time, but close enough to home that I had plenty of time to myself, my parents live in a beautiful location some distance from a small country town, and have sixteen acres of land they garden and relax within, at the top corner of the block, which forms the floor of a small valley, at the most elevated point there is a spreading pine tree that carpets the ground with needles. I spent many hours underneath that tree, playing in its branches, climbing right to the top, listening to birds and loving the evening micro-bats that would fly around me, protecting me from mosquitoes.

Due to my interest in all things spiritual I also spent a great deal of time there practicing martial arts, Qi gong, playing around with crystals and attempting to meditate. For the nine month period, and during many other years for days or weeks at a time, I would spend at least two or three and sometimes eight hours there a day, half in martial arts and yoga, half in meditation. It had a beautiful view down towards the river, across the backs of trees that shimmered in the afternoon sun, with needles that rained and danced down from above around me in the afternoon breeze.

I loved sitting there in the early morning, walking through the dew up the hill and then in the evening, as the sunset made me glow inside.

Having experience profound states of expanded consciousness and meditation before in my life, I was aware that my attempts at meditation were not scratching the surface of true meditation, regardless of the often profoundly altered higher states of deep presence I enjoyed.

It was a good time for me to meditate, I had been single for two years, did not socialise, had a fairly hermetic existence, rain water to drink, a simple outside job working with the earth in the sunlight, great health, healthful foods and access to a wide range of vibrational medicines, practices, and medicinal herbs.

However, again, even with this subconscious content, it was only at times that the requisite energy of the mind grew sufficient that the stilling of the mind that facilitates the ecstatic intensification of psychic energy necessary for true meditation to begin would come about. The deeper I went the more subtle it became, thoughts half forming, and then becoming merely half formed patterns of energy, each small wave on the surface of the mind preventing it from stabilizing.

Like ripples on a pond, preventing the deep stillness needed for an image of the heavens to form.

as Krishna and Anjura conversed in the Bhagavad-Gita, the song of god;

“But, due to restlessness of mind I do not perceive the steady state of mind.-(the start of meditation) Because the mind is unsteady, turbulent, powerful, and obstinate, O Krishna. I feel restraining the mind is as difficult as restraining the wind.”

“Undoubtedly, Arjuna, the mind is restless, and difficult to restrain, but subdue it you must, through persistence, And indifference.”

Even after nine months of practicing many hours a day in this setting, with many years of far less regular practice behind me, it was apparent that to become a true mediator was a life’s work, there was after all a reason that the great wisdom traditions of the world send seekers off to awaken in silent retreat in caves for many years.

However experiences and growth aside, (and there were some beautiful ones, best not spoken), there was one deep lesson I understood from my experience of that time, and that I have taken away for my life, and it is this,

The true question is, why is meditation difficult?

The simple answer, as it says in the bible is this; “for there is no fear in love, for fear hath t0rment and he that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

What then do we fear? the easy answer to this question is that we fear suffering. But, there is a deeper one.

Our entire civilization and society is built solely on this fear.

In our actions, our thoughts, words and deeds we chase the experiences, situations, lifestyles and possessions that we feel will fulfill us, bring us more meaning, more joy, more happiness. Which is not to say they don’t, sometimes they do, and as the Tibetan Buddhist saying goes, “to cut yourself from all worldly pleasure is to court the deepest of hells” , yet, every person alive knows to some degree of self awareness, that happiness is within, its an emotional state, not the perception we have of the experience we attempt to chase.

The irony of it all is, as the Sakayamuni Buddha said, this samsara is suffering, clinging and craving are the root of suffering, or more correctly, dhukka, dissatisfaction with life.

It is easy to see how powerfully this fear controls our lives, in our interactions we defend and develop our self generated egos incessantly, completely sold on all its stories, this self identity in our own mind, welded together with stories, ideas, concepts, built by language. What freedom is there in this? A life unconscious, lived for craving and fear to defend an identity that is only that, a complex of thoughts and identified as self and linked to emotional responses.

Even the greatest of loves can result in tremendous emotional violence when this fear is involved. Reactive and captive we truly are. And according to the mystics, not just in one life, again in the words of Sakayamuni Buddha-

“Vainly I sought the builder of my house Through countless lives. I could not find him…
How hard it is to tread life after life! “But now I see you, O builder! And never again shall you build my house. I have snapped the rafters, Split the ridge-pole And beaten out desire. And now my mind is free.”

Perhaps there is a reason why great loves generate great pain. And perhaps it is the same reason why meditation is difficult.

Let me make a differentiation here to establish exactly what I am discussing, if the universe is a energy field, full of patterns of consciousness, I am not talking about patterns, I am not talking about psychic experiences, spiritual experiences, visions, or phenomenon relative to time, I am talking about the energy itself, the physical or spiritual matter which does not differentiate, and from which all these phenomenon arise, as much maya the illusion, lila the dance of consciousness in form and samsara, the stream of experience, desires attachments, and aversions as is the physical world.

In the traditional view of meditation, all phenomenon that arise are merely distractions, manifestations of the same energy of the mind trying to make waves to attach the perception in order to attach the mind and prevent the unfolding of higher states of complexity, unity and bliss, within the flow of the intellect/heart.

So if our fear is suffering, what has that got to do with true meditation? which is described as the highest happiness possible for the spiritual or human form.

Perhaps there is something older, more primal going on, something which in the temporal sense, spiritually and physically predates the creation of the unfolding complexity that is the egoic identification that lives through us.

Without exploring the idea of a spiritual source to this-(after all thats just a distraction, real or not) lets use the brain as the metaphor for the idea, regardless of the limited scientific merits of the conceptual model, lets divide our brain systems up into three separate domains, the instinctual, the emotional, and the intellectual.

The domain of the instinctual, which has often been called the reptilian brain, as a nod to its theoretical early evolution in life on this planet relative to the other two domains of the human brain, is responsible for the unconscious processes that maintain homeostasis in the body, it is responsible for keeping you alive, and as such maintains mechanisms such as the flight and fight response, mechanisms that are quite obviously powerfully associated with, if not, fear itself.

The emotional, which has often been called the mammalian brain, (as a nod to its perceived emphasis in mammals brains and association with mammalian traits) is responsible for motivation and emotion involved in feeding, reproductive behavior, and parental behavior. Mechanisms that are obviously quite powerfully associated with, pleasure, love and fulfillment.

The intellectual which is often associated with humans and higher order brain structures, creates or profoundly heightens the capacity for language, abstraction, planning, and perception.

Now the thing about instinctual side and even emotional side to all of us is that while they are supercomputers in complexity compared to the tip of the iceberg of the intellectual mind that we experience in the day to day, they are not particularly rational, while involved in many very real things they do not differentiate between what is real in essence and what the intellectual and emotional minds tell them is real. For example the ego is just a complex of interrelated images in the mind that has been identified with as the self, and the instinctual side of us will act upon the body-mind to protect that image, just as immediately and just as powerfully as it will to protect the body.

For a great example of this watch two people get into a heated argument, emotions flare. Unconsciousness sets in, judgement about each other are made. All over the sake of sounds identified as words stimulating identified patters that are taken to be important somehow to the maintenance of a convincing self image that satisfies our personal emotional -(chemical) addictions.

This in effect, is the fear of suffering and the pursuit of pleasure that dominates our civilization, lived out to varied cultures and varied yardsticks, employing varied ideas. Each superior in the eyes of its user, each equally pointless.

In essence this identification or a self, the them vs. us, regardless of its beauty or sophistication, is suffering.

Not only in the relative sense, of the day to day captive and reactive mind being blown hither and thither in the infinite oceans and plains of samsara. But also in the absolute sense, in that the constant activity of the mind needed to generate this identification, prevents meditation from occurring, the realisation of consciousness through living form, known as supreme bliss, super-consciousness or spiritual enlightenment. Not only does the ongoing maintenance of the egoic identification bring about cyclic and reactive unconsciousness generating dhukka or dissatisfaction, but it also prevents the experience of states of consciousness and bliss quantum levels beyond anything it can possibly ever generate.

Perhaps this simple fact is the key to the whole question of the difficulty of meditation.

While there is a very significant difference between the state of consciousness that exists before birth and as a young baby, and that of an adult human who has generated egoic identification and then dissolved that into the enlightened states of awareness. There are some obvious parallels.

For example, imagine that human consciousness is not in fact separate in any way sense of form from physical reality, that physical reality and consciousness is in effect one unified inter-dimensional field of consciousness, however, when this field of consciousness is exposed to a body, it is as if a nodal point in an otherwise perfectly equal field has arisen, of course no such thing has occurred, but like the space-time continuum it is all relative to the observer. From the biological perspective of the physical object, in the experiential sense, the complexity and immediacy of this energy field is apparent and emphasised by the emotional response in the body, that of bliss, and, while in the ecstatic intensity of awakened awareness this experience is able to fully realise itself to the nth degree due to the natural intensification of psychic energy nodally within the gestalt, in a young child, and before birth the field is still relatively unbroken and as such results in a variety of relatively blissful states.

To explain, as is written in the yoga sutras of Patanjali, in reference to the human energy field,-(see V.Hunt, Persinger etc.)

“its sevenfold layers hold supreme knowledge of human consciousness.”

Today, the human being and consciousness is well established by the western sciences to be more than just an epiphenomenon in the brain, it is commonly explored as a synthesis of energy fields and biology that, in actual fact, in the ‘energetic’ sense is an inter-dimensional representation of the biology, environment-(macro and micro) and awareness of the individual, quite probably best interpreted through the understandings of conceptual approaches to theoretical physics such as Bohms holographic universe.

This energy field and its associated relative intensities and localized temporal modulations, both mediates conscious states and patterns of awareness, and from my direct experience, understanding of science and of the historical teachings of the planet’s wisdom traditions, has a profound affect on the state of consciousness and physical well-being of the body-mind. For example -(of the multitude of examples that is reality), to sit with a profound mediator has the effect of tuning your body mind into that state of awareness, a process that could be both blissful and immensely confronting.

The reason it is confronting to sit with someone like this is simple, and is in essence the answer to my questions about fear-love, the pain we experience in deep love, and the difficulty of meditation, and is as follows; when the initial perception of the field occurs it is experienced by the body-mind the brain structures we discussed earlier, to the emotional mind, it is bliss, to the instinctual it is the optimum functioning of the body-mind, to the intellect it is the awakening of intelligence, knowing without thinking but instead through direct perception of reality as it is. Including the subtle fields of information mediated and generated by past experiences-(memory) and those of the race-(collective consciousness) etc.

As the mind experiences this it begins to ‘understand’ it, in a Biblical sense humanity eats of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, of direct experience, of good and evil, for the cognising mind operates conceptually and analytically, it relates varied sense perceptions to mental perceptions or schema, then identifies relationships between schema, using dialectic, right or wrong, yes or no, either or. It does this automatically and at a level far more subtle than the generally experienced consciousness of most people.

This process of thinking absorbs the awareness and transforms the modulated fields created by the body mind, in turn altering the chemical messengers created therin, resulting in a reduction of the felt experience of bliss.

As such all thoughts, all perceptions are either rejected or embraced, two sides to the same coin, an ironic fact that when you consider that in fact it is not a sense perception that is realistically rejected but rather our field of awareness itself. This ongoing rejection of awareness, establishes the egoic structures power, by limiting the capacity of our non-conceptual awareness to merely be and by definition accept fully, the sense perceptions we identify as events. Every thought that thus becomes an object of awareness, generates its own body-mind patterns and requires in effect that the awareness itself unmodified is not the object of awareness.

This reduction in the felt experience of bliss can be rationalized quite easily by the intellect, all you need do is feel blissed out and then think about something else, or experience the prolonged complete stillness of the mind lost in awareness, and then think and the phenomenon is obvious. But as I mentioned earlier, the emotional and especially instinctual minds are not overly rational. From the perspective of the instinctual mind, when this experience occurs, the integrity of the body-(its optimum functioning state mediating cellular and macro biological activity through the thus modulated varied neurotransmitter and bio-energetic activity associated with ecstatic states) is under threat.

The link is very simple, the cognitive experience of ecstatic states result in the reduction of the felt experience of the blissful emotions instinctively understood to be the optimum healthful functioning of the body mind.

In effect, experiencing ecstasy=threat.

The response is, to think, thinking is safe, it has evolved to keep the organism safe, and its process prevents the experience of ecstasy from occurring, thus preventing the loss of higher integrity-(that the ecstatic states are), it is a way in which some of the emotions of bliss can be explored “safely”, modulated through varied avenues of identification and biological emotional intelligence.

Ironically the very brain structures that allow the heightened sense of perception that results in the ecstatic experience in the first place-(the intellectual structures) are simultaneously then responsible for the heightened thinking processes that result in its diminished and constant enslavement, under the direction of the instinctual mind. Fighting an ongoing battle with the emotional mind, over the simultaneous drawing of the human spirit towards its natural state and desperate attempts to discover it through identification with the identity.

In effect, if love is the natural mind, the supreme intelligence in a sense that gives birth to the physical form, the natural order of the universe according to which the material world became manifest from its creation, fear is humanities instinctual response to this bliss. It is the non-rational fear of love, of bliss and not fear of suffering that makes the mind keep on thinking, desperate to avoid the present moment as thoroughly as possible, it is the deeper and instinctual fear that results in the construction of the egoic structures that later employ fear of what they relate to as suffering in order to sustain and propagate their existence.

This is why meditation is hard, and is in my opinion quite possibly one of the most important things we can ever understand.

The results of this fear can be quite violent, it is not always blissful to sit with someone who has a powerful field, sometimes it can be intensely confronting and throw us into deep unconsciousness and pain, as we seek to satisfy our need to protect ourselves from the primal fear of dissolution into the stillness. Of dis-identification with our identity, of fluidity in our beliefs and surrender of our perceptions.

This fear has resulted in a race of beings who live and die only glimpsing the potential that they truly already are and believing that somehow they need to heal, to work to attain it, instead of just looking with a clear unaltered mind, free of all modification and psychic engagement, into that deepest of places- the source of reality.

As Ramana Maharishi said;

All metaphysical discussion is profitless unless it causes us to seek within the Self for the true reality. All controversies about creation, the nature of the universe, evolution, the purpose of God, etc., are useless. They are not conducive to our true happiness. People try to find out about things which are outside of them before they try to find out “Who am I?” Only by the latter means can happiness be gained.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-new-method-to-measure-consciousness-discovered/

 

 

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2 Comments
  1. Meditation can lead to many amazingly humbling experiences. It has so many physical, mental and spiritual benefits, it would be stupid to not practice it. Strange how many of us don’t.

    Nice post! 🙂

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