"Moon and Lemon Eucalyptus" ®Eric Platt 2023
"Moon and Lemon Eucalyptus" ®Eric Platt 2023

The Real Value Of Meditation

Meditation can be good for the body and mind, temporarily. It’s beautiful thing, like a tranquilizing drug, to help with clarity of mind and relaxation of the body. It can, for example, temporarily allow anxiety — a bodily reaction or "energetic" experience, in a loop with thinking — to dissolve away. This is useful and pleasant.

A yoga & meditation teacher (and occasional psychotherapist) sent this quote to me:

A quiet, calm mind is like a runway for an airplane to take off.
– Sri M

However, the truth is, an un-calm mind is not a problem. Who would it be a problem for? Why make it into a issue or a big deal? If you struggle with it, make it into a thig a thing for someone, you are in deep doodoo. Now there is a you vs. a mind. A battle. A war.  Do you want to be a warrior? Fine if you do, but I'd reserve that for the battlefield, not for finding peace. You will never get out of bondage that way. It is just another passing appearance. Call it an "energy" if it helps. See it, let it pass. Nothing is personal in the entire universe of awareness.

The quote is a statement from a yogi, one who is selling, or is annealed to, a particular path: what you could call a "progressive" one. But even there – the whole progressive vs. direct debate is a silly one. Who cares.

In any case, let's look at: what is the grain of truth in it?

A calm mind is useful for intellectually examining beliefs about what you are and what reality is. And, it may be more conducive to allowing fresh ideas in, as well as being more restful for the body, brain, etc.

It' also useful for dealing with unruly relatives, children, friends, strangers.

These are all realtive things (no pun inteneded). All good and fine...

But making it a pre-condition with respect to what you are, to truth, is a falsehood.

Awareness is aware and awake regardless of the state of the bodymind, whether agitated or calm or not (including deep sleep, coma, death); reality is not-two with no pre-conditions. It’s not a negotiation.

Gravity is in effect whether one is lying down or standing. God-mind or big-m Mind is what you are, before anything else, such a time ands space ad world and bodymind.

Whose Mind Is It?

Most people spend a lot of their time and energy trying get out from under the thoughts and feelings that are unpleasant, bothersome, worrisome, or are "driving one crazy" by whatever means necessary – work, activities, drugs... We try to escape them with entertainments and substances, socializing, and so forth.

Get To It

This is not to say that sometimes action is not needed. If we have some situation that needs addressing, like overdue taxes, or a call owed a friend or relative, then we need to do it, and stop any cycle of avoidance, resistance, or aversion that's creating an internal tension, spawning extra thinking, conscious or unconscious. Facing life head-on is the best way to get through or go through it.

...
Taking things lightly results in great difficulty.
Because the sage always confronts difficulties,
He never experiences them.
– Lao Tzu, The Tao Te Ching, Ch 63

“Even if you kill yourself a hundred times, you’re still there.”
– Karl Renz, The Myth of Enlightenment, p 162

Stinkin' Thinkin'

Many people come to realize that their main problem is all this thinking, and the associated feelings inextricably and inseparably linked to it: the "narrative", the story, the inner chatter, the inner scenarios that play out in the mind. It all causes so much worry and fear (and desire). So it's natural to believe that the solution is to somehow control the mind, control the thinking, or at least subdue it or calm it down. This is true, but is only a partial solution, a partial truth. It only addresses the surface, the waves, the symptom. The root is not addressed, usually. The root "cause" is the sense of a "me"... a long-lasting independent entity to which things will happen or happened.

There is often a desire to control the mind, such as the apparent need to stop or calm down thinking. Or at least change it to something better, more positive. Thus we turn to psychology, or spirituality, or mindfulness training, or various studies, schools, techniques and practices, or other tools such as various drugs or "plant medicines"...  Whatever works to provide a temporary peace or sense of well-being is good. ...

But why do we have to keep returning to it, whatever our practice or substance or activity of choice is – if we "are what we Are", perfect peace and happiness, absolutely, as the Self, or Brahmin, or God or Consciousness, the Source, the Illuminated Mind – whatever you want to call what we really are? This is the question every "student" or aspirant or practitioner asks. At some point. Every one. It's sometimes expressed as "why do I keep falling back into ignorance?" or "I was in Consciousness, I had it, then lost it." .. some variation on that theme.

The the teacher or practice guides you back to what you Are. Until you lose "it" again. They may poit out the falsity of what you were thinking, beleiving, seeing yourself as. The there is the laugh, the Aha moment.

But it always boils down to, only ignorance sees ignorance. It never really existed, in the first place. Funny that. Poof, you wake up from the dream. The dream of separation.

A "Radical" Truth Too Simple To See... Until You See It

In regards to “mindfulness training”, such as of the thinking, or “being in the now”, this is a sticky wicket, because it’s ultimately futile in a sense: the illusion of control. This illusion can be or will be revealed (to you) eventually, as no illusion can be sustained forever.

This may be a little hard to see or understand at first, but the fact is, there really is nothing like one part of the mind controlling another – if there were, then it would have to have another mind controlling it, or causing it to do things... then another part controlling it... ad infinitum. You can start to see it makes no sense. Where, who or what am "I" – I the controller? Where does the causation start? Is there a little "me" inside controlling everything? Then it must have something controlling it... where does the buck stop?!

Yes, we know deep inside we have freedom. We are innately free. This intuition is correct. Trust it.

It's just that, we are not free as a separate entity, a separate being. There is really no such a thing. ...

This may seem a little scary at first. It sounds like a loss or a threat to something. This sense of me or self may feel a little sticky or heavy ... and a little cherished, truth be told, like a cute baby or animal. Why would we want to lose this cute thing?

But the sense of alarm is misplaced. Nothing is lost. There is a simple re-orientation of interest, belief, or view. One that is a tremendous relief.

No Mind, Never Mind

In fact, if you look really deeply, there really is simply no mind at all. What we call “mind” is merely a concept for all these experiences — we can call them “mentations”: thoughts, perception, sensations — that arise and pass away in awareness. They live and die in awareness. They are ultimately made of awareness. They disappear absolutely, never to come back, as if they never existed. Hmm, maybe they didn't exist... good question! Yet here you are, existing and aware, despite all this living and dying appearing to go on – extraordinary!

(Don't take my word for it. Look into all of this yourself, please – especially if you don’t believe it, or understand it).

Like Ramana Maharshi said, in response to a gentleman asking how he can control his mind: “How many minds have you?” When you see the truth behind this quip, you will laugh. How many, indeed… it's like asking, "is there one reality or two?" You see the nonsensical nature of the question. It happens via insight. That is real intelligence, and not mechanical computing and memorizing.

No Time Like The Present

You might think that "being in the Now", such as by taking one’s attention from the “mindstream" (as suggested by Eckhart Tolle) and putting attention in a body area, is the solution. Indeed, it seems the attention can be directed temporarily. This can be useful in certain situations of the body, such as in allowing the body to fall asleep.

There is a strange fact, however, that is interesting and illuminating to look at: there really is nothing other than the present, in the first place.

There never was a past or a future. So all thinking, all mind activity, absolutely, literally everything is and "always was" and "will be", now.

The "was" is mental – a memory (internal or externally recorded), and the "will be" is mental (internally imagined or externally produced and presented) in the Now. This global, universal Now is all there is. There is literally no past and no future. This is just the way it is, simple fact. Think about it, ponder it, meditate on it, speculate on it, imagine things, but it will never change.

Has anyone ever been to the past? Only as a memory, and memory is a thought in the present. Even if you were to step into a time machine and go back, your awareness of it all is in the present. Or, if someone else were to step into a time machine and go back, your awareness of that is also in the present, always.

Once this fact is seen, really seen, then the effort to try and keep oneself "in the now" transmutes into the simple act of waking up to the present that is always present.

This is presence, this awareness of perceptions and/or sensations is always present, but was merely identified and interested in thoughts about past or future – imaginings – such that one was "lost" in them, so to speak, "not aware". However, one is always aware. One cannot be non-aware.

But awareness can be so closely interested, so serious, about with various contents of awareness, and about outcomes, that it thinks and feels it matters what happens – there is an attachment. Thus the sense of, for example, anxiety.

Identification is the Key

How is identification related to this concern with the contents of awareness, the seriousness regarding outcomes and life in general? Well, think about it: if you did not seem to have a body (and be in a world that the body is in) would it all matter so much? Would anything like misfortune even make any sense?

Dissolving into the light of the Now or Bliss

Awareness is always now, and that is all there is: Awareness and Existence, and they are the same.

When you see that every thought, every perception, every sensation dissolves into awareness, there is this Bliss, to put a name to it.

But, if the mind then claims it, as mine, as me, as I had it or I did it, you’re back to square one as the meditator, the noun, the one that wants it: the experience, the feeling. Again.

So you can call it Grace or surrender, but then you have a meditator or Seeker wanting grace of surrender, and you're back to square one.

There’s an Indian or Sanskrit name for this last step the addiction to Bliss, with the implication of going beyond that: Anandamaya Kosha.

Since there is still a seeming step, a hurdle, on a path, there is still a danger, or should I say trap, in implying there is a stage, a going somewhere, and a someone going there.

Who, or what "goes beyond" this addiction, or beyond any stage? Wasn't it, or isn't it, the same awareness, in the first place? Why so complicated?

Enlightenment, Awakening, Self-Realization, and All That Good Stuff

However, as far as meditation and so-called enlightenment or awakening or Self-realization, that’s another story entirely (from the no-control and no-mind ones).

The purpose or goal of meditation — even as just an experiment — is ultimately to see that there is absolutely nothing a separate entity can do on its own to get to something such as enlightenment or awakening… because neither the entity, nor a becoming, nor such a state exists as a state.

“There is neither creation nor destruction, neither destiny nor free will, neither path nor achievement.
This is the final truth.” – Ramana Maharshi

In other words, the goal is to see, completely and thoroughly, that there is no meditator, in the first place. There is only this awareness, appearing as everything, coming and going, supported in the stability that is what you are as ever-present Presence. The substratum.

This is none other than the same goal of “Self inquiry” and neti neti (not this not that). How could it be otherwise? What other goal could there be?

Meditation and satsang however can temporarily open the door (as can psychedelics, or other extreme experiences, like near death or rock wall climbing…), but that desire-less-ness, that bliss, can potentially lead to an addiction for the sense of self that seeks it.

If truth be told, Absolute total failure in this regard (as a meditator, seeker, claimer, etc...) can be your real friend.

Eric Platt

2 Comments

  1. Fred Hughes on December 23, 2023 at 7:24 am

    Only grace from the Source can make “it” happen. Thanks for a pretty comprehensive look at what seems to happen.

    • Eric Platt on December 23, 2023 at 12:47 pm

      True, but sometimes a little mental pointer “remembrance” as it were, like “No one cares about your problem, so why do you?” – blunt, but true, and funny … is good for seeing through the little, false self-concern.
      …whatever works…
      Even if it ultimately is not the “me” really doing it! 🙂

      Thanks for the comment

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