Friday, 30 May 2014

A note on meditation by William Arkle

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The Paradox of Meditation

by William Arkle

We may think of meditation as a deliberate way of turning our attention and our nature to those aspects of our being which are neglected by the materialistic society in which we live.

In a spiritually healthy society this would be done naturally in the way that our attention is drawn to subjects like maths, history and science at school. There is some attention to religion but subjects such as spirituality and holism are generally not backed by serious study or serious attitude, but instead treated with conventional politeness.

When we meditate we are trying to support and nourish the higher frequency aspects of our nature and trying to climb out of the prison of fear, ego, doubt, anger and life denial that materialism brings in its wake.

Instinctively we seek to do our meditation, contemplation and quiet attention in places which are least distracting for spiritual nourishment. Some environments are not only distracting but can be positively helpful.

But, from the initial purpose of balancing out materialism, meditation should become an intrinsic part of our own individual nature, so that it would be a different thing to different people and something that changes for them continually as they grow and move within themselves.

We should then add to this the fact that the purpose of our living can be understood to be the gathering of wise appreciation of all the principles involved. We can call this the maturing of our spirit towards our inherent godlikeness or divinity.

This understanding is acquired through the friction which occurs within us through conflicting experience of all sorts. It is only through first hand knowledge of these opposites that our inner understanding is able to grasp the wisdom and understanding of God for itself.

So we can say that through meditation we can achieve a balanced view of the spiritual while engaged with the material life.

We may also say that unless we confront and integrate these two aspects of our nature with one another we will not produce the often painful fires that are necessary for the distillation of real growth and wisdom within ourselves.

Consequently I find myself saying that what we refer to as meditation will eventually have to become an integral part of those aspects of life which at first seem most foreign to it.

Meditation can also be used as a word to define the extraction of our own significance and purpose from life but is also the concentrated attention required to know the significance of life itself.

Here lies the paradox, for this concentrated attention is not the same sort of attention that we started with and it seems that we must expect to change everything as we move along.

http://www.wessexresearchgroup.org/newsletters/2009_feb.pdf

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I record this little essay of William Arkle's mostly as a web duplicate (in case the publishing website goes down) and as containing some distilled insight from someone who meditated deeply and profoundly in a Christian context.

Thus, the purposes of meditation are many-fold - below I extract from the above essay, and add my comments in non-italics:

1.  to support and nourish the higher frequency aspects of our nature - thus, meditation ought to be an experience of a more divine mode of experiencing.

2. trying to climb out of the prison of fear, ego, doubt, anger and life denial - thus, meditation ought to be a therapy and refuge from the sufferings of life.

3. a balanced view of the spiritual while engaged with the material life - thus, meditation should be a part of life, not the whole of life - material life and meditation are complementary and ideally life would consist of both.

4. extraction of our own significance and purpose from life - thus, meditation is about looking within ourselves and attaining to knowledge our ourselves.

5. the concentrated attention required to know the significance of life itself - thus, meditation is also about looking outwith ourselves; at our situation, context - ultimately the 'cosmology' of the ultimate human condition - the basic 'set-up' of our lives.

6. meditation will eventually have to become an integral part of those aspects of life which at first seem most foreign to it - this, I do not fully understand, probably because...

7. Meditation would be a different thing to different people and something that changes for them continually as they grow - thus, there cannot be a template or blueprint for the practice of meditation. Presumably, this means that there must be the usual process of trial-and-error in learning the best way to meditate for ourselves and at our particular stage of growth or degeneration. 

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1 comment:

  1. "6. meditation will eventually have to become an integral part of those aspects of life which at first seem most foreign to it -this, I do not fully understand, probably because..." 

    Perhaps this is a comment by Arkle aiming at something like a permanent expansion and growth of one's consciousness that we might also label as 'final participation.' As immature beings, meditation is a practice (albeit a personal and necessarily individual one) which enables us to foster the harmonisation of several stands of awareness -physical, mental (including rational, emotional and intuitive components) and spiritual - but also with a omnipresent metaphysical framework which enables a clear experience of reality unpolluted by error or, as with modern amputated forms of 'mindfulness,' an amputation of valid methods or 'content' but from a clear meaningful or purposive 'form' to meditative practice. I speculate that the reason that Arkle sees meditation as a 'theotic' path to integration of the 'foreign' with every day life, might be because once the learning process is complete the 'foreign' way of perceiving reality more fully becomes habitual and then second nature with practice.

    It is rather like learning a rote motor skill. At first playing the major scale on a guitar in several positions on the fret - board is clunky, prone to error and 'alien' but with practice it becomes fluid, intuitive and a point is eventually reached when the scales may be applied creatively to produce melodies and harmonies or to 'play' with other musicians to *create* music. This is the aimed at point for theosis, self - conscious meditation would no longer be required once the apprentice achieves a sufficient degree of mastery and similarly advanced spiritual initiates would be able to instantaneously share a congruent set of insights into spiritual reality (once they are 'tuned in' to the same frequency). The difference being what one might imagine the harmony of two angels in accord or two souls in heaven communicating without words but complete understanding and unity of purpose (perhaps doing something as simple as watching a sunset together) or the discord or misunderstandings of what reality is, or even the denial in any potential objectivity of reality, that we find all the time in mortal life and the profound difficulties this engenders like the stroke of a butterflies wings eventually causing a tsunami. If a harmonisation of perception of reality were achieved (necessarily a metaphysical harmony) many of the problems facing humanity would fall away completely.

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