Monday 9 January 2017

The limited scope of meditation - bad habits of thinking

There is a striking gulf between what is possible in meditation and in the rest of life of social living and work.

In meditation we may achieve a pure, clear thinking - independent of our sensations and perceptions; and experience an intuitive knowledge of truth and universal reality - but it is astonishing how little impact this has on social/ work life - indeed, it seems often to have no impact at all.

And if our social/ work life is operating at an unsatisfactory level of shallowness, alienation, purposelessness... then it is clear that progress made during meditation may have essentially zero benefit on the rest of life.

Higher states of consciousness are contextual - bad habits are stronger than spiritual insights.

The social milieu (with its materialism, nihilism, despair...) is stronger than our individuality. When immersed in the stream of life we are overwhelmed - the rush and strength of phenomena and events quite overwhelm the practices we have attained during solitary and detached meditation.

We then live unspiritually, we live merely in automatic responses to stimuli - our behaviours merely effects of external causes; our very thoughts seem caught up by stuff we experience through the senses.

On the one hand static detached meditative thought and some sense of spiritual progress - on the other hand simply automatic functioning as a puppet of social and media life and the constraints of work and survival...

So we find many people who have put considerable sincere effort into meditative spirituality (or prayer, or study of scriptures or the practise of religion...) who strike us, in normal life and social or work-interactions, as spiritually just like other people - indistinguishable...

We perceive no special depths in them, no spirituality, no holiness. All their meditation (prayer, study, practices) seem like a complete waste of time: ineffectual, self deceieving...

And - much worse - the same applies to ourselves - in our mainstream normal discourse and behaviour we perceive no depths, spirituality or holiness in ourselves! Our meditative self is aware that our everyday 'personality' is shallow and materialistic, just like everybody else!

We imagine we are acheiving a better, higher, more spiritual state - but 'real life' suggests we are deluding ourselves.

Can anything be done? Yes - but clearly it is difficult: clearly it is very difficult indeed - much, much harder than most people make-out; and only few people have ever gone any way towards overcoming it.

Our ai is to become one of those who are deep, spiritual, holy in the mainstream, everyday, social and working life - transformed right down to the small mundane details, the instant 'automatic' responses, the fine grain of functionality.