onsdag 22 april 2009

Two kinds of meditation

Here Francis Lucille talks about meditation, interesting....

There are two kinds of meditation, meditation with an object and non-objective (or non-dual) meditation. The first kind of meditation may be useful as a preparation. It requires focusing the attention onto a specific object, gross or subtle, such as a statue or a mental image of the divine (path of devotion), various bodily sensations (Hatha Yoga), a series of sacred sounds (Mantra Yoga), a Koan, and so on. In this process, an effort, sometimes very subtle, is necessary in order to remove one's attention from the usual objects of desire and the ego is weakened.

When the goal of this path is achieved, the mind remains quietly focused onto the object without any effort. The mind experiences a stillness, an absence of thoughts and emotions other than the ones that refer to the object of meditation, even in the presence of the King who is not noticed by the arrow maker. However, the samadhi which is arrived at is a mind-created state which has a beginning and an end. Sooner or later, the yogin must come out of his samadhi. Unfortunately, the ego is still present, along with its cortege of fears, desires and pains.

A peculiar form of meditation with an object is one in which the object is a void or blank. In this process, an effort is made to keep the mind free from thoughts or sensations. Sometimes, a tool such as a mantra or some form of pranayama is used to achieve this end. As in any kind of meditation with an object, a weakening of the ego ensues, and the mind experiences for some time a blank state, an absence of thoughts and sensations, or simply an absence of thoughts, depending on the depth and of the nature of the samadhi. However, the samadhi which is arrived at is again a mind-created state which has a beginning and an end.

This form of meditation is often mistakenly believed to be non-objective meditation. This is not the case because the absence of objects (sensations and thoughts) is still a very subtle projected object. Although this state may temporarily bring some satisfaction and even unleash some mind powers (siddhis), it soon turns out to be a barren one; the meditator remains within the jail of the mind, the fullness of the heart remains unknown to him; this state is devoid of the absolute freedom, of the creative joyfulness and of the wonderful immortality of the natural non-dual state (nirvikalpa sahaja samadhi).

In non-objective meditation, our attention is drawn towards the non-objective, the ultimate subject, consciousness. This is accomplished as a result of understanding. At the first stage, the truth-seeker is asked to notice that the happiness he is really looking for is non-objective, which means "not contained in any object, gross or subtle". When this is understood, he is then asked to realize that the mind, which can only grasp mentations (thoughts and sense-perceptions), cannot have access to the non-objective realm. It follows that any attempt to secure the happiness he is looking for through the mind is bound to failure. When this is understood, the mind soon finds itself in a NATURAL state of stillness.

In this natural form of meditation, sensations or thoughts are neither sought nor avoided; they are simply welcomed and seen off. It could be described as a total openness, in which we are totally open to our sense perceptions, our bodily sensations, our emotions, our feelings and our thoughts. We could compare these mentations with the various characters of a play. As long as we find the play interesting, our attention is completely drawn by the actors on the foreground, but, if there is a weak moment, our attention progressively relaxes until we become suddenly aware of the background, of the stage. In the same way, as our attention becomes global, unfocused, open, disinterested, (and this detachment follows from our understanding that these mentations have really nothing to offer in terms of real happiness), our attention relaxes, until we become suddenly aware of the background, consciousness, which reveals itself as the ultimate immortality, splendor and happiness we were looking for.

It is not necessary for the actors to leave the stage in order for us to be aware of the background of the stage; similarly, the absence of mentations is not a prerequisite for awareness of the Self. However, in the same way as, when the actors leave and our attention relaxes, we have an opportunity to become aware of the background, there is an opportunity to "visualize" our real nature when a mentation merges into consciousness.

The inner attitude of welcoming which is the essence of non-objective meditation is also easily and naturally conveyed by "induction", in the presence of someone who has merged with the background, to a truth-seeker who has a genuine desire for it.

Francis Lucille

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