Om. Here's proof All is One.
About half an hour ago I started to write a new blog post about meditation. But first I wanted to check out some of what I've written before on this subject. So I fired up the Great God Google search box in the right sidebar.
I ended up transfixed by the inspirational brilliance of... me.
Geez, I'd forgotten how wise I was back in 2005. And 2006. And 2007. I really enjoyed re-reading five posts about my churchless take on mantra meditation.
Who knows? Maybe nine years from now I'll be equally impressed with the 2014 version of me. Which, of course, raises an interesting question:
Right here and right now, does every person already know a lot more about what makes life meaningful to them than they are prepared to recognize? That is, do we tend to only trust ourselves when our knowledge is reflected back to us, not when it is intuitively experienced?
Anyway, instead of writing a fresh post I'm going to share links to my previous writings that just inspired me, along with an excerpt from each.
Most recently, I’ve become a believer in keeping my mantra as short and simple as possible. And even more meaningless, since my goal is the cessation of thinking instead of positive thinking, as was the case in this research.
That’s a subject for another post: whether a meaningless or meaningful word is more suitable for mantra meditation. The question of the day is whether introducing the idea of “God” into one’s meditation makes the practice more beneficial.
So, what’s in a word? What’s the point of saying a mantra over and over, whether it be during a designated meditation period or at other times during the day?
Christians use mantras. “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” was endlessly repeated by the Russian whose tale is told in “The Way of a Pilgrim.” Buddhists use mantras. “Namu amida butsu” (I take refuge in Amida Buddha) is chanted by the Pure Land school of Buddhism. “Om,” “Ah,” “Hu,” these one-syllable mantras are but a few of the countless other words that are repeated by millions of devotees in every corner of the world.
So what? All of us speak words all of the time, sometimes aloud, sometimes silently. Why is a mantra any better than the stream of verbal consciousness that normally courses through the mind?
This is why a meaningless mantra is to be preferred over a mantra with meaning. Meanings are what we have now: theologies, philosophies, metaphysical systems. If these were keys that could unlock the door that stands between us and Mystery, we’d be through it by now and know what lies on the other side.
I want to break down that door. Dissolve it. Make it go Poof! and disappear. Yet every meaningful effort that I make in this regard just adds to the thickness of the meaning that constitutes the barrier I’m trying to do away with.
There’s got to be another way. A wayless way. One that melts away meanings and leaves us with pure formless mystery.
This points to the problem with the mantra meditation hypothesis. A mantra can just as easily obscure as it clarifies. It all depends on whether you are waxing on or waxing off. I’ve come to believe that a mantra filled with meaning is akin to the greasy cloth that my wife used to try to clean my glasses.
That word, or words, leaves a mental residue. For example, a traditional Christian mantra is “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” Assuming that you know English, it would be almost impossible to repeat those words without thinking about Jesus and mercy. You may stop yourself from thinking about other things, but Jesus’ mercy is certainly going to be on your mind.
True enough, in my experience. But I'm coming to see that Tucson Bob's there's a predator analogy is apt. When we're really open to clear and present reality, we don't want any self-generated sounds or images, meaningless or not, coming between us and whatever is out there.
However, failing complete emptiness I still believe that having a single meaningless sound in my mind is better than the largely random voluminous chatter that all too often fills my psyche. When I need to think in words, I should think in words. Most of the time, I don't. A simple mantra serves to remind me to shut the fuck up.