« A physicist answers the question, does the past still exist? | Main | All it takes are particles to make a conscious being »

September 07, 2022


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Great question. In fact, I suppose this is *the* great question: Having found out what we could about what things are like, as far as we know; what now? How do we deal with the small (but cumulatively potentially overwhelming) problems of life, as well as the big problem that is life itself (should we see it as a problem, as we sometimes/often do)?

Not going to hazard any answers, as they're likely going to end up being commonplace cliches. And, in any case, individual 'right' answers will like depend on the individual, and differ from person to person. But still, I guess the overall answer will include the following 'baskets' (not that everyone needs dip into each of them, not necessarily, and not unless they're drawn to):
(1) Work out your own (personal) meaning, and strive to live up to it;
(2) Strive to keep life balanced and, on the whole, enjoyable, or as much so as is possible under extant circumstances (that is to say, I suppose most cases it would be wise not to get so swayed by one's personal meaning that one descends to monomania and fanaticism; although of course that is just a generalization and specifics can be thought up where such a course, that is to say monomania and fanaticism, does make sense);
(3) Keep up the search (for meaning, for answers), because there's no reason to assume that whatever asnwer one's arrived at, while that may be the most reasonable at the current time and in the current circumstances, is indeed the necessarily correct and unchanging answer.

Yeah, that's about it, is my take. Obviously, the details are what is important, but that is probably a personal thing, an individual thing.


"The goal here is to recognize that which doesn't arise and pass away: a condition of empty, open clarity that precedes and transcends every other experience."

.....Hmm, Sam Harris treads woo ground there. That's no different, really, than saying "Keep meditating until you see the thumb-high flame, that morphs into the particular yantra you're into, and/or the particular deity associated with that yantra and your mantra, at the anahad chakra"; or maybe "Keep meditating until you see the Guru in your ajna chakra, and hear celestial drums and flutes and what-have-you, and see constellations and stars et cetera."

Which is not to say he's wrong. He might well be right. As indeed might the tantra types; or indeed the RSSB types. Except that isn't quite where our collective knowledge, our science, our ...collective consensus of what is reasonable, is at. No evidence really.

I'll emphasize again: that's not to say he's wrong. Nor is that to say one mustn't follow his advice. One might elect to do that, in the spirit of experimentation, in the spirit of "let's find out"; and that is perfectly reasonable, IMO, should one's interests draw one to do that. Much like you'd done your RSSB meditation thing for decades, Brian.

What would be ...nor reasonable, is to imagine that such a thing is remotely scientific, or remotely evidenced, just because a bona fide scientist (Sam Harris in this case) is saying it. [Not for a moment do I suggest that you're taking that line, Brian. But, given past exchanges with 271Days about Max Planck, as well as recent comments from Hossenfelder about the God question not being scientific, I was just reflecting, thinking aloud as it were, that it is important to remember that scientists are as prone to gassing away as anyone else, and that not everything a scientist says is necessarily science. I mean, obviously; but still, it's important to not lose sight of that fact.]

Bliss can definitely arise during long meditation retreats. However, equanimity is the goal.

Been reading an old book and this is what I read last night, easier said than done

It is bondage when the mind desires or grieves at anything, rejects or accepts anything, feels happy or angry at anything.

I reckon there is not much anyone can do about life, it happens despite trying to barricade ourselves up through beliefs, wealth, family etc. – and a multitude of other forms of insurance. One attractive escape is to hide away somewhere remote, okay perhaps for a while, then you get some illness or break a bone or two and have to creep back into society – life's like that!

Is it that for most (all?) of us, our lives are a series of escapes, escapes from the realities that keep knocking on our door. It's nice to have holidays, to have various forms of entertainment, but it is hard for us to just be still and be just what we are at that moment (providing of course that doesn't mean hanging from a cliff! But even so, even extreme sports can offer a release from the mind/self with all its chattering where participants feel in touch with reality – with their real selves.

As for meditation, well, it has been pointed out that while the constructed self is still in control, activity stemming from its separative and dualistic nature will inevitably cause confusion and disappointment, particularly if hoping it will bestow one with a future calm, serene and peaceful life - or some marvelous sort of enlightenment experience.

The most that can be 'offered' in the area of meditation is simply being able to understand what the mind/self is and how, by its very nature, divides and separates life up into me and not me with all its attendant beliefs, antagonisms, and continual battles to protect what it believes to be an isolated 'me' against the rest of the universe.

Best thing is to involve yourself in service or Sewa to mankind, Animals, birds, reptiles etc. Sewa can be giving medical help, free food, to the weak, those who cannot do anything for themselves like stray dogs or stray animals etc. Langar is a sewa in which one can serve free food to poor and weak, old people or stray animals.

@ Ron E [ As for meditation, well, it has been pointed out that while the constructed self is still in control, activity stemming from its separative and dualistic nature will inevitably cause confusion and disappointment, particularly if hoping it will bestow one with a future calm, serene and peaceful life - or some marvelous sort of enlightenment experience. ]

That dire premise is true but doesn't eclipse centuries of mystic
testimony detailing an escape portal within consciousness itself.
The "separative and dualistic" nature of the constructed self
arises from the mind's uncontrolled activity. A multi-channeled,
24x7 deluge of confusing, destabilizing thoughts results.

The mystic path of mindfulness and intense devotion offers an
empowering practice to become aware of thoughts, to dis-
engage from them, and in so doing ultimately be free. It
rejects blind faith and hollow assertions of progress along the
way but improved health and cognitive benefits are seen
quickly by most in very early stages.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.