A Brave Meditation Manifesto

Great post by Farnoosh over at the Prolific Living blog, A Manifesto for Meditation.  Give it a read!

It falls very much in line with something I was pondering after my meditation practice this morning.  My own frustration when thoughts come up to distract me during meditation.  My own relationship with random thoughts showing up has softened a great deal over the time of my own daily meditation (today was day 1284.)  For the most part I just watch them float by.  When I do get caught up in them, and subsequently notice that I have been caught up, I note that and then watch it float by.  This is easiest to do when the thoughts aren’t particularly troublesome.  But, occasionally very negative images and impulses do come up.  I used to have the habit of strongly denying them.  Now, however, I have come to see that such creatures popping up are not invasions, but are rather the monsters of disowned shadow elements of my own existence being found by the growing allowance for the light of awareness to travel where it may.

I am in strong agreement with Ken Wilber and the other teachers of the the spiritual wing of the Integral Institute that meditation is not a proper therapeutic model for nearly all psychological troubles.  It is wonderful though for bringing those troubles into the light of awareness so that they are not so easy to deny.  In meditation when these beasts get seen and make a show, we would do well to be grateful for their appearance and the chance to consciously seek an effective means of integrating and adjusting them.

The sweeping beam of attention that meditation trains us to use consciously will not always show pretty things, but it will show us what is.  It can give us the opportunity to face what is honestly rather than hiding from it to be ambushed at unpleasant times.  We can re-meet these aspects of ourselves and find a way to transform their negativity into constructive and skillful means.  Meditation will not do that for us, but it will reveal the issues so that we can use therapies tailor made for them.

I am grateful for finding the discarded pieces of my particular manifestation, even if I don’t always wish that they existed.

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4 Responses to A Brave Meditation Manifesto

  1. Chase Night says:

    Meditation is something I really want to do, but feel like it’s more complicated to get into than I’m sure it really is. I keep putting it off for a day when I’m less busy which I guess defeats the whole purpose. I’d make it a new year’s resolution but then I know I’d never do it!

  2. Travis says:

    Chase, as you intuit, it is really simple and easy. All it takes is a decision. I am not fond of new year’s resolutions because they can be very vague and come out as good intentions. The fact that they have no set time goal, or structure also makes it easy to forget them. My suggestion is you commit to a time period everyday which seems doable but a little bit ambitious for a number of days that seems just a bit beyond reasonable. See how that goes. Maybe 10 minutes a day for 20 days.

    My first 1,000 day vow started off as a 21 day vow which blossomed as I kept up the practice. My 1,000 day meditation vow started off at 10 minutes a day and has now become an unbroken daily habit of 32 minutes every day.

    Start small, but just enough of a stretch to feel like a commitment and see where it goes. It’s worth it.

  3. steve says:

    Whether they be plesant or unplesant, the witnessed thoughts are not ‘your’ thoughts. They arise from conditioning that is apart from you. This is a difficult issue because as humans we ‘think’, but as a meditator it is obvious that thoughts come unbiden.

    Thoughts to a meditator are like water to the salmon. While both are a moving force against us, they also arise from the source and lead us back to it.

    Holding as best we can to the source – the primal sense of “I Am” and it’s witness – there comes times when one questions whether a thought has even occured or not? Thoughts may also be witnessed at very fine levels, or even as ‘globs’ of un-languaged energy (sorry, but the image of a lava lamp is actually pretty fitting). So both a hinderance and a help IMO.

    Keep on keeping on…

  4. Travis says:

    I agree Steve. All manifestations can be a hindrance and a help. Context and view make the call.

    Oh, and I love the lava lamp analogy. Cheers!

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