Since 2001, with guidance from my dear friend Mr Lovely, I’ve been studying philosophy, and meditating daily. The Mad Princess asked me exactly what I get out of meditation, so I figured it was time to take stock.
One of the biggest benefits I get from meditation is the ability to silence the “chattering monkey”. I believe as Nick Fisher ( dear friend and Bible scholar ) does, that the brain is the interface between the soul and the body. And our ego, the emotional part of us, constantly witters away, so much so that many people tell me they simply can’t sleep, with their thoughts continually raging. If you try and analyze what the monkey says, it’s mostly related to the ego. Some philosophies call the ego the “Big Lizard”, the remnant of more primitive times, when we were hunter/gatherers. It was necessary to be on our guard, and to be fearful and careful, with all the numerous dangers in pre civilisation. Hence I suppose why most people are still fearful about many things. Old habits die hard.
But if we really analyse our fears, we find 99% of them are unjustified, based in either the past or the future, neither of which actually exist, except in our minds. It’s as if we project a negative past onto a negative future, we believe that because something bad has happened in the past, it’s bound to happen again. Rational fear is of course still jolly useful i.e. if someone’s chasing you with an axe, run! But otherwise, almost all the fears we have never come to anything, and it would seem to me they’re the ego’s way of punishing us, for not complying with the wishes of the “Big Lizard”.
So to recap, the first benefit I felt from meditation was being able to slow my thoughts down, and let go of a great deal of fear, to be able to rationalise far better than I ever had done. Next, I’d say that meditation has increased my awareness. I am more aware than ever of the fact that my emotions and fears shape my world. And once I realise the world is my own projection, shaped by my thoughts and feelings, I can be free of it. A while ago I did a demo of the Morris Albert song “Feelings”. As Mr Lovely reminds me, my feelings are “nothing more than feelings” as the song says, neurotransmitters firing, thoughts in my mind. And through meditation and training the mind, you can choose whether you validate these feelings, or not. And most of the time, especially bad feelings, I can just let them go, negating their effect. I am reminded by “A course in Miracles” written down by Helen Schucman, but puported to be her hearing an inner voice, possibly Christ, that “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God”. Our soul is real, the ego’s hypnosis isn’t. As the Hindus say, Maya ( a Sanskrit word meaning “not that” ) is not the illusion of creation but the ignorance that makes one see the illusion as real.
Once you have an awareness of your fear and emotions, you can begin to understand others better, and become more compassionate. Because every other poor soul is experiencing what we are, fears about money, our work, our home and our relationships. People needlessly and continually beat themselves up, just because of their thoughts. It’s one of life’s great tragedies, people seem to be unable to step out from under the big black cloud of fear. Through meditation, and stilling the “chattering monkey”, you really can retrain your mind, and let go of negative and useless thoughts. But it’s not a quick fix, and requires discipline and daily input.
As my regular readers know, my Grandmother was a renowned Psychic, and as I’ve said before I believe she was a Theosophist. Broadly, Theosophy attempts to reconcile humanity’s scientific, philosophical, and religious disciplines and practices into a unified world view. As Mr Lovely says, “anythingarianism”! So from an early age I’ve been open to lots of different religious and spiritual ideas. Certainly my Mother was a Christian, and read the Bible, and gave me her copy in the late 1970’s. I read it for a while, and thoroughly enjoyed it, and recently started reading the New Testament again. The copy Nick sent me has the words of Jesus in bold red letters, which I find uplifting and righteous, and they make excellent sense.
I’ve certainly always liked to believe in Reincarnation. And pretty much all faiths prescribe to some sort of afterlife. As I’ve previously said, my Grandma would go into a trance like state and mutter incomprehensibly. When she came round, I asked her what was up. She’d say she was just speaking to friends on the other side.
As Warren Zevon said “I’ll see you in the next life, wake me up for meals!” Of course being older and more cynical, I’m not completely convinced of Heaven, Nirvana, Samadi, or whatever your choice of label might be. And if I do reincarnate, do I really have to come back to this planet, as beautiful as it is? Because it seems the norm is war, turmoil and hate, at least as far as our leaders are concerned. I think the average joe on the street is decent and hard working, and have a reasonable idea of what’s right and wrong. They have a lot to teach our Prime Ministers and Presidents.
The problem I have with certain spiritual doctrines is that they are like a secret club, where only the enlightened ( or the rich ) are allowed admission. And for me, that’s one of the big plus points about Christianity, all are welcome, all are forgiven. Of course Christianity must not be confused with Churchianity. And let’s get this very straight, any one that promotes violence, war or theft is not Christian. So that pretty much rubs out our world leaders! Buddhism I feel is the most accessible Eastern philosophy, and I particularly like their concept of “mindfulness”, to live in the present. Because surely if we dwell too much on the past or the future we simply aren’t living our lives to the fullest.
I think Scientology has some excellent precepts too, for example the concept of Engrams, a “recording” of a past painful event not normally accessible to the conscious mind, but something that affects most people daily. Unfortunately unless you have the cash for the numerous books and courses, it doesn’t seem to be a very welcoming church. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking L.Ron Hubbard was some sort of genius. I’ve also studied the Kabbala, and have several of the tapes from Madonna’s Guru, Phillip Berg, courtesy of Mr Lovely. It’s a fascinating philosophy, to summarise it: a religious philosophical system claiming an insight into divine nature, based on the Hebrew Bible. But you’ve got to have a very good memory to practise this faith, because there’s so many names, of Angels and Arch Angels, and the like. And of course Mr Berg would like just a wee bit of your wage……
I know the benefits of Meditation. I have faith in something bigger than Mankind. And I have faith in Mankind too. I believe that the Ten Commandments are the best moral rules by which we should all be bound. I don’t dig hate and war, but I groove on Peace and Love.
“Every Man, and every Woman, is a Star”