MIKE KARMA IN MEDITATION RETREAT; A BRIEF RESPONSE TO ENQUIRIES...
Abstract / Keywords:
As mentioned in a couple of spots on my Websites (e.g. the Design Archive page) I have been spending most of my days since the beginning of 2012 in meditation retreat. Many people hit my sites via tattoo-related searches and do not happen to have rigorous meditation in top position on the list of their priorities. In case they are also quite unfamiliar with 'Eastern' traditions they may be a bit puzzled as to what this is all about, and some have asked me to provide some clues.
Then there are those already familiar with 'Eastern' traditions who have done some meditation themselves, and are naturally curious as to how and why I am doing it. (They tend to come to me via more specific searches, either related to Tibetan Buddhism / language, or perhaps after hitting some of the 'freebies' I offer on my 'hobby' Websites, e.g. my BrainWave EnTrainMent audio files in the School of Life section, such as the '38 Hz for endorphins' file etc. - NOTE 2018 You can also listen via SoundCloud.)
I have always been keen to discuss the important issues of life with others; and quite happy to share my meditation experiences (albeit cautiously, always taking care to make my meaning clear, for these experiences are subtle and hence easily misunderstood).
Despite this willingness I haven't really published anything new in this 'category' since 2008 (when I last updated the School of Life section), I now realise. How time flies! Thank you for your questions, it really is high time to post some new material.
Still, bear in mind that meditation is at the top of my priorities, and since computer-use is not compatible with it I shall have to compromise a bit, so bear with me. In order to minimise exposure to the harmful and disturbing radiation proceeding from the computer I'll type this out in a stream-of-consciousness fashion, without bothering to arrange paragraphs in a chronological order.
(All this radiation we denizens of the 21st century are exposed to -- TV, mobile phones, microwaves, X-rays, computers, body-scanners -- is bad in general and bad in some specific ways, for example they can damage our nervous system and in some cases even our DNA; when it comes to TV and computer screens, if you wanted me to be really specific I would feel obliged to inform you that in addition to being bad for the 2 regular eyes, they are bad for the pineal gland, aka the 3rd eye, too!)
Xmas 2011, Mediterranean/Italy, huge pine tree, phantastic tree-house built by a friend, Ignatia Amara, tranquil/relaxed yet focused/alert, no side effects, spontaneous/effortless trance, non-conceptual/stabilising meditation; 'Forgetting the Universe'; preferring non-existence to existence;
1990's spent in the Himalayas; studied languages and Buddhism; learned meditation techniques from great teachers, but sadly it used to take great effort to achieve deeper states of mind; occasional solitary retreat in Tibet, Nepal, India, Thailand; sometimes in monasteries, sometimes in the jungle, courting the tigers; in Dharamsala lived in charnel grounds for 2 months; quite ironic, a vegetarian choosing to live with the stench of human flesh being progressively boiled (in its own skin), grilled, charred, and smoked, LOL; but it is the best way to acquire a deep, visceral understanding of the foul nature of human body, and the reality of death (without undergoing death oneself); .
The notion and practice of 'meditation' is misunderstood in the West; it is often presented as a method towards being 'happy' or 'relaxed'; but from a proper spiritual perspective this is very limited and even flippant; real meditation is concerned with ultimate states of mind and existence; the most important aspect is 'ridding oneself of the Self', i.e. we need to see through the illusion of a permanent, unchanging, independently existing self or 'ego', and extirpate clinging to the (notion/perception) of such an 'ego'; this has little to do with 'bettering' oneself or striving towards happiness or relaxation, though those tend to be the symptoms/side-effects;
Again, when it comes to 'getting rid of ego-clinging', this may initially be attempted via analytical/conceptual meditations; e.g. taking a phenomenon such a person or a chariot, analysing its parts mentally, and establishing that there cannot be a permanent, independent, indivisible 'self' present;
However, such conceptual effort is unlikely to take us 'all the way'; using a koan as a way to use discursive thought as a tool to 'stun' or 'shock' our mind into a non-discursive state of bare awareness may be more effective; and certainly continual effort in perfecting non-discursive, non-conceptual, deep-trance meditation is to be recommended, one notable drawback being the fact that this may take many years, with no real guarantee of success;
This is of course a huge obstacle in this age of great restlessness and impatience, and particularly due to the 'End Times', 'End of the World' mentality that is so prevalent now in 2012; luckily, there are certain 'dietary supplements' one can ingest that are likely to effect a temporary breakthrough into higher/subtler mental & ontological spheres, in some cases purging one's perceptions even to the extent that one 'travels' all the way to nirvāṇa / heaven; although this breakthrough is only temporary, it is obviously highly desirable; it is completely life-transforming;
'It' is very hard to describe using human language, even to oneself, because this 'temporary nirvana' is utterly non-conceptual; hence the moment the experience passes and one returns into the ordinary frame of mind, the memory of the experience is inevitably tainted and conditioned by the limitations of one's ordinary conceptual mind; but if I was to attempt to describe it succinctly, I might use the following analogy:
Right now you are reading this sentence, and you may be quite 'absorbed' in it; now, double the distance between your eyes and the screen/paper; and what happens is, you become more aware of the general appearance of the page - - its building blocks such as letters and lines, but also of the blank/empty 'space' behind them (namely, the background); now imagine that all the building blocks are suddenly deleted; they disappear and all that remains is the 'void' background (subtle sky-blue on screen, or just white if you are reading a printout); in other words, you should UNimagine, or 'forget', all the compositional factors that made the page so complex, and be left with just the uncompounded, unconditioned void - - ultimate simplicity!; and finally, instead of the 'blank' covering just a portion of your field of vision, visualise it as being 3-dimensional, spread out into all directions, infinite and eternal; you yourself and all the universe(s) dissolve into this and nothing but this exists any more;
(My appellations: falling off of the heavy body and mind; deleting the 'sprite' body and the 'ghost' mind; 'supreme oblivion & supreme awareness', 'Forgetting the Universe'; preferring non-existence to existence;)
I think this analogy is quite adequate to lend you a feel for how the actual 'ridding oneself of the Self' occurs; I'll add just a few qualifications to make it more accurate. For example, you may wonder, 'if everything becomes non-existent, does that mean that only nothing-ness remains?'; the answer is No; what does seem 'to be there' is a very subtle, all-pervading, eternal, nonconceptual consciousness (Tib. rang rig, Skt. svasamvitti, a self-validating, non-referential, primordially pure self-cognizance); it has no centre and no outer limit, and since it is a nonconceptual state, it is free also from any and all other divisions or dualistic extremes, such as good-bad, right-wrong, positive-negative, high-low, near-far, etcetc., which we are slaves to in our ordinary human existence; ontologically, this can be considered Ultimate or Absolute Truth;
Moreover, there remains a memory of a very special kind of 'light' as one 'returns from Nirvana'; we tend to call it 'light' because it is imprinted on our feeble brain circuitry as visual type of memory; (but strictly speaking it cannot be any type of sensory category because as stated, Nirvana is nonconceptual, therefore free from any definable categories); a more technical Buddhist term is Ground Luminosity,
whereby ground means the ultimate basis of everything, the fundament that supports/permeates all that exists on grosser levels, or perhaps we may call it the Dao, the Path of All Paths as presented in Daoism; and
whereby luminosity is used instead of light because, for one thing, it is not a visual category, and for another, it is more of a glow than light, it is a glow that seems to be at once light and darkness; it puzzles the ordinary mind to read such words, but verily, the Ground Luminosity as I remember it is light and absence of light simultaneously; and this mode does not strike one as 'paradoxical' since it is experienced in a nonconceptual state; nevertheless, for the sake of presenting these 'secrets' to those who 'have not yet seen the light' it is appropriate to use the word 'light'; In fact, this type of insight and ontological shift is what the admonition "Be your own light!" is all about: we each already are The Light to ourselves, only we are too engrossed in discursive thought to realise it!
(Speaking of paradoxes: even the word 'experience' is inappropriate, because in that nonconceptual state there are no categories and no entities and no (sensory) perceptions; therefore there is no-one to experience, and no-thing to be experienced);
Oh, but how supremely desirable a 'non-experience' this is: since your body and gross mind have been 'deleted', there is no basis and no potential for suffering any more; you see, so long as one has a body and a gross mind, one is immersed in Samsara and always in danger of getting into trouble and suffering; therefore it is advisable to try and 'un-imagine', 'delete', simply 'lose' the body and gross mind; they are worth losing;
Unfortunately, some people arrive at the mistaken view that suicide is the way to accomplish this; Shakespeare covered this topic in Hamlet to a great extent;
Hamlet: oh, that this too too solid flesh would thaw, melt and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!;
(Note on terminology: I am using the key words in their broadest possible senses so as to resonate with the widest possible audience; hence I am not addressing the doctrinal differences between theistic traditions (Christianity etc.) who posit a creator god, and non-theistic systems (Buddhism etc.) who do not; nor will I delve into the 'basic nirvana' (of the Hinayana) vs. the 'complete nirvana (of the Mahayana) distinction, as this page is primarily concerned with practical steps to be taken, rather than theory.)
Hamlet's pondering of these issues can be considered 'philosophically mature'; unfortunately, these meditations tend to occur for him in a melancholy frame of mind -- in modern parlance, he is depressed; but contrary to the general view that such philosophy -- viz. the undesirability of existing wrapped in a 'mortal coil' (=body), and potential desirability of physically dying -- goes hand in hand with being morbid and depressed, I would like to emphatically impress on you, reader, that this is not the case!;
One important point to grasp is that one can on a rational level have such mature musings ('life is meaningless' etc.), without these affecting one's emotional level to the point of becoming depressed; yes, 'life is meaningless' indeed, as far as I am concerned, this is a fact; and yet it is quite easy for me to be jolly and optimistic and generally more 'alive' than most people; how is this done?
Consider these 2 main factors:
(1) brain chemistry; these days it is easy to fall out of balance due to severe pollution of our environment and due to depletion of soil, which means that if we only eat 'supermarket food' we do not receive sufficient amounts of very important minerals such as silica, silver, and many more - we are malnourished (see below for a list of recommended food supplements, some of them virtually unknown to the general populace); additionally, if we do not exercise or meditate at all we are likely to have blocked channels/meridians/chakras, which results in all sorts of (mental) dis-ease;
(2) worldview; due to globalisation and Internet there is now a proliferation of countless ideologies, many of them contradictory, but most of them being presented as the 'only true system'; this obviously is not good for the average person's sanity and wellbeing; someone who has no direct experience of, say, 'god', is easily confused by the different 'parties pushing their version', and also intimidated by all the threats and contradictions etc.; but if one is able to catch a glimpse of 'god'/'heaven', then one is released from that fear and uneasiness: one has the 'correct worldview', an unshakeably correct view of the nature of body, mind, life, the universe, and everything; one is less afraid of death (if at all) and therefore has greater capacity for spontaneous/reason-less/childlike joy!
Returning again to the issue of 'ridding oneself of the Self', as indicated at the beginning, the traditional approach is to practice different conceptual and nonconceptual types of meditation to gradually achieve ever greater insight and ever subtler levels of consciousness, and eventually break through into Nirvana, even if only for a moment. It is said that this process may be greatly aided and accelerated by a living spiritual teacher;
But in general, teachers/gurus/guides are over-rated, which is not surprising: in this degenerate age, teachers, too, tend to become corrupt and inflate their own importance so as to increase people's mental, emotional dependence on them, thus gaining temporal/worldly power and influence; becoming personally involved with and emotionally dependent on a teacher can lead to severe complications later on if they prove corrupt, and since quite a large percentage of teachers are corrupt, it is questionable whether it is worth taking the risk;
On the other hand, without any 'live' input from an experienced guide our meditation may be 'dry', and the time and effort that need to be invested in traditional meditation are a huge obstacle for people who need to work hard to support a family etc., not to mention the specific snags in this age of the 'End Times',...
If you have the 'End of the World' mentality - - even if only in a purely rational way, based on statistics - - you are likely becoming restless and impatient to effect some drastic change in your life... and why not, this is perhaps a lucky factor working inside of you;
Why is it 'lucky' to think a lot about the (potential) circumstances of one's death? I say this due to the fact that, in general, the Western attitude to Death is unhealthy, nigh neurotic; though death is inevitable, people try not to think about it (though precisely because of this avoidance its shadow grows like a cancer in the subconscious!); a more reasonable approach is to learn about Death, get ready for it, and laugh in the face of it! if you agree, then perhaps something on the lines of the above reasoning will resonate with you, namely, you'll want to embark on systematic practicing of 'ego-death' in order to be perfectly serene at the time of actual physical death!
Tibetans are so completely different in this respect from Westerners; they are completely realistic regarding the impermanence of all phenomena in general, and regarding the impending destruction of one's body in particular, and try to prepare for death already when young; even if they do not have time for formal meditation, they try to learn in advance of all the possible scenarios that may occur at the time of physical death, and find the Tibetan Book of the Dead a particularly useful 'manual'; since we all must die one day (perhaps in our youth, everything is possible), and since death is not without risk for those who are spiritually unprepared, it is wise to 'practice death while alive' as much as possible - - and of course doing it as merrily as possible; (N.B. this reminds me.. why not watch Life of Brian for a philosophical laugh of the best kind!?);
But as to the problem of 'getting results fast', in my experience, and in the experience of many other people whose 'spiritual resumes' I have read, it is possible to advance quickly even without personal guidance from a teacher; but I must first give a word of caution: though there are, luckily, certain 'dietary supplements' one can ingest that are likely to effect a temporary breakthrough into higher/subtler mental & ontological spheres, these should be taken correctly; and this means:
(1) you will need to study quite a bit of material to ascertain the 'holy plant' that is most suitable for you and the best method of ingestion, because this can make a huge difference;
(2) do not think that you will simply drink a 'magic potion' and instantly become a buddha; (I am not saying that such an event is not possible, but it is soooo improbable!); be prepared to learn at least basic stabilising meditation techniques so as to have a stable mind capable of serving as a framework for a profound experience;
the 'herbs' - - especially the one I have in mind - - are like living entities and are 'interactive' with the body and mind of the seeker; the experience will very much depend on the purity of the body&mind in general, and even on the seeker's thoughts at the time of ingestion; immature persons are not likely to have a life-changing event, and may even have unpleasant visions; and in any case it is often emphasised in the spiritual traditions that the first glimpse of Ground Luminosity is only the BEGINNING of meditation - - because it is only a GLIMPSE, one must then exert oneself in meditation to become able to break through WITHOUT any 'potions' and be able to REMAIN in Nirvana for longer and longer periods of time; therefore RIGOROUS meditation (though not necessarily in a charnel ground or in the top of a pine tree) AWAITS everyone;
[Page under c Ø n s t r u c t ! o n; next update likely by mid-21st century...].
Fish Oil (Cod Liver Oil), Flax Oil, Hemp Oil, Royal Jelly, Diatomaceous Earth (Amorphous Silica), Ignatia Amara (Strychnos Ignatii), Colloidal Silver, Monatomic Gold, and best of all, S.D.;
The above is a list of some substances I have tested on myself (except Mono-atomic Gold, I haven't tried it yet) and can therefore state with confidence that they are very beneficial to human wellbeing and development.
Even if you are not interested in the 'spiritual spheres' as discussed above and only seek to make progress in the 'ordinary human way', I can assure you that the above supplements would help you a great deal. Some of them are intentionally being kept secret from 'the plebs' by 'the élite' because they are a gateway to personal power; i.e. these special foods are the main factor that causes the elite to become The Élite.
Since the number of people who constitute the ruling elite ('the slave-masters') must by definition be small, the ruling elites make an effort to prevent these foods being advertised in the mainstream media. The vast majority of slaves thus remain chronically malnourished and easily controlled; i.e. a person with a brain continuously lacking essential minerals (such as silver) remains feeble, unable to understand how the unjust social order is created and sustained, and thus forever caught in the cycle of slavery.
Let me comment briefly on the essential points; you can find detailed information elsewhere. In my experience, the main benefit of the various oils mentioned above is that they balance the brain chemistry, and effect an increasing absence of melancholy states and increasing presence of spontaneous joy. Have you ever pondered why some peoples are more 'jolly' than others, even if they face greater hardships in their lives (e.g. Tibetans, Inuit, etc.)?
I believe this is partly due to their diet, therefore we should pay attention - is it due to certain types of animal fat they (Tibetans, Inuit etc.) consume, that they find it easier to laugh? I think so. As for strict vegetarians, flax and hemp oil should have the same effect.
Royal Jelly, too, balances and improves one's daily moods, but additionally it is also a natural tonic, it rejuvenates, heals, and strengthens all parts of the body (including the male organ). For vegans, ginseng is more suitable, though more expensive, too.
Ignatia Amara (Strychnos Ignatii) is a truly marvelous plant extract, in many European countries it is available without prescription at regular pharmacies, and quite cheap. ('Remedia' and 'Boiron' are two of the manufacturers I know). I discovered it quite by chance, and am happy to report that it puts me in just the right frame of mind for deep and prolonged meditation - it makes it quite spontaneous and effortless, really. But even for people who do not care about meditation, it is very beneficial. In a nutshell, it is the only substance I know of that makes me very tranquil/relaxed and yet very focused/alert, simultaneously. Thus, it is ideal for people in stressful academic or business environments, and people who need to react quickly and with precision (sports(wo)men, pilots, etc.). It has no side effects, and seems to make 'living' itself less of an effort!
Food-grade Diatomaceous Earth is a plentiful source of SiO2 (Amorphous Silica) and many other minerals. Most people (even in 1st world countries!) do not receive sufficient silica through their daily meals, and are in this sense malnourished (fingernails breaking, gums bleeding, hair without lustre? ah-hah!) This is a disaster, considering that Silica is necessary for the regeneration of virtually every part of the body. In my case, I had problems with rheumatism, and a spine damaged in a couple of places; after only 1 month of taking D.E. daily, my pains were reduced 99% (1-month supply of D.E. costs about 10USD.) Additionally, Diatomaceous Earth can be used to kill many kinds of nasty insects (garden pests, bedbugs, etc.) without polluting the environment, and even to kill parasites in humans and other mammals. Most people do not realise how common parasites are (even in 1st world countries!) and how much energy they steal; they cause many diseases without doctors' realising the real cause. Or, more annoyingly, some doctors do know the real cause but conceal it so that they can sell you more drugs - again and again. Diatomaceous Earth, on the other hand, is cheap and disposes of parasites quickly and without any side-effects.
Colloidal Silver: just as with silica and many other minerals, there is not enough silver in our depleted soil any more! This has horrible consequences for the human kind, because it means a deterioration of some very important parts of the body and their functions, for example sperm and eyes. Most importantly, lack of silver causes the pineal gland (the 'third eye', our 'cosmic antenna') to atrophy. A functioning pineal gland is essential if one is to experience higher mental states, including tranquility, trance, subtle (true) love, bliss, and ultimately nirvana. But even on a purely mundane level, functioning pineal gland is essential for intuition. It has been statistically proven in various studies that successful businesspeople / CEO's tend to have a stronger intuition (and even ESP) and as a rule claim to rely on it more than less successful CEOs.
And what about the mysterious S.D.? Well, since it is not suitable for everyone, I will not write about it too much. It is mentioned on one of my 'hobby' Websites, but there too, the links are not very obvious... if you do not find it, and you really want to know, please send me an Email.
ATTENTION: it is imperative that you do your OWN RESEARCH.
[Page under c Ø n s t r u c t ! o n; next update likely by mid-21st century...].
Did you come here via the ARCHIVE? You can visit the page again: