This is Post 2 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series.
Our mental functioning is multidimensional, so there are many perspectives on the mind within Psychology. Hence, there are dozens of ways of conceptualising what meditation is, and because the mind is malleable, and very much subject to our various beliefs about its nature, all the various techniques and methods may appear to work to some extent. Meditation however, can be very time consuming, and much time will be wasted in internal conflict, if we fail to conceptualise the practice in a way that reflects the ultimate nature of mind. I would like therefore, to first establish what meditation is in the ultimate sense. Other teachers present ‘introductory practices’ in full awareness that they are holding back knowledge that is necessary for a more complete understanding, and necessary for transformative insight. I will not be doing you the disservice of adopting this sort of approach.
The approach described in this blog post series is based on the idea that meditation, if it is to be profoundly transformative, cannot limit itself to an engagement with only the personal experience of mind and body. Rather, it must specifically address that wider field of intelligence in which the phenomena of the personal mind arise and ultimately rest. That field of intelligence is what the theistic religious traditions call God, but which I have been choosing to call Consciousness.
Consciousness, in this context, has some of the scope that others might associate with metaphysics and with a divine, or transcendent, reality, but here it is a purely psychological term – a label for an objective psychological experience, albeit an illusive and difficult to define one – and in the context of a psychology that is expanded far beyond the bounds of academic Psychology’s usual merely personal perspective.
While there is clearly value in striving to become more focused, more emotionally positive, and more self-aware – heroically struggling to modify mental states by an effort of will, I hope to show that there is much greater practical value and effectiveness, for the practice of meditation, in the development of a profound openness to the field of Consciousness in all its aspects, so that we utilise the qualities, and the energy, of Consciousness in our transformation. Continue reading