This Post 6 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series. Summaries of the other articles in this series can be found here.
In a previous article (here), I spoke about Plato’s advice that we know the truth by drawing our attention back into an identification with Consciousness (the ‘Plato’s Cave’ allegory). When we exercise this freedom to direct not just the placement of our attention, but the placement of our identification, the initial effect may be undramatic. This shift may at first seem to change nothing in the content of our experience, but as we look deeper we are usually delighted and amazed.
And if we continue to experiment so that we learn to sustain this shift from our egoic preoccupation with the objects of Consciousness, and start to cultivate the habit of resting as Consciousness, everything changes. To be able to recognise Consciousness as ourselves, and know its qualities as our own, even just for short moments, is the ultimate freedom.
The greater our receptivity in meditation, as we allow ourselves to expand into the imperturbable and equanimous quality of the field of Consciousness, the quieter the thinking function of the mind becomes. And the quieter the thinking function of the mind becomes, the deeper is our experience of Being. Also, as we practice this regularly, we begin to break our habitual identification with our thoughts, recognising that they are only points of view, and points of view that inherently lack objectivity. Paradoxically, it is precisely through our recognition that thoughts can only ever be points of view and therefore have an inherent tendency to lack objectivity, that the capacity for objectivity arises.
“I think, therefore I am”
The 17th Century French philosopher, René Descartes, famously stated ‘I think, therefore I am’. His words reflect a Western world that was starting to abandon the certainties of religious belief. While this intellectual process that he was part of (le Siècle des Lumières – ‘the Enlighmentment’) was in many respects necessary, it also left the Western world in a state of moral disorientation, with only the intellect for guidance – and global culture has been dominated by that dangerous moral malaise to this day. Continue reading