◄The Purpose of Meditation?►
Years ago, before I knew much about it, I thought the very purpose of meditation was to see deeply into yourself and the nature of the world. Thus, I thought meditation competed with the sciences in so far as the sciences are about seeing into yourself and/or the nature of the world. And that was a reason not to meditate.
That is, I used to dismiss mediation because I thought of it as a crude or primitive science. And why study a crude and primitive science for insights when you can read an up to date textbook for the same thing?
Today, I still don’t know much about meditation except — perhaps — that seeing deeply into yourself and the nature of the world is by far not its purpose.
In fact, meditation seems to lack any purpose. In that respect, it is precisely like nature in that it does not actually come with a purpose. Instead, the only purposes it has are the purposes we humans assign to it. We can say its purpose is to produce insights into ourselves and the world, but that is our purpose and not its purpose. We can say its purpose is to cleanse or refresh the mind, but — again — that is our purpose and not its purpose. Indeed, we are free to give it any number of purposes — but none of those purposes belong to it anymore than the purposes we ascribe to nature are properties of nature.
◄One Kind of Meditation►
Now, I am not an expert meditator. Instead, I am a rank amateur with an opinion. Which is enough to get me in some jurisdictions tax exempt status as a clergyman. So, please take this description of my technique for what it’s worth — that is, as an opinion and not as an expert opinion.
To me, even if to no one else, meditation is ideally about seeing without someone who sees, observing without an observer. In short, it’s radically different from normal perception — which always involves a division of the world into the one who sees and the thing that is seen.
However, that ideal can no more be brought about by mediation than a breeze can be brought about at will. So I don’t try to accomplish or achieve that ideal anymore than I would try to accomplish or achieve bringing about a breeze. Instead, I begin a meditation by watching what is happening.
I watch what is happening in my mind and the world. Of course, there is a division between what I am watching and me, the watcher. The presence of that division means I am not actually meditating — because in genuine meditation there is no distinction between the watcher and the watched.
And that is how I begin a meditation. Simply by observing the perceptual division between the observer and the observed. From there, things tend to take their own course.
◄What That Kind of Meditation is Not►
So far as I am concerned, there is no genuine meditation so long as there is a division between me and what I observe. That’s why I don’t try to force my mind to be still by concentration. Concentration is an act of an observer upon a thing observed: It is a “me” imposing something upon a “mind”. And so long as I am acting as an agent upon something, I am not one with the thing I am acting upon.
Nor is there genuine meditation so long as there is judgment or purpose. Both judgment and purpose — which seem to arise out of each other — imply an agent who does the judging or sets the purpose. And that agent is apart from what it acts upon.
◄What That Kind of Meditation Can Be►
I have noticed some of the best meditations in my life seem to correspond with the times in my life when I am in love. At those times, meditation often comes naturally. But the kind of love I speak of here is not based on desire. It seems based more on non-judgmental and purposeless acceptance.
I do not think my technique of meditation can bring about that love any more than willing can bring about a breeze. At best, it merely opens the windows so that a breeze — if one arises — can come in. That is, my technique seems to align the mind to the nature of that love — and thus open the windows to it. But — paradoxically — to make aligning the mind the purpose of the meditation is to defeat it.