Sunday, March 12, 2017


The evidence had piled up more than 10 years ago and it is even higher now.  Yes, everything changes but yes, there are continuities and reliable patterns.  Some of those deal with myself and similar ones deal with yourself.  I have heard of the Socratic and ancient Greek admonition to "know yourself" but I have also heard of the Buddhist principle that there is no self.  I fall back on the French principle "C'est moi", It's me.  

The place to start understanding is with me.  My thinking, my feelings, my impressions, my memories, my worries, my impulses.  Isn't that rather self-centered?  Yes, it is so it is quite important to remember that there is you and others, that we are not alone and we are steadily influenced and guided and inspired and frightened by others.  However, our perceptions of others are us, again.  My perception of what you are thinking is, once again, mine.

It can be frightening, annoying and/or depressing to go through Prof. Herman's exercise of grasping, recognizing and accepting that what I see comes from my retina and optic nerve, what I hear comes through my ears and my hearing nerves, and what I feel emotionally comes from my brain.  Since I am such a big part of me and my experience, it does make sense to be aware of what my very large and complex set of unconscious processes and drives is doing, at least to whatever extent is possible.

You know, Mrs. Clendaniel, that I am going to get to my central topic somehow and you are, of course, correct.  The evidence and the centrality of me for myself and I combine to make MEDITATION valuable and increasingly understood worldwide to be valuable.  Are you real manly?  You may be inspired to know that Navy Seals and Army Rangers and Russian special forces all practice meditation because after all, in tight, dangerous and frightening situations, yourself is the main thing you've got.  Are you quite feminine?  You can perceive more of your emotions and allow yourself to be more complete when you are more aware and more accepting of your whole self: mind, body and spirit.

The most common experience that shuts people down and away from meditative training is mental refreshment.  Often people try to concentrate on their breathing or a point on the wall.  If they are more advanced and a bit braver, they try to just let their thoughts flow and watch the flow.  That is riskier because when you think of last night's snack, you may be stuck on the idea of a snack right now and then berate yourself for sinning and so sink right back into normal thinking instead of improving mind awareness.

But mental refreshment, one's attention, works like our eyes, with constant refreshment.  The Wikipedia says about eye movement:

Therefore, these random eye movements constantly change the stimuli that fall on the photoreceptors and the ganglion cells, making the image more clear.[10  

Our vision needs and gets continuous refreshment with tiny, rapid and unperceivable movements.  So with our attention.  A living mind will always jump to new angles, views and subjects.  Don't let that stop the training of bringing the mind back to your chosen focus any more than you would cease training table manners because the kid dropped his fork.

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