Meditation and the Many Faces of Reality
By Robert E. Darby
Meditation can be a double edged tool. It can reveal the nature of actual reality, but in doing so it also reveals many other states of consciousness that we experience as real but are not usually aware of their true nature, depending on our present level of awareness. So, while meditation can show us true reality, in the process we may realize that we have been living in a conceptual representation of reality for perhaps years or even a whole lifetime.
Many of those who pursue meditation as a means of achieving self realization or self awareness reach a point where they suddenly begin to perceive on an intuitive level, a truth that is fundamental to their well being and sense of self and security, at which point some choose to continue and some choose to discontinue the journey of meditation. In fact, this is a well known obstacle in meditation that has to do with the true nature of reality and our perception or lack of perception of what is real.
Who Or What Is Aware
Suppose we go on an intellectual version of an actual meditation experience. We are sitting in a quiet room surrounded by the familiar objects of our life. We place a candle on a low table before where we intend to sit and meditate. There is little light in the room and we light the candle before us and begin to sit quietly slowley gathering our attention and focusing it on the candle and its flame. Reality slows, the mind begins to calm as we let go of the random thoughts that are constantly being generated by our undisciplined mind.
Candle, flame, wax and fire. Word symbols that represent manifestations of energy in the objective reality, the world of things. We become more and more aware of the difference between our thoughts of these objects and the experience of these objects. We wonder who or what it is that can be aware of the activities of our own mind? We realize that this is what is called mindfulness. As our mindfulness increases our awareness increases as well. Flame and fire become a process of transformation between one form of energy to another form of energy. Something is consumed and something is created.
Sounds from the other rooms of the house come to our senses and we mindfully refrain from identifying them and labeling them but rather simply letting the pure experience of the tone produced in our mind come and go. And then again, perhaps not.
We begin to think about a project we are working on at the office and what we need to do to make it better. And the store later on for groceries, and what to do about the teenage daughter sneaking out at night, and what we would do if we became famous, a star, on Oprah even. And suddenly we are back in the room with the candle and the flame and the process of transformation and ourselves sitting here now once again mindful of the present moment.
But where were we and for how long were we there? And who is asking this? We begin to wonder not only what's real, but when is it real and where is it real? Suddenly we are walking on shaky ground. We begin to experience a feeling of restlessness, we want to get away, our mind becomes involved in a desperate attempt to distract us from our meditation session.
The Truths We Run From
Some forms of meditation such as the Vipassana technique can be perceived as a threat, but why. This particular meditation discipline is about achieving enlightenment through insight. Perceiving awareness as a threat is a sure sign that we are not living in the real world but rather some conceptual reality produced by our own mind's ability to imagine and create mental constructs of what is real. And with a long enough exposure to this, we will of course begin to believe and experience it as real. That is, as long as we don't attempt to develop any true level of awareness though something like meditation which would eventually reveal the deception.
Is it so difficult to understand that we would run from the truth that we may have been living in some kind of fantasy version of reality rather than the actual real world? Especially if we also realize that this has been going on for many years. This is crazy, how can this be?
The Good News and The Bad News
The bad news is the answer to the question of "how can this be?" This can be, because instead of taking possession and control of our natural creative power, which is a tool and capability that is unique to the Human life form, we let that same power loose to affect us in unpredictable ways. For example; if we don't use our power to develop and exercise discipline over our own level and degree of consciousness, then what might we expect to encounter in the area of awareness and consciousness? If we do not learn how to use our tools and capabilities correctly and consciously, then those very same tools and capabilities will use us in unpredictable ways, effectively making us victims of our own power.
Ironically, the good news is that we actually have that same infinite creative power and can use it to change any reality into any reality. The fact that we can create conceptual realities in our mind and then allow ourselves to forget that we created them and how we created them, and begin to mistake them for the real thing, is proof of our creative power. One of the ways back to the knowledge of, and the conscious control and use of our power, is through the methods of meditation.
Robert Darby is a self change and personal development specialist who writes for many organizations including The Agenda Of Life Foundation. He focuses on developing personal power since that is usually the cause of all Human problems. Robert takes a practical approach in that he looks at the various tools and techniques out there that are designed to help us achieve our mental, spiritual and emotional goals.