Question: I have a question on one of the Way Thought for the Day, dated 15.12.2010
“In the meditative state, the mind ceases to differentiate between existences, and that which may or may not be. It leaves them well alone, for they exist, not differentiated, but as one within the meditative mind. When living by the True Path, awareness of self is not required, for in this way of life, the self exists, and is also non-existent, being conceived, not as existent, nor as non-existent.”
What exactly does this say and mean?
It is saying that there should be no sense of trying to make an effort to focus on being either existent or not. In other words, don’t divide up things into unnecessary divisions. You are both aware and unaware of your ‘self’ at the same time anyway, so the concept of existing as this versus that, for some unknown and not understood end, is not necessary, as it is self-defeating.
Much of what is commonly called ‘meditation’ is not in fact meditation. To meditate is to reflect on things, and is not creating an artificial state of ‘non-being’ or some altered state, as in religion. When you meditate in the sense of consciously reflecting on something (…not going “OM!” and rolling your eyes in your head), you can switch between both minds; the subjective mind, thinking about what you see, think and do, and how the other part of the mind (subconscious) can see things outside the self. You reflect on what comes from the sense of self, and also on what does not come from the idea of self (objective things), that is, ideas of what your own mind generates from impressions vs what your reasoned mind can understand as being real. You don’t artificially compartmentalise your sense of what you are (the existent form) and the merely imagined (non-existent) in your thinking process. It’s more of a way of letting your mind not be tied up with artificial ideas of being this vs being that. In the thinking of The Way, we don't go looking for a ‘soul’ or connection to something that isn’t there. It’s saying don’t start imagining, but do reflect on the things that are going on in your life, in your reality, and use what you observe and can make sense of to improve your thinking, day by day, little by little.
As followers of The Way are supposed to read or remember the Considerations and Ponderings daily, and to reflect/meditate/think/consider, consciously about what we are doing in life, and what we are not to do.
We review, examine and consider what we did, didn’t do, should have done, and need to do. If you do that for some months, the subconscious will pick up on the idea and then begin to ‘prompt’ (make you consciously aware) when you are coming up into that situation (say, repeating a bad habit). If you choose not to consciously meditate on why you are doing or not doing certain things, you will fall into following a heedless and mindless way of living, with negative outcomes, which you will surely pay for later, as they were mindless in the first place; imagined fantasy vs reality, garbage in, garbage out. You do reap what you sow. So this is how you consciously train the subconscious.
In the core teachings of The Way, we pay attention to what is called the Einsoph, meaning ‘knowledge of the self, or ‘self-knowledge’. The meaning comes from the root of ‘ein’, meaning ‘one’, (as in one’s self) and ‘sophis/sophia’, meaning ‘wisdom’. The same meaning is reflected in the phrase ‘gnothi sauthon’.
In the Book of Man, Jesus, the Sixth to Come, said, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds that which he seeks. When he finds, that which he seeks may be not that he expecteth to find, therefore he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled he may well wonder, and then will be astonished, and he will rule over all the kingdom of his own mind.”
So he’s basically talking about the same thing here. We’ve all had to sort the imagined from the real, and it does take time, so some confusion will naturally happen when we try to find what we are not sure we are looking for exactly. As the Buddha, the Fifth to Come, also said on the subject, it’s the thorn in the flesh, the annoying thing that bugs when we come across something we don’t quite understand, that troubles us, but also can drive us on to remove it. This is done by wondering that is going on and then sorting your thinking out so that you can appreciate the truth of what you are looking at.
As the Fifth said,
“Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long is life to the foolish who do not know the truth, and instead follow the false and stupid beliefs of religion. Better to live one day seeing the highest pure truth than a hundred years not seeing the highest pure truth. Some form their duties arbitrarily and fabricate them artificially; they advance complex speculations and imagine that good results are attainable only by the acceptance of their theories; yet the truth is but one; there are not different truths in the world. Having reflected on the various theories, we have gone into the yoke with him who has shaken off all wrong. But shall we be able to proceed together with him?
“The best of ways is the eightfold path. This is The Way. There is no other that leads to the purifying of intelligence. Go on this path! The Path was preached by me when I had understood the removal of the thorn in the flesh. Not only by discipline and vows, not only by much learning do I learn the happiness of release which no worldling can know.”
Each individual’s mind, therefore, is a process, and is therefore the root of their existence, so we have to see it as such, as everything comes from it, perception, non-perception, ideas… we literally live there, in our minds. So it’s our ‘world’, and unless you rule your world, and take care of what we allow into it, then someone else will take it over; like the banks, politicians and priests of religion etc. They literally claim squatter’s rights unless you exert your ownership upon it.
If you take time to read and reread the daily Way thoughts, and meditate on their deeper meaning, as well as their more apparent ones, you may well find that these apparently simple thoughts for the day are very full of compressed meanings and truths; yet, like The Way, they all lead to the same place. They may even stir up all sorts of uncomfortable ideas, like an itch that needs scratching, but what else would you do with an itch anyway?