One way of describing what I’m writing about here is as a rational awakening to the mystery. This contains a few seemingly contradictory elements: mystery, awakening… rational? Mystery: the mystery is not just something that “hasn’t been solved yet,” either through the scientific lens, or through the lens of the meditator obsessed with penetrating all appearances. “The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.”
A few days ago, I found myself on the train and full of coffee. I did what I often do and started doodling: about meditation, awakening and how I would teach the progress of insight to others. This resulted in 30 minutes of furious scribbling that I’d thought I’d share and explain a little. Pedagogy of awakening In short, there are three waypoints on the journey: Learning to ground Learning to see clearly Just sitting 1) Learning to ground Learning to ground relates to what we generally call mindfulness.
Meditation continues to soar in popularity. From the ever-expanding body of scientific research to the numbers of prominent leaders professing to practice meditation, we are living through a contemplative renaissance. Your Mum might have even got a Zen colouring book for Christmas. In an age of distraction and shallowness, the simplicity and stillness promised by meditation draw more and more people into its centre of gravity. Apps like Headspace and Calm have opened up the basics of meditation to millions of newcomers, providing bite-sized guided meditations to help people relax and de-stress.
It seems plain and self-evident, yet it needs to be said: the isolated knowledge obtained by a group of specialists in a narrow field has in itself no value whatsoever, but only in its synthesis with all the rest of knowledge and only inasmuch as it really contributes in this synthesis toward answering the demand, “Who are we?” — Erwin Schrödinger I have always been obsessed with the Big Picture.
On Sunday night I got back from a three week work retreat at the stunning Gaia House in Devon. A month or so back I’d been looking for a job, and also wanting to go on retreat, so I decided that I could wallop two birds with one stone, whilst also lending a helping hand at a world-renowned retreat centre. According to the Progress of Insight map which I’d found very useful since I started meditating, I’d been lurking in the equanimity phase of my first insight cycle since my first retreat in January.