The varied histories of the world religions have seen factions form from solid bases (Protestant-Catholic) to branches and shoots evolving over the centuries. The eastern and western developments have come from diverse roots to say the least. The modern mindfulness movement, is as every form of commercial enterprise is, a cut down and simplified version of much deeper truths, packaged in bite sized and affordable packages for bland consumption, over a wider scale distribution, for profit or prestige. Just look at the numbers that attended the Hajj to the Kaaba this year (under the lockdown) showed. The fearful value physical life over the drive to the pilgrimage. The truly devout and faithful were not concerned with their lives but their souls progress and development. All the ‘time tourists’ (time on their hands and money to burn) that make up the numbers to keep up with their image and standing in their community actually showed their true selves at that moment as they obey the will of the master race (be afraid and stay indoors) and stayed away.
The retreat and the sanctum are not the same thing and they are often confused with one another. The main distinction is a retreat is a holistic and balanced community experience away from the stress of daily life, spas, meditation and mindful groupings or workshops, yoga and Ti-Chi, or even other more rigorous activities form its make up. With the facilities and space to allow solo walks, quiet places and peaceful locations with natural beauty to touch and awaken the higher feelings or sensitivities away from the hub and high tech world. In comparison to a sanctum a retreat may well have a sanctum approach to a personal space for its people to withdraw to centre themselves, either in their rooms or at locations on the grounds. It will not be the same as an actual sanctum even though it will reflect its principles. The retreat has acquired a modern presentation in the de-tox vocabulary of the new age pitchers and punters all trying to earn from popular (market share) endeavours. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with enterprise, it just loses a lot when it is industrialised, enough for it to become hollow and meaningless as it is spread thinner over larger densities for income streams and cash flows, over an earnings and sharing experience bringing a holistic growth to both parties by comparison.
Never will they explain the principles behind the teachings of meditation practices. As it is obvious and needs no explanation with Ti-Chi or yoga. While meditation by comparison is a transformative process that is experienced as a transmuting mind from a learned or impressed thinking set of practices into a way of seeing and knowing, that reads the truth of the moment and does not read into it, or colour it with bias or judgement. As contemplative practices come from sitting in quiet beauty spots where a real Zen moment is an infrequent visitor. The spiritual is gently stirred by the beauty and the peace, the openness of contemplative study is the doing of the meditation technique. We retreat to practice stillness, which is instilled not on its own but as a state to assist focus and attention without intent. This is key to seeing reality and knowing wrong from right. Most incidents arise and escalate from reading our fears or hopes into a situation, transaction or exchange. Then escalation happens when we postulate outcomes, from character mixes and situational restrictions with a prejudicial (already established sense of outcome) set of probabilities, fear pounces while hope leaps in. Now depending on the age and the complexity in your character when you come to meditation will dictate the amount of work on laying hope and fear in thinking practices to rest. With transcendental meditation approach it is key to end the chattering mind for it is like an narrator in a film or book. It appeared disembodied and removed even impartial to the problem being observed. But as with any book or film there is a plot, there are hopes and fears and even goodies and baddies with circumstantial plot twisting to lead the reader or watcher on a trail of virtual experience, and to lead expectations, or to crush them in the narrative to entertain. Most thinking is done with the narrator in the real world as we tend to dialogue ourselves as if speaking a script of thought. That is how trusted this babbling running commentary is. It is entrenched and more often overrides the development of good reasoning skills. Usually at a time when the world is working on the logic of mind in an education structure that once was built just for that purpose.
So in essence the needs for meditation to be done at its outset from a list of instruction given or demonstrated. Then the practice of retreat to the sanctum is the place to start, in either intrusions being followed, within an area of no outside interferences. No decor to distract and give contemplation escape from task. Loose or comfortable clothes to stop itches and sweat running distracting (absorbent material). The eyes are closed to give even greater inner clarity and the mind chatter will start, with interesting, funny and even profound observations as you get better at bringing attention back to the task at hand. This stops a rambling mind effect in its tracks. It helps with attention and focus making distraction have less pull on the attention. This is why the rambling prisoner in your mind is incarcerated in a no distraction environment. For people who are full of expectation, need or other strong inner directives they will have the hardest task of all as they will think in the narrative voice and associate with it as part of them, it is not it is but the crutch to thinking from just purely being and doing. This will have from expectation a running bias that has inclinations and attitude to give it direction and an imperative direction. This will include judgements, from expectations not being met as grievances from perceived lacks, or wilful let downs. Just as hope will see successes and congratulate supporters and friends as fear creates enemies or adversaries, where in truth none of either actually exist.
So why is it so important to learn to stop a biased or inclined attitudinal narrative in you mind from living in a failure or success set of perceptions. The world can use that state which will be broadcast clearly to one in the know, as to where you are and what you are blind sided to by worries or expectations for it to lean on. Clarity of though is necessary to walk in the world without bias, prejudice, expectation from fears and hopes. We will in life as we walk through it stop building bad and good profiles, results and memories from experiences coloured by them. The world is confusing and misleading at almost every turn in the road, crux in the path, truths we are being told and lies we are bombarded with from eyes open to eyes closed in the day. If a situation presents itself and is delivered by a character in a life mode, being a friend, or the deliverer of the hard facts. This will affect your perception and formulate a directive away from seeing the underlying truth of the moment. This is why we practice in solitude to still the pouncing and leaping of the narrator in our heads. So that in our outside life we are not just driven by our prejudice our attention is not misdirected by the cut of their jib, the tone of their voice, the stain on their clothes, the food scrap in their teeth and even the insistence of the circumstances being presented. The last association is all leaning on bias and attitude as the present one is running and is usually the province of the narrative in the mind reminding you of this and that. As the chattering desists and no longer takes the lead, colour the bias or inclinations, to presume results that fit. It will start top become what it is meant to be in us, the watcher will start to aid the living exchanges of our day by not including bias and attitude with inclination to arrive at the wrong thing. It will start to keep the mind balanced and level headed in seeing and being in the moment. Working practices will spring into being, make no assumptions, let the situation reveal itself, work with the moment and not against it if you can to aid another or to be able to move on yourself. The objective of the first level of meditation is then realised and will become polished in a retreat situation, where you will get over the illusions of outer looks, personality traits and judgements. Contemplation will develop the peace and tranquillity essential for the cool head in a crisis in the real every day day we are all faced with.
Like with learning it often takes better when we can slow it down to the point of better coordination and control over the process. Like completing a sliding puzzle or Rubik cube, the slowing down produces a more coordinated and then from that control over the manipulation of the item in hand. All crafts and skills are mastered in this fashion and are better developed when we are in the task so completely there is no narrator there in the process and the moment is met in truth and called Zen, or if you only know the new age stuff the zone. This is not in itself a gaol but a way of being that engages the entire being without the watcher doing anything but observing and allowing the passage of time without wear and tear from action and interaction. This is a great group or retreat medium to convince, and also inform the observer of letting go off the self in every moment. To the point it is only the perception of the outside world that will try to goad and bait it from us. Mastery will take the power to do that from us to the point we see it was never in the world but was always within us and hidden in a denial process that blames everything else but self. The main stumbling block for the most egocentric being on the planet is taking responsibility for our part in perceptions and outcomes, without judgment, then learning to let that go and just start from that point forward to see in truth.
From Reading Into To..
This brings us to the next stage of development from meditative practice to mindful being, and it all has roots in the old practices. First it is imperative to understand the three silent voices of being. They are instinct, a set of knowing that is from the animus and is a direct genetic set of knowings that in danger has all life, cower, hide, reveal their vulnerability to the bully to survive. This set of instincts is the father of all creation and that includes mankind. The second level of awareness is the pre-empt-ive part that comes from how long to cower based on established histories of other times. The imperative will override the knee jerk and push the impulsive forward and if wrong the litter will learn to wait longer and to not be so rash. If correct then assurance is fed and stoked to built a sense of certainty. This learning process in man is intuition, an inner learning process. Once the contemplative and meditative processes are clarified and learned to a level of excellence (assured and repetitive outcomes) the knowing from the intuitive based on a collective of experience and shared understanding in groups will inform insights and perceptions, both at the personal and in the collective levels. The old mental processes that (pre meditation) were used to read into situations are instead weighting and knowing the reality of the moment being perceived and the insight is the delivery of that understanding. This is no means a perfect and flawless platform of mind and emotion just as instinct is still a learning and improving process. That one day will be complete, so will the intuitive process reach that level of refinement. As reality is broken down to its parts and assembled not as a cold dispassionate observation of the wheel of life grinding on. It will establish in the within you without you point of knowledge, that is as certain of self through interaction and outcome as life, mind and the senses can allow, given its materials the environments limitations and restrictions. This is where knowing is accumulated and refined in the process of life, as the pace demands staying ahead of imagines or perceived curves, or just to stay ahead of a presumed predator or competitor.
When knowing starts to shift from a purely data retrieval process to a seeing and recognising with a knowing of process, requirements and outcomes. A shift in self evaluation starts that will see the process eventually be ego free and the Zen will no longer be just a haphazard process but will have become a seat of being, some have seen as a throne. Still it is a long road and or a short road depending on the being on the path more than the skill sets they have incorporated into being or added to their toolbox.
In a world of copiers of behaviour and watching others to get buy is the norm if not the rule. Then they are the rich man to the camel in the biblical story, for they will have the hardest time not dressing off by who they see, not adjusting behaviour by example to get by. For them this is the hardest clime in material requirements and input levels and the failure rate will be higher. Till meditation strips it to the nub of what it will be transformed into. The lack of ego that can adapt is the strength that is needed, as the use of eye judgment is let go in the process of progression at that level. As they have an open narrative process running as a helper and they use it to stay safe it is what makes the change harder for them unless they use the strength taken from adapting to speed the process up. As with the instinctive level of awareness is based on survival to stay safe to remain calm and to wait things out, so the intuitive part is engaged with advancing knowing and to precede events to predicting outcomes. No place for ego to still be active in as the disasters of history can attest to. All the wrong tools of mind that are developed from needs and indulgence to laziness all end up in the transmutation process as mind, emotion and body start the evolution process. The fruit of the tree of knowledge is still, and always will be a state of understanding. A clear case that from the seed the harvest will be known if the environment and sowing place are known and accounted for. As is the case with some seeds that are planted unfertilised they will not germinate and grow. This will be clear in a hot house or greenhouse nursery situation at the point of transplanting to the outdoors or to a larger pot. Even as in a field sown crop the distribution manages to cover up the few non germinating seeds with volume over area fooling the naked eye, we do not ever see what never was and only evaluate what we perceive so as to fit our expectations. In instinct and the intuitive process the evaluation point is all about quantifying experience and relating it to an accumulative process for understanding. Not the power hungry knowledge is power thing, but from just a need to know through understanding formulated from instinct and intuition will become in time the point of recognition that inspiration is in an all encompassing point of realisation. These are silent voices because you need to silence the minds chatterbox first. There is no cheat sheet to follow and copying others will not get you there and there is no one you can pay to do the actual work it takes. For this is the realisation process made manifest in the self, so there must be no ego, there can be no inner voice (narrator). This is the birth of the soul in the being, with the being as the placenta for the new life.
The Inner Spire.
As time goes by and the process is repeated time after time, it is the refining process of the alchemist, the editing of the song writer, the rewrite of the playwright. The polish of the jeweller it is the small repetitions that build layer by layer to form the crystal through the silting process in a saline solution. An expansive process rather than an incremental turn of the wheel of rebirth a glimpse beyond the restrictions of the veil to grasp at a pure conceptual moment of insight, giving a perception of it to be refined through the skills with the materials of the day to day to be made use of in life. This begins the seeing and knowing process from these little insights and conformations from their grounding into things of use and value to peoples needs and requirements.
Or less florally it is an on going process for grounding ideas into workable tools and creations for use in life. To see a raw concept is to understand how it needs refining into the materials and conditions the being that achieved it is bound in. Everything from chairs to pens and even IT has been through the process and we live with the limitations of the materials of the day, and the means to refine them into better materials to create better things. Yet there is a clear case in this world we face out our windows today that there is another cost to having so many things and the other cost that has on the planet we all live and breath on. The balance as ever is what is necessary now, what are the trade off’s to realise them and what will be the long term effects of instituting that world wide at this time. The unintended consequences will be all found out in retrospective viewing for the in a rush clouded minds that the clear thinking can tell them right now. But ego will not allow itself to be seen to be weak, dumb or inadequate to the needs of the times while they have the reigns because they said they could do this job better than any other. They lied cheated and rigged it so they could be the only winners. Now is their last time as this, this time their lives depend on being right and going for power is not the right course of action for progress out of these restriction that fear brought into play. Now what kind of minds can only conceive of a world that is no better than a prison planet run by a few to ensnare the rest into servitude. Those still listening to the narrative of the mind with its good/bad overviews dictating the script. For fear still attempt to manifest its own justifications with limited successes, while hope is just as fickle with its failures crushing the spirit or harassing the mind with guilt, as its successes colour expectations to the exponential.
A world that lacks vision and formulates methods on pure mechanics is just the bones of a civilisation not yet realised. The thing with living in fear of everything is that we choose to either reinforce the failures to be realised or we choose to remember and reinforce the few times it has brought disaster to being in our lives. The same is true of hope, hope is as regularly dashed on the rocks of life as fear, and they are just about as successful as each other at realising themselves in outcomes. A cold look back at a later time to both types will show that none escalated to the zenith of the expectation at the time, nor descend into the destruction of cataclysm and never managed to realise all of either end of that spectrum. Just as the worst outcomes never in retrospect ever reach or manifest as cataclysmic outcomes, so the greatest hopes and expectation are never realised in this world. Settling for a percentage is the positive stance and pursuing perfection the other.
The greatest understanding from the realisation process of the inner spire is that this world is delimited for a reason. Even though it claims with every revelation that the inception will lead to an out of control escalation to either a good zenith or down to a destruction is in there in the initial perception of the moments potential. The only people that think like that are the ones that do all their experimentation and thinking in isolated sterile retreats. That have no life realistic impediments in their thinking or in their test results, as they picked the little flies in their ointment out first. The best way to deliver a solution you want and inform others that it is inevitable, but as we know that can not happen where it is just not possible in the real world. So as the old saying goes beware of the hero for they need a baddy to blame or a scape goat to misdirect and deflect from the planning they used to realise their dream. Or more simply put cause the problem and deliver the solution at a price to the ineffectual leader of the day who buy into the tech solution they have become reliant on.
At the height of perception in the inspirational process is a profound moment of truth through insight that brings a clarity to mind and soul that is built up and built on through repetition to expand awareness and understanding beyond the limitations of this world, its people, its systems and their folly. That no man driven dream can ever come close to in any level of any reality.
No matter how much or how little time you put into meditation, or mindful movement and practices it is not for to remain disconnected to people and from the real world. The whole purpose is for it to be used in life and that ranges from problem solving being in company, working learning and engaging with children as well as in our relationships.
The knowing process is at first a trial and error set of procedures, that once they evaluate past the tricky phase start to gain a sentience of their own. Knowing is best described as being able to understand a resolution from not all of the necessary facts being present in an instance, more time than getting it wrong. This has a start point in instinct, that evolves and expands in the development of intuitive levels. That culminates in leaps of insight delivering a conceptual knowing that encompasses the entire concept from initiation to completion in an instant. Unlike intuition which delivers threads of though and perceptions of processes and even solutions to problems. Not everyone who starts in this life on that path will achieve the end goal. Some will just hand on the genetics from practice into the next generation. Some it will be a gift for their bloodlines ascension soul. The whole process is to build the structure from body through emotion into mind and on into spirit that is the souls ascension path. So even if you are not the worthy character that will receive an ascension rights of passage at the coming of age to deliver the genetic gifts of the entire bloodline to that higher self. That still is no guarantee for the soul that gets there that they will ascend the rights of passage for the end of a bloodline. After all the ascension can be wrongly triggered and the tainted character will be rejected at the final ascension.