The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


“If the mind makes no discrimination, the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence.  To understand the mystery of this One-essence is reached.  No comparisons or analogies are possible in this causeless, relationless state.”

Balancing this state with the (apparent) NEED to discriminate,   is a killer.  I don’t want to plunge into hierarchicalism, nor drift in an ocean of undifferentiated thought.

The solution as I feel it today is to allow my ordinary mind to function in the world of choices and gradients.  While I continue to hone that higher function, the observer self.  It watches me screw up, and helps me re-align after I have.  It watches me flinch from negative images, and points out that I still have much healing to do…but then encourages me to dissociate from the wounded being himself.  I am more than my wounds.

To do this, I have to maintain a position difficult to even describe.  How do I know when I am there?  How can I feel confident that my efforts are taking me closer to truth?

One very clear answer: when the voices in my head quiet.  In my meditations, I go through several layers, or membranes.  The first is apparent quiet: there doesn’t seem to be anything going on in my mind.  The next is a descent into cacophony, and I realize that what I took for peace was actually a screaming whirlwind of thoughts, desires, and fears behind a thin, thin sheet of glass.  Drop far enough through this, and you reach more peace…and then another layer of emotional crud, and then more peace…

If I’ve been meditating VERY regularly, I can reach a place where there is a kind of “drifting stability” and you know?  It’s kind of odd, but from that place everything looks, well, it looks RIGHT.  Appropriate.  Life is just as it is. 

I don’t mistake this state for some advanced form of enlightenment, but it seems to be a doorway.  Of course, the problem is  that, properly, I shouldn’t prefer enlightenment to any other state.  Arrgh. 

Ah, I know: “I” shouldn’t prefer enlightenment to another state.  My true essence IS enlightenment.  The trick is to calm the “ego-I” so that it ceases its endless quest for more and better and deeper and so forth.

Note how tricky this is?  You need to head in the direction of truth, but even preferring truth to lies can take you from the path.  It requires a sort of disinterested commitment, something that sounds truly wonky, unless you’ve experienced it…

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