Monday, July 04, 2005



Several years ago I had a large copy of this print framed and hanging in my bedroom, primarily as another expression of the insight from my Pogo cartoon, "We have found the enemy and he us us". My experience has been that, in Ernest Becker's words, "normality is neurosis". And from the wisdom that comes from those in AA, we can be more specific as to the nature of this neurosis; "Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles." End of story?
Some time later my partner at the time, in referring to my practice of centering prayer, accused me of engaging in just the sort of selfish selfcentered behavior my artwork referred to. It was suggested that I should rather be spending my time helping others instead of prayer for myself all the time. John Welwood in Toward a Psychology of Awakening speaks directly to this issue. "Misconceptions of meditation are common in the West. Some view it as a self-improvement technique, others regard it as a passive withdrawal from the world. The approach developed here allows us to avoid both these pitfalls, for it is grounded in an understanding of the total interpenetration of organism and environment, self and world. In this light, the following description of meditation from a Tibetan text begins to make sense:

One should realize that one does not meditate in order to go deeply into oneself and withdraw from the world...There should be no feeling of striving to reach some exalted or higher state, since this simply produces something conditioned and artificial that will act as an obstruction to the free flow of the mind...The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete awareness and openness to all situations and emotions, and to all people, experiencing everything totally without mental reservations and blockages, so that one never withdraws or centralizes onto oneself...When performing the meditation practice, one should develop the feeling of opening oneself out completely to the whole universe with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind". The way in is the way out.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Web The Integral Path