I’ll start by referring back to the previous post on Dhyāna. Trying to classify quantized states of awareness using a pseudo-intellectual framework is to fail and from a Zen point of view, badly. Already one is hooked into comparison mind which is not a state of awareness rather a process of comparison.
I’ll make a bold statement; awareness is a continuum and cannot be quantized or quantified no matter how much you might like to do so! If you like intellectual masturbation, the concept of defining states of awareness might give you a boner or make you damp. Enlightenment it is not! It is at best an intellectual exercise wherein the nit pickers of the world can argue the toss with each other.
Retrospect has suggested to me that I began meditation at an early age, it was partially due to me having to spend large amounts of time on my own waiting for people. It was also due to me staring in a relaxed manner into the distance and sitting in near silence with my maternal grandfather on benches as he puffed on his stinky pipe and looked out across the Rhondda valley. Gazing into the distance at scenery and simply absorbing it is a fine way to calm the mind. It is not taking in every detail and having internal dialogue, it is absorbing, being in the moment and to an extent at one with the scenery.
Whenever I was caught doing this gazing thing, I was “accused” of daydreaming. I have to admit that I did do this to check out from the noise of a largely extrovert family, from time to time, it turned the volume off and there was the silence inner despite the cacophony outer.
“He is off daydreaming again…”
“ahh, peace, no noise…”
So much is written in bated breath perhaps about the zen cushion, the abstemious monks meditating, the yogis doing extreme body piercing, the rubber asana yoga people, and there is discussion as to who is the best. This “top trumps” mentality misses the point. There is no TripAdvisor guide as to which is the best path to nirvana, besides who in reality could make a cogent comment based on personal experience?
Do you know what my test would be, it goes something like this:
Could you in the middle of a painful messy divorce, with a grant application deadline looming, maintain the point of no mind from Brixton tube station to Victoria at 8:30 AM on a Monday morning in a crowded tube train?
This is the weird thing for me, there is a disconnect. Meditation is not something one does for 20 mins a day down at the dharma centre, the yoga club, the church. It needs to happen in real life context like a tube train journey into work. Until one can do it under non-ideal conditions, one does not have control.
And here is the funny bit. There is a lot of prejudice against smokers. I quit about six months ago. I was accustomed to sit, stare into space and chuff on a tab. What people saw was some vile geezer smoking. Doesn’t he know that smoking will kill him? What a vile disgusting habit! Tut, tut, tut.
What I was doing was gazing direct into infinity.