Saturday, January 08, 2005

Meditation and the Unconscious

Eknath Easwaran says that when we learn to meditate his way properly, we will know our unconscious and gain control over it. His way of meditating is to sit with eyes closed for thirty minutes at a time saying a special spiritual passage (e.g., the St Francis prayer) to oneself silently and with total absorption over and over slowly until it’s time to stop. He says that if one sticks with it, one will eventually become so adept at this that he will be aware only of the words and nothing else to the point that these words will infuse his being and he progressively becomes a living embodiment of them not only when he’s formally meditating but also when he’s not. But during meditation, one will reach the point where there will be no bodily sensations, no wandering thoughts and emotions, nothing to distract one from the words dropping from the conscious down into the unconscious mind like precious pearls sinking from the surface of a still, clear pond to the bottom.

But if we master this kind of meditation to the point that we are aware only of the words of the passage, how will we ever know and thus gain control over the thoughts, emotions, and wayward desires seething and bubbling in our unconscious mind? Is this a process that can’t be explained but only experienced, or can it not be explained because it can’t really be done? Or is it simply I who cannot explain it?

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