Meditation

"One of the great dangers of transformational work is that the ego attempts to sidestep deep psychological work by leaping into the transcendent too soon. This is because the ego always fancies itself much more ‘advanced’ than it actually is."

 -- Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson

Natural man always has something apelike in him; people cannot even sit quietly but wriggle and scratch.  Anybody who has tried Eastern meditation knows how difficult it is even to sit still for half an hour; you cannot do it at first, either on your heels or in the lotus position.  Our vitality constantly drives us to do something, and if we stop that, something within us keeps going on.  Try once to think of nothing even for half a second.  You cannot!  You will talk to yourself, think about your problems or about what you have to do, and so on.  It is the constant autonomous restlessness of the life we lead, and our willpower is insufficient to enable a simple inner life to overcome that autonomous liveliness.  With the help of the Self, however, it becomes possible.  Our experience meets what Dorn thinks: the experience of the Self is expressed as one’s innermost soul, which is touched by the dynamic aspect of the God image.  It is that which quiets and gives peace to this kind of apelike dissociated activity of our body and mind, and then suddenly two springs of water come from the depths and create a flood which covers everything with sea water, drowning the dragon.  In modern psychological language we would say that through meditative concentration and introversion the unconscious begins to flow.  The springs of the dream life, of the objective psyche, start flowing again in contrast to the flickering restlessness of our conscious mind, and appease it.  AAI 49

There are many kinds of meditation; but in Buddhism, meditation generally falls into 2 categories: 

Samatha

Samatha translates as calm, tranquility, and/or serenity.  The state of Samatha meditation is peaceful, tranquil, and joyous.  Martial artists, yoga students, athletes, and general people who are trying to achieve a blissful state, for a nice contrast to life’s regular events, often use Samatha meditation.  The problem is that the bliss of Samatha goes away when you stop practicing; suffering arises in its place, and attachment remains.  It’s similar to drugs that make you feel good while you’re doing them, but do not create lasting peace.  The downside of Samatha is that the peace creates attachment, and thus you have one more attachment to overcome.  It is essentially short-term gain, although for the person who does not meditate their mind at all, it is better than - not meditating.  Buddha easily saw his attachment to the serenity of Samatha and continued to find the cessation of attachment through Vipassana. 

Meditating successfully for sustained periods of time requires much adjustment and fine-tuning.  During diligent insight-meditation a person may become strained or tense, so switching temporarily to Samatha for its blissful state will calm and relax the mind, and will allow the meditator to return to Vipassana relaxed with a calm disposition. 

Samatha provides temporary peace, but only Vipassana can achieve enlightenment.

 Meditation is one insult after another

 Chogyam Trungpa

Vipassana

Vipassana is The meditation technique that Buddha used under the Bodhi tree to reach enlightenment. Vipassana means insight - to look deep within is Vipassana.  The mind has many layers, caverns, and closed door places that hide numerous amounts of suppressed, repressed and unconscious psychic data that have control over us.  It is by illuminating their existence and 'undoing' their control (through dissolution) over us that we become free from their grasp.  Essentially, by increasing consciousness both in wide-awareness and single-pointed concentration, we create an illuminated space that 'sees' things 'as they are',

This is karma in its most obvious form.  For the every day average normal person, the mind is just as explained in chapter two - The Mind.  Balance, extirpation, and illumination are the keys to enlightenment.  It requires diligence, resolution, and determination. 

Mind-Engaging-Deeply-In-Total-Awareness-Through-Its-Own-Nature    :)

To begin with, the task consists solely in objectively observing a fragment of a fantasy in its development.  Nothing could be simpler, and yet right here the difficulties begin.  SoGF 93

No fantasy-fragment seems to appear - or yes, one does - but it is too stupid - hundreds of good reasons inhibit it.  One cannot concentrate on it - it is too boring - what would it amount to - it is 'nothing but', et cetera.  SoGF 93

The conscious mind raises prolific objections, in fact it often seems bent upon blotting out the spontaneous fantasy-activity in spite of real insight, even of firm determination on the part of the individual to allow the psychic processes to go forward without interference.  Often a veritable cramp of consciousness exists. SoGF 93 

If one is successful in overcoming the initial difficulties, criticism is still likely to start in afterwards and attempt to interpret the fantasy, to classify, to aestheticize, or to depreciate it.  The temptation to do this is almost irresistible.  After complete and faithful observation, free rein can be given to the impatience of the conscious mind; in fact it must be given, else obstructing resistances develop.  But each time the fantasty material is to be produced, the activity of conscioussness must again be put aside.  SoGF 93

Meditation. A technique of focused introspection.

Jung distinguished between meditation practiced in the East or in traditional Western religious exercises, and its use as a tool for self-understanding, particularly in the realization of projections.

If the ancient art of meditation is practised at all today, it is practised only in religious or philosophical circles, where a theme is subjectively chosen by the meditant or prescribed by an instructor, as in the Ignatian Exercitia or in certain theosophical exercises that developed under Indian influence. These methods are of value only for increasing concentration and consolidating consciousness, but have no significance as regards affecting a synthesis of the personality. On the contrary, their purpose is to shield consciousness from the unconscious and to suppress it.
 

When meditation is concerned with the objective products of the unconscious that reach consciousness spontaneously, it unites the conscious with contents that proceed not from a conscious causal chain but from an essentially unconscious process. . . . Part of the unconscious contents is projected, but the projection as such is not recognized. Meditation or critical introspection and objective investigation of the object are needed in order to establish the existence of projections. If the individual is to take stock of himself it is essential that his projections should be recognized, because they falsify the nature of the object and besides this contain items which belong to his own personality and should be integrated with it.

We conclude that meditative philosophy consists in the overcoming of the body by mental union [unio mentalis]. This first union does not as yet make the wise man, but only the mental disciple of wisdom. The second union of the mind with the body shows forth the wise man, hoping for and expecting that blessed third union with the first unity [i.e., the unus mundus, the latent unity of the world]. May Almighty God grant that all men be made such, and may He be one in All.

When a man turns to the inner life, however, then the pace of the outer life works against him because it demands that he should go on building up a career, seeking more money and a better position, striving to become the Boss and super-Boss.  TAoPA 138

I had a very strange experience when I was invited to lecture at a seminary in Long Island where priests are trained.  The priest who wrote and invited me said he was very eager to have me come because I had in my writings introduced him to the inward life.  So I go there and find these men studying Zen.  I was stunned because I was brought up a Catholic and I would have received nothing like this kind of reception forty years ago.  Meditation has to do with finding the Christ in you, finding the energy in you.  Well, that is what sitting zazen is all about, too: realizing one’s own Buddha nature.   G19