Friday, September 17, 2010

And Insight Meditation, too, perhaps?

PROMETHEUS RISING, a must-read for Wilson fans, has a final chapter that shows have various forms of brain change and/or meditative practices are similar to each other. Throughout the book, Wilson makes references to traditions as diverse as Zen Buddhism, Christian Science, Hinduism and Sufi Islam.

He doesn't mention the school of Buddhism I am most familiar with, known as Theravada in southern Asian and generally referred to as Insight Meditation in the U.S. In a sense, that fits with the fact that Insight Meditation is almost an "underground" school of Buddhism. It doesn't get the endless press inspired by Tibetan Buddhism or Zen Buddhism, although it is home to a rich collection of Buddhist scriptures and philosophy. But when I read the book, I related many of its teachings to what I have learned through Buddhism. In fact, the book has helped inspire me to resume my practice.

Information about Insight Meditation is available here.


michael said...

RAW mentions Theravada in CT2, rev.2nd ed, p.144, within the essay "The Square Root of Minus One & Other Mysteries." I'm almost positive that, were RAW here, he wd not dissuade you from the Theravada path. But, writing w/in the context of science's finding that color is not "in" an object - that color is a sort of "hallucination," he linked Theravada(circa 1990) thus: as a species of "bleached-out, emotionally empty view of a monochromatic world"...a "colorless, seemingly 'abstract' world" that "reappears in the pale dead white decor of some of the gloomier films of Bergman or Woody Allen. It has the inhuman and emotionless flavor of Theravada Buddhist meditation, without the hope of Enlightenment."

I have no opinion, having only truly involved myself in bhakti and hatha yogas...although RAW seems to consider any discipline in which one WORKS and becomes so involved that "time" warps and is perceived differently - or not at all - as a "yoga." So, for EX: an intense, dedicated study of mathematics is a "yoga" for RAW. (Wd this be considered as gnana yoga?)Similarly, learning/playing a musical instrument, or even reading novels might be considered as yogas...Another sense in which he used the term "yoga" is a drug sense: "chemical yogas." Aldous Huxley, who also had very wide and deep gnosis of seemingly all religions - considered mescaline and LSD w/in Catholic idea of "graces." I think RAW thought similarly.

Bob also frequently discussed his writing of fiction as a "yoga." Q.v Email To The Universe, p.215.

Seemingly all types of yoga for RAW were linked with the idea that, in the West, we "know" (or may study and contemplate upon) the Space-Time continuum, but the vast "Eastern" literature implies gnosis of a Space-Time-Mind continuum. Anything we can do to tap into that, go for it!


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