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  • hardie karges 12:11 pm on May 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Castaneda, , , dhyana, ,   

    Because, that’s why: Buddhism, Descartes, Castaneda and the urge to merge in meditation… 

    Words can cut like knives or heal like bandages, so be careful what you think, and even more careful of what you say.

    The fact that we think in languages is the starting point for many a fine thesis and many a sleepless night, because in one sense Descartes was right when he said ‘cogito ergo sum,’ i.e. I think therefore I am.

    And if that is usually taken as a badge of pride for the West, and a flag of caution for the East, in fact I think it is neither. It is simply a status update for the human condition.

    Because we can debate endlessly over whether human beings are indeed the homo sapiens, wise men, that we claim, but we can certainly agree that they do think, whether or not they are some arrogant s-o-b’s to label themselves as ‘wise’, at the expense of all others, which at that point in history was largely limited to the white ‘race.’

    And so it is with thinking, which we assume as our birthright, and limited to us, and only us. But all animals think. They just don’t all do it with language.

    And that is why we meditate, many of us, whether you categorize it into one of the two original Buddhist classifications or one of the four now in vogue, complete with the obligatory ‘mindfulness,’ as guided by your local ‘dharma teacher,’ namaste.

    When really all you need to do is sit down and STFU, and don’t move a muscle, or scratch an itch, or swat a fly for at least a good quarter hour for starters, and quadruple that for peer professionalism, without moving a muscle, I repeat.

    Because I don’t know what’s going on in your head inside, but I know it’s directly related to what’s going on with your body outside, and this is easily measured by perturbations in the visual field.

    If you’re twitching, I think we can assume that you have yet to achieve any of the four dhyana states, or was it five? I lost count.

    Because all that really matters is to stop the internal dialogue, if only for a moment, and that’s almost the only thing I took away from Carlos Castaneda and his avatar Don Juan and all his tales of Ya(n)qui power in the deserts of our own mind-fields, as they leapt off cliffs with intent and little else.

    And that is what the brain researchers who wanted to scan my brain in and out of meditation alluded to, also, and asked if I understood what they’re talking about. Huh? Doesn’t everyone?

    Now I don’t know if they read Castaneda, but of course I understood. I just don’t know why Buddhists don’t say it that way, or at least not in so many words.

    Because that is why meditation exists, for me, to return to basics, proto-consciousness, or paleo-consciousness, if you will, i.e. thought without language, just like the old days, just like the animals do, before all the new frontiers, and all the limits of language.

    Curiously many Buddhists think that is an injunction to not think, but I don’t think that is correct. Once we have language, then the choice is ours what to do with it. Because the Buddha never said not to think. He said to think rightly, and quite rightly…

     
  • hardie karges 12:11 pm on March 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Castaneda, , ,   

    More on Meditation and Language, and the Prison of our Own Minds… 

    Meditation is the best medicine; twice a day keeps the doctor away. And I think that is accurate, even though the causes and effects may be debated endlessly, at least partly owing to differences in definition to begin with. Is it ‘concentration’, probably the most common translation of the Sanskrit word that is usually transcribed into the Roman alphabet as ‘samadhi’ (give or take a few palatal and labial signs for consonants, and long and short vowels for the adepts)? And then there are other Sanskrit-based words, such as ‘dhyana’, maybe implying something closer to ‘trance’ than ‘concentration’, not to mention ‘bhavana’, referring to something like ‘development’, or ‘patipatti’, the ‘practice’, of whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. And that is the precisely the question, is it not, of just exactly what it is we’re supposed to be doing, as we sit cross-legged on the floor, as so brilliantly evoked in the band Chicago’s classic ’25 or 6 to 4′ (please don’t ask me what that means)? Well, I think the Buddha and others pretty much had it figured out way back when, but when the Americans and New Agers got hold of it, now all of a sudden you need an ‘app’ and you need someone’s soothing words to guide you through the beauty of it all, and pseudo/sorta/secular Buddhists explain that skateboarding is just another form of meditation, when what you really need to do is just sit down and STFU, in my humble opinion. Because language is the problem, not the solution, in this case, that quantum leap of linguistic consciousness 50,000 years ago that doomed the Neanderthals and Denisovans and a couple other smaller homos to oblivion now embedded in our minds as the preferred method of thinking, rational and syllogistic, such that other forms of thinking, visual or intuitive, are relegated to second-class status. And while this may be perfect for the strategic advantage necessary for the conquest and ultimate extinction of those pesky other hominids, it wraps us individually in feedback loops of language, and may ultimately be the inspiration for that kind of karma that we can never really shake. To ‘stop the internal dialogue’ was the lasting gist for me of Castaneda’s tales of Yanqui (:-) power as well as the goal of more than one neurologist measuring the motions of mind on an MRI scan. Because this is what meditation can do for you, if only for a moment, if only for an hour. It can allow the mind, whatever that is, to function without language, i.e. paleo-consciousness, pre-verbal, non-consonantal. It certainly beats argument. And if that makes me a cheater, dodging a fight rather than ‘standing my ground’, then so be it. Most fights have no winners, only losers. Because people say mean nasty ugly words sometimes, and seem to enjoy it, for some reason. I don’t know why, but at least now I know how to shut it off, and shut it out…

     
  • hardie karges 7:07 am on September 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Castaneda, Chicago Manual of Style, , , , , subconscious   

    The Enemy Within Is Still My Friend–Language… 

    There is too much talk, opinions comments narratives predictions screams shouts expletives yada yada, but not enough: silence, blessed silence. And this is symptomatic of the problems in our modern world, form over content, not that there is much good here and now, or not, or that there are things wrong here and now, or not, but that there is simply too much, here and now, of everything, particularly the medium itself, language and its facilitators, vowels consonants dots and strokes, verbs nouns subjects and predicates, adjectives adverbs prepositions and objects both direct and indirect, indicating questioning exclaiming enjoining and subjoining, actively or passively, conditionally or hypothetically, all pointing to the obvious conclusion, that our most brilliant invention is now working against us, for reasons unknown, and perhaps best unexplained, that once language gets in the vast unprotected subconscious mind, such as it is, that it will erect walls and barriers with doors and windows, in an attempt to create order out of disorder, paleo-consciousness, sweet blessed disorder, prime and pristine, and unpolluted by language, such that the real danger in our lives is obscured in the process–eat or be eaten, escape the cold or freeze, and take care of those who take care of you. Language only cares about itself, happy endings and the dictates of the Chicago Manual of Style. That is all well and good, or bad, but non-essential to the business of life and possibly its greatest obstacle to happiness. That is why we meditate, is it not–to stop the internal dialogue, at least for a few minutes? Don Juan the eagle’s shaman said it best, if not first (that’s the Buddha and his buddies), and the most adept among us can sustain it for hours, floating unattached in the ether, or stuck inside a long dark hole. Choose your best metaphor, because it will surely fail. The most important things in life are beyond language. This world and this life have great beauty, but ugliness, too. Best to not get too attached to either…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 3:28 pm on October 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Words never enough, of course, though I admire your determination to get behind them. Helpful writings for sure!

  • hardie karges 10:22 am on April 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Castaneda, , huichol, shamanism   

    Castaneda, Modern Shamanism, and the Huicholes 

    Image

    Castaneda 1962

    “Shamans have unmasked self-importance and found that it is self-pity masquerading as something else”– Carlos Castaneda, ‘The Power of Silence’  

    I just finished reading my first Castaneda book in probably thirty years, ‘The Wheel of Time’–a collection of quotes from all the others–and find it surprisingly compelling.  I know it’s

    Image

    Huichol yarn art

    not real anthropology, much less real philosophy or even real shamanism… but still I find that it frequently resonates with me, just like it did long ago.  I read all of the first half of his ouevre way back when, dropping out sometime around the ‘Power of Silence’ or ‘The Art of Dreaming,’ can’t remember, but I’d never even heard of ‘Magical Passes’ or “The Active Side of Infinity’… until now.  I’d never heard of Amy Wallace or her expose’ of the Castaneda cult, either, nor would I care.  Where a guy parks his penis is none of my business, nor interest.  I do care care about enlightenment, though, and the possibilities for a better life on this earth in this dimension of biological reality.  (More …)

     
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