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Meditation & Aides
The brain is an electrochemical organ using electromagnetic energy to function. Electrical activity emanating from the brain is displayed in the form of brainwaves.emanating from the brain is displayed in the form of brainwaves. There are four categories of these brainwaves. They range from the high amplitude, low frequency delta to the low amplitude, high frequency beta. Men, women and children of all ages experience the same characteristic brainwaves. They are consistent across cultures and country boundaries. During meditation brain waves alter:
- BETA - 13-30 cycles per second - awaking awareness, extroversion, concentration, logical thinking - active conversation. A debater would be in high beta. A person making a speech, or a teacher, or a talk show host would all be in beta when they are engaged in their work.
- ALPHA - 7-13 cycles per second - relaxation times, non-arousal, meditation, hypnosis
- THETA - 4-7 cycles per second - day dreaming, dreaming, creativity, meditation, paranormal phenomena, out of body experiences, ESP, shamanic journeys, cannabis.
Dark ZenDark Zen: They harm themselves by not seeking the absolute in their meditations. Mediation is certainly not what Vipassana centers portray it to be using the technique of observing. Nor is meditation the kind as taught in most Zen centers. It is not about sitting on a pillow trying to be as physically and mentally still as can be like an upright corpse. I am also a little shocked to see that meditation is peddled as a way to mental health as if the correction of mental afflictions is nirvana. If we practice these kinds of meditation how shall we come to see the undying, as the Buddha called the absolute? Let me tell you that the Buddha discovered something very profound and very positive. His unique meditation is supposed to guide us to the substantial vision of the absolute which he, himself, saw.
Interviewer: In right meditation should we come to a vision of the undying? Is that what you are suggesting?
Dark Zen: I am suggesting that meditation as originally taught in Buddhism is fundamentally about the discovery of what we really are which goes far beyond our mortal physical body. To meditate as the Buddha did, means to look inwardly and clearly see the very highest. It is not some state or experience like peace or oneness. These are mental abstractions unconsciously fabricated by us.
Interviewer: From what you are saying, it appears that there is a lot more to meditation than just sitting or being mindful of bodily sensations seeing that they are transitory.
Dark Zen: Correct. Anybody who is normal will eventually get tired of just sitting and move on to a higher practice. And that goes with Vipassana meditation and the rest. It is one thing to be aware of impermanent things. It is quite another matter to see that which is permanent and undying. True meditation should be about inwardly looking for the permanent, that is, looking for our true nature which is not subject to change, death or rebirth. If anybody believes that Buddhist meditation is about sitting to be sitting, they have no clue what the Buddha taught. The whole point of meditation is to connect us with the absolute, getting us beyond phenomena wherein death and rebirth are operative. Interviewer: What do you mean by the absolute? I thought Buddhism taught there is no absolute. Dark Zen: The absolute as found in Buddhism is, as simply as I can state it, about the liberation of will which in Pali and Sanskrit is called citta, often translated as mind. Such liberation means that the will is intrinsically free of its willed creations, which we perceive as phenomena. We say that will, when it becomes the absolute, is absolute when it comes into perfect identity with itself-not being anymore mesmerized by its phenomena. This, in fact, is the whole thrust of meditation. It is about the renunciation of phenomena, then turning the will to its incorporeal nature which is empty and free of its phenomena. You see something-yes something very dynamic and powerful. But it is not a phenomenon.
Interviewer: This is very interesting. I have never heard of meditation being about will. Could you explain more?
Dark Zen: I would be happy to, although I can't tell you everything. Some of this is not for public consumption least they reject it and come to catastrophic harm. Let me begin by saying that we are intrinsically a will entity striving for fulfillment in the midst of our own loss and pain. Fulfillment is the other meaning of vidya which scholars translate as 'knowledge' as opposed to 'ignorance'. (I should mention, these same scholars seem to forget that vidya can also mean fulfillment!) What we see before us, including our body, is what has been willed as possible fulfillment. But then the Buddha didn't see this as complete fulfillment. Not by a longshot. Eventually our little willed-out empire collapses. Buddha reckoned that if we had attained complete fulfillment, our body would not suffer. The Buddha knew that fulfillment can only be properly obtained when will comes into complete identification with itself, called samadhi or sambodhi. Anything less than this is identification with suffering-a kind of asymmetry or disharmony. This is what Buddhist meditation seeks to remedy, in other words. The will is working to find itself thus reaching absolute fulfillment in which all desire for will-made things has been quenched.
Interviewer: Related to unfulfillment, then are you suggesting that will is out of sync with itself which is the cause of suffering?
Dark Zen: Yes. That is a good way to put it. This out of syncness is disparity and suffering. We call it duhkha. Sounding scientific, this out of syncness is a phenomenal moment as well, being the smallest unit of suffering since all phenomena, according to the Buddha, are synonymous with suffering and unfulfillment. I can even declare that the curvilinear nature of the universe is emblematic of suffering [laughing].
Interviewer: Okay, I get it [laughing]. So when will comes into identity with itself, what is that like?
Dark Zen: The will then is unconditioned an in sync with itself. It is not a phenomenon. The senses can't sense it. It is invisible. For me it is real-more real than phenomena. Being now with itself, the will is able to subdue the lure of all phenomenal arisings, that is, it is able to subjugate even the most subtle mental phenomenon. We also realize that what we experience as phenomena are just this pristine will sliced up into billions of particles, so to speak.
Interviewer: Where does nirvana fit into this?
Dark Zen: In complete nirvana there is no disparity between the will and its full assimilation into itself. On the other hand, with incomplete nirvana the will is coming closer and closer to itself. Its disparity and self-alienation are becoming less and less.
Interviewer: That makes sense. It is the best explanation I have every heard. Does Dark Zen Meditation help us discover our pure will so it can come closer and closer to itself?
Dark Zen: Yes. This is our meditation in a nutshell. Our mediation is different from all other meditations is this respect. It is the most advanced and yet the most simple to execute. We believe it was the meditation of Gautama the Buddha which has long since been forgotten but was rediscovered by me in 1991 without any help from the canon. I simply put two and two together.
Interviewer: That sounds a little prideful and condescending, don't you think so?
Dark Zen: Not really. As proof, if you read the ancient commentaries dealing with meditation, everything I have said about Dark Zen Meditation is proven to be absolutely true by the ancient teachers who probably composed some of the commentaries when the Buddha was still alive. This should be a great cause for celebration in Buddhist world. Indeed, the Buddha's original meditation has been discovered and is being practiced by many thousands. In my estimation, which I dare say is not final, for some 2,000 years the Buddha's meditation has been hidden beneath a mound of sectarian dogmas and squabbling.
A person who is driving on a freeway, and discovers that they can't recall the last five miles, is often in a theta state - induced by the process of freeway driving. This can also occur in the shower or tub or even while shaving or brushing your hair. It is a state where tasks become so automatic that you can mentally disengage from them. The ideation that can take place during the theta state is often free flow and occurs without censorship or guilt. It is typically a very positive mental state. DELTA - 1.5-4 or less cycles per second - deep dreamless sleep - Mindfulness meditation and related techniques are intended to train attention for the sake of provoking insight. Think of it as the opposite of attention deficit disorder. A wider, more flexible attention span makes it easier to be aware of a situation, easier to be objective in emotionally or morally difficult situations, and easier to achieve a state of responsive, creative awareness or "flow". Daniel Goleman & Tara Bennett-Goleman (2001), suggest that meditation works because of the relationship between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.Simply put, the amygdala is the part of the brain that decides if we should get angry or anxious (among other things), and the pre-frontal cortex is the part that makes us stop and think about things (it is also known as the inhibitory centre). So, the prefrontal cortex is very good at analyzing and planning, but it takes a long time to make decisions. The amygdala, on the other hand, is simpler (and older in evolutionary terms). It makes rapid judgments about a situation and has a powerful effect on our emotions and behaviour, linked to survival needs. For example, if a human sees a lion leaping out at them, the amygdala will trigger a fight or flight response long before the prefrontal cortex responds. But in making snap judgments, our amygdalas are prone to error, such as seeing danger where there is none.
This is particularly true in contemporary society where social conflicts are far more common than encounters with predators, and a basically harmless but emotionally charged situation can trigger uncontrollable fear or anger - leading to conflict, anxiety, and stress. Because there is roughly a quarter of a second gap between the time an event occurs and the time it takes the amygdala to react, a skilled meditator may be able to intervene before a fight or flight response takes over, and perhaps even redirect it into more constructive or positive feelings. The different roles of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex can be easily observed under the influence of various drugs. Alcohol depresses the brain generally, but the sophisticated prefrontal cortex is more affected than less complex areas, resulting in lowered inhibitions, decreased attention span, and increased influence of emotions over behaviour. Likewise, the controversial drug ritalin has the opposite effect, because it stimulates activity in the prefrontal cortex. Some studies of meditation have linked the practice to increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex, which is associated with concentration, planning, meta-cognition (thinking about thinking), and positive affect (good feelings). There are similar studies linking depression and anxiety with decreased activity in the same region, and/or with dominant activity in the right prefrontal cortex. Meditation increases activity in the left prefrontal cortex, and the changes are stable over time - even if you stop meditating for a while, the effect lingers.
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