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Wisdom of the Starjumper

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Many of the people who talk about spiritual growth, spirituality, or spiritual will often draw a blank when you try to pin them down for a definition of it.  I was one of them.  I used to think it had something to do with miraculous happenings, telepathy, synchronicity, a feeling of oneness with god/universe/spirit, etc.  Then I heard the best definition of spiritual growth and intuitively realized it was correct.

 

The definition is this:  Spiritual growth is emotional growth, being spiritually advanced is being emotionally mature.

 

Emotional maturity is normaly dictated by a person's native character and is the result of parental influence.  The emotional growth due to parental influence usually stop before a person reaches adulthood. 

 

Meditation causes emotional growth due to the introspection it causes.  In many systems meditation means thinking about things, but in Taoism meditation means not thinking.  We are supposed to not think and either focus on the feeling of energy in the body or remain totally blank.  Stopping thinking is very difficult and anyone who tries will quickly discover this.  It takes many years, and little by little the spaces between thoughts grows longer.

 

As we go through this process of trying to stop thinking but not succeeded we end up reviewing our past actions.  Things we said to people or things they said to us, things we are thinking of saying to someone or things we want to do or things we have done, the list seems endless.  Sometimes the same thought will occur over and over and over and that in itself can be quite annoying when we are trying to stop thinking but it's best to bear with it and keep at it because the results of meditation are truly worth the effort.

 

A lot of people don't spend much time examining their lives because they are too busy; or, if they don't want to examine their lives they see to it that they become too busy.  Consumerism is an escape from reality in this sense.

 

It seems that everyone has some emotional responses which they learned in childhood which may have served them well when they were children, but tend to result in self sabotage when they are adults.  In short, almost everyone experiences some emotional pain from time to time, therefore they have an emotional problem.  Having an emotional problem doesn't mean a person is crazy, it's just that if some action or reaction that we habitually have results in emotional pain then it's a problem, an emotional problem. The common pre-meditation reaction is to blame the other person.

 

The increased awareness caused by meditation also extends to our emotions and as we meditate more an interesting thing happens.  Some emotional difficulty that we were having previously will seem to get worse.  This is probably most likely due to two reasons, the first being that before we didn't want to think about it, we wanted to avoid it, and the second is that we become more sensitive.  So whatever emotional difficulty we were having will become worse and more annoying, more upsetting, and more infuriating.

 

When this happens then there are a couple of possible outcomes.  The most common is that the person will realize that it is due to their meditation so they take the easy way out and quit.  The other is that they will continue to meditate but the increased annoyance due to the problem will cause more self examination.  This self examination results in us realizing what we are doing that is causing the problem, we realize the original motivations for it and we realize why it's not working.

 

It seems to me that the most important thing that happens is that the increased annoyance provides the motivation to fix the problem.  Very little happens without motivation.

 

In a nutshell, meditation causes emotional growth because it will make an emotional problem seem worse and that motivates us to fix the problem.  It's really as simple as that, but it takes bravery and persistence.  There is an analogy in the many myths of spiritual growth that tell of a person going into a dark cave to face their worse fears.  The hero or heroine conquers the fear by entering the cave.  There is some kind of epic battle in the cave, and if the person wins then when they come out of the cave they are changed people.  More mature, leaders, at peace, things like that.

 

So meditation includes a process, likened to entering a fearful cave, where we get to do the scariest thing of all, to face our own worst enemy.

 

 

- Steve Gray

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That's completely valid from one angle. And fifty thumbs up for the stuff on facing your issues, definitely something I need to do. Great share. :)

 

The way I see things, though, is that there are many axes of development which different practices/traditions work on. They are connected and influence other a lot, so it isn't like work on one axis has no effect on anything else - but if you want progress along a particular axis, then to some extent you have to do something specific to that axis for a while.

 

So let's say there's an 'emotional maturity' axis, a 'intelligence' axis, a 'virtue' axis, an 'energetics' axis, a 'samadhi' axis, a 'physical health' axis, a 'insight' axis, and so on.

 

Coming from a Buddhist POV, this path's 'three trainings' focuses on three axes. There's virtue (which Daniel Ingram et al teach as actually including emotional maturity and the other stuff helpful for living a good life in the ordinary sense), samadhi, and insight. All three are equally important, but at the same time it is only progress along the 'insight' axis which results in permanent shifts to the mind which Buddhism would consider awakening.

 

Saying that meditation is about emotional maturity is neither right nor wrong IMO, it depends what sort(s) of meditation you're doing and what axes you're hoping to progress along.

 

Kenneth Folk has a really nice hard drive analogy:

 

We can think of the mind as being structured like a hard drive with multiple platters. Everyone has access to the first (lowest) platter, but in order to develop and stabilize access to the platters above the first, a certain kind of awakening is required. Although some folks awaken spontaneously, most people will have to deliberately cultivate this awakening through practices like meditation and contemplation.

 

Using the hard drive analogy, we can see that there is the potential to develop both vertically (up the spindle to higher platters) and horizontally (adding new information to the platter(s) we already have access to). One way to increase your level of ‚Äúenlightenment‚ÄĚ is to move up the spindle, opening up new platters. Another way to increase your ‚Äúenlightenment‚ÄĚ is to flesh out the platters you already have access to. In fact, developing and retaining a healthy balance between these two axes of development is, I will argue, an essential aspect of awakening.

 

Most people in the world do not engage in any kind of targeted contemplative practice and will therefore not ascend beyond the first platter. Should we then say that they are completely unenlightened? Perhaps, although most of us know people who seem very wise even though they themselves would admit that they have no firsthand experience of spiritual enlightenment. The situation gets even more complex for people who have moved up to at least the second platter, in which case we must concede that they have indeed tasted some measure of enlightenment. And yet some folks at the first (‚Äúunenlightened‚ÄĚ) platter may have levels of wisdom and social and emotional maturity that make them appear more awake than some nominally enlightened folks who have opened up the second platter.

Looking at the three trainings in terms of the hard drive analogy, I'd say that the training of virtue moves horizontally, the training of insight moves vertically, and the training of samadhi makes it easier to move up or across.

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That's completely valid from one angle. And fifty thumbs up for the stuff on facing your issues, definitely something I need to do. Great share. :)

 

This is from Steve Gray, not me.

 

Ive already shared my perspectives on all this, but its usually like a dog whistle around here.

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There are also group needs, which motivate the individual - not wanting to be one who lags behind or creates a pull on the rest of the group as they climb the proverbial mountain, much of our impetus, while seemingly self-motivated, is actual a reflection of our perceptions of others judgments on our personas, and our perceived lack ion these regards. Hearing about the elucidated states others have achieved motivates us to 'keep up with the Joneses' in order to assuage our soft ego underbellies. The self/other dualities and comparison based models will continue to inflame our drives until that point in which we realize that we never have really moved, and that all our strivings are based on illusory form designations. At this point, the being retires in non-being, just Isness, where 'being' is seen as 'doing,' and True Being is based on Non-doing.

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All hail Starjumper ... is he coming back?  I saw a video of him in Peru (?) or somewhere.  Great.  he was doing classes with the locals.  Not sure if he has internet out there though.

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Well what a load of crap!

 

It is so obvious that the writer of this pile of dung has no idea what the purpose of "meditation" is.

 

Let's take a closer look. :)

 

 

Many of the people who talk about spiritual growth, spirituality, or spiritual will often draw a blank when you try to pin them down for a definition of it. I was one of them. I used to think it had something to do with miraculous happenings, telepathy, synchronicity, a feeling of oneness with god/universe/spirit, etc. Then I heard the best definition of spiritual growth and intuitively realized it was correct.

 

 

Spiritual growth is not growth at all, it is a removal of hinderences. It is not mastering your emotions nor is it being emotionally mature. The spirit does not need to master anything. It is already perfect, complete, loving, blissful, gigantic and wonderful. It is the conceptual mind (thoughts and emotions), which, born from ignorance and not knowing the spirit's true essence, is mistaken and mislead into thinking it has to become more, better than it is.

 

It also seems like someone with no realizations, no miracles or powers is very quick to distort and downplay the fruits of enlightenment, doesn't it?

 

 

The definition is this: Spiritual growth is emotional growth, being spiritually advanced is being emotionally mature.

 

Emotional maturity is normaly dictated by a person's native character and is the result of parental influence. The emotional growth due to parental influence usually stop before a person reaches adulthood.

 

What does that mean? Dictated by a person's native character? Does it refer to DNA, or breeding/genetics? How about the endless reincarnations that people have had and the karma that is carried forward from life to life? This isn't a realized person talking here, these are not the words of a mystic nor a realized being. This is someone trying to empathize with the common human in order to sell them a pile of dung. Everyone can identify with those statements, because everyone likes to blame their parents. In Buddhism you'll often hear the expression that everyone was once your mother, your father, your sister and your brother. So, if you are going to blame anyone for your own karma, blame yourself.

 

 

Meditation causes emotional growth due to the introspection it causes. In many systems meditation means thinking about things, but in Taoism meditation means not thinking. We are supposed to not think and either focus on the feeling of energy in the body or remain totally blank. Stopping thinking is very difficult and anyone who tries will quickly discover this. It takes many years, and little by little the spaces between thoughts grows longer.

 

I hate to break it to you, Adya, but the purpose of meditation is not to stop thinking nor is it to remain totally blank. The purpose of meditation, depending on which school you are studying, can be many things. In Buddhism, being totally blank is not a good thing. In dzogchen we do not try to stop our thoughts because that only produces more thoughts. We let the thoughts appear, display themselves and then dissolve away. As we progress, more and more thoughts arise and dissolve away, but we remain unaffected, not grasping at anything, emotions included.

 

In Theravada Buddhism, training the mind to become one pointed is a method of keeping the hinderences at bay. Emotions like ill will, hatred, jealousy are hinderences because they pose a challenge to remaining one pointed. Other emotions like pride, egotism and arrogance are also hinderences. Successful meditation here gives us a taste of what it's like to be unburdened for a while. The longer you remain unburdened, the more it spills over into daily living.

 

And, there are no spaces between thoughts. If you think there are, just go deeper. Thoughts are endless and infinite. It is the space that you put between "you" and your thoughts that matters for insight. Any serious meditator would tell you that there is a different way of knowing that does not involve thought at all. It is a direct "knowing", much faster than any thought, not bound by intellect or memories or learning. The door knob that connects us to that state is "intuition".

 

As we go through this process of trying to stop thinking but not succeeded we end up reviewing our past actions. Things we said to people or things they said to us, things we are thinking of saying to someone or things we want to do or things we have done, the list seems endless. Sometimes the same thought will occur over and over and over and that in itself can be quite annoying when we are trying to stop thinking but it's best to bear with it and keep at it because the results of meditation are truly worth the effort.

 

If we are "meditating" and we find ourselves "reviewing our past actions" then we are not meditating properly. We are supposed to develop enough mindfulness to realize that we are no longer meditating, let the distraction go, relax and go back to the object of meditation. If a distraction recurs persistently, we should look at it straight on and keep hold of it until it dissolves. No grasping or feeding it more energy. But mostly, if you are meditating properly, as you go deeper and deeper the hinderences are kept at bay. The longer you keep the hinderences at bay, the more he mind relaxes and gains energy and power.

 

 

 

A lot of people don't spend much time examining their lives because they are too busy; or, if they don't want to examine their lives they see to it that they become too busy. Consumerism is an escape from reality in this sense.

 

It seems that everyone has some emotional responses which they learned in childhood which may have served them well when they were children, but tend to result in self sabotage when they are adults. In short, almost everyone experiences some emotional pain from time to time, therefore they have an emotional problem. Having an emotional problem doesn't mean a person is crazy, it's just that if some action or reaction that we habitually have results in emotional pain then it's a problem, an emotional problem. The common pre-meditation reaction is to blame the other person.

 

The increased awareness caused by meditation also extends to our emotions and as we meditate more an interesting thing happens. Some emotional difficulty that we were having previously will seem to get worse. This is probably most likely due to two reasons, the first being that before we didn't want to think about it, we wanted to avoid it, and the second is that we become more sensitive. So whatever emotional difficulty we were having will become worse and more annoying, more upsetting, and more infuriating.

 

 

If you are meditating correctly, your awareness increases, that is true, but your calmness and peacefulness also increase. Your ability to let go and let be also increases. Things like emotions and adverse conditions don't bother you as much. This is well known by successful meditators, myself included. Remember, you are training the mind not to grasp, not to be distracted, to remain unruffled when the big waves come. Adya is out in a limb here.. He should have talked about the effects of proper practice rather than focusing on the ill effects of erroneous practice.

 

 

When this happens then there are a couple of possible outcomes. The most common is that the person will realize that it is due to their meditation so they take the easy way out and quit. The other is that they will continue to meditate but the increased annoyance due to the problem will cause more self examination. This self examination results in us realizing what we are doing that is causing the problem, we realize the original motivations for it and we realize why it's not working.

 

It seems to me that the most important thing that happens is that the increased annoyance provides the motivation to fix the problem. Very little happens without motivation.

 

In a nutshell, meditation causes emotional growth because it will make an emotional problem seem worse and that motivates us to fix the problem. It's really as simple as that, but it takes bravery and persistence. There is an analogy in the many myths of spiritual growth that tell of a person going into a dark cave to face their worse fears. The hero or heroine conquers the fear by entering the cave. There is some kind of epic battle in the cave, and if the person wins then when they come out of the cave they are changed people. More mature, leaders, at peace, things like that.

 

So meditation includes a process, likened to entering a fearful cave, where we get to do the scariest thing of all, to face our own worst enemy.

 

 

- Steve Gray

So let's recap what Adya has said. Meditation increases awareness, and due to the increase in awareness emotional problems seem bigger than they really are and this motivates us to solve these emotional problems.

 

No mention of the purpose of meditation nor right practice. No mention that although you might solve your present life's past emotional disfigurements, you have had endless lives, all with their own emotional episodes, that presents endless emotional problems to solve. All those karmic seeds to ripen at their own time..

 

Better to understand your true nature and have those issues dissolve in the light of awareness all by themselves rather than lead people to believe that increased awareness makes your emotional disturbances bigger than they really are. Playing with energy and kundalini will exacerbate emotional turmoil. Don't play, be sincere. Other beings will come to your aid along the path.

 

I think Adya is guilty of pushing wrong practice because he is trying to appeal to the uninformed, the gullible, the downtrodden because everyone can identify with emotional problems. What a salesman!

 

Yes, master your emotions, master your energies, hone your willpower and overcome your blemishes. That is totally the wrong direction. Instead, learn to let go, quit grasping so much, seek a little less self and self importance. Try to understand the theory of dependent origination as taught by the Buddha and you might just realize that maybe the Buddha was right.

 

Don't listen to Steve Gray. Someone should revoke his license to preach.

 

:)

Edited by Tibetan_Ice
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I would say emotional work is a fine place to start, though I don't mean as part of a meditational system. More in the spirit of good psycho-analysis. In fact I would see it as an alternative path to meditation.

I found emotional work to be very effective and relevant for the lower chakras, which can flow into energy work + emotional work for the heart to throat, which can then flow into working directly with subtle energies for the head chakras.

 

:)

Edited by Bindi

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I would say emotional work is a fine place to start, though I don't mean as part of a meditational system. More in the spirit of good psycho-analysis. In fact I would see it as an alternative path to meditation.

 

I found emotional work to be very effective and relevant for the lower chakras, which can flow into energy work + emotional work for the heart to throat, which can then flow into working directly with subtle energies for the head chakras.

 

:)

Eckhart Tolle has some interesting advice about how to deal with the pain body and deep emotional issues. His method is to recognize, observe, put space in between, don't feed it energy and gradually watch it lose its potency.

 

He didn't invent this method for it is a remedial process to address the hinderences that many Buddhists will refer to. But, it is an effective practice.

Edited by Tibetan_Ice

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That's completely valid from one angle. And fifty thumbs up for the stuff on facing your issues, definitely something I need to do. Great share. :)

 

The way I see things, though, is that there are many axes of development which different practices/traditions work on. They are connected and influence other a lot, so it isn't like work on one axis has no effect on anything else - but if you want progress along a particular axis, then to some extent you have to do something specific to that axis for a while.

 

So let's say there's an 'emotional maturity' axis, a 'intelligence' axis, a 'virtue' axis, an 'energetics' axis, a 'samadhi' axis, a 'physical health' axis, a 'insight' axis, and so on.

 

Coming from a Buddhist POV, this path's 'three trainings' focuses on three axes. There's virtue (which Daniel Ingram et al teach as actually including emotional maturity and the other stuff helpful for living a good life in the ordinary sense), samadhi, and insight. All three are equally important, but at the same time it is only progress along the 'insight' axis which results in permanent shifts to the mind which Buddhism would consider awakening.

 

Saying that meditation is about emotional maturity is neither right nor wrong IMO, it depends what sort(s) of meditation you're doing and what axes you're hoping to progress along.

 

Kenneth Folk has a really nice hard drive analogy:

 

 

Looking at the three trainings in terms of the hard drive analogy, I'd say that the training of virtue moves horizontally, the training of insight moves vertically, and the training of samadhi makes it easier to move up or across.

 

 

This.

 

-grok

Edited by Grok

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Nothing needs to be done, ever. It is choice alone. Hindrances or obfuscations on the way are only termed that because ideals haven't been met. Anything is achievable, but nothing is truly higher or lower, except in dualistic thinking. In summary, nothing is broke, or everything is broke. It is based on your views. End your views, dwell in emptiness, and nothing needs be done. 

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