K’s teaching always seemed to be asking questions - and we are in the habit of answering questions and solving mysteries with our intellect - we depend on our thoughts and our knowledge to provide us with solutions.
We look to our thoughts as if understanding is hidden within them.
Meditation is not an activity of the self - if I am observing my thoughts - this is just extra confusion on top of confusion.
PS - The only true meditation in a traditional form that I have come across is Zazen : just sitting, with the added instruction of “no goal”.
No doubt about that. But it doesn’t end there…
Far from me solving mysteries with our intellect. As you can understand from my reply to Inquiry I’ve tried several “paths”. I sat with no goal in mind. First thought which came after a while was: “what am I doing here?” ( I’ve seen people during Buddhist meditation which forced themselves to stay seated and to stay awake… no goal, yes, but the mind has its laws and its demands. We can’t ignore them. A moltitude of thoughts invade our consciousness… maybe you remember that you left your garage open and want to go and close it, may be there are hurts from the past araising… you can’t ignore them. You have to learn how to stay with “what is”, the buddhists say you have to welcome everything that comes. So observe your thoughts without giving them importance, let them come and let them go.
That is what K. said in many of his talks. Sometimes he called it meditation, sometimes said “no, that’s not meditation”, according to who he was speaking with. The usefulness here (but not the goal) is that the mind slows down so that you can be more aware of your thoughts, feeling, etc. Then there is all the rest K. pointed out, like observing yourself in the mirror of relationship (and sometimes he called that too “meditation”) and having a revolution of values… there are things which are necessary but not sufficient, and they must be done. No steps will lead us to the meditative state. It happens spentaneously.
No need to be sorry, you pointed out important things and I think this discussion may help each other to go deeper into this matter. Neither of us has the complete view, one may see one thing and the other a different one equally important. Our replies are complementary I think.
Judgement is just an activity of the mind, let it happen, observe it when it comes without reacting: I must not judge". This is choiceless awareness, isn’t it?
“if I am observing my thoughts - this is just extra confusion on top of confusion.”
Of course there is confusion. But if you don’t react - and that means the ego, you, is not operating, you can stay with that too.
I had thought the same the first time I read his biography. And it’s also a thing which has been debated a lot in the K.'s circles and by K. himseld. He used to say: “K. might be a biological freak”. So must we conclude there is no hope for us?
From what I gathered in his talks he opened a door for us, something probably we could not do by ourselves. The door is still open, maybe only for a short while…
Not true (sorry to have to say this again). We do see that there must be a change in ourselves, but it is not “the basic sensation that we are OK” that prevents us from changing, but:
(1) the fear and insecurity that most of us have to venture on a path that we know nothing about except what others have said about it, and of which the only thing they say is “if you want to know it you must walk it yourself” (yes, most of us need to have some security that the “effort” will be worth it before we start walking).
(2) the fear of being left alone walking a path that most do not walk;
(3) the fear of dying psychologically, of ceasing to “be”, on that path (yes, many ask “OK, you say that I must die psychologically, that I must cease to be, and then what?” before giving a single step).
Therefore, the only thing that prevents us from changing is fear. And not wanting to acknowledge that fear in ourselves, is when we say to justify ourselves “I’m fine as I am, after all, it is true that I suffer, but I also have many moments of happiness. So I’m not going to venture down a path that nobody assures me that in the end things will be better there … anyway, I will continue talking to/with others about the need for change”.
Yes, there is hope … the only thing that prevents this hope from becoming a fact is precisely our fear of becoming “a biological freak”. You already know these kind of questions: “What will happen to me if I start walking that path?” “What if I am left alone?” “Who is going to help me when things go wrong?” and so on up to “what will happen to my relationships if I become a biological freak?”. You see, fear again.
Ignorance is never innate, it can be eradicated if we allow wisdom to dispel it without fear getting in the way.
It is said that Lama Tsongkhapa (a Tibetan monk) was once giving teachings about the emptiness of all phenomena, and that in the midst of these teachings he saw a monk cling tightly to his habits. He had realized emptiness but the fear of disappearing was still there, so he came back.
Remember that interval of quiet between two thoughts? From that place, fear as thought can be seen to arise. It’s an interference. When it’s seen as that it can dissipate. From that place of quiet, all thinking is an interference. It’s part of understanding the process of thinking and where it has its place and where it doesn’t?
Wouldn’t the door remain open for as long as there are humans to walk through it? Or are you implying that at some point we’ll be too inhuman to walk through that open door? The Christians believe that time is short and if you tarry, the door will close.