H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The Science of Meditation - Part III


Lecture by Matsya Avatara Dasa

Naples, Castello Angioino, 20th December 2008

Conference “The Science of Meditation”


During our introspective journey we encounter a number of experiences that the individual lives unconsciously, almost unknowingly, but that keep interacting with him every day. These unconscious experiences can be individual or common to various creatures, and constitute an integral part of this universe in its entirety. This is the case of the collective unconscious described by Jung. The collective unconscious constitutes the world of archetypes, the world of symbols, where eventually an American, an Indio, a person who lives in Cape of Good Hope, an Eskimo or a Chinese, have the same essential reference systems: this is indeed the universal nature of symbols. Such is the crucial importance of the concept of memory or remembrance, in Sanskrit smritaya: what can be remembered both at conscious and unconscious level.

These memories are all the more conditioning when they are unconscious, because a memory or a conscious thought can be temporarily or voluntarily put aside by a person who may be trying to concentrating on something else, while an unconscious memory, precisely due to its nature, cannot be directly and consciously managed by the individual, who becomes agitated by such memories. Similar experiences stored in the deep unconscious or karmashaya are called samskara, where sam means "together" and kara comes from the Sanskrit root kr meaning "to do". In themselves these experiences have no positive or negative value, but their importance is in the powerful influence they have on the individual, who generally and incorrectly thinks that he is the author of his actions. Similar experiences attract one another and dig deep grooves into the unconscious psyche, veritable paths on which the individual always treads, reinforcing them more and more. Such psychic grooves are constituted by the individual tendencies, vasanas, that are also positive or negative. So we are often agitated by the unconscious without knowing it, pushed by our tendencies that may be artistic, scientific, harmonizing or oppressing, pacific or hostile, and obviously in order to really become the masters of ourselves, we must clean out such tendencies, especially the negative ones. There are very precise and effective techniques that enable us, through the use of will power, to transform the contents of the unconscious: a fundamental work in order to engage in the path of meditation. Only in this way we will be able to free our intuition power, the "path of the heart", that we can successfully walk only if the heart has been properly purified.


In order to attain knowledge we can not depend on sense perception, that as we have seen already, allows us to know maybe the 0.1% of the external and internal reality, and we cannot even depend on the information broadcast in society, especially in a society like the one we live in, highly technological, completely extroverted and finalized to the realization of external projects, where judgments are often prejudices. In this case discrimination constitutes the application of Socrates' motto, "knowing we do not know", and is an invitation to question oneself, to not accepting something blindly only because it appears to our senses or to our reason, to constructively question our deep beliefs. In this way it will be possible to overcome the concept of reality that is anchored to the physical and psychic world, overcoming the mere rational function, the "short-winged" intellect (in Dante's words) and by rediscovering the pure intuition faculties, typical of the child psyche, that are at the basis of modern scientific research. In this perspective we do not want to deny intellect in general, the "treasure of intellect" (again, in Dante's words), because it constitutes a valuable instrument of research when it is not misused to damage other channel of knowledge, that must be properly used but with detachment - just like in pole jumping, the athlete must use the pole to make the jump and then drop it in order to complete the leap. 

All the great discoveries come from brilliant intuitions and only later they are verified experimentally through positive sciences such as mathematics, physics and chemistry, so that they become evident for all and not only for those who have "given birth" to them in the first place. Explaining, or sharing our discoveries and realizations with others, constitutes the sentiment of compassion, karuna, and transmitting them in a convincing manner with the typical respect of the spirit of offering, is fundamental for the growth of the individual as well as for the good of others around us. Because whatever we give to others always comes back to us, and there is no better way of benefiting ourselves but doing good to others, offering them what is most precious for ourselves.

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