Excellent response Emily.  There is some meat on this bone.

--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, Emily Reyn <emilymae.reyn@...> wrote:
> Curtis, I always enjoy what you write - creative writer that you are.
> And, in terms of your POV - I am but a babe in the woods re: your topic and 
> I do not have an answer to your question.  In the past I have used 
> meditation to relax and to forgive one of my ex-boyfriends (i.e. the loving 
> kindness, "may all beings be happy" buddhist meditation.)

Seems like a pretty practical benefit to me.  Reprogramming feelings is no 
small thing.  Chalk one up for meditation works!  I never did it in such a 
specific context, but I am sure you represent a lot of people who find 
meditation useful this way.  I am more and more interested in the Buddhist 
style because so much of the latest positive research is about those styles.  I 
know very little about them so far and have only had a little self taught 
experience with them.

<  It worked.  But, I lack self-discipline and am a self-centered loner.  
And, I am also a spinster (in more ways than one), so don't take anything I 
say too seriously.  Smile.>

I would never do that to you. (take you too seriously)  Please return the 

> Hmmm..for the first part...'How do we know that meditation states are better 
> able to experience reality?"  Is "better" the right word here? If you 
> rephrased the sentence to switch it out for the word "differently" - the 
> question would be easier. 

I think ultimately I agree with your switch, but that is not how traditional 
meditations pitch what they are accomplishing.  They are making ultimate 
ontological claims about how the world REALLY is.

But as far as seeing the states of meditation as different rather than better, 
I think that is honestly what we really know about them divorced from the 
enthusiastic PR of their traditions.  Starting from this basis we have a chance 
to learn their place better I believe. So I agree with your switch of emphasis 
and think it is more realistic.

> How are you defining "reality?"  The world you encounter as governed by the 
> laws of physics?  The reality of being Curtis, no matter where you are?  
> The reality of experiencing the larger planet/world physically, sensually, 
> emotionally, intuitively?  Is this a "we can't know" thing because reality 
> is/can be a subjective experience?"  Or is reality a "what is, is" and the 
> question is whether meditation gives one a leg up on accepting and dealing 
> with that?.

I am not an epistemological relativist.  I do believe that there is an actual 
world out there.  And I am working through our humman limitations on how to 
know about it.  There are too many levels of perception you are hitting on to 
sum it all up.  As I re-read what you wrote I think you are articulating 
something profound that I will sum up as mystery.  We live surrounded inside 
and outside with mystery.  I see traditional systems as an attempt to define 
that mystery within their POV.  I  believe it is premature to buy into that.  
Not to ignore their input, but not jump the gun and interpret inner experience 
of altered states within their framework.  I think we are babies at this and 
many people act like they don't know this. Altered states may not be higher 
states at all.

Of course there are also many levels of our inner life that is just what I call 
the art of our lives.  That is a free field-day and I am not interested in 
quantifying us or of any of the surprises from that area of our creativity.  
That may or may not really do justice to the questions you raised, but I will 
re-read it again tomorrow to see what else I have missed from reading it.  
Thought provoking to be sure.

 < And, you aren't limiting your question to TM are you? >

Not anymore.  But most of my mystical experiences happened within that context 
and I was so into that model of evaluating subjective experience that it still 
affects how I view things.  This is not all a positive but it gives me a 
launching pad.

TM was a very regimented system in how we were trained in a vocabulary for how 
to express our experiences.  At first this was very exhilarating and allowed us 
to share our inner lives with a shared word and phrase group.  But now I see it 
as a limited language of groups like TM, providing more emotional experience of 
understanding something due to pattern recognition instead of actually, deeply 
thinking about how to express inner experience outside the buzz words. So I am 
at once handicapped by my experience and positively affected by having taken it 
all so far that I realize that mystical subjective experience is something 
interesting.  But not necessarily in the way that the groups think of it.

That was excellent, please hit the ball back if you feel like it.

> >________________________________
> > From: curtisdeltablues <curtisdeltablues@...>
> >To: FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com 
> >Sent: Monday, March 11, 2013 1:16 PM
> >Subject: [FairfieldLife] Take two:Everything below is my POV
> > 
> >
> >  
> >So after the wave of drama I am back contemplating what the value is of the 
> >different states of mind produced and cultivated by meditation.  (Emily 
> >please cover your ears.)
> >
> >Meditation is pleasurable on its own even without any benefits.  Pleasurable 
> >experiences need no further justification.  It produces a "high" and that 
> >feeling can linger.  I still question the value of some of the more intense 
> >peak experiences since it is basically as content free as a hit of something 
> >from the opiate group, which is not surprising because neurotransmitters are 
> >the bodies inner opiates.  And getting all fulfilled-up, divorced from any 
> >achievement more than a cat lying on the same pillow to warm it couldn't 
> >accomplish seems a bit dubious to me.  I guess it is a matter of how much 
> >time is devoted to this feel good state of mind.  The question of it 
> >producing something else is still up in the air for me.
> >
> >I believe for some people there is an effect of meditation making them more 
> >thoughtful, however I would add that naturally thoughtful people can become 
> >more detached and dissociated from their feelings. I don't see the kind of 
> >mental enhancements that Maharishi tried to claim.  The TMers were a 
> >self-selected higher educated, higher income group to start, but other than 
> >that seem fairly ordinary to slightly more naive about claims than most 
> >people I interact with.  They tend to trust their inner feelings about 
> >objective things and that gives many of them a bit of over-gullible 
> >dopiness. So I can't see that long term use of meditation has brought much 
> >in the way of benefits mentally or creatively.  People who are naturally 
> >creative continue to be as they meditate, even as they attribute it to their 
> >practice, and boring people who are not creative are just as dull with the 
> >additional annoyance of seeming pretty pleased with themselves internally 
> >for no
>  obvious reason. 
> >
> >The biggest claim from the perspective of these traditions is that they are 
> >opening up the mind to a more unvarnished direct experience of "reality".  I 
> >think this seems a bit dubious and seems overly dependent on the 
> >interpretation from old traditions that were as full of superstition as any 
> >insight into man's condition.  But that is the deepest reason to do a lot of 
> >mind altering meditation, the combination with the belief that this 
> >experience means certain things.
> >
> >I'm just gunna toss off the Mahariahi/Heglin physics angle as a metaphor 
> >gone awry and marketing silliness and not worth considering. 
> >I will include Maharishi's own standard of test of sidhi performance to 
> >indicate that something didn't work out as predicted.  Either it is really 
> >NOT the field of all possibilities or TM and sidhis aren't getting people to 
> >that level.  The experiment has been going on a bit long so if the movement 
> >wont call this one, I will.
> >
> >But other sincere Yoga believers maintain that the state of mind reached in 
> >meditation and the state they cultivate allows them to see the truth of 
> >existence which corresponds not coincidentally with whatever ontological 
> >metaphysics the group they associate with buys into.  And with the vagueness 
> >of the language used to describe these states combined with the abstract non 
> >sensory nature of most of these POVs, we have an untestable loop of belief 
> >feeding the experience its meaning. 
> >
> >So it seems to come down to faith in the system's meaning assignment.  And I 
> >know that there will be much hue and cry that in fact it is all experienced 
> >and not just believed, but that doesn't seem to included an understanding of 
> >how conception shapes our perceptions.  Especially in an area with so much 
> >floaty altered states involved.  I just don't believe the conditions are 
> >present for reliable knowledge reporting.  So if you believe in the system's 
> >view of ultimate reality, you will get a nice dose of that experience.  But 
> >you have really no way to verify its validity because it is all subjective.  
> >And our brains definitely have the ability to serve up a version of 
> >everything being one or whatever other version of unitive experience you 
> >want to trot out.  Been there. 
> >
> >When a Christian says he EXPERIENCES being born again into the loving 
> >salvation of his Lord, that he is living in a state beyond mere belief, he 
> >is on the exact same epistemological sand trap as the yogi who claims that 
> >his inner experience is the real real,seriously dude, I'm talking realest, 
> >experience of reality.  And in the end it is the feeling good that is 
> >probably the driving force accompanied by a distinct lack of interest in 
> >pushing further into the discussion of "how do we know this".
> >
> >But that is where I am.  I don't see anything persuasive as an argument in 
> >favor of believing that people who claim higher states are any more in tune 
> >with reality than the rest of us.  With all the obvious wackiness from many 
> >of these people I think they support a better case for self-delusion, or at 
> >best a sort of benign overestimation of one's  real wisdom.
> >
> >And I know that those into this will dismiss my "ignorance" and see this POV 
> >as indicating a flaw in me.  I am fine with that.  But I am an unenlightened 
> >guy and this is a legitimate question I am proposing. I would think someone 
> >coming from and enlightened viewpoint could at least present a case that 
> >would satisfy me without having me first drink the cool-aid of belief first. 
> > I got my ticket punched, had the unitive experiences and am still left with 
> >the legitimate question:
> >
> >How do we know that meditaiton states are better able to experience reality, 
> >and how could we know if this was true?
> >
> >Emily take your hands off your ears now. 
> >
> >The above writing was an expression of my POV, and you can verify this 
> >because it has my name at the top.
> >
> >
> > 
> >
> >

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