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From Intellect to Intuition - Chapter Six - Stages in Meditation

Stages in Meditation (Continued)

Milarepa was one who eventually rid himself of the Two-Fold Shadow and soared into Spiritual Space, till he attained the Goal wherein all doctrines merge in at-one-ment... Having all his ideas and concepts merged with the Primal Cause (he) had eliminated the Illusion of Duality.
- Rechung (from the Tibetan)

We have carried our meditation work forward along what might be termed secular lines, for the use of the mind has been involved, and though the subject of the meditation process has presumably been religious, yet the same results can be equally well reached with a purely worldly theme as the "object" or "seed thought." The educating of the mind to hold itself attentively upon a chosen idea has been the aim. We have, therefore, been dealing with what might legitimately be called a part of the educational process.

It is at this point that the divergence of our eastern and western methods becomes apparent. One school teaches its students to gain control of the instrument of thought before anything else is done, to discover the existence of this instrument through primary failure in control, and then, through concentration and meditation, to achieve facility in forcing the mind to be one-pointed in any direction. The other school posits the possession of something that is called the mind, and proceeds then to fill it with information, and to train the memory aspect to be retentive, and the content of that memory to be easily available to the student. From this stage a [120] relatively few in number pass on to a real use of the mind through a profound interest in some science or some way of living, but the majority never attain mind control. Educational methods as we now have them do not teach their students this preliminary technique, and, hence, the wide confusion as to the nature of the mind and as to the distinction between the mind and the brain.

If the brain and the brain cells are all that there is, then the position of the materialistic thinker, that thought is entirely dependent upon the quality of the brain cells, is logical and correct. The part that the brain plays in the process is ably put for us in Ludwig Fischer's book, The Structure of Thought:

"The perfection of processes of apprehension depends in the main on the structure and functioning of a certain organ which receives and connects the different impressions of the senses, and which, further, partly retains the traces of previous impressions and allows them indirectly to enter into action. This organ is the brain with its ramifications and subsidiary organs. The perfection of the structure and of the functioning of this organ determines the perfection with which we can succeed in a deliberate attempt at producing a representation of the complex of the Whole, using the specific forms of sensual perception which are at our command...
The brain allows us to have an intuition and an intellectual apprehension of the world in its complexity. The manner in which this is brought about depends on the exceedingly complicated internal structure of this organ, and on its reciprocal relation to the other parts of the Whole, a relation which has many gradations."
- Fischer, Ludwig, The Structure of Thought, page 135. [121]

If perception and sensuous apprehension, with their consequent rationalizings and the institution of a subsequent mental process, have their source in the brain, then Dr. Sellars is right in his book, Evolutionary Naturalism, when he says that mind can be regarded as a

"physical category" and that "we should mean by it the nervous processes which find expression in intelligent conduct."
- Sellars, Dr. Roy Wood, Evolutionary Naturalism, page 300.

But this idea fails to satisfy the majority of thinkers and most of them - belonging to other schools than the purely materialistic - posit something more than matter, and regard the mind as distinct from the brain; they hold the hypothesis that it is a subjective substantial reality, which can use the brain as its terminal of expression and which it can impress in order to express those concepts and intuitions which a man can consciously utilize. What we are considering is in no wise a supernormal faculty, or the possession of a specialized instrument by a gifted few; the mind should be used by all educated people, and at the close of the educational process (carried on in the formative years) a man should be in possession of a faculty that he understands and uses at will. Dr. McDougall points out in Psychology, the Science of Behavior

...that our mental activity (which is usually unconscious) can be either subnormal, normal or supernormal.
- McDougall, William, Psychology, the Science of Behavior.

In the first case, you will have the idiot or the feeble-minded; in the second, you will have the intelligent average citizen [122] whose mind is a theatre or rather a cinematograph, registering anything that happens to come along; and, finally, we shall discover those rare souls whose consciousness is illuminated and whose minds record that which is hidden to the majority. With this last class we have as yet nothing to do. They are the product of the final stages of the meditation work, - contemplation and illumination. Concentration and meditation have definite reference to the many and to the normal.

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