Do these modalities all work, or none, or only some? And what can a person realistically expect as they undertake these different practices?
There is a long and confusing and ultimately useless debate about which approach is correct. The debate is useless because both approaches are right. It’s a paradox, and there is no getting around paradox in the wooly and contradictory world of spirituality.
Sometimes I’m an idiot of a very particular type. When I see a person in any kind of hurt, I experience a seizure of compulsive helpfulness. I say the words, perform the gestures, provide the resources, and sometimes make the commitments I later realize are beyond my power to make and may not actually be that helpful in the first place.
A more realistic take on the so-called “evolution” of consciousness: an increase in discernment and sensitivity, largely driven forward by young people. It’s obvious why young people see and experience bias and discrimination at a level of nuance many in older generations cannot: they aren’t habituated yet.
What she showed me – and for me she is a she – is I am not alone in this process. My reality is co-created – with her when she is with me, with the other participants in the room, with the shamans and their icaros and the whole ecology of natural presences teeming in the space around us.
This is a deceptively simple practice that is so simple most folks write it off without giving it a sincere shot. Like meditation, it can take a while to get the hang of. Its many proponents argue no other practice can change your relationship to hardship and suffering more radically in so short a time.
I have a theory. Not a perfect theory, but it is a theory based on experience – based on my experience. And that’s exactly what my theory is about: the feedback loop between our ideas about reality, and our experience of reality. A celebration – and critique – of spiritual growth and understanding.
In March of 2012, myself and twenty other “adept” meditators participated in an experiment to try to answer the question: what is the real resting state of the brain? Strange things happened. An exploration of one view of so-called “enlightenment.”