I hosted this panel at the 2013 Science and Nonduality conference in Holland. At least two of of the participants – Lisa Cairns and Gary Weber – claimed to be in a permanent state of nondual consciousness. For those who don’t speak the lingo, they are what some Buddhist might call “enlightened” – i.e., their sense of being a separate self has collapsed, and they now apparently reside in a state of open unfixed “oneness” – whatever you take that to mean. Actually, what the hell that actually means is the subject of this panel.
Meditation and other contemplative practices seem to accelerate the aging-gracefully gradient. They are ways of thinning out in the prime of life – a kind of dying in the midst of the everyday. Then when death does come, as it comes for us all, there’s nothing to fear, “for the things we’ve learned to care for will continue.”
The benefits of mindfulness meditation have very quickly become one of the good-news mental health stories of our time. But meditation also has a shadowy seam. Is there a link between some forms of mental illness and the freedom promised at the heart of meditation? My column on the infamous “Dark Night of the Soul”
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.”