Friday, February 22, 2008

Advanced technology for the mind and heart

Traditionally, the Western world has emphasized external achievement, and the East has valued inner development. The great scientific and technological advances of the past 500 years originated in the West, while yogis and roshis in the monasteries and ashrams of Asia were cultivating the inner arts of meditation.

Now the currents of East and West and North and South have joined and are intermingling to form an emerging global culture and economy. As a result, we can apply the inner “technology” perfected in the East to balance the excesses of the rapid technological innovations perfected in the West!

Like master computer programmers, the great meditation masters throughout history developed the capacity to program their bodies, minds, and hearts to experience highly refined states of being. While we in the West were charting the heavens and initiating the Industrial Revolution, they were chalking up some pretty remarkable accomplishments of their own:
  • Penetrating insights into the nature of the mind and the process by which it creates and perpetuates suffering and stress
  • Deep states of ecstatic absorption in which the meditator is completely immersed in union with the Divine
  • The wisdom to discriminate between relative reality and the sacred dimension of being
  • Unshakable inner peace that external circumstances can’t disturb
  • The cultivation of positive, beneficial, life-affirming mind-states, such as patience, love, kindness, equanimity, joy, and — especially — compassion for the suffering of others
  • The ability to control bodily functions that are usually considered involuntary, such as heart rate, body temperature, and metabolism
  • The capacity to mobilize and move vital energy through the different centers and channels of the body for the sake of healing and personal transformation
  • Special psychic powers, such as clairvoyance (the ability to perceive matters beyond the range of ordinary perception) and telekinesis (the ability to move objects at a distance without touching them)
Of course, the great meditators of the past used these qualities to seek liberation from suffering, either by withdrawing from the world into a more exalted reality or by achieving penetrating insights into the nature of existence. Yet the meditation technology they developed — which has become widely available in the West in the past few decades — can be used by the rest of us in ordinary, everyday ways to yield some extraordinary benefits.

No comments: