I find no longer believe that meditation as it is usually practiced is a ‘good thing’ either for the practitioner or the rest of society. Why do I say such a thing? The is answer is simple and lies in the physics of the matter. In meditation as it is usually taught the emphasis is to clear the conscious mind of thoughts that are the product of or evoke emotion and seeing that this is true of all thoughts this means that eventually the consciousness should become almost completely silent. This is considered a ‘good thing’ that makes the individual more peaceful’ clear headed, healthier and so on. In fact the value of clearing out emotion is seldom questioned and the only matter in doubt is whether any but a few talented individuals can ever achieve this state.
However, no one seems to ask what happens to the emotions that are ‘cleansed’ in this way. Emotions and thoughts are forms of energy and we know from the laws physics that energy is never lost, it can only be transformed or dispersed. What happens when you clear your mind of thoughts and (hopefully) bring about a condition of ‘inner peace’ is that you creating a small calm clear area within the confusion and hustle of the world around you. This sounds great, but it is really no different in principle from the enclaves to ‘peace and serenity’ created by the rich and privileged; rich peoples ghettos. These must always be guarded and controlled if they not to succumb to the general ‘anarchy’ that is just beyond their barbed wire fences. As far as I can tell this is what most meditation teachers attempt to instill into the students. They encourage them to set up mental ‘guard posts’ that ‘remove’ any thought or sensation that is not in keeping with the ethos of mental sanctuary and replace it with something that is.
Emotions are based on reality (except in a very few truly delusional souls); we feel ‘good’ when something we like happens or the reverse. Learning to switch off the emotion in the conscious mind does not change this and so the emotional energy still has to be dealt with. It can be pushed into corners of the mind that we little access or it can be dispersed into the outside world. Burying emotions either positive or negative is clearly a very bad idea indeed. Being aware of thoughts and you dislike is unpleasant, but it is seldom really dangerous. Burying any emotion however, even a positive one is very risky as once you lose track of an emotion it can take on a life of its own. Suppressed emotions tend to surface at moment when you are weakened, by stress, illness etc. At such times a suppressed emotion can ‘take over’ your being temporarily and cause you to perform acts that are ‘out of character’ with potentially disastrous results.
Of course meditation teachers will all claim that this is impossible with their system and in some cases this may be true, which brings me the second way of dealing unwanted energy; dispersal.
Dispersing emotion sounds like a good idea as an emotion that is ‘concentrated’ in a person can be diluted into the ‘ether’ and so should be made harmless - like a drop of poison in a lake,. The trouble is that is not one drop, but many over a sustained period of time and like any form of pollution it builds up and up. If negative emotion is not stopped at source this is evitable. The source of emotion is the meditator and so you should not allow your negative emotions out of your consciousness mind and your control as they are your responsibility. The way to deal with emotions is not to ‘accept, or reject’ them, but acknowledge them for what they are, reactions to sensory import. If you feel ‘bad’ it is for a reason. Something is upsetting you and you need establish what that is and try to come up with a strategy to deal with the problem.
Of course some problems cannot be solved by the individual. For example, I look at terrible things happening on the TV and I am upset, that’s something I have to live with. I could stop seeing the news, but that would just be a pretense as I know that damm well that whether or I know about them bad things still happen. For myself I think it is better to acknowledge the fact while others are unhappy I can never truly be happy as we all one family as far consciousness goes. The peace and tranquility so prized by mediation master’s is just escapism. I can be happy sometimes of course, when I am doing something I like, but the knowledge that this world is full of suffering is never that far away and I call that being realistic. From realism comes realistic actions, and so every once in a while I see the way that everyone should proceed.
This brings me to next problem with creating an artificially peaceful consciousness; thoughts lead to actions. The true is that mostly meditation masters and their elite students are able to appear so serene because they have ‘displaced’ the hassles or their existence to those further down the pyramid that themselves. This is mainly by collecting, power, money and privilege. Buddhist monks are able to spend a lot of meditating because someone else has to work harder. I don’t mean single out Buddhist as all the gurus and masters basically do the same thing. This has led me to the firm conclusion that the only genuine way to progress spiritually is to ‘deal with your own shit first!’ This is true for all aspects of your life both internal and external.