I voice this podcast episode for Methods Podcast, which introduces the vipassana method of meditation.
Humans want to know what's real, what's reality, what's true. We have explored the outside world and our inner worlds for millennia, and we seem to still not be sure what is absolutely real. I think the issue might be that what is really real is not something that can be seen or communicated through language at our dualistic level of perception. We have to transcend duality experientially and consciously in order to know the "really real," sometimes called the Nondual, the One, the Real, the Absolute, or God. Perhaps only at that level of consciousness may we come to truly know what is ultimately Real and True.
There was a fascinating show that my wife and I watched last night on Mind Field with Vsauce (Michael Stevens). It was season 3, episode 7, titled "Behavior and Belief."
The "Holy Ghost" is perhaps one of the most mysterious figures in Mormon theology (and perhaps more generally in Christianity). Many Mormons likely know this being of the Godhead as a "personage of spirit," which "has not a body of flesh and bones," "were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell within us" (D&C 130:22). This already begins to sound quite supernatural, a ghostly person that may come and dwell within me? How are we to make sense of this?
Language often constructs our perception of reality. As the philosopher William H. Gass once said, "The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words." Or so they try.
The ideas we have about God are not God. Any idea, thought, or concept never was and never will be God. They may be helpful symbols that point to God, metaphors, analogies, allegories, images, but they are not God as God is. They will inevitably conflict with one another and be fallible, as every symbol eventually fails at actually being the thing it is supposed to represent. The symbol is never the thing-in-itself.
An addition to the BHT, known as "The Lord's Prayer." (The painting above is "In the Wilderness" (2003), by Ron DiCianni.)
It seems to me that many people consider meditation to involve elaborate fantasies, imaginings, and visioning in the mind. This seems to be facilitated and encouraged by many guided meditations. I perceive that these kinds of meditation can have many positive benefits in creative pursuits, visualization, and problem solving, to go on adventures and vision quests in the mind. However, I think meditation can offer much more than this.
I don't think so. But I think it is deeply, absolutely, universally Real. Let me explain.
Mysticism seems to be largely misunderstood. It seems to be either thought of as a kind of ethereal and vague mystery that can never be really known, or as an impractical lofty exercise that can never truly be achieved, at least in this life. For me, it is neither.