Have you ever been able to answer the seemingly simple question of who am I? This philosophical pointer has been used by teachers for centuries to take us on the journey beyond meditation.
It is much like the philosophical questions posed by the Greek story of the ship of Theseus. This particular problem is known as the sorties paradox. The ship of Theseus is a thought experiment, rooted in contemplation, that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The concept is one of the oldest in Western philosophy, having been discussed by Heraclitus and Plato by c. 500–400 BC.
Discover the significance of questions like where am I going, as you traverse the journey beyond meditation. Why am I going there? Teachers, mystics, monks and masters throughout history have taught using these seemingly simple questions to get us to contemplate life, and ourselves more deeply.
The Science of Contemplation
The significance for you and I today is that we are just like that ship! We to have all our parts replaced every seven years or so. If we are just our bodies this poses a bold contemplative conundrum indeed. We should know if we are our body, our emotions, our souls and is there such a thing as our spiritual selves?
We never stay the same. Everything is impermanent and constantly changing. Yet, you and i get stuck on what we believe as children, and then never question that understanding again. We are creatures of mental habit. We think we know who we are, until the day we stop and contemplate the question for long enough. It is only through the practice of contemplating these big questions in small packages that we uncover the realities of who we are, why we are here and where we are going. If we don’t stop or are unable to stop, think and contemplate because we have become compulsive by nature, we can loose the very meaning of life. When we loose our way suffering comes.
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
The buddha spoke of the concept of Dukkha which suggested that wherever we go, we will find suffering, unhappiness or pain. Fortunately, there is a corresponding state of existential well-being—the liberation from suffering that comes about with contemplative awakening. The journey beyond meditation gets us there. The buddhists used the term sukha to describe the process of awakening that contemplation brings. They realized that only if you experience an awakening, that you will be able to transcend the suffering of a compulsive mind. This principle is the same in psychology today. Nothing has changed. When people are stuck in depression and stressful thoughts that overwhelm them, we usually start with working on the obsessive thoughts of the mind. The mind becomes obsessive because it seeks answers to life’s insoluble problems. It will never get answers and thus philosophy is dead! We need to rediscover our humility and re-question simple three word questions like “who am I?” rather than following the law of complexity into suffering.
We have to go well beyond the intellect on a journey beyond meditation if we ever want to get beyond the suffering of Dukkha. Contemplation is one such practice that leads to the essential awakening we all need to experience to find peace of mind and then peace on the planet.
What we can do to awaken is seek clarity and reality through mindfulness, stillness and meditation answers to fundamental life questions. If you are stuck then you may benefit from resetting the way you think. When you do so you can transcend your very limited intelligence or IQ, and move towards using the power of your contemplative intelligence. Discover the power of contemplation with us. You will never be able to look at an apple, quite the same again. Benedizioni.