Why Buddhist Meditation Doesn't Always Work


As mankind multiplies, and with it suffering - which is the natural result of an increasing number of units that generate it - sorrow and pain are intensified. We live in an atmosphere of gloom and despair, but this is because our eyes are downcast and rivetted to the earth, with all its physical and grossly material manifestations. If, instead of that, man proceeding on his life-journey looked - not heavenward, which is but a figure of speech - but within himself and centered his point of observation on the inner man, he would soon escape from the coils of the great serpent of illusion. From the cradle to the grave, his life would then become supportable and worth living, even in its worst phases.…

(from H.P. Blavatsky, "The Origin of Evil", Lucifer, October, 1887)

A few years ago I attended a Buddhist meditation group, which consisted weekly of people gathering and sitting in "zazen" for an hour or so. After the meeting there was a short give and take with the teacher and one woman remarked that for some reason her meditation "just wasn't doing it for her."

Most meditation is a "head" type of meditation, aimed at the super-consciousness, so to speak. There is another type of meditation, or perhaps a rumination aimed at the heart and subconscious. One might think, that there are two directions to the Self, one "outside" and to the super-conscious, the other "inside" and to or through the subconsious.

Buddhist meditation was originally formulated in a pastoral setting, just the opposite of our modern day life. The inner human psychology could be at peace in a slower paced life and not harassed constantly by the outer fast-paced complex life many of us live now with all its outer and inner turmoil. For the "head" type meditation to work, the inner human psychology must be quiescent, almost impossible in our modern world. One has to learn to deal with it in one form or another. "Dealing with it" through prescription drugs only defeats the purpose, cutting off the outer and inner self.

The subconscious mind has a latent understanding and wisdom of almost everything pertaining to human life. It is also the connection or antaskarana with one's inner Self. A subconscious in turmoil breaks one's connection with one's inner spiritual source. If one pays attention to one's inner self ("Know Thyself") the subconscious or one's inner psychological self is always attempting to make itself known by what reactions one has, daydreams, dreams and many other ways. It is always seeking inner harmony, and a re-adjustment of one's life. The subconscious doesn't know everything, as it seems to me, it is a record of one's personal wisdom attained throughout many lifetimes. Anger and revenge is a motivation, but one knows philosophically that revenge is only self-destructive in the big picture. So, again, it doesn't know everything. The subconscious may basically be the same as what Theosophists call the reincarnating ego, funneled through the lower mind.

Another reason our modern subconscious is in turmoil, compared to previous times, is our modern lack of purity. Human psychology has developed a pattern of optimum development based over eons of experience, and this in general is living purely. Impure living is an assault on our own inner design, producing the resulting inner turmoil. We are just made this way. In previous times one wasn't confronted from childhood with every type of drunkeness, drug-taking, and violence one sees every day by simply turning on the TV. Its a part of everyday life now.

So, to find something that "works," look and feel within, and establish it as a habit of perception.