EDITION: April - May '06

MEDITATION: From the caterpillar to the butterfly


Civilisation’s last task will be
to develop a deeper spiritual
(Arnold Toynbee)

Normally we derive our self-concept from all the different things that characterise us as individuals – our body and its outward appearance, our history, our nationality, our roles, our work, our social and financial status, what we own, what others think about us and so on.
We find identity also through thoughts and feelings, which we have, through our faith, our values and opinions, our conceptions and ideas, from creative and intellectual abilities, through our character and personality. These are, together with many other attributes, the aspects of our life, which contribute to our experience of self. Our existence is tied to an immense number of conditions! We seem to be free, but deep inside we feel, that our freedom is a fallacy, that we are bound to them in many aspects.

Our identity is consistently subject to the life process, can be hurt at any time, and needs permanent protection, support, and defence.
In addition to how we experience our identity in the world, we find the meaning of the self also through the fact that we experience. If “experience” exists, it means, a person that experiences must exist, an “I”, that can experience. What ever happens in my mind, gives it meaning because I am subject to all this. However, what exactly is this “I”-sense? I use the word “I” hundreds of times a day – I think, I see, I feel, I mean, I know, or I remember.-
I know exactly what I mean when I say “I” until I try to describe or define it. That is where the problems start.
Searching for the self, you can compare it with searching for the source of light in a dark room with a torch. All I would find would be the different things in the room which the beams of the light hit. The same will happen

if I try to find the subject of all experience. All I find will be different ideas, pictures, and feelings, being drawn into the visual angle of attention.
However, these are only the objects of experience that is why they cannot be the subject of experience. Even though the self will never be recognized as an object of experience, it can be recognized in an even more intimate and direct manner.

When the mind is still, when all thoughts, feelings, comparisons, evaluations and memories which we normally use to evaluate have drifted away, that what is left then is the pure subject without object.
In this state, you will only find the essence of self or consciousness.
You will realize that this is your true “being”. You are not a being with consciousness; you are consciousness. This essence of identity has nothing to do with the uniqueness of the individual self, to the contrary – it is the same for all of us.
The light of consciousness that shines inside of you, that which you call “I” is the same, which I call “I”. In this way, we are one! This essential self is eternal; it never changes. It is the true consciousness, and the true consciousness is timeless.
Meditation is a process, in which the meditating person can acquire this deep knowledge by making oneself aware of It. Through meditation a person can develop what otherwise would stay only a potential.
The caterpillar becomes a butterfly!

Dassana has been leading meditation courses in Ibiza, Holland and Germany for 15 years.
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