Monday, August 4, 2014

Clear Mind: Aware of What I've Forgotten

It's morning one.
I'm on a 12-day Mediterranean cruise.
I have found myself a somewhat secluded spot on the uppermost sports deck - 13 stories high - to sit on my seiza bench and mediate.

Everybody's asleep. Apart from the occasional early morning jogger, I am alone.
That's good.
No potential audience.
More importantly; no private concern of an audience.

Normally when meditating it doesn't take long for phosphene to begin.
This time it's different.
Although I'm sitting on the shadowed side of the ship, there's light everywhere!
I can't help but be aware of the sea breeze that ruffles my clothing and caresses and messes my hair. My mind is easily distracted, easily reminded of exactly where I am; reminded to a point where it's difficult to do what I'm doing - namely, meditate.

On retrospect, I question whether I should have been forgetting where I was and 'filtering out' the environment I'm surrounded by (as it is a distraction)... but this is a problem on multiple levels, isn't it?

The moment I'm aware of what I've forgotten, 
is the moment I've remembered.

How could mindfulness function in this scenario? I could only accomplish this in retrospect.
But a more serious challenge is the very question of forgetting. Is an oblivious state of mindlessness really what I'm striving for? No. Shouldn't mindfulness include being acutely aware of the environment you're in?

This is a paradox when this very awareness is a distraction from the practice itself. (When being mindful take away from practicing mindfulness).

Although I couldn't put my finger on it, I became acutely aware of a flaw in my practice and my understanding... but I had time for reflection.

I think the answer may lie in a closer look at the (my) meditation practice of Jung-Joong-Dong.

~     ~     ~

The Jung-Joong-Dong as described in General Choi's Jungshin Sooyang (Part II: Section M: "Develop Peace of Mind) is extremely ambiguous. The point of Jung-Joong-Dong seems somewhat confused or hidden.
Upon initial inspection or study, it would seem that this Master confuses meditation and contemplation, or uses them interchangeably or synonymously - at least that's what I initially thought.

But if you dig a little deeper, I believe he means to use them in some sort of holistic and intrinsic way.

The initial point of Jung-Joong-Dong is to strive for Clear Mind.
Although it may be implied or suggested, the method or practice of how are secondary and could even prove to be a distraction (How isn't really important at all).

To quiet the mind (no small feat!) will allow it to settle, like muddy water settles, to become clear (or even return to its original state). Only when we can quiet the mind can we begin to have Clear Mind.

But Clear Mind is not the goal, only a means to an end.

We are meant to have Clear Mind so that we may practice contemplation, or self-reflection. However, attempting to practice self-reflection without the lens of Clear Mind can only promote and lead to Delusion (and if we follow this path to its final conclusion, also fear, envy, victimhood, jealousy, and hatred).

Jung-Joong-Dong two-fold 'steps' are meant to function holistically; meditation and contemplation are kit-and-kaboodle.

Within meditation we quiet the mind and have Clear Mind. Within contemplation we have self-reflection, self-improvement and eventually Solace. Mindfulness acts as the link and bridge between these two.

The apparent paradox of being mindful during meditation as distracting form Mindfulness itself is an illusion.

In this practice, Mindfulness is a byproduct of Clear Mind. Mindfulness finds its birth within meditation. It is a tool for self-reflection. It is the bridge between meditation and contemplation; it is the exit point of meditation and entrance of contemplation and self-reflection. It finds its birth within meditation and is meant to be carried into Contemplation.

....or at least that's my take on it....

~     ~     ~

I realize it may sound like I'm talking a lot of gobbly-goop (I hope not) and maybe even over-analyzing it, but this isn't a well established form of meditation, and I'm pursuing this more-or-less on my own. To my knowledge there are no teachers of this obscure form of Martial-art meditation.

It is definitely an uphill battle.

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