Saturday, July 23, 2011
Indepth Study Day Four: Alan Watts Creative Meditation
Here is an excerpt from the book Om Creative Meditations by Alan Watts. This passage explains one of the major themes I am playing with during the Indepth Study.
"What is actually going on in the world is far, far different. Every view that we take of the world and every selection we make of what is important to notice is simply one way of looking at things, and there are infinite ways of looking. Considering such things makes us aware of how much our knowledge of the world is conventional knowledge. We tend to a selection of particular things which we have been brainwashed to notice, and we disregard the rest. It is as if the world were a Rorschach blot and there is one offical interpretation of the blot. Everybody agrees that is the way it is. Along will come some great genius who points out that we can look at the world an entirely different way, and at first everyone will say it is crazy. But if the genius persists long enough, we come to accept the new vision. Now we can look back at Cezanne's paintings and see that it does look like that. We can look at Van Gogh and see that he really did understand how it feels. They have taught us to see.
The moral is that each one of us has a certain veiw of the world which both horrifies and delights us. We have a program for cradle to grave of which we believe society approves, and we get very put out if we do not get to follow it exactly. This social interpretation of the cosmic Rorschach blot is expressed in words and conventions and we think it is what life is all about. Well, it is nothing of the kind. In trying to escape convention and the barriers that words create between you and reality, you may choose to renounce your identity, in effect saying "Now the game is over. Let's find out what lay behind it. What is really going on?" Be very careful that the next passing swami does not sell you on still another institutionalized version of the real world. For instance, the notion that when you are awakened all differentiations will vanish is a conventiaonal view of the universe.
Now obviously there is a way in which you can see the world for yourself; it may very well agree with what other people see and you will be able to communicate that way of seeing to others. It may be by no more than a glint in the eye that you will know someone else sees it just as you do.
All our meditation practices are simply to open our consciousness to what is going on, as distinct from what is said to be going on. To do that, we must suspend our words, suspend our descriptions, and be alert to the actual happening.
It is as simple as that.
-Allan Watts (Om Creative Meditations)