This blog intends to discuss the fruits of a skillful and rigorous meditation practice.
Its basic thesis is that meditation leading to absorption (i.e., “Jhana” in the Buddha’s liturgical language of Pali, “Samadhi” in Sanskrit) is the single most effective practice strategy for anyone seeking enlightenment in this very lifetime.
There are tons of Yoga, Tantra, Sufi, Christian Mystical, Jewish Mystical, Shamanic, Gnostic, Pagan, Theosophical… etc.,… schools out there, each purporting to show The Way to some version of Truth. Some are based on an enthusiastic presentation of ecstatic practices, while others hide such practices behind various veils of initiatic prerequisites. The religious traditions on which some of these schools are based often seek to obfuscate, demonize and otherwise repress the ecstatic mystical teachings that have manifested beneath the radar of orthodoxy, requiring cryptic levels of secrecy to be practiced by those who’ve attained the stages of meditative absorption. At this point in history, it is extremely difficult to find teachers who have mastered these stages and are willing to offer freely the fruits thereof.
My personal claim is that “jhana nimittas” (so-called “charisms” or “signs of absorption”) began to manifest in my meditation practice in the early 90’s; that these phenomena have persisted, grown and matured over time; and that, since the first of February 2005, I have formally led a dedicated contemplative life that includes rigorous meditation built around the nourishment, maintenance and surrender to ever-ascending stages of absorption (jhana/samadhi). As detailed in the Buddha’s teachings on meditative attainment, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and various other “Sruti” teachings down through the ages, I submit that constant and persistent saturation in meditative absorption is the key to exposing, resolving and eradicating the many spiritual, psychological, emotional and even physical barriers to the Final Liberation. If a contemplative dedicates her or his life to a daily rigorous and skillful meditation practice along the lines asserted by this blog, I affirm that previously unimagined transformations will unfold over time, and that nothing in this Earthly existence comes close to providing the spiritual development offered by this approach.
I am not alone, nor am I the first to point this out.
My friend and teacher, Jeffrey S. Brooks (Jhanananda), has unpacked these concepts over the course of 30+ years. His canonical sources include the Phala Nikaya (the Buddha’s teachings on meditative attainment), Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, certain Christian Mystics such as St. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, Sufis like Rumi and Mirabai, and various teachings surviving in Native American culture. The point is clear: ecstatic contemplatives down through the centuries have recorded amazingly similar experiences leading to Liberation. These experiences are natural to every human, built-in to our DNA as a Satguru who knows the precise path Home for each individual.
But, then, I’m not out to prove any of this. My wish, rather, is to evolve a narrative that brings these issues into the public domain, so that those who are rightly-situated may benefit in some way.
Blessings to one and all.