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Meditation and the Proof of the Core Self

Here we present evidence supporting our core self as a spiritual entity as distinctive from the mind. Our true self, the I Behind the I, witnesses the flow of life.  It is the true self and who we really are.  The true self (self) is the part of us that allows us to think about our thinking.  It is uses the calculator mind (mind) to suggest possible ideas to the self.  The self is one thing, and the mind is many things.  The mind has many departments, each subject we think about is handled by another part of the mind.  But we are not the mind as we can step back from all this knowledge and have no thoughts.  Yet with no thoughts we can witness thoughts from something else, namely by what we calling the mind.  We use "self" and "mind" in a more narrow sense here in order to simplify this explanation.   By stepping away from our mind, we listen to the mind.  We do not have to respond.

The True Self and the Mind

During meditation, we adopt a practice of passive observation. Instead of engaging in a dialogue with our minds, we choose to simply listen to our inner voice without responding. This act of non-engagement allows us to detach ourselves from the mind's incessant chatter. To help us from interacting with the mind, we can distract ourselves by chanting, or watching our breath.  The distraction puts a barrier between the mind's attempts to have a conversation with us (the true self).

By refraining from responding to the mind's prompts, we notice an intensification in its attempts to elicit a reaction from us. The thoughts become more pronounced and persistent. However, as we begin chanting or watching our breathing, we keep our self in concentration in just observing. Observing is one of the greatest assets of science.  We observe an experiment and learn from the experiment. Meditation is a key method of experimenting with our inner processes.

By being consistent with our meditative practice, we gain strength to control our mind. We can turn of the monkey chatter, and since the mind is not interfering, we can direct ourselves from inner torments and random thoughts. This quietude and control may take months to practice to achieve.

We owe it to Buddhism to providing access to the ancient tradition of meditation. Some of the teachings of Buddhism might be distracting from the core ideas needed to become proficient in meditation. One does not have to shave their head, wear orange robes, and chant Sanskrit and carry meditation to the extremes.  But rituals and intense practices can heighten the experience.

One Buddhist chant in particular, drawn from the Heart Sutra, symbolizes this journey towards enlightenment.  The chant is from the Heart Sutra and goes like this: "Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha." Translated it means: "Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond, enlightenment, hail!"

It has been visualized as the true self moving across the river, moving far across the waters, and reaching the opposite side and reaching enlightenment. 

The river acts to separate the self and the mind.  Chanting or concentration on the breath, keeps the self busy.  Since the self is one thing and can only think of one thing at a time, , it cannot think about the intrustive voices coming from the mind.  In effect, the self busies itself out. 

The mind also sends feelings to the self.  By observing the content of the mind, and its feelings, one can use this as a very powerful psychologica  method of understanding one's unconscious mind.  Thus the self can be its own psychologist.

Once the technique is learned, this power of detachment is very useful in everyday life. We can detach from being caught up in stream of melodramatic thought and practice mindfulness.  Mindfulness helps us concentrate on exactly what is going on.  By practicing being totally aware of what is going on, we are much less to be inclined to forget where we put something down, for forget what we need to do. Also when there is a crisis, we can stay focused and not get distracted with overwhelming emotion. Another benefit is the power to turn off thinking which is very useful when we are trying to got to sleep.

From a medical and scientific point of view, meditation has been proven to work.  People have been studied using Computed Tomography (CT) scans, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) and Magetoencephalography (MEG) scans. The prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, the insula, the hippocampus, the amygdala, the default mode network and the thalamus are all affected.

Intense study and learning is similar to mediation in that the person needs to be very focused.  Chanting is not exclusive to Eastern traditions. Although it might not be called meditation, the effects of chanting and music are well recognized. Examples are the Catholic's Gregorian chants, the reading of sacred texts in Jewish worship, and in Protestant prayers.


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