Buddhist Meditation Uncovers Our Neuroses
… and that is when – and why – the healing can start.
Meditation is not meant to make us feel good and tranquil; it is not a technique to hide our deep neuroses. Meditation is opening the mind to reality, seeing how it distorts and exaggerates. This needs discipline and honesty. It is not about “Wearing a golden chain of spirituality” (Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche); it is seeing how things are – unpleasant and pleasant (mostly unpleasant!).
This is why the Buddha said that the first step to discovering truth is acknowledging that we are suffering. Our mental state is the cause of this suffering, and is obscuring the non-mental state of our enlightened nature. It is not about soothing and stroking ourselves, while hating others: hating is a product of the world around us, and this is how we are divided.
Neurosis is mental disturbance, and could be called mental illness. It’s not healthy! This temporary occurrence is not a fixed state; it’s just an extra load we are carrying. Physical life can be a bit – or very – unpleasant, and is guaranteed to be disappointing.
Buddhism is thought by many to be based on misery, which is true if we think that life is all about ‘having treats’ or gathering ‘likes’ on social media. Some are fortunate enough to have a good life, but most of us, if we are honest, have not. We’ve learned to put on a good show.
The “golden chain of spirituality” actually imprisons us. We cannot talk to those who wear this “golden chain of spirituality”, as they are living the dream; this makes them protective, and therefore volatile. I find life disappointing, and have to accept that the only communication that I have is with someone’s teaching from 2,500 years ago.
Acknowledging our neuroses, our confusion, is the path to liberation. Liberation occurs when we realise that the neuroses never truly existed. They just feel real. First, we need to take a good look … I mean, a really good look – and to experience the effect of that. Only then can we realise that pure awareness is the source of realisation. That is the point of meditation.
Looking is good.
Not looking is … not looking.
The realisation that, rather than looking,
we’re living the dream of others
can be a bit of a shock!