Life is full of contradictions.
I am attending a research retreat on mindfulness and contemplative practices at the beautiful Garrison Institute. I am learning a lot of interesting things, and meeting a lot of like-minded and excellent people – the kind of people with whom I could have deep conversation about the unreal nature of reality, unlike most people from other walks of life would politely and tactfully excuse themselves when I get a bit unreal.
我也学到了一些冥想,,en,没有透彻的分析，我的不真实的灵魂不会让它滑落,,en,发现或发明各种连接,,en,让我从完全无关的事情开始,,en,为什么是什么,,en,新闻,,en,我读到了一些印度裔人在肯塔基州或俄亥俄州无名之处被枪杀的消息,,en,这是印度人会关注的事情,,en,当计划在这些困难时期访问美国,,en,为什么是开始的新闻,,en,因为它不经常发生,,en,这条消息应该是一个令人欣慰的消息,,en,这不是一个矛盾,,en,另一个在同一个脉络,,en,当我在法国讲法语时,,en,甚至现在,,en,大多数法国人都鼓励我说我说得很好,,en. 当然, the unreal soul in me wouldn’t let it slide without a thorough analysis, finding or inventing all kinds of connections.
Let me start with something totally unconnected. 新闻. Why is something news? 最近, I read about some people of Indian origin getting shot in obscure places in Kentucky or Ohio. That is the kind of things an Indian would pay attention to, when planning a trip to the US during these troubled times. 但, why was it news to begin with? Because it doesn’t happen that often. 在这个意义上, this piece of news should be a comforting one. Isn’t that a contradiction?
Another one on the same vein – when I spoke French while in France, or even now, most French people tell me encouragingly that I speak well. 但我从来没有听到他们祝贺其他法国人完美的语言技能,,en,当有人告诉你，你说他们的语言很好,,en,它总是意味着你说得不够好,,en,另一个矛盾,,en,说来也怪,,en,以英语为母语的人通常不会发表这样的鼓励评论,,en,我猜他们觉得整个世界都应该说他们的语言,,en,让我谈谈我想讨论的内容,,en,正念冥想的目的是,,en,注意,,en,这是什么意思,,en,冥想技巧教会你尽可能了解这里现在,,en,你通过轻轻地消除你的想法来完成这个壮举,,en,通过清空你的头脑,,en,正念与心灵空虚并非完全不同,,en,多么矛盾啊,,en,尽管如此，它超越了这个范围,,en. 换句话说, when somebody tells you that you speak their language well, it invariably means that you don’t speak it well enough. Another contradiction. Oddly enough, native English speakers don’t usually make such encouraging comments. I guess they feel that the whole world should speak their language.
Let me get around to what I wanted to discuss. The purpose of mindfulness meditation is, 当然, to be mindful. What does that mean though? The meditation techniques teach you to be as aware as possible of the here-and-now. You accomplish this feat by gently removing your thoughts, by emptying your mind, 因为它是. So mindfulness is not totally different from mind-emptiness! What a paradox!
It stretches beyond that though. 宁, 我将把它拉长到病态的长度,,en,我都赞成正念和其他冥想技巧,,en,他们给你带来很大的好处,,en,会议的研究人员熟练地展示了这一事实,,en,但空心意味着什么,,en,思想缺乏思想,,en,想一个容器等待充满思想,,en,或者它是由思想构成的东西,,en,像一堵砖墙,,en,我很确定这是后者,,en,除去砖块,,en,你没有墙,,en,带走这些想法，你没有意识,,en,空虚的思想是一种不存在的思想,,en,这是一个死心灵,,en,一个身体可以容纳一个死的头脑,,en,就像Morpheus在Matrix中所说的那样,,en,一个身体不能没有头脑,,en,我还有另一个论点来提出坚持这种接近,,en,是冥想状态所需要的,,en. Don’t get me wrong, I am all in favour of mindfulness and other meditation techniques. They bring you great benefits – a fact that the researchers at the conference expertly demonstrated. But what does an empty mind mean? A mind devoid of thoughts? Is mind a container waiting to be filled with thoughts? Or is it something constituted by thoughts, like a wall by bricks? I am pretty sure it is the latter. Remove the bricks, you have no wall. Take away the thoughts and you have no mind. An empty mind is a mind that doesn’t exist. It is a dead mind. Can a body host a dead mind? Like Morpheus states in Matrix, a body cannot live without a mind.
I have another argument to put forward to insist that this proximity to 死亡 is what the meditative state entails. 在佛教传统中,,en,生与死的循环是痛苦的,,en,因此，生命的目的就是摆脱这个循环,,en,轮回,,en,通过实行分队,,en,当我们终于超越了轮回,,en,我们与庄园合一是最高的意识,,en,我们的微小意识找到它的来源和目的地,,en,我们不再被诅咒生活,,en,这确实是一场彻底的彻底的死亡,,en,在物理学家的心中,,en,意识是我们身体的一种新兴性质,,en,没有身体没有意识,,en,而最高意识的概念是愚蠢的,,en,当身体死亡,,en,相关的意识也是如此,,en,每一次死亡都是最终的彻底的死亡,,en,除了住房的死亡之外，没有意识的连续性,,en,这种观点必须是真实的,,en, the cycle of life and death is suffering. The purpose of life therefore is to rid ourselves of this cycle, samsara, by practising detachment, 例如. When we finally transcend samsara, we are one with the manor oneness that is the supreme consciousness – 该 梵. Our tiny consciousness finds its source and destination. We are no longer accursed to live. It is indeed a final and complete death.
In the physicalist view of mind, 然而，, consciousness is an emergent property of our physical bodies. There is no such thing as consciousness without a body, and the notion of a supreme consciousness is just silly. When the body dies, so does the associated consciousness. Every death is a final and complete death, and there is no continuity of consciousness beyond the death of its housing. This view has to be true, 或者我们会走过前世的回忆,,en,有些人记得他们以前的生活,,en,这正是新闻，因为它很少见,,en,没有评论这些报道的真实性,,en,我们可以放心地说，几乎所有人都没有意识的连续性,,en,没有不连续的意识,,en,意识流不能被切割成独立的片断，彼此没有记忆,,en,因为那时他们成为不同的意识,,en,让我总结一下,,en,冥想导致平衡和全面的生活,,en,某些东方冥想的目标是一个空洞而沉默的心灵,,en,这与死亡的心灵并无区别,,en. 肯定, there are some reports of people remembering their previous lives, which is news precisely because it is rare. Without commenting on the veracity of such reports, we can safely say that there is no continuity of consciousness for almost all of us. 和, there is no such thing as discontinuous consciousness. The stream of consciousness cannot be cut into independent pieces with no memory of each other, for then they become separate consciousnesses.
Let me summarise. Meditation leads to a balanced and well-rounded life. Certain lines of eastern meditation target an empty and silent mind, which is not distinct from a dead mind. 鉴于根据相应的哲学学派的终极目标是摆脱生活的束缚,,en,这与物理主义的死亡没有区别,,en,这两个目标似乎相匹配,,en,生与死并不像我们想象的那么明显,,en,这是所有人最奇怪的矛盾,,en,也许它不是,,en,没有生命就没有死亡,,en,没有死亡就能有生命吗？,,en,也许不是,,en,甚至没有在理论上,,en, which is the not distinct from death in physicalism, these two objectives seem to match. 换句话说, life and death are not as distinct as we might think, which is the weirdest contradiction of all.
好, maybe it is not. There is no death without life. Can there be life without death? Perhaps no, not even in theory.