Beneath the Personal

August 24, 2009
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Wet Walk: D ShayneThere are two great endeavors which require us to leave our personalities aside. By this I mean social endeavors, not individual efforts. In the West this is science which at least aims at an objective sense of the universe. In the East this is meditation which aims at an objective sense of ourselves.

Of course neither is perfect. If they were it would imply that we humans- their creators- were also perfect, and we both know the rest of that story.

People talk a lot about getting away from the personal in our real, too-personal lives. But, as in science, the important thing is to realize this as a goal, a striving and a refinement. In science we have the materialist viewpoint to at least give us something to aim at. This is extremely helpful because, rather than trying to do what Alan Watts used to call “pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps”, we can shelve our immediate failures while acting as though objectivity were at least possible.

But what is objectivity in the Eastern sense? Objectivity is the knowledge that the subjective world inside you is not a reflection of your personality. Through decades of centuries Asian thought has refined the idea of something deeper than personality, more fundamental than the individual. Call it Atman, call it Qi, call it the Awakened state but realize at least that it is a sense of grace outside human concerns.

The foundation of Qigong is a recognition that we have an internal world which is not a soap opera centered around our own needs, fears and desires. We are, after all, human beings before we are men or women, old or young, intelligent or not. This undifferentiated plasma of consciousness vibrates like a universe of strings to a melody more intimate than anything we could ever even want much less understand.

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