As a pupil of the Golden Rosycross, I am met with various great and private lectures that inspire change and further development. There has been one element that I don’t quite see eye to eye on and that is the topic of meditation.
From the Golden Rosycross perspective (and perhaps Rosicrucians at large), there is a negative view towards any force of change on the individual. This is understandable and respectable. The point of disagreement comes from the connection of “force of change” to such things as Yoga and Meditation. Jan van Rijckenborgh (Founder of the School) felt that such things were the ego working on the ego – so that it further traps a person into the ego.
What is Meditation?
I suppose if one is speaking of a New Age form of meditation, where it’s more of a daydream – a tapestry of images about the individual ego, then yes Rijckenborgh is correct. However, my understanding of meditation is not that.
From the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, meditation has two components:
- Clearing the mind of thought (creating space), by entering the present moment
- Rationally analyzing a situation at hand
The GRC engages in the Creating Space aspect of the present moment. That part of meditation should be in harmony. Regarding rationally analyzing a situation, the Tibetan approach (and common Mahayana Buddhist approach) is (after the mind is quiet) to consider a situation. If emotion appears, it is observed and watched until it passes. One rationally ponders the problem and reviews the logical outcomes mentally, thereby understanding the truth of the situation. In time that truth builds up to where it changes an individual – where instead of reacting in anger, they remember the lessons they learned from self-analysis.
A typical Buddhist meditation on equanimity (love for all) involves mentally picturing 3 people. The first is someone you have great affection towards. The second is someone you are neutral towards. The third is someone you dislike. One considers the ever shifting changes of life and ponders the idea, “is it possible that this one, could become that one?” Is it possible that the one I love becomes someone I’m neutral to? After some analysis of what it would take to achieve that, then one ponders is it possible that the neutral person could become someone I love? Then the harder considerations: Is it possible that the one I dislike could become neutral to me? Could someone neutral to me, become someone I dislike. Through the analysis one achieves an awareness that who we like or dislike is a constantly changing thing, based on circumstances. If we reframe, or remain open towards others, we can choose to see all as those we love.
In that example, is the ego being used? In my view the answer is “no”. The ego is not active because all is happening in a space of clarity, of emptiness. Some may feel that because you are “thinking this out” the ego is involved. But I would argue that this is no different than any of Jan van Rijckenborgh’s books where he poses thought arguments. Consider pg. 37 of The Coming New Man, where he makes arguments about thoughts having substance, and therefore based on that presentation, he deduces that thoughts have power over the physical form. Is this not his use of logic, reason and thinking? Even if were to have gained this knowledge in a flash of inspiration from his Higher Self, he is reciting it to an audience in a reason/thought based way.
Also keep in mind the example of the meditation above is not fighting or attacking a character trait. Anger or resentment isn’t being attacked (thereby making it stronger), it is being observed.
Zen and Vipassana Meditation
Zen and Vipassana do not delve so much into pondering or rational thought in a mental field of created clarity. Instead, they chose a path of meditation where the mind is focused on the present moment, to such a degree that all is lost except the present moment. In that pointed concentration, a flash of inspiration (as “a flash of lightning in the darkness of sky,” as the Dalai Lama refers to it) comes to the meditator.
In a Zendo I have heard that the students star at a point on a wall, observing it without thought. As thoughts float in, they let them go, without attachment. Vipassana seeks a similar process of entering into the enterally real moment of Now, and thereby touching the true inspiration field.
Who can say that these approaches are any different than a Rosicrucian? Are they not focused on creating space? Even those that utilize rational, logical thought, this is certainly not ego driven and quite honestly the same approach we would find in a spiritual book or lecture of countless Rosicrucian schools.
I think it best to keep an open mind on these topics. Let the inner (Greater) self guide us to Truth on the matter.