A Journey to the Centre of the Universe and Self
I went to a Buddhist meditation evening here in Puerto Morelos at a place called Layla Guesthouse. I don’t know what I had expected, but what I got was more than whatever I had hoped for. The hour and a half on an open air space above street level was a pleasant experience that began with the owner of Layla Guesthouse, Robin Brown, giving us a community update regarding events, activities and project that ex-pats could take part in if they so chose to do so.
Next followed an opening meditation of about fifteen minutes before the guide then discussed Buddhist concepts leading to the first of the six paramitas – generosity. During the presentation which had space for questions and answers, I expressed a few ideas, just a few as I had no intention of becoming the dominant voice. In spite of my intention, the little [and it was little] that I did say revealed enough to catch the attention of a few of the attendees as well as the guide. With a final meditation, the evening was done with the exception of a few thank yous, parting comments, and a decision on my part to continue attending these weekly meditation evenings. I had an opportunity to speak with the guide who had guessed that I had a psychotherapy background that included Jungian ideas. The idea was expressed about perhaps my giving a presentation about Jungian psychology at Layla Guesthouse. Then with a final round of good-byes I found myself walking back to the place where I am staying.
This morning as I meditated, I wondered about this idea of a presentation, about what I could actually talk about that would be listener friendly for people not necessarily aware of Jungian psychology. In this morning’s meditation, that idea soon morphed into what do I have to tell myself so that I have a better understanding. For some strange reason, a curious blend of Buddhism, Jungian psychology, Christianity and science all conspired to point me in a direction that I hope makes some sense. I will attempt to share this here in a way that is not too absurd or ludicrous.
It all comes down to the self – ego – that person I somehow identify as who I am. It is the same for each of us. This is the only place we can start from if we hope to ever arrive at any real deeper awareness. Too often we [and I include myself in that “we”] start with an idea that is out there, a philosophy or religion or some kind of “-ism.” I have learned that it just can’t work out all that well if we don’t start with the self. Not only must we start with the self, the self has to be at the centre, the core of everything. Like the image of the universe that I borrowed, we each, individually find ourselves within that universe. Each of us is always at the exact centre of that universe because that is our only real reference point that we can operate from in our searches.
The moment we become aware that we exist, we are at the centre. It is as though out of the swirling mass of darkness and scattered light, a light switch has been turned on to reveal self. Thus begins a journey, a short journey in a universe that seems to defy boundaries of time, space and place. The journey seems pointless and accidental for many until something within the self asks us to move past the transience of simple physical beingness. Something nags at us trying to coax us out of our body, our of a world of cause and effect, relationship, food, sex, drink, pain, suffering, love, joy, confusion, wounding, etc. We are asked to escape for a moment a world where we project meaning and understanding of ourselves and others as though what we project onto others, the world and ourselves is the whole truth.
What we project all comes out of our heads, based on our very, very limited experiences of life. No amount of education or travel or attendance in various churches can give us enough to escape the projections and filters with which we understand and judge the world, others and ourselves. Somehow, if we are ever to get out of our limited dark corners, a larger light must emerge. There lies the beginning of a new journey, one that scares each of us to the core as we know we can’t take this journey and return to find ourselves, others and the world as we knew them before leaving on this journey.
The journey called “individuation” in Jungian psychology, begins with a going within to go beneath the projections to discover the central point of light that came into being the moment we came into being. This journey through darkness to that central point of light is probably the most difficult task that awaits us as what happens in the process is that we end up dissolving the fragments of self-beliefs which in turn shatter our projections about others. Buddhism calls this the shift from ego to non-ego. With that, I will stop for now with the hope that I will return and follow up on this thread to see where it eventually takes me.