|Descartes is mistranslated, misunderstood.
«Je pense*» has a subtly different flavor from “I think”.
My core sense of my being is more like awareness than thought.
Being is more primitive than thinking.
Awareness precedes thought.
“I witness, therefore I am” might be a better translation.A realization that falls out of meditation practice:
Awareness lives in a realm prior to sensation and thought.
*«Je pense, donc je suis*» actually preceded «cogito, ergo sum» in Descartes’s writing. In ancient usage, ‘cogitare’ can signify a range of mental functions, from wonder to imagination to understanding.
“The great wisdom, the truth of who you are is buried deep within your being.”
This is a video from a group I never heard of, describing what Samadhi is and why we resist it. It’s full of compelling and (ironically) entertaining images, well worth an hour for anyone who imagines herself on a spiritual path. If I may summarize…
- There is a core of each of us that is pure awareness, not connected to our physical body or even to our thoughts.
- Ancient people knew this. Indigenous people know this. But in Western culture, we are pulled far from this basic truth. (There is a rationalist tradition claiming the mantle of “science” that denies the existence of anything that a 19th Century physicist would not recognize as matter. The NYTimes last week dignified the view that a human being is an algorithm.)
- Meditation is a path back into knowledge of who you are. If you just sit and watch your inner process long enough, you come home to realize the ancient truth about who you are.
- Surprisingly, this realization does not make you apathetic or ineffectual, but actually gives you strength and vision to realize your purpose in this life.
After 8 years of daily meditation, I have undergone some version of this change in perspective, perhaps an early stage or “through a glass, darkly”. In my personal experience, the change has most to do with the will. Instead of experiencing myself as struggling with decisions (large and small) I watch the decision-making process happening within (and without) me. Watch