Wouldn’t you get better results at calming your mind from sleeping as oppose to mediation? What does meditation give you that you wouldn’t get from a nap?
But, how calm is your mind really when you sleep? I thought it was still active.
To begin with, you don’t have a mind. You have a brain. Now, there are two types of cycles we experience when we sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement). In REM the brain is active and this is when you dream; the muscles are dormant at this time. In NREM the brain is as inactive as a live brain can be.
I see mediation as effective as the training bicycle in gyms: it’ll do the job, but why bother? (Actually, those wheel-less bikes depress the hell out of me…)
Death is even certainly more relaxing for the mind then sleep.
Please don;t suppose that I advocate it as a method of feeling less stressed.
For the record, I also enjoy meditation and practice it regularly. I use it as a means of relaxing and focusing my thoughts. I also enjoy Tai Chi, although I think that the idea of “Chi”, in and of itself, is about as outdated as the idea of a single cosmic “ether.” I enjoy these things as rather “down to earth” activities and am intensely skeptical of the more “spiritual” versions that they can take on. I haven’t managed to get into yoga so much, but it seems to me to have many positive benefits as well. That is, it has function apart form all of the new age “chakra” rubbish.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about the concept of emptiness in (Zen)Buddhism.
As far as I understand it, things in the world do not have an everlasting essence. ‘Emptiness’ is bound to the concept of ‘dependent coarising’: everything that exists is dependent (~ made of) other things. Nothing exists independent in itself.
Talking about ‘absolute emptiness’ makes it a new metaphysical category, a thing existing on its own. This is not meant in Buddhism. I do not know if this concept exists in Taoism.
Of course, one of the most important things that we feel to exist, is ourselves. So the concept of emptiness does not mean we have no self, but only that the self does not exist independently. Trying to get out of the illusion of an independent self is one of the aims of Zazen.
In modern language we could say that our self is dependent on our brain, our relations, culture, etc. If we would rip off everything nothing would be left. Which still does not say that we do not exist.
We’ve had this argument before, but I don’t think you see what meditation is. It is qualitatively different from sleep. The goal is not unconsciousness, but a kind of quiet, focused consciousness. The best analogy for those who haven’t meditated I can think of is the kind of effortless but focused unitary concentration one might experience when performing a familiar and well-rehersed physical skill one is expert at. If you’re a great golfer or ballet dancer or some such in the midst of a performance, your mind is empty of worries about your tie, commercial jingles, philosophical conundrums, etc. You are in the present moment only and focused. Meditation aims to achieve the same kind of quiet midn and concentration. Sometimes physical activity can be a part of this (as in walking meditation), other forms folcus on something emaningless in itself, such as breathing or a sgtatue or a design or a chant. The goal is to be focused on the immediate present only. This is very different from sleeping.
Obviously, death is a totally different thing since your brain isn;t working at all, so your mind (by which, I think most of us mean the sum of the conscious activities of the brain as experienced, without necessarily a complete awareness or understanding of the underlying neural mechanisms) doesn’t exist.
Damn it, KKwan, you’re still thinking like an empirical physicist. When I said “nothing” I meant NOTHING. In other words, before anything, even dark or vacuum energy. Don’t try to slip a something into my nothing. Get your own nothing if you want to do that.
But your nothing became nothingness later in your post. Can you give me an example of nothing in this middle world that we live in? :grin: