Benevolent Space

Most mornings I sit for 10+ minutes and, for lack of a better, not so charged, word, meditate. It was a strong desire to regularly celebrate being present that started this originally.

During this time once in a while I ask myself, “What am I doing here?” A question that doesn’t call for an explanation, although it’s always nice to have one. Telling myself and others stories about the ‘why’ of matters and behaviors is a very civilized thing, isn’t it? Especially if these stories can be ‘liked’ by my spiritual friends all over the world. But when I’m asking this question in my celebrating-presence-time what I’m doing is inquiring into the very practise that I’m engaged in, synchronous to when I’m engaged in it.
So yesterday a two word metaphor appeared that somehow changed the basic outlook of my morning-celebration from ‘precencing=celebration’. In a way it ordinarily has a more shining aspect – as if being present is a doing; of course, it isn’t in many respects, a doing, but it’s still an outflow most of the time. I didn’t really get that before these two words changed the ‘meditation’ to Benevolent Space.

Other than space, which to me is a neutral, never-ending openness for all/everthing to be, benevolent space is more of an invitation to what is good, beautiful and true to thrive. Benevolence [Latin, bene – good, volentia – will) is not neutral at all, benevolent space isn’t open to everything, it does have a membrane  – what that is? I’ll be coming to that.

As I have been contemplating benevolent space it became clearer in the following days that it is deeply connected to what we can call ‘seeing trust’. Most of my controlling tendencies stem from blind trust, and because of that I’ve been been hurt many times when I was a child and later in life as well. So to control ‘things’ in my case was vehemently developing the cognitive, some may call it the intellectual, functioning of my mind. Inquisitive –there is a resonance to inquisition here!– doubt and a tendency to question every assumption, idea, statement etc. and analyse it deeply, was born and sharpened out of that basic pain of a violated, blind trust.
Don’t misunderstand, please, I still love that ability of mine – listening to people I often, almost tacitly, feel/see the assumptions that their stories and explanations elaborate. But nowadays I do not feel the need to point out and criticize these assumptions anymore (well, most of the time, anyways); it’s just assumptions after all, the basic building blocks of any narrative. I also do not need to do any inquisition anymore, neither into others’ stories nor my own, as I’ve said goodbye to Universal Truth or the One Story or the Ultimate Assumption again, most of the time; sometimes, when I’m on auto-pilot it still happens. But then it’s easy to relax the automatic inquisitor, and lean back…

So in my further contemplation within the benevolent space I learnt that ‘seeing trust’ is the mature form of controlling. I actually trust that my and the collective unconscious is benevolent by nature, and moreover that not closing my eyes to whatever appears is simply fine, not compulsory but just okay — its often complex and/or paradoxical what appears, or dark, or …
Clearly, I cannot control anything in the immature sense of the world, but I can, of course, close my eyes to it and act if it isn’t happening or even numb myself to it more or less effectively. That is how immature control works, denial, obstruction, encapsuling, numbing, hiding in hazes; immature control not knowing it’s immature as long as it is immature…

Angela Lergo (Spain), I give you my heart, installation

And so I come back to the membrane around benevolent space: It’s ‘seeing trust’, guarding that space against malevolent influences and behaviors. It allows shadows in, though, as they are not malevolent but actually, once they enter benevolent space, they turn out to be a very peculiar kind of ‘being’, these hurting me’s. Maybe I’ll be writing about my dark friends at some other point.

For now I simply wanted to share the benevolent space with you and thereby expand it into the manifest realms of interpersonal flow.

 

Right Brain Enlightenment

Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.

Meditation and Kindness go hand in hand

New research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison finds that we can acquire a greater capacity for compassion through meditation training, in much the same way as athletes or musicians train to improve their skill.

Were in the midst of a revolution in brain science. The long-held dogma that brain connections are unchangeable after age five, is being usurped with findings that the brain is more plastic than we thought.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison published a study in PLoS One this week, showing that our capacity for empathy can be learned and mastered as one might learn to play soccer or piano. The skill here comes from meditation.

They studied the fMRI scans of 32 subjects, half were trained meditators including the Olympians of meditation, the Tibetan monks. The others were age-matched novices.

In the brain scanner, all were subjected to emotional sounds (like a baby laughing or woman screaming.)

They found that the insula (the area of the brain responsible for physical feelings of compassion) was highly active in the experts. And the right temporal-parietal juncture (an area connected to understanding anothers emotional state) was also much more active in experts than in the novices.

It may not be proof that we can turn a schoolyard bully into Ghandi, but it shows meditative training has a significant impact.

(source)

Meditation & Irritation

A lovely movie illustrating what meditation can do to irritations…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l-YYqjhVi4