Mindfulness and Extraordinary Experiences
Transcript from the Mindfulness & Extraordinary Experiences 2018 event at Coventry Cathedral
Thank you for the introduction, I cant believe we ve managed to deliver 6 mindfulness events at the Coventry Cathedral.
It’s a privilege to be part of the flame centre, its team and events, a flame both burns and sheds light, and this is exactly what the flame centre has been delivering of the past 6 years.
The flame centre and its work has burned boundaries between people, between cultures, between mind-body connection, between religious, it has shed light on meditation way beyond its application in reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
The catalyst to these events has been the “mystery of the self”. What does it mean to be human? Demystifying the process of self-development, and removing the blindfolds created by outdated science, bio-medical models and the current life purpose which only focuses on finance, fame, power and status!
To have lived a life and not know who you are is like buying a ticket to the best rollercoster ride, go to the park, get all the gear but fail to get on the ride…
life is a priceless jewel, which is being exchanged for mere plastic …and even that no one wants today!
Know self- event objectives
Our objective was to provide a practical understanding about mindfulness meditation and its importance in the process of self-discovery, but from a language of science, of evidence-based research backed by knowledge systems within wisdom traditions, in particular Consciousness based traditions.
The events demonstrated the ability to transform, to grow and develop. everything from depression, stress and anxiety, through to mind-body medicine, cultivation of compassion with Edwardo pitchon,
Transforming self-criticism, low self esteem, low confidence and feeling of isolation
In 2015, we had Neuroplasticity with Dr Amy Bilderbeck from Oxford University, followed by personal transformation with Dr Miguel Frias author of the Buddha Pill and last year we had the great privilege to have Professor Les Lancaster exploring Mindfulness & Spiritual intelligence.
As we begin to explore the nature of our selves, mindfulness provides an invaluable method to begin this journey. Our breath provides us with a route to our minds, to our inner space.
Impact of meditation
As the impact of meditation is being felt throughout the health sector, there are several issues that have made themselves obvious through the work of the Centre and becoming evident in the wider mindfulness world.
Before touch on extraordinary experiences associated with meditation, there are some important concerns regarding the current definition, provision and support.
Meditation leads to altered states of consciousness. There is very very little understanding of such states in modern medicine, since meditation and by implication consciousness is only a recent addition to this worldview.
Would you want someone who has learned how to paddle in a paddling pool show you how to swim in an ocean?
The Ocean of consciousness is vast, immeasurably vast. There is real concern from scholars, academics and importantly, long term practitioners of meditation on the following:-
1. definition of mindfulness
2. lack of context regarding the practice and consequent changes for individuals
3. ongoing support, especially in light of the experiences we ve heard tonight.
The cultural appropriation of mindfulness is jeopardizing mindfulness’ potential in the West. Mindfulness is currently cited as a potential cure for a panoply of ailments. Yet when any practice is endorsed as a panacea, such claims bring significant risk of disappointment and disillusionment.
Historically all wisdom traditions guarded against sensationalism in meditative practice, with a rich history of distinguishing between “right” and “wrong” mindfulness that dates back to the Buddha’s teachings.
For example, a mindfulness technique that appears to promote relaxation or relief of immediate symptoms may be “right” from a salutary perspective, and yet if this technique does not reduce attachment in the form of craving and aversion, its benefits may be short-lived and ultimately illusory, constituting “wrong mindfulness”.
Exception to Definition
Exception has been taken regarding the common Western definition of mindfulness “nonjudgmental, present-centered awareness”. To many contemplative scholars, defining mindfulness as only a nonjudgmental attentional state is misleading.
Mindfulness in wisdom traditions, was never supposed to refer to the complete absence of judgment; rather, the use of mindfulness is intended to provide a form of lucid awareness in which clear discernment of right and wrong are made available, which is then used to guide adaptive behaviour.
Lack of support
The next area of concern is the on the current provision of “mindfulness” out there and the complete absence of support for those who have completed the 8 week programs. The Flame centre has had numerous individual who have completed the various 8 week courses and then, pretty much left on their own. There is no ongoing support, ongoing guidance and most importantly the context of self-development and growth, the transpersonal aspect associated with meditation.
Mindfulness research has grown exponentially over the past 20 years, while many studies have shown the impact of mindfulness on increased self-awareness, reduction of anxiety, stress and depression, improvements in physical, mental and emotional health, including increased self-compassion, self-esteem and self-worth, even immunity… while all these positive effects are being studied and confirmed again and again, what is far less understood is what we ve heard here today.
Extraordinary experiences or supercognition abilities
The application of mindfulness in everyday society has now brought up the other markers on this path of self-discovery, these include experiences which have been termed as “extraordinary experiences or supercognition abilities” also known as siddhis in wisdom traditions.
These include, destroying “defiling impulses”
Spontaneous healing – as we ve heard from Jackie.
Unfortunately, due to the cultural conditioning and the blindfolds placed by our rather outdated and redundant worldview, such experiences have been ridiculed, dismissed or refused to even be acknowledged. However, the goal post is changing, as mindfulness becomes more widely used, we are going to hear more and more of such experiences.
When such an experience happens, where does one go? The individuals who introduced mindfulness to them? Psychologist who would look at this as psychotic episode, hallucinations or just plain “out of it”.
And if they approached health professionals, what understanding do they have of human development in the realm of consciousness, when consciousness, let alone altered states of consciousness of not even on any medical or psychology syllabus in any meaningful way?
During 2008-2011, studies on the effects of meditation on individuals revealed some startling facts that have been ignored.
Of 1120 meditators,
50% had many times, or almost all times, extraordinary experiences when meditating
>50% had either clairaudience or telepathic experiences
60% endorsed that these events had been meaningful to them… what we heard with Julie.
These are huge numbers and really cant be ignored any more. There are now a few institutions that are beginning to look into these experiences, with a view of identifying how they may be able to create conditions that can induce such experiences for individuals healing.
The fact is, that these super ordinary experiences and abilities are too well known in the wisdom traditions of the East. They are known as Riddhis and Siddhis. These supercognitive abilities are 18 in number,
These are ten:
Door-Darshan - to see all, clairvoyance.
Door-Sarvan - to hear all, clairaudience.
Par-Kaya Parvesh - ability to enter other’s body. To rejuvenate, he may discard his own old body and enter that of a (dying) young person .
Annuram - freedom from hunger and thirst.
Kaamroop - adopt desired form, ability to change the form to that of another person .
Savichhatt-Mirtu - to die at will, to die the way one wants to.
Sankalap Sidhi - to get desires fulfilled, to have all that one wants.
Apprittehatt-Gatee - ability to go anywhere without any hindrance or obstruction.
Mano-Veg - to go anywhere at the speed of thought.
Sur-Kareer.a - to have enjoyment along with gods, to join them in enjoyments (merry making).
These are eight:
Anima - ability to become very small, minute.
Mahema - to become big, gain colossal size.
Garima - to become heavy, gain an excessive weight.
Laghima - to become light, subtle.
Praptee - to get success, achieve goals, and get fulfilled.
Prakamya - to read the minds of other people.
Eeshihta (Isatva) - lordliness, and power to persuade others.
Vashihta (Vasitva) - to control other’s mind. Self control - control over all senses.
This event and the events of the past have shown that there is so much more to being human than what we are led to believe or we believe. We are able to transform our health, we are able to cultivate positive emotions, like compassion, self care, gratitude and much more… we are able to physically change our brain, personally transform and then if that wasn’t enough, we are able to access abilities that are in the realm of fantasy but increasing becoming reality.
The choice is yours, but you can only make such a choice if you know what there is to chose.
One day a young girl asked her father, “what is the value of my life?”. Instead of answering, the father told his daughter, “take this rock and go sell it at the market. If anybody asks the price, raise two fingers and don’t say anything”, instructed the father. The girl then went to the market and a woman asked, “How much is this rock? I want to put it in my garden”. The girl didn’t say anything but raised up his two fingers, and the woman said “2 dollars? I will take it”.
The girl went home and told her father, “a woman wants to buy this rock for 2 dollars”. The father then said, “Daughter , I want you to take this rock to a museum, if anybody wants to buy it, don’t say a word, just put up your two fingers”.
The girl then went to the museum and a man showed up wanting to buy the rock, the girl didn’t say a word but put up 2 fingers and the man said “$200? I will take it”. The girl was shocked, went running home and told her father, “A man wants to buy this rock for $200”. Her father then said, “Daughter , the last place I want you to take this rock is to a precious stone store, show it to the owner and don’t say a word, and if he asks the price, just raise up your two fingers”. The daughter then ran to a precious stone store, he shored the rock to the owner, “Where did you find this stone? it is one of the rarest stones in the world, I must have it! How much would you sell it for?”. The girl put up his two fingers and the man said “I will take it for $200,000”. The girl not knowing what to say, ran home to his father and told him that there’s a man that wants to buy the stone for $200,000, his father then asked, “Daughter , do you know the value of your life now?”
“It matters where you decide to place yourself”
It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you were born, the colour of your skin, or how much money you were born into. It matters where you decide to place yourself, the people you surround yourself with, and how you choose to carry yourself.
Surround yourself with those chasing plastic and trinkets, and you ll end up with plastic, place yourself amongst the jewellers, and you ll discover the priceless jewel called life