The term ‘science’ comes from a Latin root scire meaning ‘to know’, which derives from another root scindere ‘to split’. If we wish to gain knowledge of something we might split it or cut it away from something else in order to examine it in isolation or to examine one of its components separate from others. We see the root again in the word scissors from -cidere ‘to cut’, or later in words like schism & schist from a root meaning ‘to split, tear, rent’. Obviously, often when we split or cut something we are able to see parts.
Our short definition for Meditation is ‘Integration of the Mind’. To integrate the mind is to bring its function into ‘organised harmony’. The mind when integrated runs ‘cool & quiet’ like a super-efficient machine. Meditation proceeds in stages. We first need to differentiate contents, functions & impulses within the mind; then compare, contrast & sort; reintegrate; and finally discover a pattern. The scientific act is part of this process.
Separate & Reintegrate
From the Mind & Meditation viewpoint, where we are dealing with internal processes & aiming at wholeness, integration, we have to split components apart and then put them back together. In the psychological sense putting the Mind and its components back together after a split as in schizophrenia where thoughts, feelings, actions and motivations are separated out, reintegration is significantly more difficult. Much of modern mental illness and malfunction comes from our deep scientific motive. In the gaining of knowledge we split, and then we have to integrate. It is the process of ‘integration’, and gaining ‘wholeness’, which is one of the principal purposes of Meditation.
BIG Science definition
So, to be more succinct [oh!, there are some of those ‘sci’ letters again], we can gird up our definition in relation to Meditation and give ourselves a nice BIG Science definition as;
“Science is the analytical and synthesising process whereby we become conscious of the separate elements of reality (motion-patterns) and of their relations with each other in the infinite continuum of motion-power.”
Science & Consciousness
Today as in the past, Scientific research in the field of Meditation is not only difficult and precariously unreliable, as we have discovered, but as quantum science has discovered, the focus of consciousness upon an experiment has a catalytic change effect upon the experiments’ results. How strange but true.
In summary we may say that so-called ‘scientific research’ into Meditation requires the individual to do the Meditation experiment and to examine in consciousness what happens in the mind as the experiment is taking place. Then because of ‘catalytic consciousness’ the experiment will never give replicable results. Next time we do the Meditation exercise the outcome will not be the same as previously. Some of our deeper thinking scientists know this and are not surprised that research results are constantly changing and are very rarely replicated in Meditation trials. Of course this is known to the experienced Meditation practitioner, and in fact is often the spur to continue practice because of this very changeability, from an ‘interest’ viewpoint. Even at the most subtle levels of the Mind and Consciousness, “variety is the spice of life.”
All the way down to the No-Mind
So really, rather than giving up Meditation after falsely trying to suppress the Mind’s annoyances, we strive more intently to discover more subtle and refined aspects of the Mind, all the way down to the No-Mind, the Mind that doesn’t think.
In view of the above we might enquire carefully next time we see the claim ‘scientifically proven meditation’, as to exactly what is the ‘science’ in the (proven) claim, and what is the ‘meditation’ in the claim.
Our next post will be on the topic of Mindfulness, a form of ‘concentration’ where awareness is ‘present’ in time. It is one of many preparatory stages in Meditation procedure. Check back here soon & meanwhile, keep up your practice!