The everyday sublime

The everyday sublime, a photo by Joshua Earle
Meditation originates and culminates in the everyday sublime. I have little interest in achieving states of sustained concentration in which the sensory richness of experience is replaced by pure introspective rapture. I have no interest in reciting mantras, visualising Buddhas or mandalas, gaining out-of-body experiences, reading other people’s thoughts, practicing lucid dreaming, channelling psychic energies through chakras, let alone absorbing my consciousness in the transcendent perfection of the Unconditioned. 

For me, meditation is about embracing what is happening to this organism as it touches its environment in this moment. I do not reject the experience of the mystical. I only reject the view that the mystical is concealed behind what is merely apparent, that it is anything other than what is occurring in time and space right now. 

The mystical does not transcend the world but saturates it. ‘The mystical is not how the world is,’ noted Ludwig Wittgenstein in 1921, ‘but that it is’.

– from After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age, published by Yale University Press, 28 October 2015

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