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Mindfulness and Spiritual Humanism

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  • de la rouviere
    Dear friends, Below is a reply to Melvin from Human_ism@yahoogroups.com Dear Melvin, ... secular humanism + buddhist mindfulness = spiritual humanism?
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 26, 2005
      Dear friends,
      Below is a reply to Melvin from Human_ism@yahoogroups.com 
      Dear Melvin,
      You said:
      >>let me guess:

      secular humanism + buddhist mindfulness = spiritual humanism?>>
      Shoo! This is a mouthful!  But nevertheless a good educated guess.
      I am no expert on Buddhist mindfulness practice.  So what I will be saying below is my own personal views, which in no way attempt to reflect the deeper understanding some may have of this form of practice.
      Mindfulness practice works most fundamentally with attention.  In fact, my sense is that the mindful aspect of mindfulness *is* attention.  Here the emphasis is on stilling the random wanderings of thought to achive an inner quiet which ultimately leads to 'Insight' or 'Clear Comprehension'.
      These Buddhists achieve this inner quiet by keeping attention focussed on some inner or outer object and later in the practice, when attention has become stable and concentrated, move it around areas within the body or objects outside within the field of experience so as not to fall into some kind of Samadhi or inner absorption. The idea is to keep awake or passively aware.
      This practice leads to Insight or Clear Comprehension.  Here we find no merging with some Essence, or Ground of Being as we see in traditional Hindu teachings.  The completed Arhat (Saint) within this system is detached from the world and lives as kind of witness to a life that passes h/her by.
      Spiritual Humanism also starts its enquiry from the point of view of stabilizing attention.  Random attention and its identification with the projections of thought are described by this practice as the 'thought-attention-knot'.  Freedom from this habitual identification between thought and attention is seen as one of the main themes for arriving at what I have described as 'Direct Awareness'.
      In my book: Spirituality Without God, I devote an entire chapter to the practice of stabilizing attention.  Here you are right, my work and that of the Hinayana path co-incides. Both recognizes the importance of a quiet inner environment for any human exploration beyond the confines of the rational mind to happen.
      However, whereas the practice of Mindfulness never abandons attention as its main instrument for inner unfolding, my work at some stage recognizes that as little as rational thought is the instrument for allowing for the complete unfolding of our total human potential, as little can attention, however much it prsents itself as a factor of awareness, achieve this.
      In my book I describe in detail how to proceed beyond the subject/object nature of attentive inner work to allow for the natural unfolding of what I have termed Direct Awareness.  Direct Awareness is the practice I suggest which could lead us from our dualistic vision to the wholeness of the living moment.  To explain this form of practice here, I would have to re-write my whole book.  Not quite practical or useful.
      So whareas Mindfulness never leaves the subject/object sense of things, Spiritual Humanism does.  It explores human potential fully and comes to the clarity that only in undivided BE-ing (which is nothing other than the undivided nature of present experience)is human life complete.  My work therefore leads to the experience of true non-duality in the present moment, which is always characterized by a softness of heart, a wide open intelligence and the revelation of compassion and true humaneness as integral components of human life. 
      This is what I refer to as the truly subjective in humankind. This, not the deliberations of the rational mind, or any state of attentive absorption, presents itself as the truth of our human condition.  And the end product of the inner work i suggest is not detachment from the world: rather when all forms of habitual thinking, states of attention and emotional reactivities have been transcended, the natural human condition can proceed to live and experience freely over the entire spectrum of its mental and emotional potential, without fear, resistance, or necessary identification with any aspect of experience.  It stands free to enjoy life, through complete and unconditional involvement with it.
      Of course there is so much more to explain around this.  But perhaps this is not the place for it.
      Hope I have given you some idea of Spiritual Humanism in its relation to the practice of Buddhist Mindfulness.
      Hand in hand,
      Moller de la Rouviere

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