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Sacramento Freethinkers Atheists & Nonbelievers (FAN) Message Board › Secular Meditation?

Secular Meditation?

Evan B.
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 7
Some more for you, Rick:

The Secular Buddhist on FB: http://www.facebook.c...­

Also check out Stephen Bachelor, author of "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist" and more.

I don't want to come across as being in Buddhism's "corner" here--this IS a secular group, after all--but I would hate for anyone to be denied the benefits of a meditation practice on matters of theology. I really feel for you, though; this is a battle I fought, too. I was fortunate enough to get really lucky and stumble across Zen first; the first Buddhist literature I read was all Zen and I happened to find an amazing teacher (Myo Denis Lahey of Hartford Street Zen Center in SF) who is extremely pragmatic and puts little to no real stock in what are obviously either legends or holdovers from the belief systems contemporary with Buddhism's naissance. He does what I wish all modern religionists would do and extracts the metaphor from myth; there ARE valuable lessons in there (and Buddhism is uncannily good at continuing to be valid in this day and age) but many forget that Buddha himself, hundreds of years before Christ, said "No God; No Soul". I for one don't see how that leaves much room for things like the literal reincarnation of physical beings (the transmigration of WHAT? No soul, remember?!).

Good luck, and if you need anything else I'd be happy to try and help steer you in the right direction for you.
Anyse J.
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 61
I, too, meditate. I got my "mantra" from the Marharishi Mahesh Yogi. I never saw it as religious at all! It is just a way to settle quietly. You bring to it what you are. I am an atheist and I have never had any of the "spiritual" response to meditation at all. I just feel good afterward and it is nice to have a place to go to be silient, even with one's self. I think that most people do not have any religious concepts flowing through their heads during meditation. It would be interesting to post a poll here on this as, I am sure, there are many here who do some form of meditation. Hmmm . . . Who can set up a poll here?

Poll Questions could be:

Do you meditate? (Yes/No)
Do you have any religious or "impure" thoughts during meditation? (tongue in cheek here, folk! LOL!) (Yes, no and N/A responses)
What kinds of things to you think about when meditating? Open question (I don't know if this can be done)
Does meditation help you in any way? (with yes, no, and N/A answers)
If so, how? (Open question)
Evan B.
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 9
Do you meditate? Yes I am a practicing Zen Buddhist (just after being a "practicing"(?) atheist lol)

Do you have any religious or "impure" thoughts during meditation? sometimes I have some anger arise during my sittings but the whole thing about that is that's just what I need to address, obviously. Whatever you need to think about, you're already thinking it; that's pretty much the old Buddhist saw concerning this.

What kinds of things to you think about when meditating? I try not to. And by that I don't mean to think of nothing at all (impossible but for some reason most laymen think that's the point of Zen) but just to not "reach in and mess with" my thoughts. Nothing contrived, effortless effort... that's what I "strive" for in my sitting.

Does meditation help you in any way? Oh yes. Since starting about a year ago, I don't get as hung up on stuff or worried as I did. I'm able to let certain things go and not let them consume me like they used to. I didn't have the tool kit to make this possible for me before.

If so, how? Guess that's what the rest of the above answer was for :X
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