I like to meditate, and I’ve done it daily for years, so I enjoy reading about meditation and Buddhism. Not too long ago I read an excellent tome by a Buddhist master (whose name I can’t recall) which pointed out some of the pitfalls one should avoid in meditation. I don’t remember them all, but one of them I found quite interesting. He stressed that one should avoid “oblivion”—which would be, as I understood it, complete lack of consciousness. I was surprised to read this because “oblivion,” I realized, was what I had always strived for—to be “zoned out” communing with the One. I still wonder if a being could experience enlightenment without at least passing through this stage. I’ve thought a great deal about it since, and this morning I realized something: in our society today, we are often seeking oblivion.
Once, when I was a bartender, I ran into a regular customer at the park, and he was talking about his favorite brand of beer, “after a six-pack I am GONE.” Apparently his goal wasn’t to relax and have fun, but to reach oblivion. I would guess that most drug users are also seeking oblivion, but there are various acceptable ways we seek it every day. People can “zone out” in front of the TV and not remember what they just watched, or they can get so into a video game that reality melts away. Just last week a blogger was advising to eat what you want as long as you remain “there.” She explained that the big problem with overeating is losing your self while eating. Virtually any activity or non-activity can lead to oblivion.
I have heard that the main argument for humans dominating all other species is that we alone are conscious. If that is true, then we should strive to maintain our consciousness as much as possible. So I must ask—are you conscious? Ever thought about how often you are conscious? Its much more than just being awake. Let us seek consciousness.