Thanks for the A2A Pete. I had to laugh when I saw this…it’s a big question with a simple experiential answer: try it and you’ll see. So as to be less trite, however, I’ll offer a few nuggets to mull over:
- After seven years of self inquiry Jorge realized there was nothing there. Nothing at all. Self was annihilated and only emptiness filled the place it had once occupied.\
- After fifteen years of self inquiry Martha became God; that is, she recognized a complete absence of differentiation between her Self and the Divine. It was a very humbling experience.
- After a lifetime of self inquiry Wu Wei encountered a unitive substrate of being that consumed all independent and personal aspects of identity, so that all that remained was the Tao.
- After twenty-seven lifetimes of self-inquiry, Advika became extremely bored with the practice and began living her life very simply and without artifice, with an endless well of compassion for everyone around her, and with plenty of time to watch children at play.
As for negative effects: self-obsession, attachment to spiritual progress, and a breakdown of survival functions can occur if more constructive intentions are not cultivated from the beginning. Because of this, whenever any form of meditation is taught, I believe students should be encouraged to set this intention in their hearts and minds, and to try to feel it deeply in their bones, before each session: “May this be for the good of All.”
My 2 cents.
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