The problem I have with Ken Wilber, as well as others like him, is all about motivation. Ken Wilber seems to imply that his accomplishments indicate that his meditation is somehow qualitatively better than other peoples’ and that without such accomplishments “something is missing” as Brian my commenter asked. While I admit these accomplishments do indicate a commitment to something, I’m not sure it’s something I’m interested in committing to.To me, Wilber’s goal in meditation appears to be to get more advanced at it than anyone else in the world and to be known for having done so. It’s very competitive. This assumption appears to be borne out by the comment I received when I said that I thought Wilber’s trick with the brainwave machine looked phony.“Brad, just because you can’t do it doesn’t mean it’s fake,” said the commenter. True enough. Maybe he actually is going into Nirvikalpa Samadhi, whatever the blazes that is. It might not be a fake. But it’s the “just because you can’t do it” part that’s telling.Wilber may say he doesn’t intend people to take it this way. But that would be disingenuous. He knows full well people are going to take it this way. The message my commenter got is, “Ken Wilber is a better meditator than Brad Warner.” It’s the kind of message I’m sure most people take away from Wilber’s various demonstrations of power.If meditation is a competition, I don’t want to play that game. But it’s not. So I meditate.
I agree, and so did Alan Watts:
Influenced by the great Indian philosopher Krishnamurti, Watts argued that a determined struggle to achieve enlightenment was more likely to encourage an “ego-trip” than to break it down. Watts did meditate occasionally but not, he said, with the idea of attaining any goal, but only for the “joy of being quiet.”
I don’t even tell people I meditate anymore, because it’s just another word that carries too much baggage; before you know it, you’re arguing with votaries about “regulation” Zen cushions and comparing epiphanies in an “I see through the game of one-upsmanship more clearly than you do” sort of contest. I just like being alone, listening to music, and woolgathering. When I’m able to do it uninterrupted, my thoughts tend to streamline themselves of their own accord. Sitting, driving, or performing monotonous chores, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes the music, the weather, the events going on in my life, and my thoughts all harmonize in such a way as to produce a profound sense of rightness. Call it whatever you want.