Zuowang has utilized different techniques designed for self-transformation via transcending personal-selfhood in ideally becoming unified with the Dao. Techniques such as regulating the breath, sitting in detached mindfulness, as well as ecstatic raptness. Many of these have become instituted in Westernized procedures that favor technique over substance.
However, given the predilection of modernity with mundane success, they have in many cases been reoriented to serve more practical goals, such as self-improvement, healing, stress-reduction, pain-management, and increased productivity. Thus present-day psychology postulates the aims of meditation as being control over the mind, increase in psychological well-being, and development of advanced states of consciousness. Also, given the modern preoccupation with science and technology, the techniques have been tested, evaluated, and reinterpreted in terms of physiology and neuroscience, made measurable in brain waves, blood pressure, neurotransmitters, endocrine activity, and the like. (ibid, pg. 120)
This is part of the Modernity Fallacy in which the process is favored over natural transformation. Utilitarian measures become the end-all of everything—yea, the new “God” factor wherein the deceived populace become mesmerized into following and adhering to the latest scientific modulations of the day. This is also carried-out in absolute submission-mode, with little or no regard for the consequences involved, e.g. one’s health being sacrificed in the face of societal pressures and submissions to authoritarian agencies and agendas. One such fallacy is becoming transfixed with modernist notions of “being in the present moment”, which incidentally happens to be the opinion of the majority of Zennists and mainline Buddhists today; being “mindful in the moment”, as if the moment were some kind of objective phenomenon that mysteriously stimulates stillness of mind, when, in fact, “being mindful” creates a moving obstruction that hinders true mindfulness—a symptom what we refer to in Unborn Mind Zen as being stuck in pluralized stenosis. Indeed, when in point of fact the vast and endless accumulation of these mindful moments generates states of paralyzing mindlessness. It needs to be noted again and again that within Unborn Mind Zen, we never focus on our breath—mindlessly counting its phenomenal intake and outtake patterns—but rather on the noumenal bodhipower (undivided awareness) that antecedes the beastly body-consciousness with its entire animated trickery. The reverse is true here, never being enslaved to the animations but instead our focus first and foremost is on the Principle THAT animates. We bypass that diurnal moving wheel of dukkha through the technique of one-pointedness of mind—Bi guan—that is indicative of the Unmoving Principle—one that nullifies and disenables the unending spinning discord of the composed.
Occasionally, there are those from the scientific community that experience an epiphany that spiritually catapults them beyond such modernity fallacies.
One Westerner who has achieved complete union is David R. Hawkins (b. 1927), a psychiatrist who first studied at Marquette University, then earned an M.D. from the Medical College in Wisconsin (1953). Working as a psychiatrist in New York, he became deathly ill and underwent a spiritual rebirth which led to an expansion of his practice. In 1968, he met John Diamond, learned about behavioral kinesiology, and got involved in the field. As part of a large-scale experiment, Hawkins did extensive testing on thousands of subjects in many different cultures and eventually established a universal scale for the moral and spiritual potential of the world at large. (ibid, pg.131)
Part of Hawkins spiritual metamorphosis was exhibited as follows:
The person I had been no longer existed. There was no personal self or ego, only an Infinite Presence of such unlimited power that it was all that was. This Presence had replaced what had been ‘me,’ and my body and its actions were controlled solely by the Infinite Will of the Presence. The world was illuminated by the clarity of an Infinite Oneness which expressed itself as all things revealed in their infinite beauty and perfection….
That which is the Self is total and complete. It is equally present everywhere. There are no needs, no desires, or lack. . . . A glance at the body reveals it to be the same as everything else—unowned, unpossessed by an individual, equal to the furniture or other objects and merely part of all that is. There is nothing personal about the body and no identification with it. It moves about spontaneously, correctly executes its bodily functions, and effortlessly walks and breathes. It is self-propelled and its actions are determined and activated by the Presence. (ibid)
As we can observe, Hawkins referred to this Transcendent Factor as the “Presence.”
Stilled by the Silence of the Presence, the mind is silent and wordless. No images, concepts, or thoughts occur. There is no one to think them. With no person present, there is neither thinker nor doer. All is happening of itself, as an aspect of the Presence. (ibid, pg. 133)
There are definite intimations of the Unborn here. This was catalogued in our Unborn I Ching series, most notably in one hexagram (The Stilling) personifying the Dhyani Buddha Amoghasiddhi as the Unmoving Principle:
All is coming to a stop. It’s an opportunity to quieten all vexatious intoxications and to rest free and easy: Amoghasiddhi at Rest. Discern the proper posture that is right for you and enter into the stillness. Nothing exists but the Right Position that radiates the calm serenity of the Unborn. You ARE the stillness—stillness upon stillness—as with the hexagram depicting two mountains conjoined, Amoghasiddhi the still-one as his sacred mudra (Abhaya) issues a FULL STOP to all karmic activity.
Keeping still as a mountain issues forth Right Mindfulness as everything is clear and balanced with no-thing obstructing the supernal-position of the Recollective Absolute. All base impulses are effectively quelled leaving all one’s cares forgotten atop the Mount of Primordial Perfection.
The Wisdom of the Dao supersedes any supercilious technical advancements that mar the deathless and timeless path of innate powers that are inscrutable and unfathomable to profane minds marked with the curse of modernity. Thus ordinary perceptions pale when contrasted with the singular Unborn Mind that soars like an eagle far above the landscape of materialistic compositions. The dark valley of the composed is littered with habitual misinformation that engulfs the non-recollected mind and spirit. In sharp contrast being Right-Mindfully Recollected is the natural immunity to all such adventitious defilements—hence manifesting marvelous Illuminating qualities—the only Light in this present decadent darkness.