Perceiving things more correctly is the result of a well-serving meditation practice. Relaxation or a peak experience are benefits, and they might initially entice someone to develop a practice, but these fleeting results are not the purpose of meditation. Those two examples, however, are excellent for talking about taste.
Relaxation has a taste, just as stress or anxiety or excitement or figgety-ness do. And, the taste of feeling relaxed is distinct from the feeling of tranquility or serenity or acceptance or patience. These examples indicate that the tastes on our tongue are the least proportionally to all the tastes experienced through each day, each hour, each minute.
In Tuesday’s session (taste and awareness 1), the photo of a banquet of foods allowed us to experience how the sight (or smell) of something is linked to craving or aversion, desire to grasp and have or push away. The immediacy of ‘yum’, ‘mmmm’ or ‘yuck’ in one’s emotion-mind goes unnoticed most of the day, yet we are acting from this immediacy almost always. This calls to mind a quote from Master DK, “Humanity functions astrally almost always.” His statement has no judgement but is an observation predicated upon a wider and more correct perception. Our observation of simply looking at a photo of food and experiencing the range of desire, craving, and aversion also is intended to be without judgement. By noticing the usually not noticed immediate responses or reactions that occur within us, we can work with them. We can proceed wisely rather than remaining ignorant of these habituated, less conscious modes which produce results throughout the day. Emotions swing, judgements arise, food gets eaten when one is not hungry, money is spent on things unneeded, and so forth. Add to this self-observation that everyone else is experiencing similar. Ah. Understanding.
Within Tuesday’s session, we also contemplated taste experienced through the clothes one wears, architecture one likes, the ambience and decor of a room -its colors, textures, positioning of furniture, taste in music, entertainment, and the taste of conversations. None of these are predicated upon taste buds in the tongue, which makes the point that the sense of taste is a pervasive one; far more than most people realize.
Today, the contemplation before silent meditation was on taste and demeanor or psychological states. As offered in the session, a person who has the taste of intellectual prowess, or the taste of a quick mind will tend to be prideful, could use one’s quick mind as a weapon on others, could be demeaning of those who think less quickly. Some people have a taste for drama, others a taste for aggression, some a taste for excitement, and so forth. These tastes within the psyche drive a person to act in a way according to the taste. Recognizing this within one’s self is a gateway to transformation of the troublesome within us and which we create. This is so on a personal scale and all larger scales of human endeavor.
As we moved from contemplation to silent meditation, we were invited to notice the taste of our settling and its component experiences. The taste of altitude is distinct from the taste of being entangled. The taste of openness, expanse, without center or periphery is other than the taste of low vibration, can’t get out of a worry or a repeating thought.
My aspiration since beginning to share meditation with others 35 years ago is to support brothers and sisters through noticing the usually not noticed, to learn to perceive more widely, thus more correctly. Awareness is vast. Awareness is uncompounded. Awareness is not predicated upon this or that. Reactions, habits of consciousness, and the sense of self are all particular, vastness has been negated. Reactions, habits of consciousness, and the sense of self are completely compounded. They are a collection of ingredients and factors that produce and condition each nanosecond of one’s presence, unless and until one recognizes some of the amassed ingredients, causative factors, and conditions. In these ways, our common sense of reality and self is predicated, even predictable. Awareness, on the other hand, is simply present. We are this awareness. Awareness has a taste.