>> Prior to locating IIH I'd not had any experience with meditation. So my meditational experiences are totally derived from the IIH Steps 1 & 2 exercises, and I feel a little uneasy about "ad libbed" meditation! ;-) By that I mean that the IIH meditations are full of purpose: the student knows the desired outcome before entering the meditative state (eg, "10 minutes without thinking is my goal"). So I'm not accustomed to using meditation for "unknown" outcomes. Indeed, as a *consequence* of the IIH training, my thoughts rarely stray into the unknown. Franz occasionally says in the text "those who meditate deeply on this statement will find its true meaning", and you've used the phrase "deep meditation" too. I realise it sounds silly to say, but how does one meditate "deeply"? I'm trying to understand it in the context of the IIH meditations; could it be comparable to the One-Pointedness exercise from Step 1? If so, how does one focus on their theme - with *great* mental control - yet still allow just enough freedom for new, unexpected insights to emerge? For surely our early IIH training has taught us to block any tangential thought? <<<
There is a degree of artfulness required for this sort of exploratory or information seeking meditation. And yes, it is a form of one-pointedness in which one opens oneself a bit more than in the Step One exercise proper. Here, you need to play around with your boundaries and let in thoughts that, at first, appear unrelated. When such a thought arises, examine it closely and pursue it just long enough to see if it bears relevant fruit. If it doesn't, then dismiss it and return to your primary focus. But if it does prove itself relevant in that it expands your thinking on a matter, then incorporate it into your meditation and see what all it reveals.
Another form of meditation that's a bit less structured than one-pointedness is to intensively think about the question or idea at hand. Look at it from every angle your mind can conjure and give your mind absolute freedom to explore every nuance. Don't hem in your mind at all other than to keep it focused upon the pursuit of this one question or concept.
A third option, which I especially encourage, is the transition from a one-pointedness meditation, to an emptiness of mind and then back to the one-pointedness. Upon return to the one-pointedness, many new thoughts are likely to emerge that will lead your one-pointedness in the direction of deeper discovery. This is especially effective when it comes to exploring questions about your own self because during the emptiness of mind you are opening yourself directly to your own "higher" levels of cognition and awareness -- levels that thinking obscure, but which, once tapped, thinking can give form to.
>> And if "the answer" does emerge during our meditation, how do we recognise it as such, and not as just another bit of mental surface-noise? <<
Well, by experimentation. If a thing feels like an answer, then test it to see if *in practice* it is an answer. Whether it proves to be an answer or not, learn from your experiment and apply what you've learned. In other words, take risks and learn from them. By doing this, and by being committed to this process of 'trusting and testing', you *will* learn how to discern between mental noise and genuine insight.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
12 Apr 2003