Yogic Perception

Franco, Eli 2009a. Introduction. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1-51.

However, clear references to meditation can alwready be found in the late Vedic literature, for instance, in the Mundaka Upanisad, which states that the Self, or soul, cannot be apprehended by ordinary sensory means. Mundaka 3.1.8 declares that the Self can be perceived neither by means of teh eye (or better, by the faculty of sight), nor by speech, nor by other sense faculties (deva), nor by austerities (tapas), nor by ritual action (karman). Rather, the partless Self is seen by the meditating man when he (or his mind) has become pure through the lucidity of his knowledge. (Franco 2009a: 2)
Because the Self is, in phenomenological jargon, not an existent but an essence.
The term "meditation" is used in a wide variety of ways. I follow David Fontana, who suggests that the common feature among the various forms and traditions of meditation may be reduced to three: concentration, tranquility and insight; see David Fontana, "Meditation." In: Max Velmans and Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Oxford 2007: 154-162, at p. 154. Antoine Lutz et al., however, explicitly reject any attempt to define meditation in general as involving unverifiable hypotheses and trivializing diverse practices; see Antoine Lutz et al., "Meditation and the Neuroscience of Consciousness: an Introdiction." In: Philip David Zelazo et al. (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness. Cambridge 2007: 499-551, on p. 500. (Franco 2009a: 2; footnote 3)
These three terms seem to do the trick, at least for me.
The five obstacles (pañca-nirvana) are covetousness (abhijjhã), ill-will (vyãpãda), sloth and torpor (thina-middha), restlesness and worry (uddhacca-kukkucca, and skeptical doubt (vicikicchã). A mind that has become free from these obstacles develops further by means of practice of tranquility (śamatha-bhãvanã) and concentration. (Franco 2009a: 6)
Were it not for torpor, the "brahmi" tea could well eliminate all these obstacles.
I distinguish here between yoga and Yoga: yoga is a technique of gaining control over the body, senses and mind in order to attain a liberating insight. It is a technique or a method and as such is not connected to any philosophy or religion in particular; thus we have Buddhist yoga, Jaina yoga, Vedānta yoga, and so on. Yoga (capitalized), on the other hand, is used here as the name of a particular philosophical tradition, closely affiliated with Sāṃkhya, whose foundational text is the Yoga-sūtra of Patañjali; thus one also refers to it as Pātañjala Yoga. On this tradition, though not specifically on the siddhis, see Philipp Maas' contribution to this volume. (Franco 2009a: 6; footnote 22)
e.g. yoga is a glorified form of stretching you do in stretch-pants on foamy mats among a group of people with the intended goal of improving your physical fitness. Yoga (capitalized) is the philosophical tradition that the former has usurped to establish yoga studios.
[...] the doctrine of knowledge of other minds (paracittajñāna) as knowing only whether the cognition of another person is good or bad, but without knowing the object of cognition (YS 3.20-21); the four perfections of the body (kāyasampad YS 3.46); and, of course, the five types of siddhi (YS 4.1), which are either innate, produced by the use of herbs, by uttering magical syllables (mantra), from the practice of austerities (tapas), or through the practice of meditation/concentration (samādhi). (Franco 2009a: 8)
This aspect of the Yogasūtra [YS] is eerily similar to the one in the Pible, according to which you can judge a man to be good or bad by "light [lamp] of his soul". In this respect Brentano's theory about the intentional component of judgment of an object in emotions doesn't sound half-bad.
In other words, the traditional view about the results of meditation can be summarized with the phrase: You should not get out what you did not put in. What one gets out should conform, at least in its broad outlines, to previously established teachings. And this conception is hardly surprising in the context of a traditional society that believes that perfect knowledge was already attained in the past and may only have diminished in the present. (Franco 2009a: 10)
Unless perfect knowledge was something like no knowledge at all, this is silly. But the passage itself concerns why a traditional yogi would not claim that s/he attained "new knowledge".
It is not difficult to notice that Buddhism (especially, but not only Tibetan Buddhism) is repositioning itself as a rational and empirical cognitive science, a science of the mind based on introspection and meditation, supplemented by altruistic ethics. Cosmology, if mentioned at all, is relegated to the background, and just as in Dharmakīrti's argument, presented as unessential. Typical for this trend is Matthieu Ricard, who has become one of the most prominent figures representing Tibetan Buddhism in intercultural and interdisciplinary dialogues. According to Ricard, Buddhism is different from all other religions because it does not require an act of faith, and it could better be designated a science of the mind than a religion. (Franco 2009a: 13)
A science that disregards "new information" on cosmological grounds would be an oddity, though.
Probably in response to Kumārila, later Buddhist and Hindu writers who attempted to establish religious authority put a strong emphasis on the speaker's motivation. It is not enough that one knew the truth; one also had to have a positive motivation to communicate that truth (this motivation is usually identified with compassion towards living beings and the ensuing wish to help them) and a lack of motivation to lie. Unlike Kumārila, who states that people usually lie, the Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti maintains that people tell the truth unless they have a motive for lying, and he further argues that the Buddha has no such motive because he has nothing to fain from lying to us. Although the aspect of motivation and compassion of the speaker can be found prior to Kumārila in discussions about religious authority and reliability (e.g., in the Nyāyabhāṣya), this aspect does not seem to have been emphasized before his time. (Franco 2009a: 21-22)
Yes, prophets never have anything to profit from their prophecies.
The question Taber raises next is crucial, namely, how to deal with the fact that yogic perceptions are widely, even cross-culturally, reported. Should one simply investigate such phenomena and put aside the questions of their veracity? This is, in fact, the common practice in religious studies (as an academic discipline), no matter which culture or which religion forms the object of investigation. One may attempt to determine what is actually being said, what impact it has on a given culture, what function it fulfils in society, and so on without asking whether it is true, or even assuming it is untrue. (Franco 2009a: 25)
These sound like interesting questions.
Meditation and yogic perception culminate in gnosis (jñāta, prajñā and similar expressions). The quasi-material aspects of this gnosis form the subject matter of Orna Almogi's paper, "The Materiality and Immanence of Gnosis in Some rNyiga-ma Tantric Sources." According to these sources, gnosis is immanent in the human body, more precisely, in the center of the heart. Before describing the "meta-physiological" aspects of gnosis, Almogi looks into the conception of the human body in Buddhism in general. As is well known, Buddhist sources, including already the Pali Canon, consider the human body to be a collection of impure and revolting substances such as hair, nails, flesh, bones, bladder, liver, pus, blood, excrement, and the like. Yet the body is also recognized as the basis for the human experience that enables one to tread the path of salvation.
The Tantric attitude to the body is generally more positive. The Tantric practitioners conceive the body as a microcosm, and it is meditatively envisioned as the pure body of a deity; most importantly it is the abode of gnosis, the ultimate aim for all Buddhists. Although gnosis is to be acquired by practice, it is often conceived of as inherent, latent and changeless. It abides in the body like a lamp in a pot that can shine only if the pot is broken. The Buddha-Embryo theory, - the theory that all living beings are potentially Buddhas and will eventually become Buddhas - is used as a foundation to substantiate the immanence of gnosis in one's body. The resemblance of this notion of gnosis to the Brahmanic concept of a permanent soul (ātman) is obvious, and the rNying-ma scholars make a conscious effort to distinguish gnosis from such a soul. (Franco 2009a: 32)
This is what I'm interested in the most. The Pali Canon reminds me of the lyrics of P.O.S.'s "Purexed": "Like fuck your skin, nobody needs it. There's bones, muscles and blood, what's realer than fat and tendons?" which ends "With hands steadily purexed but never quite clean."
The common term for these types of meditations, which seems to have been coined by Frauwallner, is "Unterdrückungsyoga" or "Yoga of suppresion." This term, however, can be misleading inasmuch as it evokes the common psychological meaning of "complete deletion of a reaction," in contradistinction to "inhibition," which refers to an inner impediment to activity that can be removed. "Suppresion" is also used to refer to a voluntary suppression of an impulse for action. Obviously, none of these meanings is applicable to yogic meditation, nor is "suppression" as used by Indologists meant to convey these meanings, but rather to refer to the definition of yoga as the elimination or stopping ("the shutdown" as Maas calls it) of all mental processes. Further, it is often said that the purpose of yoga is to eliminate cognition, but this statement has to be qualified insofar as yoga does not eliminate the Self (puruṣa), which is defined as pure consciousness. What yoga aims at is the elimination of all objects of consciousness. (Franco 2009a: 33-34)
In this light yogic meditation can probably be analyzed quite aptly through phenomenology or Peircean phaneroscopy.
The difference between the cognition of a yogi, who is still bound to saṃsāra, and the cognition of the liberated souls (God included) is that the latter have only conceptual cognitions. Of course the cognition of God is far larger in scope - it includes everything - than that of the yogi, but inasmuch as both are independent of the senses, both are conceptually constructed (savikalpaka). Furthermore, while the Buddhist consider every conceptualization to be false and claim that only non-conceptual cognitions are a true reflection of reality, Meghanādārisūri argues that an absolute correspondence between perception and reality is only possible in a conceptual perception. A non-conceptual perception, which depends on the senses and has only a momentary existence, is unable to perceive all properties of a given object. Especially the recurrent properties, the so-called common properties or universals (jāti), which are identified with the structure (saṃsthāna) of things, cannot be perceived as such when an object is seen for the first time. It is only in the second and subnequent cognitions that the recurrence of a universal can be perceived. Yet the common point between the Buddhist and the Viśiṣṭadvaita traditions is that the highest cognition, be it the omniscience of God or of the Buddha, is a subspecies of yogic perception. (Franco 2009a: 35)
This is where things really get Peircean. A non-conceptual perception could very well be Firstness and the highest, conceptual cognition Thirdness.
In Benjamin minor, Richard of St. Victor develops a hierarchical system of different modes of cognition, correlating them to four basic cognitive faculties: sensus, imaginatio, ratio and intelligentia (sense-perception, imagination, discriminative rationality, intuitive insight). The lowest mode of awareness is termed cogitatio. It is "the careless looking around of the mind," motivated by curiosity and other passions. Meditation is a more focused way of thinking; it emerges when the cogitatio becomes seriously interested in an object it has uncovered. Its dominant mental faculty is ratio, discursive thinking, and it investigates the couse (causa), mode (modus), effect (effectus), purpose (utilitas) and inner structure (ratio) of its objects. Meditation culminates in contemplation, the fulfilled insight. Cogitatio is like crawling on the floor, meditatio like walking and sometimes running, but contemplatio is comparable to free flight (liber volatus) and beholding from above, this allowing the whole landscape be viewed at once. (Franco 2009a: 38)
This bodily metaphor I like very much. Also, latin concepts are so much easier to understand - most are false friends already.
Guido's Scala Claustralium (ladder for monastics), also known as Scala paradisi (the ladder to paradise) and Epistola de vita contemplativa (letter on the contemplative life) contains one of the most concise analyses of spirituale exercitium (spiritual exercise) written in the High Middle Ages. His intent was to integrate meditation and contemplation into the reading and interpretation of the Bible. In the early medieval period reading the Bible chiefly meant memorizing the text for liturgical purposes. In the 11th century the tradition of the Desert Fathers was revived, and the new order of the Carthusians integrated the lifestyle of the hermit with monastic community life. This led to an interiorization of religious reading, as is reflected in Guido's text. The practice contained three stages, which, again, are strongly reminiscent of Buddhist, Yoga and Vedānta practices: lectio, the monk reading the Bible in his cell and following the literal sense of the text as attentively as possible, which led to meditation and the monk beginning to repeat a passage that touches his heart again and again; oratio, the monk asking God to open his soul to His presence; and contemplatio, the monk gaining the deepest level of understanding of the biblical texts and expriencing their mystical sense (anagogia, sensus mysticus), which, as a direct encounter with God, can only be fully realized in contemplation. The basic distinction between meditation and contemplation is that in meditation the different faculties of the soul are still at work, whilst in contemplation their activities have calmed down and the ineffable center of the soul awakens. (Franco 2009a: 39)
It is not entirely out of the question that some day I will read this blog in a similar manner, meditating on the many quotes I gathered as a student.
The Clowde of Unknowyng, written between 1375 and 1400 and today one of the most famous of all late medieval mystical texts, is a good example of the developments outlined above. The text follows the traditional distinction between vita activa (actyve liif) and vita contemplativa (contemplatyve liif). The first stage of active life consists of works of mercy and charity, the second, which is concurrently the first stage of contemplative life, is goostly meditacion, the third and final stage is specyal preier. The latter is decribed as blynde thoucht or nakyd feeling and culminates in ecstasy (excesse of the mynde, overpassyng of thyself), in which one is to leave behind distinct considerations of the self, sins, creation and God and enter a "cloude of forgetyng." (Franco 2009a: 40)
Ever since reading Dostoyevsky's Notes from the Underground, I cannot avoid noticing the distinction between "the man of action" and "overly self-consicous man" in many places.
Riboli points out that what scholars call "altered states of consciousness" or simply "trance" is a complex phenomenon, and that the Chepang language has no single term corresponding to it. In spite of trances often having a similar physical appearance - the shaman's body jerking, trembling and sweating profusely, as well as appearing to undergo sensorial detachment - there are different types, and they are not experienced as the same by shamans or their audience. Riboli distinguishes between "incorporatory trances," in which shamans embody supernatural beings, and "trances of movement," in which shamans travel to other cosmic zones. In her earlier studies she included the category "initiatory trances," and noted that there are certainly still other types of altered states of consciousness, these being, however, difficult to document. Similarly, "shaman" itself is not a consistent category; the Chepang distinguish between pande, who are allowed to travel to all cosmic zones, and gurau, who can transform themselves into animal forms. The Jahai use halak and jampi to refer respectively to shamans of greater and lesser powers. (Franco 2009a: 41-42)
This is very much reminiscent of talks about psilocybin experiences. Some people transform into their "animal spirits" or whatever, while others have a "trip".
In contrast to the traditional use of psychedelic substances in non-Western cultures, many Westerners have a "hallucinophobic" attitude about psychedelics. This attitude has its roots in the proscriptions against pagan religions issued by the Emperor Theodosius in 380 CE, when he adopted Christianity as the official religion of the empire and suppressed the ancient mystery cults. During the next sixteen hundred years, most European knowledge about the proper ways to use these substances and exploit their effects for constructive purposes was lost. Consequently, few were prepared for the renaissance in psychedelic use that began in the 19th century and accelerated in the 20th, especually after the discovery of LSD. (Franco 2009a: 44)
...and which led to the criminalization of psychedelic substances.
The issues involved are too complex and multifaceted to be dealt wit hhere, but to risk a generalization about Indian civilization (for I have no overall competence in "Eastern" civilization), I would say that the tensions and inner conflict between "Homo Hierarchicus" and "Homo Equalis" are present also within Indian society. (Franco 2009a: 40; footnote 83)
So it is in modern society, with anarchists being a good example of Homo Equalis.
The social scientists, on the other hand, who study meditative experiences as a cultural phenomenon, would certainly benefit from the historical depth that can be gained from the study of texts. As Richard Gombrich once said - I paraphrase from memory - Buddhism has been around for 2500 years: who in his right mind would want to restrict one's study of it to the last century? The same is true of course for Hinduism and the European civilization. (Franco 2009a: 50)
Some could be asked of semioticians, who seem to be reluctant to go further back or branch out from the comfort of Peirce and de Saussure. Cratylus has been around for roughly 2400 years.
It may be fascinating to observe the physical changes that occur in meditation, which include metabolic, autonomic, endocrine, neurological, encephalographic and digestive effects, galvanic skin responses, hormone levels in blood, as well as limbic arousal in the brain. We deny neither the merit nor interest nor importance of these studies, but have deemed them of peripheral relevance to the studies undertaken in this volume. (Franco 2009a: 51)
And these are merely the aspects and methods that are currently available. The nitty-gritty of enlightenment may very well be worked out once we have mapped the human brain.

Taber, John 2009. Yoga and our Epistemic Predicament. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 71-92.

(Vācaspati, by the way, is a somewhat puzzling figure in that he wrote, besides the Nyāyakanikā, in which he attacks the very possibility of yogic perception, also a commentary on Yogasūtrabhāsya, in which he takes all kinds of yogic experience very seriously.) (Taber 2009: 81)
Why not both?

Franco, Eli 2009b. Meditation and Metaphysics: On their Mutual Relationship in South Asian Buddhism. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 93-132.

It is well known that Buddhism developed and prescribed a large number of meditative exercises. It is equally well known that Buddhism developed some highly original metaphysical doctrines, such as the anātman-doctrine, i.e., the doctrine that there is no soul and no substance, the doctrine of momentariness, i.e., the doctrine that all things, even those that seem permanent such as stones and mountains, last for only a moment, the doctrine of Emptiness of the Madhyamaka according to which nothing really exists and all things are but an illusion, or the idealism of the Yogācāra which professes that the external world is merely an image in our consciousness. However, it may be less well known that all metaphysical doctrines of Buddhism have their correspondence in meditative practice, and some of them may even have arisen from such practice. (Franco 2009b: 93)
All this sounds a lot like the version of solipsism I espoused when I was younger.
Right meditation, which is the culmination of the path, is divided into four stages. The first stage is characterized by bodily wellbeing (kāyasukha) and mental joy (prīti). This joy arises from the fact that one has succeeded in ridding oneself of one's desires. Conceptual thinking, that is, thinking connected with language, continues at this stage. When concentration further increases, one reaches the second stage, at which conceptual thinking ceases. Bodily well-being and joy continue, but they now arise directly from the power of meditation. When concentration increases even further, one reaches the third stage, at which joy is replaced by equanimity. Finally, at the fourth stage, even bodily well-being disappears and absolute equanimity and lack of sensation are reached. In this forth dhyāna the mind becomes absolutely clear. One can remember one's own previous lives and see how certain deeds lead to certain results - good deeds to pleasant births, bad deeds to painful ones. Then, with the so-called divine eye one can observe the same phenomena for countless other living beings. Finally, after one perceives in this manner the entire samsāra both in time and in space, one reaches the certainty that the present life is one's final life, that one will not be born again. (Franco 2009b: 97)
This sounds like following the process of semiosis in the reverse, that is, degenerating from Thirdness to Firstness, from logical, conceptual, discursive, thought to pure possibility. Also, if certainty that one will not be born again is the end-goal then non-buddhists have reached that by default.
Finally, without an object consciousness becomes so weak that it hardly deserves its name. Accordingly, this stage of meditation is called "neither consciousness nor non-consciousness" (naivasaṃjñānāsamjñā). When this meditation is further intensified, consciousness disappears altogether. The meditation now has neither subject nor object. This stage is called saṃjñāvedayitanirodhasamāpatti, i.e., the meditation which consists in the suppression of consciousness and feelings. Because at this stage all consciousness and feelings disappear, this state of meditation has no cosmological correspondence. At this stage the yogi is almost dead; his body is unconscious and numb like a corpse. Only by his bodily heat can one may know that he is still alive. (Franco 2009b: 99)
Dead body language?
The oldest Mahāyānasātra is considered to be the Aṣtasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā, The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand verses. It is a relatively extensive work; an English translation would probably run for more than a thousand pages. The Sūtra was translated into Chinese already in 179 CE by Lokakṣema. Now, what is the perfection of that is repeatedly praised in this Sūtra? It is the insight that all final elements of existence (dharmas) are unreal, and this insight is realized during a meditation that causes the suppression of all consciousness and feelings. In other words, when the perfection of wisdom is attained, the world disappears; all dharmas vanish and nothing remains: neither objects, nor feelings, nor consciousness. This state is similar to the attained in the nirodhasamāpatti mentioned above, but there is one important difference: the content of this meditation corresponds to absolute reality. When the yogi emerges from the meditative state, he generalizes his experience: Just as all final elements of existence do not exist during meditative state, they not exist outside of it. The whole world is but an illusion; it contains elements of existence that only appear to be real, but in fact are empty and unreal. The correspondence between the content of the meditation and the metaphysical truth is clear: The absence of the final elements of existence during meditation reflects their inexistence in reality. (Franco 2009b: 106-107)
Cf. the phenomenological slogan that there is no consciousness other than consciousness of something (an object). Likewise, there is nothing (no object) without consciousness.
In the type of meditation described and praised in this Sūtra, the yegi visualizes one, or even several present Buddhas, foremost Amitābha, the Buddha of Immesaurable Light/Luster. When he reaches the highest degree of concentration, he perceives the Buddha(s) face to face. Only after he emerges from the state of meditation does he understand that he did not go to the Buddta, nor did the Buddha come to him. The whole encounter took place only in his mind. And again the yogi generalizes: Just as during the meditation all objects were mere images in my mind or consciousness, so are all external objects: they are nothing but images in one's mind. The external world, i.e., the world outside consciousness, does not exist. (Franco 2009b: 110-111)
It's The Matrix!
The statement that the whole world is just mind (cittamātram idaṃ yad idaṃ traidhātukam) in the Daśabhūmikasūtra can be understood as denying the Self (ātman), not the existence of real objects. (Franco 2009b: 115)
Which one is it, then?
What Dignāga means, and this is also how his followers understood him, is that the yogi studies the Buddhist teachings, meditates on them and in the process of meditation casts away all conceptual constructions, all cognitions related to language, and arrives at an immediate, non-conceptual understanding of these very teachings, perceiving them as vividly as one perceives an object in front of one's eyes. (Franco 2009b: 122)
In other words, the teachings must be internalized in a way that "bypasses the intellect", as some Christian missionaries/propagandists put it.

MacDonald, Anne 2009. Knowing Nothing: Candrakīrti and Yogic Perception. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 133-168.

These five types of supranormal capability are generally said to be produced on the basis of the practitioner having reached the fourth dhyāna, an intensified concentrative state characterized by one-pointedness of mind and emotional equinimity. The first of the five abhijñās referred to in Candrakīrti's commentary consists in the ability to perform various types of paranormal feats (ṛddhi), such as being able to manifest mind-made bodies, to pass through physical matter such as walls and mountains, to fly, to walk on water and dive into earth, to blaze like fire and shower down rain from oneself, and to touch the sun and the moon. The second abhijñā mentioned is the divine ear (divyaśrotra), by way of which the yogin is able to hear any sounds, divine or human, that he wishes to listen to. The third abhijñā enables him to know the state of mind of other beings (paracittajñāna), the fourth, to recollect millions of his previous lives in great detail (pūrvanivāsānusmṛtijñāna). With the fifth supranormal achivement, that of the divine eye (divyacakṣus), he is able to see beings dying and being reborn, and knows the wholesome or unwholesome karma that takes them to their respective good or difficult destinations. As astounding and fascinating as these powers and supernormal perceptions might be, Candrakīrti has nothing special to say about them himself, choosing instead to elaborate on them in his bhāṣya by citing verbatim the Daśabhūmikasūtra's brief but detailed account of the five abhijñās. His interest in them is exhausted in this account. (MacDonald 2009: 135-136)
"If Jesus can walk on water, can he swim on land?" (Bo Burnham). Apparently, Jesus perhaps could not, but Buddha could.
The knowing of the true nature of things, of the ultimate peacefulness of existence that has always been at its heart, or as the texts sometimes refer to it, of "thusness" (tattva), is a knowing that is without objects or appearances, one in which the yogin does not apprehend any thing. To dwell in a meditative state in which nothing appears is to see reality. (MacDonald 2009: 146)
I wonder if tattva is comparable to haecceity.

Eltschinger, Vincent 2009. On the Career of the Cofnition of Yogins. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 169-213.

A cognition's being the outcome of the intense cultivation of an object by no means implies that the said cognition bears upon a real (bhūta) object (artha, viṣaya). Dharmakīrti adduces several examples in order to show that the cultivation of unreal (abhūta) objects may also result in a vivid and hence non-conceptual cognition. He says: "[People who are] deluded by confusion due to love, sorrow or fear, and by dreams about thieves, etc., see [the respective objects] as if [these would] stand before [them,] though [these objects are] unreal." But, one may ask, how do we know that these deluded persons see, because of their cultivation of it, the object as if it would stand before them? This is to be inferred on the basis of these persons' outward behaviour, as Dharmakīrti says: "Since we see that, in accord with the delusion [they are victims of], they act with agitation." Some explanations may not be out of place. By "agitation" (āvega), we should understand physical states such as trembling with joy, or being thrilled (romaharṣa). By "behaviour" is meant a physical action (anuṣṭhāna) that conforms to the specific vision of a deluded person: the first will stretch his arms out in order to embrace his beloved, the second mourns or sigs, and the third boastfully seizes a sword. But one may also wonder why the cognition at stake should be of an immediate (pratyakṣa) rather than of a mediate (parokṣa) character. This Dharmakīrti answers as follows: "Because we do not see any behaviour of that kind when [someone] is conscious that his/her cofnition is a mediate one (parokṣa)." (Eltschinger 2009: 193-194)
According to Sanskrit Dictionary "अनुष्ठान" (anuṣṭhāna) means 'carrying out, undertaking'. bab.la defines it as 'to act, to commit, to do, to minister, to obey' and gives it in a common expression "अनुष्ठान करना", anushthaan karna which amounts 'to celebrate', 'to observe', and 'to commence'. John D. Dunne, too, defines it as either "action" or "implementation". I'm not sure whether this would bring me any closer to buddhist discourse on physical behaviour, as Iyengar elaborates it as "devotional practice with spiritual involvement".

Wangchuk, Dorij 2009. A Relativity Theory of the Purity and Validity of Perception in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 215-239.

I am not sure how best the fifth aspect of the special Mahāyāna can be expressed. The author apparently alludes to a special spiritual proclivity or disposition within the person, namely, the uniqueness of his or her cognitive, conative, and emotive faculty which allows access to the so-called "non-dual mode" (gnyis su med pa'i tshul), clearly meaning the indivisibility of the two kinds of truth referred to above. (Wangchuk 2009: 227)
Wow. Organon much?

Almogi, Orna 2009. The Materiality and Immanence of Gnosis in Some rNying-ma Tantric Sources. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 241-262.

In non-Mahāyāna Buddhism, the psycho-physiological complex of a person comprising five aggregates (phung po lnga: pañcaskandha) is considered impure, impermanent, painful, and non-substantial. In particular, the human body is percived as consisting of thirty-six impure substances ["various bodily parts and fluids - hair, nails, flesh, bones, bladder, liver, pus, blood, excrement, and the like"] and is often meditated upon on the basis of nine notions of repulsive [objects], that is, by imagining the various stages of the decomposition of the body. Such meditation is clearly intended to combat one of the numerous intellectual-emotional defilements (nyon mongs pa: kleśa) - the greatest challenge for the seeker of salvation in Buddhism - namely, attachment, particularl to one's body and the bodies of others. In Mahāyāna, the human body is also conceived of as illusory and empty. Nonetheless, despite an apparent negative attitude towards the human body, the usefulness of the body has been recognised as being the basis for human existence, which latter enables one to tread the path to salvation. The Buddha's teachings are considered as mere aids with the help of which one is to cross the river of saṃsāra and are thus often compared to a boat that one leaves behind after crossing the river. This analogy is occasionally also employed in the case of the human body - for example, in Śāntideva's Bodhicaryāvatāra, where it is stated that a bodhisattva should view his body as being like a boat and use it to fulfill the needs of living beings. In the tantric context, the human body, which plays now a greater role, particularly in the so-called higher tantric systems, is often compared to a boat, here, however, in a somewhat different sense; that is, the body itself is now to be steered to reach the shore of salvation. One of the arguments offered by some Tibetan Buddhist authors for the essentiality of a human body for tantric practices is the indispensability of a body endowed with the six elements (khams drug gi bdag nyid can: saddhātvātmaka), which only a human body is said to possess. (Almogi 2009: 241-243)
This discourse makes me weary whether there is much more thought given to the human body and its movements in Buddhism beyond the notion that the body is the vessel for the soul.
The tantric attitude towards the human body is generally more positive than the one found in non-tantric Buddhism. The body is now conceived of as a microcosm containing the entire universe, is meditatively envisioned as the pure (though illusory) body of a deity, and is not to be abused in any way. Most important of all, the body is considered the abode of gnosis, the attainment of which is the soteriological goal of all Buddhist vehicles and the unfolding of which is often referred to in the tantric context as great bliss. (Almogi 2009: 244)
The statement "body is the vessel for the soul" is not so far off, given that the body is a microcosm containing the entire universe, and the soul or Self is illusory, and also contains the whole universe. Wait, what.
The six cakras are identified as:
  1. the "cakra of great bliss in the forehead" (spyi bo bde chen gyi 'khor lo)
  2. the "cakra of the Saṃbhoga[kāya] at the throat" (mgrin pa longs spyod kyi 'khor lo)
  3. the "cakra of the Dharma[kāya] at the heart" (snying ga chos kyi 'khor lo)
  4. the "cakra of fire" (me dkyil), also called the "fire of Brahmā" (tshangs pa'i me), situated four fingers below the navel
  5. the "cakra of conditions" (rkyen ghy 'khor lo), situated below the "cakra of fire"
(Almogi 2009: 249)
Tšakratega ei mängita!

Maas, Philipp André 2009. The So-called Yoga of Suppression in the Pātañjala Yogaśāstra. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 263-282.

Classical Sāṅkhya Yoga is known to be an ontologically dualistic philosophy. It upholds that the world is divided into two fundamentally different kinds of entities. On the one hand there exists an infinite number of transcendental "selves," or "spirits" (puruṣa). The selves are pure consciousness, bare of any content. They are infinite - not only in number but also with regard to time and space - inactive, and unchangeable. Besides the selves, the world consists of the products of primordial matter (prakṛti) which is completely unconscious, active and changeable. The products of matter not only make up all things of the outside world, but in human beings they also fashion the sense-capacities (buddhīndriya) as well as the mental capacity which is most frequently called citta. These metaphysical assumptions are crucial for the view of classical Sāṅkhya Yoga on epistemological issues, as mental processes are thought to depend upon the existence - and as it were "inetraction" - of both kinds of entities. The mental capacity supplies the content of a mental process to the self, which by "seeing" it "provides" the mental content with consciousness. Everyday experience, of course, does not conform to this analysis. We neither experience consciousness without content, nor do we experience content without consciousness. According to Sāṅkhya Yoga, however, the analysis of mental processes in every day experience as being of a uniform nature is wrong. It is caused by necsience (avidyā), which delides the self about its own true ontological status. The self - pure consciousness - is attracted by the mental capacity like iron is attracted by a lodestone. This "attraction" is possible because of the mutual compatibility or fitness (yogyatā) of the self and the citta. The mental capacity, which consists mainly of the luminous substance sattva, one of three constituents of primordial matter, is often called "the visible" (dṛṣya). It displays its content to the self, which frequently is designated as "the seer" (draṣṭr). Their compatibility is determined by their nature and cannot - in terms of Sāṅkhya Yoga - be meaningfully questioned. (Maas 2009: 265-266)
Very much compatible with the phenomenological understanding of the relationship between consciousness and objects.
Patañjali uses the word "yoga" in a number of related meannigs. In its broadest sense "yoga" designates awareness as a characteristic of mental processes in general. There are, however, different kinds of awareness, which qualify five states of the mental capacity. Three states are not specificalyl yogic, and this is the reason Why Patañjali excludes them from his exposition. Nevertheless, as Wezler convincingly shows on the backdrop of information provided by the Vivarana, the arrangement not only of those states specific to yoga, but also of the first three ones is "qute consistent[ly] ... determined by the final goal" of yoga, viz. stopping the mental processes in general. The first state, called "fixed," is characterised by a strong and involuntary connection between the mental capacity and its object. The mental capacity, completely attached to its object, is incapable of becoming aware of any different object. It is quite obvious that an involuntary fixation to a single object completely rules out the possibility of mental training, and this is the reason why Patañjali places this state at the beginning of his enumeration.
The second place is held by the "dull" mental capacity, which is equally involuntarily connected to a single object. Its connection to the object, however, is very weak. Although the explanations of the YVi are not comprehensive, one can quite safely regard the dull mental capacity as having a very basic and limited awareness of its object only. The mental capacity is not able to perceive the object distinctly. This weakness is the reason why the dull state in terms of yoga psychology is superior to the state called "fixed." The lack of firmness seems to provide the conditions for an awareness of different objects, which leads to a possible transition of the mental capacity to the next higher state, called distracted.
For this state, too, the explanations of the YVi are quite scarce. It simply paraphrases vikṣiptam as nānākṣiptam "being fixed to several [objects]." Wezler takes this to mean that the mental capacity is bound to several objects simultaneously. I doubt that this interpretation is correct. The distracted mind is rather bound to several objects in a short succession of time. It corresponds to our everyday awareness, which usually lacks permanent concentration on a single object. The content of consciousness changes according to the different sense data which come to the mind by means of the sense capacities. The mental capacity is attached to one object for a more or less short period of time, and becomes attached to the next when it has lost interest in the preceding one. Presumably because the mind in its distracted state is connected to several objects, it develops a certain distance, or - as the author of YVi has it - impartiality to its objects. This impartiality provides the mental capacity with the freedom to deliberately choose a desired object, which, of course, not only is the precondition for acting as an autonomous subject, but also for entering upon the path of mental training and spiritual progress.
A voluntary connection of sufficient strength between the mental capacity and a deliberately chosen object, which comes about every now and then in the distracted state, is the characteristic of the state called one-pointed (ekāgara), the first of the specifically yogic states.
Patañjali's discussion of yoga proper starts with PYŚ I.12. This passage deals with two methods conductive to the shutdown of mental processes, viz. practice (abhyāsa) and detachment (vairāgya). Their efficiency is elucidated by a comparison of the mental capacity with a river being capable of flowing in two directions. The mind-river either flows, when guided by practice and detachment, in the direction of well-being (kalyāna) or, when uncontrolled, in the contrary direction of a bad condition (pāpa). Detachment in this context is said to obstruct the stream towards objects, in other words, it prevents the mind from entering into an involuntary connection with objects.
Patañjali elaborates on the concept of detachment in PYŚ I.15-16. He teaches that detachment is of two kinds, a lower and a higher one. Lower detachment refers to all things which are subject to perception, like women, food, drinks and the execution of power. Moreover, it also applies to objects which are known from authoritative traditions, like heavenly objects. The detached mental capacity, even when in contact with these objects, keeps a neutral attitude. It neither wants to avoid nor does it want to possess them, because it sees their defect, which obviously lies in their transient nature. This sovereignty of the mind in dealing with objects is called "consciousness of the controllability [of all objects]" (vaśīkārasaṃjñā).
The second kind of detachment is called "detachment from the constituents of matter" (gunavaitṛṣnya) and refers to the entities belonging to the realm of matter (prakṛti) in Sāṅkhya Yoga ontology. The mind, because of the practice of "perception of the Self" (puruṣadarśanābhyāsāt), is satisfied with the self's difference from the realm of matter, and therefore becomes detached from all potential objects. The highest degree of detachment, according to Patañjali, is "only clearness of knowledge" (jñānaprasādamātra). This is knowledge without content, in other words, an unrestricted self-perception of the self, which is - or leads to - the liberation of the self from the cycle of rebirths. In order to achieve this self-perception, the yogi has to cultivate detachment as an all-embracing and unrestricted attitude towards the content of his consciousness. Even the liminal content which exists in the mental capacity at the border with liberation has to be given up in a final step. When unrestricted perception of the self has been achieved, this experience terminates attachment once and for all. Patañjali, in a remarkable passage, lets the liberated yogi describe the degree of his detachment. He says:
"prāptaṃ prāpaṇīyam, kṣṇāḥ kṣetavyāḥ kleśāḥ, chinnaḥ śliṣṭaparvā bhavasaṃkramaḥ, yasyāvicchedāj janitvā mriyate, mṛtvā ca jāyate", iti (PYŚ I.16,5 f.).
"I have attained all that is attainable, I have destroyed all defilements being subject to destruction. I have cut the succession of existence with its [hightly] connected joints, due to the continuation of which after having been born, one dies, and after having died, one is born [again]."
(Maas 2009: 268-270)
This is probably the most useful (three-page) passage in this book. It details the procedure of yogic meditation in terms of the objects of consciousness. And it is quite compatible with Pjatigorski and Mamardažvili's Symbol and Consciousness.

Schmücker, Marcus 2009. Yogic Perception According to the Later Tradition of the Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 283-298.

"When grasping the object the first time, it is not known that [the universal] cowness, etc., has a form that recurs. [But] in the [following] second and subsequent cognitions of the thing, there is the knowledge of recurrence. [The fact] that cowness etc., which has the form of the generic structure of the object that is connected to the first cognition, is qualified by the property of recurrence, is to be ascertained by the second and subsequent cognitions of the object; therefore the second and subsequent cognitions are conceptual. The recurrence of cowness, etc., which has the nature of the generic structure of the object such as the dewlap is not grasped during the first cognition of an object; therefore the first cognition of an object is non-conceptual." (Schmücker 2009: 286)
This feels like a Peircean discussion of quality, token and type. But in fact it is a quote from "Śrībh 23,9-14" = Śrībhāṣya by Rāmānuja. Academy of Sanskrit Research.
But to establish why in fact even the highest Self could be called a yogin Meghanādārisūri is based on the meaning of 'being connected with' (yogitvam) supernormal qualities. (Schmücker 2009: 296)
E.g. the point of theistic yoga is "being connected with" Buddha.

Rastelli, Marion 2009. Perceiving God and Becoming Like Him: Yogic Perception and Its Implications in the Viṣṇuitic Tradition of Pāñcarātra. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 299-317.

Prolonged visualisation in this or a similar manner leads to absorption (samādhi). It is usually in this state that the object of meditation is perceived, moreover, only this object and nothing else; cf. again the Lakṣmītantra: "Having effected the visualisation in the right manner, he is to resort to absorption, in which [all] three, [i.e.,] the visualising [person], the visualisation and the visualised [object] are dissolved. Then I alone appear, the eternal, complete I-ness. When I, the great ocean of consciousness, have reached singleness, then nothing else appears, I alone, the Supreme One." (Rastelli 2009: 304)
That is one visual metaphor I am extremely interested in. Source: "LT 28.46-48b" = Lakṣbītantra: Lakṣmī-Tantra. A Pāñcarātra Āgama, ed. V. Krishnamacharya. Madras 1959 (repr. 1975).
A general principle in Tantric ritual worship, to which Pāñcarātra worship also belongs, is that everything involved in the ritual, that is, the devotee, the implements and substances used in the ritual, the ritual place, etc., must be suitable for the deity being worshipped. What is adequate for a deity is only that which is like the deity. Nothing that is inferior to the deity is suitable for it. Thus the devotee must make everything involved in the ritual like the deity, including himself. There are several methods for making something like the deity. One is placing (nyāsa) mantras onto an object. Placing mantras mean, for example, that the devotee places several mantras that represent various aspects of the deity onto his body. Doing this, he makes these aspects of the deity present on his body and thus his body becomes "like the deity". This effect is intensified by another method, namely, the devotee's mental identification with the deity, as given in the passage quoted from the JS (p. 308). A further method is assuming the outward appearance of the deity being worshipped. If the deity, for example, is usually considered to wear red garments and certain types of adornments, the devotee is to wear similar garments and adornments in order to have the same outward appearance as the deity. This method is also usually supported by the mental identification with the deity. We see that the devotee has to become like the deity, "consisting in it" (tanmaya), already before its worship. However, "consisting in the deity" can also be the result of ritual worship. (Rastelli 2009: 312-313)
An interesting bodily aspect. Like wearing a mask, except for the whole body. Wow that sounds stupid. I'll leave it be nevertheless.

Baier, Karl 2009. Meditation and Contemplation in High to Late Medieval Europe. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 321-345.

Richard of St. Victor (?-1173) "must be counted as the most significant of the Victorine mystics, both for the profundity of his thought and his subsequent influence on the later Western tradition." He affected Thomas Gallus nad Bonaventura, the English mystics Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton and the anonymous author of the Cloud-texts, as well as German and Flemish mysticism. It is probable that his influence extended (indirectly) as far as the Spanish Carmelites of the 15th century, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. Richard wrote two works concerning meditation and contemplation which are of special importance. Benjamin minor, also called The twelve Patriarchs, interprets Jacob, his wives, concubines and twelve sons as stages of preparation for the state of ecstasy which is symbolized in Benjamin, the last of the patriarchs. Emphasis is given to self-knowledge and the development of certain virtues. Benjamin major or De gratia contemplationis, also known as The Mystical Ark, is a comprehensive manual on contemplation. (Baier 2009: 322)
Genesis of mystic texts. P.S. there is an edited 1922 (relatively) modern English version of The Cloud of Unknowing availablable on archive.org
Meditation is a much more focused way of thinking. It emerges when cogitatio starts to become seriously interested in something which it has uncovered. Meditatio and the following ways of recognition are subsequent steps on a progressive path towards truth. Richard defines it as "the eager exertion of the mind which affectionately tries to investigate something." The dominant mental faculty is ratio, discursive thinking, which investigates the cause (causa), mode (modus), effect (effectus), purpose (utilitas) and inner structure (ratio) of its objects. (Baier 2009: 323)
Of course linguistic thought is the dominant mode of thought.
Contemplation is a free gaze of the mind into the visible manifestation of (divine) wisdom accompanied by astonishment/admiration, a gaze which - as already Hugh of St. Victor (1096-1141) said, whom Richard quotes in this respect - is poured out everywhere over the things to be known. Whereas cogitatio is like crawling on the floor and meditatio like walking and sometimes running, contemplatio is comparable to a free flight (liber volatus) and a view from above, which sees the whole landscape at once whereas the meditating person has to wander on the surface of the earth from one point to the other discriminating and collecting the different parts and dimensions of the meditated object. (Baier 2009: 324)
Earlier this sequence was described with an emphasis on movement. Here the focus seems to be more on the gaze.
Guido's Scala Claustralium (ladder for monastics), also known as Scala paradisi (the ladder to paradise) and Epistola de vita contemplativa (letter on the contemplative life) contains one of the most concise analysis of the spirituale exercitium (spiritual exercise) written in the High Medieval Ages. The abbot of La Chartreuse unfolds an elaborate understanding of meditation and contemplation which integrates the two as well as prayer into the reading and interpretation of the Bible. Lectio divina was the fundamental individual monastic practice of Benedictine monasticism which usually took two to three hours a day. In the course of the early medieval period it had become more or less identical with the memorizing of biblical texts for liturgical purposes. It was only in the 11th century that the tradition of the Desert Fathers was revived and the new order of the Carthusians who took part i the reform movement united the lifestyle of the hermit with monastic community life. This led to an interiorization of religious reading which is reflected in Guido's text. Influenced by the early scholastic culture he approached his topic in a systematic way, trying to clearly define the various stages of the hermeneutic process which leads to a mystical understanding of the Holy Scriptures:
"Reading is a busy looking into the scriptures with an attentive mind. Meditation is a studious activity of the mind, which searches for some hidden truth under the guidance of one's own reason. Prayer is a devout turning of the heart to God to get evils removed or to obtain good things. Contemplation is a certain elevation of the mind above itself, being suspended in God, tasting the joy of eternal sweetness." (Baier 2009: 326-327)
Much like "speculation", the meaning of "meditation" in the English language seems to have transformed noticeably since the scholastic era.
· meditatio: If he comes across a passage or a single sentence which touches his heart and awakens his special interest, he starts to repeat it again and again (a practice which traditionally is called ruminatio, the rumination of the text). He illuminates it with the help of rational thinking (ratio) by connecting the passage in a free, associative manner with other texts of the Bible which come into his mind, because they contain the same or similar keywords as the text which he is actually reading. The focus of meditatio is the moral sense (sensus moralis of the Bible. It aims at insights as to what is of real importance in life according to the Word of God, how one should act in order to achieve this, what evils in one's own soul would be obstacles to attain it and how to overcome them. The example Guido is giving for this process shows that he defines meditatio according to the somewhat rationalized Victorine understanding and like it at the same time still clingns to the traditional monastic way of dealing with the Bible. This line of thought is not so much shaped according to Aristotelian syllogisms or philological accuracy as in later academic theology. Using the scripture in a very free way the meditating monk wove a web of allusions and quotations which were meant to create an emotional impact and deepen it. In this respect Guido's art of meditation is very similar to the rhetoric of medieval monastic sermons and the style of exegetical works of his time. The basis for this kind of thinking was the mnemonic culture of the monasteries. (Baier 2009: 328)
In my case, if I come across a passage or a single sentence that touches my heart or awakens my special interest, I retype it for my readings blog, so that I can re-read it later on. I also connect the re-typed passages in an associative manner with other texts that I've read, if not because they contain a relevant keyword then because tho topic it touches upon, e.g. a special interest, can be tagged with a keyword or phrase. I weave a web of quotations with the express purpose of collecting bits of information that would some day help me express my own thought about some lofty subjects.
In the Late Medieval Ages meditation is understood as a practice not so much based on associative and argumentative thinking like in the 12th century but on imagination. It no longer starts from reading the Bible but rather from the imagination of biblical scenes which have been removed from their original context and retold in special manuals for their usage within imaginative meditation techniques. Anselm of Canterburys Meditationes, Bernhard of Clairvaux and especially Aelred of Rievaulx's method of meditation (which was originally meant as a part of eremitical piety) had created the basis for this form of meditation. Now the imagination of the Life of Christ and especially the passion became the central devotional activity.
One should imagine oneself directly taking part in the mysteries of the life of the saviour. As Aelred of Rievaulx says: "Sta nunc quasi in medio", "Place yourself quasi in the middle [of the imagined situation]." The imaginations were not limited to visual phantasies, therefore I hesitate to call them visualizations. The meditator did not look at inner images but participated in a dramatic event in which all senses were involved. This included the performance of certain postures and movements, talking with the imagined persons, touching them, smelling the odors of heaven and hell and sometimes even swallowing drops of Jesus' sweat and blood. (Baier 2009: 334-335)
This is the passage most explicitly related to nonverbal behaviour yet.
Visual media were used to support and sometimes also to replace the imaginative methods of meditation. In the daily life practice of lay people as well as in the monasteries, visualization was often replaced by contemplating pious paintings, drawings and woodcuts, which were created especially for this purpose. Images should serve as simulacra of visionary experience. (Baier 2009: 336)
For some reason I recall the photos of clock-watches from the 19th century which contained hidden pornographic images.
The meditative imagination of biblical scenes (Is this different from "visualization"?) aimed at the emotional involvement in the life of Jesus and Mary. It should finally lead to conformatio, a deep emotional mimesis with the protagonists (not only Jesus and Mary but also the shepherds who adore the new borne Jesus or Simone of Cyrene who helped Jesus to carry the cross etc.) of the holy drama - further supported by practices like real or imagined self-flagellation or standing with widespread arms to imitate the crucifixion etc. (Baier 2009: 337)
Wow, conformity in an syn- or empathetic sense in definitely new to me, although dictionary definition of "state of things being similar or identical" would stand to reason in this sense. (Usually it is understood in terms of "social uniformity".)
The Clowde of Unknowyng, written between 1375 and 1400, and nowadays one [of] the most famous of all late medieval mystical texts, is suitable to exemplify the outlined developments. The anonymous author was probably a Carthusian. He addresses in his text to a disciple, a young man, who was about to start an eremitical life. The text is an introduction to contemplative prayer which the author conceives as the highest form of Christian spirituality. "His prime motive is to teach a 'special prayer' over and above the 'preiers that ben ordeynid of Holy Chirche'." The author is very conscious about the fact that his manual, written in Middle English, will not only circulate among Latinized circles of religious specialists but is bound to reach a broader audience. Therefore he includes instructions concerning the distribution of the book. It should not be given to those who are merely curious about its content, but rather to people who fulfill the criteria of being ready for contemplation. (Baier 2009: 338-339)
That is one way of making your mysticism shadowy. Books of the brotherhood aren't exactly library material.
The text follows the traditional discrimination between vita activa (actyve liif) and vita contemplativa (contemplatyve liif). It also alludes to a stage in-between which is at the same time the second degree of active life and the first degree of cantemplative life. (Baier 2009: 339)
I'd probably be interested in the middle ground, but that would necessitate actually reading the book and learning about the degrees.
The step from meditation to contemplation means starting to practice a form of prayer which aims at a wordless silence filled with the love of God. Inner silence is produced and supported through undivided attention on the meaning of single monosyllabic words, especially Sin and God, without any discursive mental acts. The method of reducing prayer and meditation to a very short formula or as in our case to one word (very often the name of Jesus) has a tradition which goes back to the Desert Fathers. (Baier 2009: 341)
This tradition has been inherited by modern sects which insist on repeating the name of Jesus or Jehova in their prayers or songs.
Through the proposed way of contemplation one should leave behind distinct considerations of the self, sins, creation and God under a "cloude of forgetyng." What should remain in the end is an empty mind surrendered to "nakyd" i.e. self-forgetful love, which aims at God himself and not at one of his divine goods which the practitioner may desire to possess. In order to reach out towards union with God, one must beat upon the cloud of unknowing which lies between ourselves and God, with the 'sharp darte of longing love'. This has to become a settled habit. (Baier 2009: 342)
This is very reminiscent of Buddhist meditative practices, especially when it comes to selflessness. But the cloud, all in all, seems to embody what in modern terms would be the "leap of faith".

Riboli, Diana 2009. Shamans and Transformation in Nepal and Peninsular Malaysia. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 347-367.

Some Jahai and Batek elders, one of whom is the old shaman Macang referred to in detail below, believed that ordinary human beings can also communicate with the big cats. When asked what course of action to take in a close encounter with a tiger or elephant, the old man explained that it was usually better to stay still. One should try not to feel fear (the smell of fear will incite the tiger or elephant to attack) and look the animal in the eye in a gentle and friendly fashion. An old Jahai man recounted that many years ago when he was out hunting one day he found himself a few meters away from a large female tiger and felt no fear. He crouched down and looked the tiger gently in the eyes, reassuring her that he would not disturb her and excusing himself for inadvertently entering her territory. The conversation with the animal continued for some time as the man explained he was searching for food for the many children he had left behind at the camp. He told the tiger he had three children and found out that the tiger was also hunting for food for her cubs. When asked what language was used for this communication between himself and the cat my informant was unable to explain exactly. He said he spoke Batek with the tiger and that she replied simply by looking at him and communicated her thought to him by what I would call telepathy. The man later added he suspected this was no ordinary tiger but a shaman in tiger form. In any case what is interesting is that there is still, albeit limited, communication between humans and animals. (Riboli 2009: 358-359)
Yeah, it's called interspecies communication and it occurs through nonverbal behaviour. Nothing supernatural here.

Eigner, Dagmar 2009. Transformation of Consciousness through Suffering, Devotion, and Meditation. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 369-388.

"It was only when I was a beginner that I went outside in the flights of imagination. Now everything comes rushing towards me." (Eigner 2009: 385)
Compare this to Rimbaud's quip about him being in thoughts, not vice versa. Or Peirce's "The idea does not belong to the soul; it is the soul that belongs to the idea." The quote comes most likely from "Loy 1988: 210" = Loy, Havid 1988. Nonduality. A Study in Comparative Philosophy. New Jersey: Humanity Press.
Deities come over the healers and show themselves in different appearances, speak and act in unusual ways. One medium has a postcard that shows "herself" with the faces and attributes of several deities. During her healing sessions she sits behind a thick cloth so that people might not become frightened by the appearances. For the advanced healers corporeal form and mind are non-dual. (Eigner 2009: 385)
An interesting case of identification. Some people on youtube likewise mimick famous actors, their characteristic voices, facial expressions, mannerisms and popular phrases.
While watching a video recording that showed deities coming over her during a healing session together with a medium, the shamaness was very surprised. Sounds, gestures, and movements were determined by the deities. She had never seen herself like this and said: "This is not me. My appearance is the same as Kāli's. Nobody will say this is me. My voice is different. Look at my eyes! Some said that they had seen different faces but I never believed them. Now it is becoming clearer to me." (Eigner 2009: 386)
But that's what faces do! Facial expressions fundamentally change the appearance of a face.

Baker, John R. 2009. Psychedelics, Culture, and Consciousness: Insights from the Biocultural Perspective. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 389-405.

One colleague of mine told me of a conference she had attended in which a shouting match had erupted between supporters of postmodernist thinking and proponets of a more empirical view. When one empiricist attempted to introduce genetic evidence in support of his argument, his appaled opponent shouted out "You don't really believe in genes, do you?" (Baker 2009: 391; footnote 1)
Best. Footnote. Ever.
Of all the naturally occurring psychoactive substances, those with the most profound effects upon consciousness have become known by many names. Lewis Lewin, the German physician regarded as the father of modern toxicology, called them "phantastica" (Lewin 1980[1927]). Some of the other terms that have been put forth include "hallucinogens" (Hoffer et a. 1954), "entheogens" (Ruck 1979), and "psychointegrators" (Winkelman 1995). In the present context, perhaps the most appropriate term is "psychedelic", a term coined in 1957 (Osmund 1957). The word literally means "mind manifesting", and refers to the abilities of such substances as LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin to temporarily suspend our normal perceptual and mental functioning while having little effect upon memory. Visual and other sensory effects are common, and higher dosages can lead to a complete dissolution of an individual's awareness of himself as an individual (producing a sense of "merging"), an inability to distinguish between perceptions arising from inside and outside of the body, and the temporary suspension of normal cognitive and affective intpretations of perceptions. (Baker 2009: 395)
Cool terminological variety. The meaning of "psychedelic" is neat.

Kreitler, Shulamith 2009. Altered States of Consciousness as Structural Variations of the Cognitive System. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 407-434.

A regular textbook or encyclopedia mentions SOCs that can come about through physical disorders, such as indigestion, fever, nitrogen narcosis (deep diving), a traumatic accident or deprivation of food or water or sleep or oxygen; states induced by meditation, prayer, or techniques bound with specific disciplines (such as Mantra Meditation, Sufism, Yoga, Surat Shabbda Yoga); intoxication states induced by psychoactive substances or opioids (e.g., LSD, mescaline, heroin, marijuana, MDMA or ecstasy, psychedelic mushrooms, datura or jimson weed, peyote, ketamin, ayahuasca, DXM or dextromethorpan, amphetamins, cocaine, including perhapsalso the lower-grade ones, such as nicotine, caffeine and Ritalin or methylphenidate); states induced by sensory deprivation (also called floating tank, sensory attenuation tank or Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy or Floating REST); states induced by physical means, such as postures, dancing or breathing exercises; mental disorder states, such as mania or psychosis; states bound with hypnosis, self-hypnosis or guided imagery; sleep, dreaming, lucid dreaming, and transitional states between sleep and wakefulness (hypnagogic and hypnopompic, false awakening, and sleep paralysis); drunkennes (e.g., induced by the consumption of alcohol); states induced by shamanistic practices, including music and drugs; mystical experiences; oceanic experience; psychological states like flow, as well as intense emotional states (e.g., fear or panic, love, anger, sadness or depression); peak experiences; trance states including rapture or religious ecstasy, Samadhi, "possession" and "channeling"; and the state often produced by immersion in a crowd. (Kreitler 2009: 409)
I know that dancing is often related to ecstasy (e.g. Sufi dances), and breathing is used in many forms of meditation, but postures? Can postures produce altered states of consciousness? Or does he mean the physical exercise type of yoga?
Sense of control and ability to control. The strength of the sense of control and the domains in regard to which control is exerted or felt to be viable differ in various SOCs. Thus, in ordinary consciousness the individual may feel having control of oneself and one's behavior as well as over the closer environment, but neither over physiological processes within one's body nor over reality at large. In some dream states a person may feel having control over external reality (e.g., changing some parts of reality); and in hypnosis - over physiological processes, if the instructions are adequately given. In other SOCs one may experience loss of control over one's muscles and ability to move (e.g., 'false awakening') or in contrast experience the ability to fly (e.g., shamanistic flights). (Kreitler 2009: 412)
This concerns my interest in the regulative (control) function of behaviour. E.g. how much control does Winston have or feel to have over various dimensions of the world in 1984.
Emotional involvement. The different SOC's differ greatly in the amount and direction of emotional involvement. Some SOCs are characterized by low degree of emotionality, sometimes to the point of dissociation. In other SOCs there is a tendency toward intensified emotions, as in a crowd situation with a "charismatic" leader, or after ingestion of certain drugs. The evoked emotions may be positive (following the ecstasy drug) or negative (e.g., fear, anxiety, disorientation). (Kreitler 2009: 413)
This is one of those rare instances in which it would be beneficial to consult the tedious works of Albert Mehrabian. E.g. his paper Environmental Effects on Drug Use which delves into the emotional side of drug use.
An examination of the different dimensions and the range of effects that they represent reveal a large number of phenomena that are affected by changes in SOCs. Some investigators treat the changed aspect as one package and lump them together under a general term, such as "mental functioning" (Tart 1972: 1203). Others (Farthing 1992) provide a detailed list of the domains in which changes take place: attention, perception, imagery and fantasy, inner speech, memory, higher-level thought processes, meaning and signification, time perception, emotional feeling and expression, arousal, self-control, suggestibility, body image, sense of personal identity. Despite its length it is unlikely that the list is complete. Notably missing are the effects in the domain of behavior, including motor actions, and physiological processes. (Kreitler 2009: 416)
I wonder if semioticians have ever approached altered states of consciousness.
Types of RelationForms of Expression
TR 3Exemplifying-Illustrative (3a: Exemplifying instance; 3b: Exemplifying situation; 3c: Exemplifying scene)FE 3Motoric (3a: Actual enactment; 3b: Verbally described; 3c: Using available materials)
(Kreitler 2009: 421)
Actually enacted motor behaviour is distinguished from verbally described motor behaviour. Which is nice. But what does "using available materials" mean? Like pictures or videos?

van Quekelberghe, Renaud 2009. Mindfulness and Psychotherapy: The Revival of Indian Meditative Traditions within Modern Psychology, Psychotherapy, and Medicine. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 435-447.

The endless ocean, similar tot he "Dirac-Sea" or the quantum vacuum of modern physics, presents the first or last context, the infinite ground for all or potential phenomena or contents (cf. van Quekelberghe 2005: 77-91). Patañjali-Yoga tries to bring this limitless awareness into the focus of a mindful meditation through complete cessation of any "wave or disturbing content" of one's own mind: citta-vṛtti-niradha. This resonates through the Patañjali-Sūtra like a "mantra" and is a good expression of the relationship between pure awareness or mind and its countless vṛttis or contents. For Patañjali the drastic reduction of vṛttis is undoubtedly the best medicine, mainly because of quieting and freeing the mind, and at the same time the best means to achieve mokṣa. Moreover, the nature of our mind is oceanic. Dazzled with "content waves," we often oversee the endless ocean as contexn in and out of us. (van Quekelberghe 2009: 438)
A valuable addition to my accumulation of consciousness-as-a-body-of-water images.
Franz Alexander (1891-1964), professor of psychiatry, psychoanalyst and founder of the first Institute for Psychosomatics worldwide, published a well known study in 1931, entitled "Buddhistic training as an artificial catatonia". In this article, he describes the Buddhist meditation as narcissistic self-absorption, a kind of artificial schizophrenia, and as a compulsory masochistic practice killing any emotion. Furthermore, Alexander describes Lord Buddha as a neurotic man having analyzed his repressed emotions and their transfer to his followers. This early study inspired many leading psychiatrists and psychoanalysts to focus on the parallels between schizophrenic regression or at least compulsory disorders and yoga or Buddhist meditative practices (cf. Alexander and Selesnick 1966). (van Quekelberghe 2009: 439)
Sounds about as serious as the study that purportedly found Vladimir Putin to be autistic. Anything is possible by proxy.
the third bhumi (Sanskrit: prabhākara) means, "radiant charisma." So the more a therapist progresses along the Bodhisattva path, the more he/she will be able to communicate non-verbally some sort of "positive healing energy." This non-verbal charisma will also reduce the resistance and/or motivate the patients to go beyond a verbal level of comprehension and communication. (van Quekelberghe 2009: 445)
I immediately recall the character of Bumi (the King of Omashu) in Avatar, the Last Airbender. In any case, the connection between Buddhism, charisma and "healing energy" seems highly dubious. But then again, I'm not a therapist.

DelMonte, Michael 2009. Empty Thy Mind and Come to Thy Senses: A De-constructive Path to Inner Peace. In: Franco, Eli and Dagmar Eigner (eds.), Yogic Perception, Meditation and Altered States of Consciousness. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 449-479.

"Awakening" our "inner observer" capacity is what mindfulness meditation promotes. Much of our private thinking is comprised of unproductive monologues at best (often telling ourselves illusory stories), but also by destructive imaginary, internal disputes and conflicts. Many people suffer from minds which are ceaselessly engaged in anxious or depressive self-statements, in weary "battles" and the like, with little in the way of creative outcome. Many of us also "live in our heads," disconnected from our bodies. What can be done about all of this? For a start one can begin to raise one's awareness level via mindfulness training. (DelMonte 2009: 451)
This is what my grandma refers to as the "foaming up" of bad memories.
Then there is the social domain. Attachment has both physiological and psychological components. Developing a "theory of mind" in childhood facilitates the latter (Fonagy, et al, 1994). People often remark on the proclivity of human beings to form strong emotional bonds. We are popularly described as "social animals". However, there is considerable variation in this tendency to seek out others and to maintain contact. Social "stickiness" does not appear to be spread out evenly in the population. Some individuals deliberately enhance their outreaching social skills, whilst others, for a variuety of reasons, use various strategies to distance themselves from people or to withdraw into themselves. (DelMonte 2009: 455)
I'm the latter type. I'd much rather listen to good music and read scientific articles than go out to make small talk with new people.
Some of us try to avoid this anxiety by means of a "schizoid defence". It is likely to be found in those who are fearful of the risks involved in emotional inter-dependence, often due to past failures and hurts in this area. This defense is characterized by a contrived emotional detachment (largely unconscious) based on an exaggerated attitude of personal self-sufficiency, often where childhood bonding with care-givers was painfully inadequate or insensitive. In the absence of adequate parental attunement and nurturing behavior, emotional self-dependency may be sought via varying degrees of emotionally insulating and "autonomous" behavior. An extreme version of this defense could be the affective "non-attachment" (and non-attunement) found in bordelnise personality disorder, where long-term intimacy is too uncomfortable to be sustained (see Holmes, 1997). However, several variants of defensive isolation, or extreme egoism, exist. Solipsism, for example, is an intellectual rationalization for this cut off stance in life. But is mere withdrawal adequate? How can one really enjoy such false "escapism" when surrounded by others why may be in pain? This issue of defensive detachment shall be expanded on later. (See "Problems with Detachment and Disidentification"). (DelMonte 2009: 457)
A Philosophy of Solitude is, in this light, also nothing more than an eloquent rationalization of emotional attachment issues.
Meditation, Hatha Yoga, and Qi-gong exercises can be used to focus on bodily posture, breathing and the contents of one's mind. (DelMonte 2009: 459)
Qigong is "a practice of aligning body, breath, and mind for health, meditation, and martial arts training." (Wiki)
This dichotomy between the discursive mind and no-thought does not imply an inherent conflict. Thinking undoubtedly has its value and place - especially when we use thought and speect to facilitate informative, creative, humorous or playful communication. Silence, on the contrary, facilitates communion (Shafii, 1973a), i.e. the meeting of minds (or rather of "hearts") non-verbally through intuition, feeling, empathy and sensation. (DelMonte 2009: 461)
Not according to Malinowski. Reference: Shafii, M. 1973a. Silence in the service of the ego: Psychoanalytic study of meditation. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 54(4): 431-443.
According to O'Donoghue (1977) "If you are outside of yourself, always reaching beyond yourself, you avoid the call of your own mystery. When you acknowledge the integrity of your solitude, and settle into its mystery, your relationships with others take on a new warmth, adventure and wonder". Thereby silence can foster a sense of compassionate communion. (DelMonte 2009: 463)
Not sure how one follows the other.
It may be that some meditation and yoga approaches are directly or indirectly attempting to elaborate the non-verbal construing of the person so that it supersedes the verbally-labered constructions. From this point of view one could initially be talking about "descendence" from the psyche to the soma, rather than transcendence. (DelMonte 2009: 468)
The nonverbal self is more primordial than discursive superstructures that constitute the self in some linguocentric approaches.


Post a Comment