Benjamin Dean, 1

Interview with Benjamin Dean

MP:

What does meditation mean to you and why do you feel it is important? Can you recall what led you to begin meditation?

Benjamin:

Meditation is the means by which I see myself for who I am– and what I am. I would therefore define it as anything that enables me to do this. Ultimately it is this very witnessing self and needn't be limited or confined to any specific means. I feel it is important because it reveals the single most sacred reality alive in all things.

I had a girlfriend in college and we did acid together back in the early 80's. I remember the yellow of the sunshine and her hair and her yellow sweater. Not only was it the same yellow, but it was clear to me that it was the same thing. She was into Alan Watts and his book The Way of Zen. This is what got me interested and started with meditation practice.

Going back over these memories has brought them in clearer, so I want to add that it was actually something called 'Orange Sunshine'. She referred to it as Mescaline. She worked at the Detroit Institute of Arts and when we got high we played and laughed under a copy of Rodin's "Thinker" that was positioned on the front lawn of the museum.

MP:

Tons of questions come up, in a conversational way, so I have to pick the next one that comes. It sounds like you got a glimpse of "something" through this experience. Do you feel/think that meditation is something one learns to do? Do we learn meditation?

Benjamin:

That’s a great question. My answer is no. I believe it is something natural that if we are fortunate we re-discover. We are taught not to do it beginning with being given a name by our parents. It continues with names for everything else. It continues further when we are told that this name and identity is responsible for what happens around us. This gives rise to a box full of goodies like shame and obligation among others. I have heard other arguments for this including the assertion that identification must be gone through and reach its natural culmination.

It is so hard to imagine what might happen if all of this identification is not heaped upon a child. I do not believe that its absence would create feral children, and I do see young parents doing amazing things with their kids along these lines and the kids are much more empowered and in touch with themselves. So I see meditation as a natural state that is interrupted. It is when some bit of this sacred wonder and beauty is tucked away by the child and then brought out again and allowed to blossom at some later stage that some type of meditation is once again embraced.

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