Mindfulness meditation can provide salutary therapeutic benefits, as well as lead advanced practitioners to states of calm and equanimity. In this paper, we argue that such forms of meditation may subtly entrap practitioners in circular, self-reflexive feedback loops. Because these meditation traps fail to clearly discern the operations of mind, they offer a temporary oasis of peace within an unaltered dualistic realm of mind that leaves the root delusion of self-identity intact. Drawing upon Tarthang Tulku’s seminal book Revelations of Mind, we present what he refers to as the “regime of mind,” the processes of cognition, identification and re-cognition in which body, mind and language work in unison to maintain a persuasive experience of a self that knows an external world. Because these very same mechanisms are operative in meditation, the states of silence, no-thought, peace, calm, and mental blankness that can occur deceive practitioners into interpreting such experiences as signs of progress and spiritual attainment. By developing an understanding of how the regime of mind operates, such clarity can function as a corrective to the common traps of meditative practice fueled and obscured by subtle dualistic structures of self-identification and self-grasping. This clear ground of understanding can reveal how reflexively dualistic structures of knowing are constructed, opening up wider focal-settings that go beyond dualistic mind, offering more liberating options for exercising human freedom and intelligence.
Dixey, Richard and Purser, Ronald E., "Mindfulness Traps and the Entanglement of Self: An Inquiry into the Regime of Mind" (2023). International Journal of Transpersonal Studies Advance Publication Archive. 57.
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