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The Path to Meaning

ANT 3410

Megan Biddix

on 25 April 2013

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Transcript of The Path to Meaning

"When you meditate, you see yourself as you actually are, not as you think you are." The Paradox of the Individual Vs the Group: An Analysis of Meditation Club The Path to Meaning Conclusions Megan Biddix
Sam Wheeler
Sarah Perry
Meg Lemoine
Erika Barnett Material Culture Material Culture and Consciousness Many people who practice meditation strive to reach a higher state of consciousness- to achieve a more evolved sense of spiritual knowledge. What exactly is meant by "higher consciousness"? Research Conducted by: We'd like to give a special thanks the members of meditation club and the greater community who have graciously allowed us to conduct our research. We'd also like to thank Dr. Susan Keefe for our anthropological training. Introduction The Paradox, Explained V Our group chose to study Meditation Club. This club operates through Appalachian State University and meets regularly on Monday nights at 6:15 throughout the semester. The club meetings usually don't conclude at a specific time because fellowship occurs following meditation. The club is an excellent opportunity for like-minded people to gather and socialize. Throughout our studies, my group and I learned that there's an interesting paradox that occurs within this club: the paradox of the individual versus the group. Social Organization Presentation Themes:
Meaning & Consciousness An Emic Analysis Who's in the club, and who are they? How many people attend on a regular basis? What goes on during a typical club "meeting?" Mission Statement:
"The goal of Meditation Club is to provide a safe and open environment for students to meditate and grow in their state of consciousness. Meditation Club involves the participation and leadership of all members in group meditation and other activities that will expand and improve self-awareness. Members are encouraged to participate eagerly and expected to participate respectfully. As members of Meditation Club and students of the art of meditation itself, we will influence campus in a positive and encouraging manner by spreading awareness and inviting all to join. Meditation Club will build community during meetings as well as throughout campus. The theme of this semester is supporting the Appalachian State community and uniting one another through the practice of meditation and desire for mindfulness and tranquility." "I am not a supporter of drugs, only meditation." "Meditation is one of the safest actions to do with drugs,
one of the only things it can be good for. " Interviewee: Robert Harion (better known as Bob) the owner of the store Dancing Moon, located in downtown Boone, NC, leader of free guided meditations for community members for over 30 years

Location: Dancing Moon, Boone NC

Date: April 10th, 2013 Icebreaker Question: What does meditation mean to you?
Answer: “It is an opportunity to center, for me to find me. I’ve been meditating for over 25 years, and I’ve been leading guided meditations for 15 years at the store. These are available for people to come too, I’m not trying to sell anything, for a chance to breathe. There are many truths, but there ain’t no truth.” 1: Guided Meditation
2: "Walking" or "Working"
3: Crystal Meditation
4: Yoga as Meditation What differentiates these meditations? Source: Meditation Club Curriculum 2013, from President Meg LeMoine We've found that our collective and individual experiences through the course of the project reflect the dichotomy that we've examined between the individual and the group. The themes of consciousness and meaning are exemplified through the paradox of the individual versus the group as one follows the path to meaning through the art of meditation. Subsequently, through meditating people experience an interpersonal connection with the wider universe, and experience their personal relation with that universe giving them a new perspective raising consciousnesses and enhancing their sense of meaning. We explicated this research through methodology consisting of: Participant Observation
Structured Interviews
Semantic Domain Analysis
Cultural Meaning
Social Organization 22 Active Members including 9 Leadership Team members,
1 president and 1 vice president
An average of 15 people attend each club meeting Attendance, introduction lesson to the day's discussion and meditation, meditation, discussion, announcements, small discussions amidst the lingering few. The club is made up of students. However, faculty, staff, and the public of Boone and surrounding communities are all welcome. Anyone who receives the club emails or shows up to a meeting is considered a member; the sum of these individuals is unattainable. Material: Drugs used for meditation:
Mushrooms (1/month)
Marijuana (1/week)
Ecstasy (4/year)
LSD "3 things:
drugs, meditation, guidance." "The conscious slowing of thought processes,
deliberate decision to be still.
Non judgemental observation of self, a tool for self discovery. " Meditation: "Meditating in all instances will get you to the same place,
if you meditate long enough. " "Drug is a great metaphor because coffee is a drug but so is a banana.
No matter where you are,
you will sit down and go through some thoughts
and eventually get to a deep personal level." Drugs and Meditation,
interview with Chris W, member and ex-president Tools used to alter one's state of consciousness: Breathing techniques
Physical movement
Massage (Tai Chi)
Stretching (Yoga)
Objects (crystals)
Consuming substances
Drugs Origins of the philosophy of meditation Ancient roots of contemporary meditative practices stem from ancient practices found in Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Judeo-Christian, and Sufism.
The Vedas, Hinduism, and Mantras
Taoism, Buddhism, Zen, and the Silk Road
Judaism and the Tanakh
Sufism and Islamic Mysticism
Christianity and Hesychasm
The Western World Rediscovers Meditation
Secularization, Western Manifestations, and the Transcendental Meditation Movement Etic Perspective Auto - ethnography Meditation in a Cognitive Context Meditation can be used as a method to uncover a reason for existence or life purpose. Meditation is commonly used as a means of centering your mind and eliminating distractions, allowing you to focus on what is truly important to you.
In order to uncover your reason for existence, it is important to explore the various aspects of your mind while paying special attention to your "inner voice." Theme of Consciousness:
"Working" Meditations
While working in his garden, Bob talks about getting in a "zone." When he is in this zone, he is able to hear what mother earth is saying to him. He says that when the crow cries, he understands the crow; he hears what it is saying. Context. My semantic domain analysis embodied themes of meaning and consciousness. For example.... Theme of Meaning:
This theme is found in Bob's quote above, when he talks about what meditation means to him. Meditative Traditions Yoga
Dhikr This is Bob. Major Themes Encountered:
Search for Meaning
Search for a Higher State of Consciousness
Positive Intentions
Attempts at Connecting with a Collective Conscious
Search for Connection
Orientation Towards Inner Harmony
Search for Balance
Search for Knowledge, Instruction, & Experience
Social Component Throughout the course of the project I became personally invested in the club and my own experiences within it.
My interest transcended the needs of the project and I became an active member of the club.
Began my own search for meaning, spirituality, inner harmony, and interpersonal connection with the universe. Many people in western society view meditation as a way to find inner peace, however, it is much more demanding than most realize. Finding inner peace takes a great deal of dedication. Auto Ethnography as President Considering the paradox of the individual versus the group
Seeing Meditation club from an outsider's perspective for the first time
Interesting perspective in evaluating the functioning and reason behind why we meditate as a group

Advantage in information and access to the club The "ceremony" starts with intention

Manifestation Journals serve as a way to record ceremonial thoughts and help to see subsequent events unfolding as direct results of intention

All desires are acquired if an individual “attract (intention) by having it in your deepest level of being” Manifestation Journals The individual and the group The importance of meeting people and making connections- both verbally and non-verbally

"I'd like to meet more new people and learn from the people I meet" (journal C)

"Feel the cosmic togetherness"
“I want joyous encounters with family, friends, colleagues, teachers, students, animals, plants, ideas, spirits”
(journal D) A meditation entitled "Home" Aware of others like us with the same hopes and obstacles.

Feel a network of support, "we walk in good company"

The support of friends—strengthen our commitment to the journey

You are part of the community for all time. You are happy, healthy, respected, loved in this space
you rest, forever at peace “Opening eyes from meditation, feeling at home! Remembering home by stating: I am home. I rest in eternal peace. Community is supportive. All is accomplished from a state of peace.” The Result? "In meditation I realize the nature of the world and happily give myself to the community. This is a wonderful world, always ripe for awakening and understanding and I joylessly and fearlessly walk this path" Clarity
Increased connection to the universe
Increased understanding of role and purpose Harmony and Balance a well-tuned perception of the cosmos will facilitate well-balanced development

"Minor bumps are not dwelled over or focused on. they are acknowledged and then passed over" (Journal A)

Flow through time in harmony, I am harmony Assertion, then Gratitude These are not wishes, but statements of desire:

"Body is strong and supple
Mind is clear and aware
Intellect is focused and effective
heart is clean and pumping"
(Journal D) “My journeys into the mind and other states of consciousness have discovered many helpful ideas, meditations, reminders, processes, and gifts; this book is a useful tool with which to record, study contemplate, practice, and make connections”
(Journal D) “Holy cosmos, lend me your wisdom so that I understand the deepest significance of life, love, awareness, our divinity, and the many facets of consciousness!”
(Journal D) Sometimes, stated as requests: Gratitude is expressed for appreciation of current physical or mental environment--
"Energy centers are clean, clear, healthy, strong, thank you shamanic power."

or after receiving the means of a prior intention--
"Thank you universe!" "Triangle of Success" (Journal A) A Desire for a Guided Path Visualization Crystal meditation uses material objects

Reoccurring Themes “Great Wisdom, you permeate all of me, my brain, all consciousness, and mind. You transform my desires into manifestation, and you guide me on the path of transformation. I let you in, and life blossoms. Let us walk this path together so that I may give form to your wisdom and you give me guidance and reassurance along the way” (Journal D)

"Guide me to find my calling in life and be proactive about it." (Journal C)

You are connected, open up to wisdom, feel it guide you, reassure you, setting you on your path There are many virtues that come along with achieving a higher consciousness, and many people argue that a state of higher consciousness is not possible without possessing these qualities: Lucidity
Forgiveness towards others A being of higher consciousness typically refers to someone who has reached a higher level of cognitive and spiritual development.

These beings have come to know reality as it really is, otherwise known as the "ultimate reality." Higher consciousness meditation has been scientifically proven to improve and enhance attention, and, in addition, other aspects of the mind, such as thought and perception, are transcended. What does it mean to find inner peace? You can use meditation as a way to find inner peace. Symptoms of inner peace include: a tendency to think and act spontaneously
an ability to enjoy every moment
no interest in conflict
frequent appreciation of others
connectedness with others and nature
frequent smiles
allows things to happen
inability to worry “Visualize a crystal of infinite facets in your forehead. It collects light and radiates brilliantly. Feel it shine pure sunlight through your eyes. It ignites a flash of light down your spine, illuminating throat, chest, torso, spine, down to perineum. Light turns ruby red and radiates mightily through the earth. Crystal light blasts into heaven and bounces among infinite stars. You feel oceanic awareness flow into consciousness, feeling a certainty of wellness. The vision comes more clearly to awareness, counterbalancing this awareness. There is peace.”
(Journal D) “Some ways to maintain a healthy sense of connection: Imagine crown chakra breaking open, wide, strong-wisdom is able to flow in and out.”
(Journal D)
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