My path of meditation is a solitary one. My preference for a sacred place is also a one of seclusion. If I seek a spot in nature, it is a place where I can be alone with my thoughts and the impression of the world around me.
Part of my seeking is to have an inner world of thought that is consonant with the world around me. I want to know. I want to understand. I don’t want to be in illusion. I trust my senses to see and I trust my mind to get to an understanding of what I see. My eyes see without my effort. My mind, on the other, hand will not understand unless I put some effort into my seeing. Of course this goes for the rest of my senses.
What of my studies? I had to trust in what my main teachers were reporting out of their research into the “unseen”. My trust made their evidence into my evidence. I followed the brilliance of their thought and vision and made them my own.
This is just as true for a myriad of other incidental teachers.
As my mind has become a more and more refined tool for understanding, the world unfolds in front of my eyes with ever greater depth and detail. I can spot the presence of rare plant varieties on a location because I have learned to know them. I have learned to know them because I focussed my eyes and my mind on them, studied them, learned their names and their place in nature.
I have used both my own eyes and other people’s observations to understand what I understand. I know we are all looking at the same thing and I appreciate that there are more eyes than mine to observe. I am less sure about their interpretation of what they see, because I don’t know how well-trained their understanding is. But I take their observations as part of the foundation for my understanding until I learn better through either my own observations or those of someone who has a demonstrably better understanding than others. Still, I cannot have faith in my understanding unless I test it through observation.
I am not a man of faith alone. But Faith does come into it. An element of intuition and, perhaps, Karma has led me to gravitate toward the observations of some teachers like Rudolph Steiner, Franz Winkler and Heinz Grotzke, who saw things that I cannot observe directly. I believed them as if their observations and thoughts were mine. They seemed, to my intuition, to see what is objectively true. I am willing to take this truth and make it part of my own growing understanding.
But I apply the same kind of mindset to these vicarious experiences. I hold their observations in trust, until I can test them against the more inescapable truth of my own senses and the process of my own mind.
I am in the process of developing my own inner image of the world in which I live. By taking, in trust, the evidence of others who can see and have seen more than I have, I have expanded my own ability to direct my senses, develop my intellect and get to a much more far-reaching understanding of the world. My own inner and outer senses, at what ever state of perfection they exist, remain the mainstay of my developing understanding of the world. Despite this fact, I attribute the development of my intelligence to my teachers; those who I trust to supplement my eyes and ears and mind, and whose thoughts I struggle to make my own.