Monday, July 14, 2014

Bill Joslin: “Meditation: Deconstructing Nonsense”

Thanks to Jan @ Gnostic Media for providing us with this very, very informative and thought provoking interview.

The explanation of how we conceive of reality.. how the brain interprets the world, through more then just the 5 senses was quite, quite enlightening. Enjoyable, thought provoking & informative. Certainly got me thinking!
Bill Joslin at an early age developed a fascination with mind and awareness. Subsequently he spent 16 years studying Bonpo, Nyingma Buddhist and Taoist practices. He spent a year in Asia interviewing Buddhist monks in Laos, Cambodia, Nepal; Taoist practitioners in Indonesia, and Bonpo priests in Northwest Nepal, comparing practices as taught in the west with the original monasteries and traditions from which the teachings originated. Nine years ago, Bill was asked by a number of people to counsel them with mediation practices they were having difficulty with and not finding aid from their current teachers. From a sense of responsibility Bill then went through a process of questioning every aspect of meditative knowledge he had gained over those years, essentially applying critical thinking to spiritual practices. In short order the illusion of meditation, spiritual teachers, and philosophical frameworks dissolved and a concise, non-mystical view of mind, self and world emerged with simple clarity. Meditation and spiritual guru-ship is an ancient form of control, the residue of which we live with today.
You are going to have to give this more then one listen. There is much information to digest. I have listened 3 times already. And am going to give it yet another go round
Lastly- Keep an open mind. Consider the information presented.

A comment left at Gnostic Media sums up my sentiments quite accurately

Ryan Gilmore
July 13, 2014 at 2:59 pm
I’m going to have to give this repeated listens to try and mull over the details, but my first impression is that this is an extremely important episode.
 Enjoy the interview!





  1. not surprising you need to listen and relisten, as there is a lot of jargon, thats not very helpful, as all it does is multiply ideas thru words: it doesnt in itself enlighten

    best to actually PRACTICE meditation

    1. "it doesnt in itself enlighten"

      Yet, I found it quite enlightening. ( I define enlightening as light shone on new information that gives me new insights into the world etc.,) The multiple listens were required because these are ideas or thoughts I haven't previously had exposure to.

      I define meditation as being alone with my thoughts- free to think them without interference from competing attention destroyers
      tv-radio- etc.,

      curious- did you listen?

  2. it sounds likes hes engaged in abidhammma! but using terms from western computer sciences and psychology

  3. "abidhammma"

    I don't know that word or term, can you clarify?

    1. Abidhamma is Buddhist psychology : part if the Theravada Tripitaka or 3 baskets. If basic Buddhist teachings . Buddhism doesn't believe in a 'self' : this seem as a construct . Abidhamna investigates this .

  4. Hi Pen, I realized reading your post that I didn't send you a link to this as I was intending. I thought you'd be very interested in it and, of course, I was right!! :) So I'm very glad you came upon it anyway.

    Bill Joslin is bang on in my view. I have experienced the exact same 'mystical' experiences through the effects of trauma just as Bill describes. The experience known as depersonalization (which I've experienced) is the same as 'being one with all things'. Derealization is another one. They are both forms of dissociation - the break down of the body-mind connection and the breakdown of intra-mind connections. These states, seen from this perspective, can hardly be seen as spiritual evolution but rather as psychological breakdown.

    I have long thought that the monks that got into self-flagellation were achieving 'mystical' states by causing dissociation through pain. And I've wondered if the Indian adepts were achieving the same thing through sitting in the lotus position for hours and even days at a time.

    As Bill says, we interpret the experience in tune with the context that we are given for it. Bill's message is not welcome everywhere, of course, because he is attacking some 'sacred cows'. But the man makes a lot of sense, if you ask me.

    1. Hi james
      Hmmm interesting thought line there james

      Thinking also of trauma based mind control? What or who causes the trauma is not so much the issue as the trauma causing the dissasociative state- which then enables a manipulator

      He does make a lot of sense in my opinion also
      Which is why I posted this interview

      What is depersonalization exactly?

    2. Depersonalization is linked with derealization and both are dissociative states. Dissociative states are brought about when the personality, or one's mind if you like, is overwhelmed as in times of pain or trauma. It doesn't necessarily have to involve physical pain but can be induced in times of great betrayal, for instance.

      Once a person has become dissociative through repeated trauma, they are then liable to the states of depersonalization and derealization when subsequently stressed. It gets 'easier' to induce. Neural pathways and strategies have been set up. This was/is the aim of programs such as MKUltra etc.

      See definitions here and here. They go someway towards defining the condition(s). Essentially, what is going on is this self awareness that separates us in our minds from what surrounds us and gives meaning to our surroundings breaks down.

      This self awareness is principally what separates us from other mammals. To see the erosion of this self awareness/identity as an advancement is to profoundly misunderstand what is going on. We are then regressing and not progressing, in other words.

      Bill mentions "A Course In Miracles". In it, the first exercise is to repeat to yourself that your surroundings have no meaning. This is the first step in 'do-it-yourself brainwashing', in my view. It disarms and discards the critical "I" and leaves us vulnerable to malevolent influences.

      This is the nub of what Bill Joslin is saying; that yogis, gurus and teachers wittingly or not, exert undue influence over their students. In some cases it is better to call them victims. Again we have the theme that victims of mind control (incl tortured POW) rarely are able to see that 'their' thoughts are not theirs at all even after it has all been exposed to them.

      The only way to see the truth is to apply rigorous critical thinking to one's situation and history. I know this from personal experience and it was wonderful to hear Bill Joslin lay it out so well. The problem for many people in understanding what Bill is saying is, I dare say, because it involves concepts and ways of seeing reality that are completely foreign in our culture. A culture that believes implicitly that 'authority' is good in spite of abundant evidence tot he contrary and summed up so succinctly by Lord Acton when he said, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely"

      "Power corrupts". We see it all the time but do not contemplate its meaning for us.

  5. Does regular meditation make one smart? Does it have an impact on cognitive abilities. I was heard it has an enormous impact on your brain which has the potential to alter the brain structure