The Peace Pilgrim drifted through America by walking at least 25,000 miles, never stopping until humanity learned the Way of Peace. Her psychogeographic drift through the American urban and rural environment, when meditating on peace, conditioned her mind to express a superhuman level of compassion and tranquility. Look at her face in this photograph:
My Facebook page is a place where I place thoughts that arise moment to moment through the day through the process of drift through my environment. Impressions of the environment are recorded directly into the page via the use of my computer or smartphone. One aspect that I seek to explore is how focused prayer and meditation on Jesus Christ can “improve” my thoughts and bring them back to a state of concentration on the true goodness and love of God. It is essential to understand that the mind is prone to drifting from contemplation on the true reality of God. In fact, I would say that the untrained mind, a mind that I have, is extremely prone to lack of faith and atheism if one does not engage in regular and sustained practices of prayer and meditation. It is a goal of my Facebook page to record and study my thoughts as they rise and fall through the day. In particular, this summer I will explore the benefits and strengths of walking and running meditations. Through what I am calling Situationist Christianity and Buddhism, I am exploring the rich tradition of psychogeography as developed by the Situationist International group of artists and the personal theology of the great naturalist John Muir. While these two trains of thinking appear distantly related at first sight, they are in fact intimately related through their shared exploration of urban and wild spaces and the study of the impact of impressions of these spaces on the state of concentration of the mind. In particular, the Situationist concepts of unitary experimental drift through space, the discovery of new situations, as part of psychogeography is essential to explain so here is a graphic depicting of how I envision the Situationationist International (SI) philosophy being important to religious meditation. Figure adapted from The Situationist City by Simon Sadler.
Christian SI psychogeography:
Abrahamic (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) SI psychogeography:
Buddhist SI psychogeography:
Interpersonal SI psychogeography:
“In fact, in a sense modern science hasn’t tried to look into the mind at all. It has preferred to see mind as synonymous with brain; in other words, to see mental activity as nothing more than the electrochemical processes that go on in the brain and which can be measured by the right kind of instruments. The fact that, no matter what the electrochemical activity of the brain happens to be, we experience thoughts as thoughts, as mental, non-physical events rather than as electrochemical processes, is regarded as irrelevant. The motivation behind this approach has been to present men and women as biophysiological machines, susceptible to study just as mechanical machines can be studied. The trouble is, of course, that human beings do not experience themselves as machines and persist (very inconveniently for scientists) in acting unpredictably, untidily, unconventionally, and occasionally gloriously.” It is in fact this experiential aspect of mind that I seek to cultivate through interaction with the Situationist International philosophy of psychogeography in urban environments and John Muir’s personal theology in State of Nature environments. Central to improving my psychology well be introducing new “situations” and asking and trying to answer, “…In what way, or degree, is Jesus Christ relevant to the “situation” to which I must live.” (adapted from Christ and Culture book Review, New York Times Book Review) More formally, I see situations as forums for engaging in the practice of psychogeography, the active act of drifting through a space and paying attention to the moment to moment rise and fall of thoughts that emerge from the drift. One exercise for meditation will be, “Take any common word such as “tree” or “water.” Writing it down on a piece of paper. Now write down the first word that comes to mind in association with it, and immediately go back to your original word. Now another word will come to mind. Write it down and again go back at once to your starting point. Do this for as long as word associations come to mind. When they cease just stay with your original word. Hold it in your mind. Concentrate upon it, without any thoughts about it. Continue for as long as feels comfortable.” (The Meditation Handbook: The Practical Guide to Eastern and Western Meditation Techniques, David Fontana)
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