Yesterday I wasted two hours of my life watching a shitty movie called Sirius on Netflix.
I’m not going to review the movie. The Hollywood Reporter already published the most perfect review possible of the film.
Sirius is a documentary is about a physician named Steven Greer who believes in UFOs and who thinks he may have come across the mummified body of an actual alien. It’s also a hodgepodge of every conspiracy theory know to man thrown into a blender and spat out so fast you can’t possibly follow any of it.
My own position on UFOs is as follows. Given how many stars and planets there are, with new extra-solar planets being discovered almost daily, I think it’s absolutely certain there is life in outer space. Furthermore, based on statistics alone there have to be other so-called “intelligent life-forms.” And, since the universe is so old, the probability is very high that some of these intelligent aliens may be over a million years more advanced scientifically, technologically and socially than we are. Therefore, I think it’s reasonable to speculate that we may be being watched. At the very least, we might provide them insight into what their own civilization was like in the distant past. So I think it’s not impossible that some UFOs may be intelligently guided technological devices from other planets. Maybe…
What interests me about Mr. Greer and a number of other people like him is how they mix meditation into their ideas regarding extraterrestrial intelligence. In the film Greer talks about a grand insight he had at age 17 following a serious accident, which nearly left him dead. He had a moment in which he felt at one with the entire universe. Lots of us who meditate have experienced this sort of thing. I described some of my own such moments in my books, particularly Hardcore Zen and There is No God and He is Always With You.
Greer says that the number of minds in the universe is one. This is, of course, very like some things Buddhist thinkers have been saying for centuries. He speculates that, through meditation, we might be able to open our individual minds up to the Great Mind of the Universe. If we did so, he further speculates, we could contact alien beings who are also tuning in to the Universal Mind. By doing this, he speculates, we might be able to mentally contact advanced alien beings and attract them to our world.
The very first time I ever tried meditating, when I was about 14 years old, I was attempting to contact aliens. I’d read a book called Journeys Out of the Body and I tried to duplicate the author’s supposed technique of lying on his back and directing my mental energies into space. It didn’t work.
In the film Sirius, we see several shots of Mr. Greer leaning back into one of those folding “meditation chairs” that look kind of like those short lawn chairs people use at outdoor plays and stuff. He’s got his hands in a mudra and his eyes rolled back. There are a couple dozen others in a circle of lawn chairs around him all in the same pose. After one of these scenes we are shown a young guy babbling ecstatically about how he encountered an ethereal being during his meditation.
In Zen we call this sort of thing makyo (é”å¢ƒ), which means something like “cave of devils.” Zen meditators avoid any type of so-called paranormal phenomena that occur during meditation. Calling it the “cave of devils” doesn’t imply that it’s all necessarily evil. It just means that such things are regarded as useless distractions.
When you stop giving your undivided attention to the surface noises your brain makes, you start to notice that this thing we call “mind” is far bigger than you ever imagined before. There’s all kinds of crazy stuff going on in there. The brain’s job is to interpret experiences. So if you’re the type who is inclined to believe aliens can contact you via hyperspace-based astral projections, you’re gonna interpret some of this stuff in that way. If you’re the type who believes in demons and spirits, you’ll interpret it that way. If you’re the type who sees things in terms of psychological states, you’ll interpret it that way.
The problem is that your interpretations are liable to spin out of control if you get too obsessed with them. Which is what I see happening in this movie. Greer starts off with a germ of genuine insight and quickly allows his brain to run wild with it until he’s no longer making any sense at all.
But people love this shit. They lap up crazy stories like nobody’s business. So when you start spinning them out and others start praising you and giving you loads of money for doing so, this creates an endless feedback loop. Pretty soon you’ve lost all connection with whatever insight triggered the whole thing and stepped into the realm of madness. But if you’re getting substantial rewards for being crazy, the chances that you’ll ever realize what’s actually going on are almost zero.
And here’s another thing. Let’s say there really are super-advanced aliens out there traveling the Universal Mind Waves or whatever. If they really, truly wanted to get in contact with you, they could do it. No conspiracy by the CIA or the Rothchild Family or the Free Masons or whoever else is going to stand in their way.
There is a perfectly sound reason why, if such aliens exist and if they know about us, they would keep their existence secret. What would happen if cretins like us got a hold of their advanced technology? It would not be pretty. Nor am I convinced that every hypothetical advanced civilization in outer space would have our best interests at heart. We might look as insignificant to them as roaches do to us. I’m not all that excited about letting everyone out there know where to find us. Not that I think Greer and his friends are doing any more than playing around in their own imaginations.
Sirius is a seriously warped movie. It is, however, a good example of how a little bit of genuine insight can be corrupted into craziness.
August 14-16, 2015 Munich, Germany 3 DAY ZEN RETREAT
August 19, 2015 Munich, Germany LECTURE
August 24-29, 2015 Felsentor, Switzerland 5-DAY RETREAT AT STIFTUNG FELSENTOR
August 30-September 4, 2015 Holzkirchen, Germany 5-DAY RETREAT AT BENEDIKTUSHOF MONASTERY
September 4, 2015 Hamburg, Germany LECTURE
September 6, 2015 Hamburg, Germany ZEN DAY
September 10-13, 2015 Finland 4-DAY RETREAT
September 16-19, 20015 Hebden Bridge, England 4-DAY RETREAT
September 20, 2015 London, England THE ART OF SITTING DOWN & SHUTTING UP
September 21-25, 2015 Belfast, Northern Ireland SPECIFIC DATES TO BE DETERMINED
September 26-27, 2015 Glastonbury, England 2-DAY RETREAT
October 26-27 Cincinnati, Ohio Concert:Nova
November 6-8, 2015 Mt. Baldy, CA 3-DAY RETREAT
April 23, 2016 Long Island, New York Molloy College “Spring Awakening 2016”
Every Monday at 8pm there’s zazen at Silverlake Yoga Studio 2 located at 2810 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039. All are welcome!
Every Saturday at 9:30 there’s zazen at the Veteran’s Memorial Complex located at 4117 Overland Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. All are welcome!
* * *
The donations I receive from this blog are what I live on and what keeps me from having to claim I’ve been contacted by aliens. Please keep donating if you don’t want me to have to go all Steven Greer on y’all!