Meditation

After mastering the concentration exercises and gaining control over your
attention, you are ready for meditation. There is a contemplative stage between pure
concentration and deep meditation that you might experience. It isn't necessarily
detrimental, but it is the point where you can hallucinate and relate what you think are
mystical experiences. You should be very wary of visions encountered while
attempting meditation. You could be easily fooled with false notions from this cur-
ious limbo region between hypnosis and meditation. Just observe, proceed and
experience any visions encountered, without judgment.
Actual attainment of meditation occurs when you are able to focus entirely on one
item, and then remove the item from your mind and become attuned with the
universe. It's not making the mind go blank, but allowing it to go empty that creates
this experience. Then you feel like you become one with everything and in control of
your total being. In one way or another, you spend your entire life trying to find this
web of kinship which joins you to all living things and to Universal Love. Finding
it, you realize then that the Kingdom of Heaven truly IS within you.
Meditation is an upper brain exercise that allows a person to experience the exalted
higher emotional feelings so long sought after - selfless love, compassion, happiness,
bliss, etc. After getting accomplished at experiencing these feelings, the adept can
consciously recreate these emotions in his everyday life even without a formal
meditative rapport.
For beginning meditators, the simple exercise of observing and attending to your
breathing is a good one. Choose a quiet place and assume a comfortable position in a
chair with your spine erect. Relax, close your eyes and bring your conscious
awareness to the rhythm of your breathing. Say to yourself, "I am mindfully aware
of breathing in," and then "I am mindfully aware of breathing out." You don't even
have to recite the whole sentence. Just say, "breathing in" and "breathing out," to
keep your mind on your breath. Notice the rising and falling of your abdomen as you
breathe.
Let your body become still while you inhale steadily and slowly. Feel the flow of
your breathing. Notice how each breath cleanses and nourishes you. As thoughts
intrude upon your consciousness, allow them to come and go without giving them
further energy. Just witness the thoughts and bring your awareness back to your
breathing. As you practice, you will gradually start to detach from these thoughts and
cease your background dialogue. Recognize the changing flow of emotion in you,but don’t try to modify your feelings. Know that whatever you may feel is part of
your flow of experience, and not a permanent state of your personality. Gently move
back to following the movement of your breath.
Keep this thought in mind as you meditate, “God is present, loving me as I am,
and guiding me.” Realize the truth of this statement, and open yourself to it, but do
not consider that by thinking it you are accomplishing anything. After a while, this
thought will be in the background of your experience without actually articulating it
very often. The length of time you meditate in the beginning can be as brief as 5
minutes several times a day, but gradually you will find yourself extending the time to
30 or 60 minutes in one sitting as you discover the inherent benefits.
There is also the meditation on a sound that you generate, called a mantra. Some
basic mantras are: ram, lam, ham, yam, aum or oom. After choosing a mantra
sound (or other word sound you prefer) that intuitively feels right for you, resonate
your mantra with utmost concentration in rapid repetitions for as long as one breath
will allow. The resulting sound vibration sets up wave patterns throughout your
cellular tissues that stimulate and harmonize your whole body. You can also reiterate
your mantra mentally in the same repetitive way during each exhalation. This is good
during potentially stressful moments throughout the day. After awhile, you'll find it
will reverberate on its own in your mind without a conscious effort to repeat it.
Devotees to transcendental meditation (TM) have displayed increased alpha and
theta waves as well as a decreased blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen con-
sumption. Correspondingly, this also promoted better relaxation and reduced anxiety
during their normal day.
Another meditation exercise is focusing your attention on the inner sound in your
ears. You can perceive this subtle sound in the quiet of your own home. Sufferers
of tinnitus hear this inner sound in their ears (generated from the cochlea of the inner
ear) as a loud pathological noise. You can also meditate on the inner light in your
head by closing and raising your eyes to concentrate on the 'third eye' point in back
of the bridge of your nose. (Like when used in self-hypnosis, this physiologically
enhances an altered state of awareness.) When you do this, you'll begin to see a
speck of illumination. As concentration continues, the point of light expands
gradually into your whole field of vision. Then veil after veil of vibrational light
reveals itself until finally spiritual vision is achieved. Some meditators initiate the
process of seeing the light by imagining it at first or by gently pinching their closed
eyelids & producing a phosphene effect.
Buddhist meditation involves 4 primary posture positions -- standing, walking,
sitting and lying down. In each posture, you become mindful about what you are
doing as you are doing it. For instance, with your eyes closed, bring your awareness
to the act of standing and reiterate internally, "Standing, standing, standing," over
and over to yourself as you stand quietly with your hands in front of you. When
doing the walking meditation, walk very slowly forward and say, "Left ... foot ...
touch," then "Right ... foot ... touch," etc. Then turn around slowly and say,
"Turning, turning, turning" etc. By being mindful of each step in the process, your
focus is brought totally to what you are doing as you are doing it. The same
procedure is followed with the sitting and lying down postures, and for all other daily
acts -- eating, driving, working, etc. By becoming as conscious as possible
throughout your day, you achieve the meditative purpose and all its benefits.
In fact, it has been shown that crime is sharply reduced in the immediate vicinity
of a group of consistent meditators. Beneficial health effects are also prevalent
amongst meditators, especially in the relief of stress and its corresponding related
diseases. Like all skills, meditation takes practice to derive its ultimate benefits. The
more you practice it, the better you get at it. Even beginning meditators will benefit
though from a growing peace, calmness and relaxation within their inner being.
When you realize that nothing is outside and everything is within yourself, then
you can transcend the limitations of space and time. This is the Self or God
realization that the Eastern philosophies speak about. This is when there is no
difference between knower, knowledge and known or between the future, past and
present -- the eternal "Now."