Meditation is an art, not yet counted amongst the hallowed sciences. It is the process of becoming aware of one’s consciousness and one’s place in the cosmic scheme of things. The goal is to become meditative continuously, so that your very being becomes cosmically conscious permanently and irrevocably.Most definitions of meditation describe the result of this process – calmness, relaxation, or its various techniques. But mediation is not a means to an end. It is not a result. It is a state of being, a way of life.
Techniques, Practices or Methods to Attain a Meditative State
There are four types of meditations:
Each practice includes elements of all four but emphasises on one. After there is comfort with each individual technique, it becomes possible to use them simultaneously to multiply their effectiveness. Hara Awareness and Self-inquiry Incantation is a powerful combination.
How Long and with Whom to Meditate
There is scientific proof that one forty minute session a day physically enlarges portions of the brain involved in awareness. The young and fit, may try Cathartic Dancing Meditation in the morning and a quieter sitting meditation at night. Mindfulness needs to be practiced throughout the day.
The group has energies which are generated by individuals that comprise it. All these energies assist the effort one makes as an individual and one can reach a deeper meditative state with less effort.
The presence of an enlightened teacher, allows you to absorb his energy with a positive effect on the nature and scope of your meditative process.
Without support from others, it will be hardest to reach a meditative state.
Each practice has powers to heal some aspects of the human condition in particular. But, it needs to be remembered that for just this reason, meditation is a powerful tool that can do just as much damage in the wrong hands or rather, used by the wrong mind.
- Concentrative practices have an adverse effect on people who are unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy that is people who have psychotic breaks.
- Insight meditation creates anxiety and a feeling of being unsettled in as a part of its process, thus people who have clinical anxiety disorders should not indulge in this practice.
- Contemplative meditation, done without supervision for long periods may precipitate psychotic episodes in the susceptible.
- Meditation practices are not fantastical journeys that avoid reality. Be wary of gurus who ask that truth and reality be denied.
- Having a single guru, or following someone or one group without any research or question, may lead to cult thinking. Inform yourself and choose wisely. Be eclectic in your meditative practices.
- Eat well. Choose to be a vegetarian or not based on the doctors’ orders. Meditative practices are not more or less effective as a result. Diet is not related to purity of thought. Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian
- Drugs do not enhance meditative states. They are escapist. Meditation is anything but avoidance.
- Read about choiceless awareness. Practice it through the day.
The safest course of action is to choose a guide or an institution where there are experienced individuals who are can explain, diagnose a condition, as well as prescribe and monitor appropriate meditation practices. As a lay person, it is important to check that the professional uses all available tools to evaluate the gain or the danger, and not give in to the need to impress with the supposedly sacred or exotic.
Giving Up Want
Most of the activities in a day lead to acquiring something. This takes up a lot of time. Life is usually structured around these goals. It is important for survival on earth. However, it does mean that the mind is swept up in the fantasy of the future. It is difficult to remember as one struggles to muddle through life that, in fact, both past as well as future are illusory. They do not exist. They are either gone or have not become yet. What exists now is everything, and you already have it.
Because wanting creates duality - the seeker and the object of desire are separate entities – want leads to disturbance in the meditative process, where the prime objective is the dissolution of all boundaries. Buddhist meditative practices ask for the attainment of a state where the learner wants nothing – not just sex, money, and power, but also justice, family, and nation. Very few human beings manage deep meditation of this kind. Enlightenment will always be a rare phenomenon.
Did You Know?
- Novice meditators often think the goal of their practice should be freeing their minds of all thoughts. Rather than eliminate thinking, you could say that one of the basic skills to develop in meditation is to be able to hold and sustain contradictory thoughts...
- When most people start meditating, they report that the more they try and stop thinking, the busier their minds seem. In reality, they are just becoming aware of how busy our minds actually are..
Points to Ponder
- If everyone in the world became enlightened, there would be a lack of sufficient desire to keep people motivated enough to live and be occupied. Wanting enlightenment is also a reflection of desire.
- Can you stop thinking about what you want, if you really want it?
- Are there any thoughts at all that are not about wanting?
- Inanimate objects do not want, do not suffer, but are unconscious and dead.
Experts believe that relinquishing desire should become part of the practice at only the juncture that want becomes a hindrance in achieving the meditative state, not before.
- Learning Meditation
- How to Meditate