Learning to Meditate
PARABLE OF THE BUDDHA
The Buddha wandered for many years, and as he encountered others, they recognized a spiritual greatness in him. Eventually he gathered many followers (disciples) who wished to learn from Buddha. One day, his followers were debating the nature of Buddha. They came to him with a question.
“Buddha, are you a GOD?”
The Buddha answered simply. “No.”
The disciples went off to consider this response, and debate the issue further. Soon they returned with another question.
“Buddha, are you a saint?”
The Buddha answered simply. “No.”
Then the disciples again went off to consider this response, and debate the issue further. Again, they returned with another question.
“Buddha, what ARE you?”
The Buddha answered simply. “I am AWAKE.”
NOTE: Below we will speak of Meditation, Vipassana Meditation to be exact. Vipassana is traditional Buddhist Meditation. Buddha is not a deity to be worshipped but instead is a goal. Buddha means “one who is fully awake.” One of the primary tenets of Buddhism is that we all have the capacity to become fully enlightened or fully awakened beings during our natural lifetime.
The practice of true reality
Is simply to sit serenely
In silent introspection.
When you have fathomed this
You cannot be turned around
By external causes and conditions.
This empty, wide open
Mind is subtly and correctly
– Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157) MEDITATION
NOTE: First please read this all the way through and then you will find the proper meditations for it listed below. Mindfulness Meditation and Breath meditation are a combination technique.
Meditation is mental exercise. For good health, one generally does some form of physical exercise for the physical body. Meditation is exercise for the mental body. Meditation in Magick is simple mental training. Meditation in Buddhism is also considered to be simply mental training. You will use meditation to aid you in reaching a higher state of consciousness during magick, especially when it comes to healing. Recent research shows that healthwise, meditation’s soothing effects can be detected in the arterial walls and in the brain. Insurance companies of today are actually paying for meditation, both as a form of medication and as preventive medicine.
Meditation is a way of consciously directing your attention to alter your state of consciousness, and there is simply no limit to the things you can direct your attention to… symbols, sights, sounds, colors, breath, uplifting thoughts, spiritual realms, etc. This is also the reason for using “tools” and correspondences” during Magick. Once you begin to relate the tool to the purpose, meditation practices will kick in and aid in directing your energy. Most meditations take 15 to 20 minutes, and are practiced twice daily, morning and night. If meditation appeals to you, but you can’t seem to find 20 to 30 minutes twice a day, try five minutes. You will still receive some of the benefits and this may encourage you to find more time to devote to it later on.
Meditation is NOT about turning off your thoughts or blanking them out altogether. Avoid trying to force something to happen. Inner quietness may be experienced during meditation, but not by willfully turning off your thought patterns or over-analyzing the situation. Depending on the effectiveness of the method used, “Quieting the mind” results quite naturally. Meditation is about relaxation and you shouldn’t put too much emphasis on doing it correctly, or this in itself can be counter-productive.
Capable of many things, meditation can induce mental ease and tranquility, while aiding physical relaxation. This is the state that you need to be in to become able to visualize properly and to free your mind of all thoughts but the “purpose” of the meditation. There are many different types of meditation, each with its own specialized technique. The calming mental exercises of meditation have been proven to relieve stress, tension, anxiety, and panic. Meditation is also a scientifically verified way to reduce high blood pressure, relieve chronic pain, soothe headaches and relax respiratory problems such as emphysema and asthma.
A prerequisite for meditation is a quiet place to relax that is free from distraction. You will also need comfortable clothing. Breathing techniques are an important aid to meditation. The way you breathe can be important during stressful situations. As you sit quietly and breathe rhythmically, you must focus on something, and the meditations listed below will help to guide you.
But first, let’s take a look at the different kinds of meditation.
Transcendental Meditation (TM), the most common form of meditation in the western world, is the single most effective technique available for gaining deep relaxation, eliminating stress, promoting health, increasing creativity, intelligence, and gaining inner happiness and fulfillment . It involves mental repetition of a mantra and is performed twice daily for 15 to 20 minutes, morning and evening. This scientifically validated technique provides the system with deep rest, much deeper than the ordinary sleep or relaxation.
The effects of meditation can be measured just as your brain and heart impulses can. EEG studies have ultimately proven that it can boost the intensity of the alpha waves associated with quiet, receptive states to levels not seen even during sleep. Other studies show lower levels of stress hormones, improved circulation, and lower levels of lactic acid, a by-product of tension and anxiety.
It has been said that it can also improve memory, protect against disease, reduce alcohol and drug use, reduce oxygen consumption, slow the heart rate, and bring down high blood pressure, reduce or reverse cardiovascular disease, reduce anxiety, panic, fear and relieve mild depression, insomnia, tension headache, irritable bowel syndrome, pms, reduce the rate of relapse in those with emotional disorders and increase longevity.
It has been proven to eliminate accumulated stress and tension that nothing else comes close to dispensing with — not even a full night’s peaceful sleep. Transcendental Meditation is increasingly recommended by doctors and health professionals. The benefits of TM have been verified by more than 500 scientific research studies conducted at many different independent universities and research institutes in 27 different countries. It has also been published in many major scientific journals. (see tables near bottom for research results)
Mindfulness Meditation. Using Mindfulness Meditation, you focus your attention on one thing. This is generally the sensation of breath leaving and entering your body, but can also be a mantra (a certain sound or phrase you repeat silently to yourself). It is very important that you realize that when anything else comes to mind, this is to be a non-judgmental, silent witnessing, a dispassionate observing if you will, rather than a running commentary on your inner experiences. Observing without judging, helps you to see what is on your mind without editing or censoring it, without intellectualizing it or getting lost in your own incessant thinking. It also helps you learn to keep your focus.
Mindfulness Meditation can give rise to very deep states of calmness and stability of attention. They are known as the “one-pointed,” type of meditation–which Buddhists call shamatha or samadhi practices.
Also called vipassana, this form of meditation focuses on the present moment, and can be accomplished adopting various postures: standing, sitting, walking, eating, lying, etc. With practice, it can be done at anytime and place. The most common postures for vipassana are sitting and walking. The body scan is one of the more popular types of this meditation being done today. This is where you move your focus through the body, from the feet to the top of the head, paying particular attention to any areas that cause pain or suffer from illness. Vipassana, done while walking, is where we focus on being completely conscious of every step, every breath, and every sensation.
Breath Meditation. This technique focuses on respiration, on inhaling and exhaling. It is taught in conjunction with Mindfulness Meditation. First note that to do Breath Meditation you should breathe in and out through your nose and clear any blocked nostril. If your left nostril is blocked, lie on your right side for a few minutes. Lie on your left side if your right nostril is blocked. Notice the sensation of the breath, as it whispers across the skin just below the nostrils, and above the upper lip. Feel the sensation as you breathe. Don’t change anything. Just observe it.
The breath, the mind and the body are so closely linked, that whatever you do to one will affect the other. It is important to learn how to use the correct patterns of breathing. You should breathe from the diaphragm, and through the nostrils, silently. At all times, correct breath patterns are practiced and observed during meditation. Correct breathing alone, can relax your whole body, rid your body of unwanted toxins and your mind of anger, stress, tension and worry.
THE MANTRA or THE ONE SOUND
You may decide that you would like to try concentrating on a sound or mantra and in case you do, I will relate one to you here. Mantra meditation is said to reduce stress, and research now shows that using a mantra during meditation to reach a higher state of consciousness may help unclog the arteries.
” African Americans with high blood pressure who practiced meditation for six months saw a .098mm decrease in fatty buildup in arterial wall, compared with an increase of .054mm among folks who simply tried to change their diet and lifestyle. Getting results takes some effort. First you need to learn to meditate, which can take hours and then you should do it for 20 minutes each morning and evening. ” Time Magazine March 13, 2000
“The one sound, made up of sounds that make up all sound, all vibration, is: E A O A U M .”
You pronounce these sounds like this: ‘E’ is pronounced with a long “E” as in eat. A is also a long “A” as in ate. O is a long “O” as in oak. The next A is a short “A” as in ah, followed by a short “U” as in ooh, (i.e. room, too). The last letter is pronounced like the “M” in drum.
Each letter is pronounced clearly and individually, finally blending into one smooth sound. This sound is actually made altogether and is gentle and flowing, not broken apart as it is here. But first you should begin by chanting the sounds out loud individually. Eventually the sounds will become smoother, easier, softer and finally blend together into one solid sound. As this happens, allow the sound to become softer and quieter until at last, it is completely silent. Permit it to continue inward as a subtle thought until you are just listening to it internally, or feeling the vibration of it deep inside yourself. If you become distracted by other thoughts or sensations, and the sound disappears, simply ease back into the vibration.
To use another type of mantra, do this:
- Choose the mantra you want to use.
- Say it out loud so you can hear it
( you can be sitting , walking, lying down.)
- Repeat it , over and over.
Some examples of mantras that others have chosen are these:
- Om…………………………………………… Meaning:transcendental sound used in the beginning of every Vedic hymn.
- 2..Om namo bhagavate Vasudeva……………………………………… Meaning: I pay my respects to the supreme truth. (oversoul,supersoul, super consciousness).
- Jaya Radha Shyama. Jaya Radhe……………………………………. Meaning: A plea to the Lord and the feminine energy of the Lord.
- Om tat sat…………………………………………. Meaning: Absolute, eternal, truth.
You can choose any mantra that appeals to you. They are all equally effective . If your mind is so full of worry or stress that you cannot concentrate, then your best bet is to chant. When you chant, the sound vibration forcibly enters into your mind. The correct sound vibrations pierce the souls covering and thus enable it to come to its rightful spiritual position, full of knowledge, bliss, and eternity. You don’t have to understand the language of the mantra. It arises from the spiritual platform and anyone can use it. As such, anyone can take part in these transcendental sound vibrations without any previous knowledge of it or prior qualifications.
RESEARCH FINDINGS ON TM
These practices are not intended to substitute for professional medical or psychological services, but to be used in conjunction with. If needed, please contact your doctor. Your health is one of the most important things that you can have in this lifetime. Please don’t risk it.