An introduction to Meditation – let’s talk Meditation!
As a meditation teacher for 20 years, I taught many introductory courses on Meditation. And always, there is the challenge to define: What is Meditation?
Meditation is not relaxation, nor contemplation, nor concentration, nor visualization.
It can indeed have all of these elements in it. Like, relaxation is often a positive side effect of Meditation, but it is not what Meditation is about.
As I understand it, and…I am not a “guru”, nor do I see myself as enlightened!
(See also this interview, which I had with Grace Bubeck from www.living-from-love.com about “Spiritual Truth and Emotional Healing”)
Meditation is a state of absolute awareness. Just Being. To get to this state, actually, there is no way because it already is within us; we are already that. But to realize it, it can take some time 😉
As I have been living in the presence of enlightened beings and teachers and travelled this path of knowing my SELF and awakening for such a long time, I feel I can talk and share about it. It could be helpful for some of you.
So, let’s get back to how to meditate
Often meditation techniques have an element of concentration in it. Concentration helps the mind focus. The mind gets busy by following instructions so that it won’t drive you crazy while just being. This concentration can be on a physical element like looking at the flame of a candle, it can be a sensation in your body like following the feeling of the breath in your body, it can be an emotion, like focusing on feeling compassion or something else like counting numbers or making specific movements.
Meditation usually is more effortless when you are relaxed, and often after meditating, you feel more relaxed. But, this is not the goal of Meditation! You may have listened to guided meditations.
Often these are visualizations.
And a lot of them are accompanied by soft music. Generally, they’re very relaxing. Some are good for falling asleep and, which is the opposite of Meditation. Meditation is about waking up from the dream of our lives. If you have never heard of this, it may seem really weird. But, all the enlightened beings talk about this actual world as a dream. Which it is… when you think about “dream” as everything that changes. And nothing that changes is Real for enlightened beings. Everything we live in our everyday life is a dream in this way of looking at it. In Meditation, we want to discover the Real, that which is not changing.
This is another aspect that can be included in a meditation technique: contemplation. You can contemplate something and get into a meditative space. For example, by reading a haiku or a koan, a kind of poem or story, often absurd, not really possible to comprehend by the mind; it goes beyond the mental understanding.
Here’s one of the famous koans: What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Koans are short stories or sentences that are often paradoxical and don’t make sense logically. But they are fantastic to contemplate.
OK, let’s summarize:
Meditation techniques include some part of concentration, sometimes visualization, sometimes contemplation and often lead to a relaxed state. Meditation as such is waking up to that which never changes. That’s which does not die, which is already here. So, the “Real” in contrast to the “Dream” we are living in day-to-day life.
This month resource is “A Taste of Meditation”
It’s a short meditation technique that goes through the diverse aspects of Meditation: relaxation, concentration, mental or physical contemplation, visualization and relaxation.
Listen to this audio and follow along to get a taste of it!
Sit up and just notice how you’re sitting. Allow yourself to straighten out your spine. You can imagine having something pull on the top of your head towards the sky, so you don’t actually need to make any effort. And you can also imagine that you are supported by the pillow, cushion, mattress or chair you’re sitting on. So, you are totally supported by heaven and earth. Now just notice your body.
Feel all the tense places, which may be hurting, that are in some way demanding your attention. And allow these sensations to be there and to melt away. You don’t need to do anything. You just let them go.
Now we come to the concentration part. Concentrate on your breath for a moment: feel the breath coming inside your nose and coming out of your nose. Maybe you’ll notice it more in your chest or in your belly. And focus, concentrate on this sensation for a while: the breath coming in, the breath going out.
Now, let’s come to the contemplation part.
I will give you a little haiku which is a kind of a poem: “The snow of yesterday that fell like cherry blossoms is water once again.” Just stay with this image. And contemplate, let it sink inside of you. Not trying to understand what it means, but comprehending it on some deeper level.
After that, we will do a visualization.
Visualize your body and your mind. Everything that is going on inside you is melting away like snow in spring.
And now lay down, relax, enjoy, just being present to what is.
Want more meditation techniques, click here
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