Friday, March 24, 2006

The Spiritual Pillar Part 2, Meditation

One of the tools used to integrate and stabilize the platform of our lives is meditation. It helps us to integrate all four pillars into a cohesive whole, and gives us glimpses of what we are seeking.

There is often an air of mystery surrounding the act of meditating that is really not warranted. Meditation takes many forms, from the very simple to the truly complex. There are many books written on the subject, and most do not require a particular religious or philosophical affiliation in order to learn a meditation practice that fits the individual.

Twenty minutes spent twice a day in meditation has a number of benefits, both spiritually and physically. When we are first learning to meditate, it feels like we are accomplishing nothing, but in actuality, we are both training the Ego to allow us to concentrate and allowing the body to take what it needs while we are otherwise occupied. That is why we often fall asleep or have a full blown idea on how to solve a problem we may have been worrying over.

It is best to begin our practice with no expectations . We are not likely to experience a blinding light or instant Awakening, or sudden talents or abilities we did not have before. These are all unreasonable expectations and simply set us up for failure. If there isn’t instant gratification, many give up after a few attempts, and thus miss out on a very beneficial practice.

One goal of meditating is to still the constant chattering of the mind so that we may connect with the inner self. A simple practice to begin would be a mantra meditation. Simply choose a word or sound that you are comfortable with, perhaps the word love or peace. Find a quiet spot where you are not likely to be interrupted, and sit in a chair, feet on the floor, hands resting in the lap. Once comfortable, close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths and begin quietly repeating your mantra. When the mind wanders, and it will, simply return to reciting your mantra. When the twenty minutes is up, sit quietly for a few moments before resuming your day. One mistake that is often made is trying too hard, and being disappointed in ones self if the mind wanders.

Meditation should be effortless, gently bringing the mind back to the mantra when it drifts. Don’t become involved in it’s thinking. Simply acknowledge that it has wandered. Some sessions will be easier than others. There may even be times that the mind can not be stilled. Don’t worry about it. It will come. There will be other times that you will become aware that time has passed without your noticing, and that you are filled with a calm, serene, peaceful feeling that you do not have the words to describe. This experience will happen more and more frequently with time, and the feeling will last longer with practice. We do not generally have the words or concepts in our computer brain to express these feelings.

As we meditate, research and read what we can find, we will become more and more able to express our experiences and the experiences themselves will deepen. As we research and meditate, questions will arise, This is the beginning of Awakening. As we find our questions we can begin to search for our answers.

The answers are all within us, but we need to rediscover them, rather like seeing them reflected in a mirror. When we have a question, and find the answer, we will know it is the right answer as it will resonate within. We will be sure of it, there will be no doubt in our minds that it is a truth.

As we begin this process of developing the Spiritual Pillar, we can become so engrossed in the process that we often neglect the other pillars. When that happens, the imbalance will often be reflected in the Physical Pillar. We may become ill or suffer from lack of sleep, or even become emotionally unbalanced. This is the way our physical selves have of attracting our attention. It is necessary to always be aware that balance is not a static thing. It is achievable only in short periods, like a pendulum which swings through the balance point repeatedly. The better we get at paying attention to all facets of our lives, the more frequent and longer the periods of balance will be.


kathy said...

thanks Z

nonbeing said...

Balance... ah, the elusive chimera of balance! I used to chase the holy grail of balance, until I realised that life is chaos, and balance is something you can never achieve, like perfection. It's far better to let-go and relax instead of tensing oneself up in a never-ending quest for the impossible.

Nevertheless, I liked your article. Once a person discovers the joy and beauty of meditation, he/she rarely gives it up, unless he/she is a fool like me (which is another aspect of myself that I have begun to accept and relax with). Meditation is not optional for the people stressed out by the age of information overload. It's a quality of being that I am slowly bringing into my every act. Meditation is an end in itself - like you say it should be done without expectation. Even without the expectation of balance :)

Thanks for the post.

jim said...

That is the best presentation of the activity of meditation that I have ever seen, the fullest and simplest and most readable, you are to be commended.

You made me want to start again and I already do it every day.

Nonbeing may find the years return it to him.

Thanks again.

Nondualreality said...

Great meditation information Z.

Meditator said...

I just came across your blog about the benefits of meditation and wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here. I also have a blog about the benefits of meditation so I know what I'm talking about when I say your site is top-notch! Keep up the great work, you are providing a great resource on the Internet here!

Zareba said...

Thanks to all of you for reading my comments on meditation. I discovered meditation in my mid 20's in Toronto, Canada from The Maharishi Mahesh Yoga (Transendental Meditation)and have found meditation of any type to be the first and most powerful tool for Journeying on the Path. If one does nothing else to forward their spiritual growth, one should learn to meditate. It unlocks the secrets hidden inside us all.

Nonbeing, balance is like the moment a pendulum is actually in mid-swing, a very fleeting moment, repeated over and over again. We become almost adicted to this fleeting state and it urges us onward to find our own answers.

The journey is long and we must take pleasure in the journey itself, not just in the idea of reaching the goal.