More and more doctors are prescribing meditation as a way to lower blood pressure,
improve exercise performance in people with angina, help people with asthma breathe
easier, relieve insomnia and generally relax the everyday stresses of life.
Meditation is a safe and simple way to balance a person's physical, emotional, and mental
states. It is simple; but can benefit everybody.
Meditation is not just for yoga masters sitting cross-legged on mountaintops in the
Himalayas. It's a flexible approach to coping with stress, anxiety, many medical
conditions and the day-to-day "static" that robs us of inner peace. Today, the Pittsburgh
International Airport boasts a large meditation room featuring a quiet ambiance,
comfortable furniture and paintings of clouds. What better place than one of the
nation's largest, busiest airports for a refuge from all the hustle and bustle?
The Taoist sage Chuang-tzu referred to meditation, which the Chinese simply call
'sitting still, doing nothing', as 'mental fasting'. Just as physical fasting purifies
the essences of the body by withdrawing all external input of food, so the
'mental fasting' of meditation purifies the mind and restores the spirit's primal powers
by withdrawing all distracting thoughts and disturbing emotions from the mind.
In both physical and mental fasting, the cleansing and purifying processes are natural
and automatic, but the precondition for triggering this process of self-rejuvenation is
emptying body and mind of all input for a fixed number of minutes or days. T
aoists believe that only by 'sitting still, doing nothing' can we muster sufficient
mental clarity to focus fully on the difficult task of taming and training the two
aspects of temporal mind that govern our lives - the mind of emotion and the mind of intent.
The use of Meditation for healing is not new. Meditative techniques are the product of
diverse cultures and peoples around the world. It has been rooted in the traditions of
the world's great religions. In fact, practically all religious groups practice meditation in
one form or another. The value of Meditation to alleviate suffering and promote healing
has been known and practiced for thousands of years.
Types of Meditation
All the meditation techniques can be grouped into two basic approaches:
- Concentrative meditation
- Mindfulness meditation
Concentrative meditation focuses the attention on the breath, an image, or a sound
(mantra), in order to still the mind and allow a greater awareness and clarity to emerge.
This is like a zoom lens in a camera; we narrow our focus to a selected field.
The simplest form of concentrative meditation is to sit quietly and focus the attention
on the breath. Yoga and meditation practitioners believe that there is a direct
correlation between one's breath and one's state of the mind.
For example, when a person is anxious, frightened, agitated, or distracted,
the breath will tend to be shallow, rapid, and uneven. On the other hand, when the mind
is calm, focused, and composed, the breath will tend to be slow, deep, and regular.
Focusing the mind on the continuous rhythm of inhalation and exhalation provides a
natural object of meditation. As you focus your awareness on the breath, your mind
becomes absorbed in the rhythm of inhalation and exhalation. As a result, your breathing
will become slower and deeper, and the mind becomes more tranquil and aware.
Mindfulness meditation involves opening the attention to become aware of the
continuously passing parade of sensations and feelings, images, thoughts, sounds,
smells, and so forth without becoming involved in thinking about them." The person
sits quietly and simply witnesses whatever goes through the mind, not reacting or becoming
involved with thoughts, memories, worries, or images. This helps to gain a more calm,
clear, and non-reactive state of mind. Mindfulness meditation can be likened to a
wide-angle lens. Instead of narrowing your sight to a selected field as in concentrative
meditation, here you will be aware of the entire field.
Meditation is one of the most powerful tools there is to help us restore the harmony
within and to gain access to our bodies' inner intelligence. In meditation, we
rediscover the silence in our mind and make it a part of our life. Silence is the
birthplace of happiness. It is where we get our bursts of inspiration, our tender
feelings of compassion, our sense of love. Meditation is a journey to freedom and
Meditation asks us to take the extra step. When you start to meditate - yes, in the
beginning you will experience the stress and tension that is lodged in your body -
you will experience feelings of restlessness, boredom and irritation. These feelings
are very real but it is because of them that we require the technique of meditation.
Meditation is a simple technique that allows us to deal and transform these
'unpleasant' sensations. All our lives we have ran away from these 'unpleasant energies.’
We have allowed them to control our lives. That is why most of us can't be still.
If we were still and alone with ourselves we would start to feel these sensations - and
so we are always looking for something to do. ANYTHING in order to keep busy.
"Beneath all our endless thoughts, feelings and sensations there lies a state of pure
awareness - the experience of which is pure bliss. Our original nature. Meditation is
simply a tool that allows us to experience this truth in our lives now."
The idea - that there is a state of awareness that has always been there but is hidden
from us by our unconscious tendency to focus and identify almost totally with our
thoughts and feelings seems pure nonsense.
The answer is simple. Because all your life you have only ALLOWED yourself to experience
your surface thoughts and feelings. You have never allowed yourself to EXPERIENCE the
field of awareness - the silence -that lies just behind your turbulent mind.
Meditation does not ask you even to believe such a state of awareness exists - it simply
provides you with the tool to find out and experience the truth for yourself.
What we are asking you is this:
- Give yourself the opportunity..........
- To go beyond your thoughts.........
- To go beyond your memories......
- To go beyond your feelings.......
And in this NOW moment of your life to allow yourself to experience what is there.
"Bliss is not added to your nature, it is merely revealed as your true nature state,
eternal and imperishable."
Consider this simple example. Although crude, it illustrates our point...............
Imagine in the corner of a room there is a pure white sock. But now because it has been
lying there for so long it is dirty. Most people will look at the sock with distaste
and throw it away. All they will see is a dirty sock.
But the pure white sock is still there, it is only hidden behind layers of dirt.
You don't have to create a brand new white sock - you only have to wash away the layers
of temporary dirt. The pure white sock was ALWAYS THERE. But most people never saw it all
they saw and experienced was the surface and they dismissed it.
Likewise, meditation allows us to wash away and dissolve our almost total identification
with our thoughts and feelings so that we can experience the source that unnamable
silence beyond them.