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  • Barry Shirley

MEDITATION (SPECIAL ISSUE 16) APRIL 2021

Hi Guys. In this April 2021 blog (Special Issue16) – I would like to contemplate the subject of meditation.

As in my previous blogs, I will draw on the views and opinions of past and current masters, sages, mystics, gurus, philosophers and generally wise people. I also tap into all the worldly belief systems, religions and philosophies to draw on ancient knowledge and wisdom. These blog posts are designed for those interested in mindfulness and will only give you a taste of the information, knowledge and wisdom that is out there (and all points raised can easily be further researched).


Meditation is widely written about and extremely well researched in both scientific and practical arenas. It is a practice where an individual uses a technique to focus the mind, away from everyday thoughts, on a particular object, thought, mantra (phrase) or activity to train attention and awareness.


This is with the view to achieve a calm, stable and emotion free state. In a non-spiritual context, meditation may significantly reduce stress, anxiety, depressive thoughts and pain. In a spiritual context the approach is said to assist in tapping into a perception or an actual state of awareness of the higher self. Overall it is said to be an advanced practice to achieve well-being (the experience of health, happiness and prosperity).


The earliest written records come from Hindu traditions, in India, of Vendatism from around 1500 BCE. Vendatism is a school of philosophy and is one of the earliest known Indian paths for spiritual enlightenment. Other forms of meditation are then cited around the 6th and 5th centuries BCE within Taoist China and Buddhist India. And all approaches were probably based on spiritual meditation in preparation for yoga (i.e. the merging of the mind, body and soul) and not on the actual physical practice known as Yoga in the West.


There have been many instances of research on meditation and the brain including how meditation helps to preserve the ageing brain and other changes. Please check out the link to an article titled ‘7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change the Brain – by Alice G. Walton PhD – US Health and Science writer. Check it out on the following link: -

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/09/7-ways-meditation-can-actually-change-the-brain/?sh=4c7ff5de1465


Also, please see interesting article on modern meditation statistics by Mira Rakicevic (sleep expert and internet author) January 3, 2021 at disturbmenot.co citing 27 meditation statistics for well-being in 2021 and the various sources – check it out at: -

https://disturbmenot.co/meditation-statistics/


In this special blog issue, I have predominantly drawn on the decades of spiritual philosophy knowledge and teaching experience of Mr Michael Bohuslav. Michael, a former school teacher, runs various philosophy inspired groups in Torquay and Geelong where I attend a study group he runs on the Bhagavad Gita (i.e. an ancient Hindu text depicting an allegorical battle between the forces of ego and the higher self with Krishna, as the Supreme Soul teaching the warrior Arjuna [representing the best but flawed aspects of humanity] how to defeat the ego forces and discover the higher self).


Michael is a philosophy teacher and presenter based in Torquay, Victoria, and his quest is to demystify philosophy by breaking it down into the aspects of spiritual philosophy, the soul’s journey and man’s eternal quest. He is regarded by many, including myself, as a true Guru.


The following is an article Michael recently put together on Meditation which he has graciously agreed to share with all. It is detailed, informative, instructive and beneficial to both beginners and seasoned meditation practitioners, as follows:-.


1. What is Meditation?


It is simply a Control or Stillness over the Body – Emotions – Mind and Ego. It is a deep relaxation technique.


2. What is the Purpose of Meditation?


The END purpose is to Connect or Communicate with ‘GOD’, (i.e. apply your own perception of that term. – my emphasis)

  • To tap into the unlimited ‘Universal Mind’.

  • To hear ‘God’ ‘talking’ to us (via a ‘Spiritual Experience’).

  • With constant practice, the Mind will eventually transcend to the very origin of thoughts.

  • As your Meditation strengthens, your body will eventually ‘disappear’. Likewise, your mental-emotional being, until there is only the SELF – arrived at through the timeless state of Samadhi.

  • All this culminating in Self-Realisation or Enlightenment.

  • ALONG THE WAY the benefits to the Meditator quickly become evident.

  • E.g. – A greater peace and calmness with family, friends, work etc.

  • Less stress, tension, anger, impatience, intolerance etc.

  • Better over-all health. More vitality and energy.

  • A greater ability to control the Senses.

  • Better decision-making in ALL aspects of Life.

  • Even if your life is ‘good’ and you feel you ‘have everything’, a feeling of incompleteness – a void, will appear. Meditation is the panacea, the remedy, the cure-all.

  • It will constantly nourish and strengthen you on your Spiritual Journey. I.e. an increase in Sattwic Energy.

  • You more and more become the Observer – the Eternal Witness, rather than getting caught-up in any drama.

3. Some Common MISCONCEPTIONS about Meditation:

  • It’s only possible for the Great Masters in the caves and forests.

  • I’m no good at it – I can’t meditate.

  • There must always be NO THOUGHTS during the meditation.

  • I’m too busy (work-family etc). I just don’t have the time.

  • I’ve tried it a few times and it didn’t work for me.

  • It sounds too good to be true! Where’s the proof?

  • It sounds OK – but I’m too busy now. I’ll try it later.

4. Some FACTS about Meditation:

  • ALL the great Spiritual Teachings have at their core the necessity for Meditation or Stillness.

  • Meditation has been practiced by humans for 5,000 to 10,000 years.

  • It was only ‘introduced’ gradually to the West a little over 100 years ago, and more widely by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1960’s – 70’s via the popularity of the Beatles.

  • Everyone CAN meditate. Practice and Perseverance are key ingredients.

  • There is no such thing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ meditation. In one sense it could be said that the only ‘bad’ meditation is – No Meditation.

  • Meditation is one of the most researched areas of human behaviour. Over 600 scientific studies performed at over 200 Universities and Research Institutions in more than 30 countries, validate the profound benefits of Meditation (TM).

  • There are various forms of Meditation: -

  • The Practice of Meditation.

  • The Meditation of Being in the Now.

  • Meditation through Selfless Action.

  • The Meditation of Constantly Watching our thoughts – words – actions. (‘The wise man watches the movement of his mind’).

5. Some Practical and Useful ‘TIPS’ for Meditation (as suggested by the Great Masters).

  • The PHYSICAL setting

  • Have a quiet room in the house set aside.

  • Have a comfortable chair to sit on – or cross-legged on cushion.

  • Sit as up-right as possible but without strain or tension (posture).

  • Music (Chants, Hymns, Meditation music); Candles; Incense etc can help set-up a calm atmosphere or mood.

  • Guided meditations can be useful, particularly in the early stages.

  • Group meditation can greatly raise the Sattwic Energy.

  • Gentle exercises such as Yoga – Tai chi – Qigong (Chi-gong) are also very beneficial.

  • The SUBTLE setting: -

  • Put your knowledge into practice and using Wisdom change from the THINKING mind (Vasanas) to the still, all-knowing BUDDHI mind.

  • Use all your Courage. Be fearless, disciplined, persistent and strong-willed to bring the Egoic Mind under control and balanced.

  • Accept (NOT engage) everything that arises in your Meditation.

  • Don’t try and block anything as this may prevent any release of negative energy.

  • GENERAL:

  • Two sessions daily are recommended. The ideal times are sunrise and sunset. In our society this is not always possible. You will have to set times that best suit you.

  • Duration of time 20-30 mins each session is regarded as sufficient.

  • Establish a REGULAR ROUTINE. This robs the ego of constant opportunities to be involved in any decision-making.

  • Check your Guna Balance.

If Rajasic, deep, slow breaths; close eyes, etc

If Tamasic deep sharp breaths; jog on the spot.

  • Begin the Meditation from a point of ‘Unity’. (i.e. set an Affirmation or an Intention).

6. THOUGHTS

  • While practicing Meditation (particularly in the early stages) THOUGHTS will constantly come and go and circle around – a bit like a persistent mosquito or blowfly.

  • The mind has natural tendency to be active BUT it also has the ability to be still.

  • Trying to eliminate thoughts from the Meditation is like trying to stop the waves on the ocean.

  • Understand that during the Meditation these thoughts will continuously come and go. The idea is NOT to engage or have conversations with them.

  • The thoughts arising during the Mediation can be likened to ‘strangers’ knocking at your front door.

  • You can embrace them, and they’ll stay.

  • You can argue with them and tell them to go away – now you’ve got two thoughts! OR

  • You can be indifferent to them. No one likes to be ignored, so they will go away.

  • As soon as the thoughts are observed, go back to repeating the Mantra (see next paragraph). Simply keep repeating the process.

  • Gradually (‘little by little’) the EGO will tire of being ‘ignored’ by you and will re-visit less frequently.

  • Trying to stop the thoughts is like trying to stop the waves on the ocean. They come and go at the ‘wave-level’.

  • The MANTRA transcends DOWN past this level and takes you to a place in the deeper, stiller waters.

  • When the Mantra eventually stops it will have taken you to a place of deep silence and stillness.

7. THE MANTRA:

  • The 'Mantra’ is an essential component of the meditation process.

  • It is a sound, or a syllable, or an axiom that one constantly REPEATS as a means of ridding the mind from a constant bombardment of thoughts and gives it a one-pointed focus via its use.

  • The Mantra is likened to a ‘boat’. It knows where to go and how to get to the other side of the river. (i.e. from the Mortal to the Immortal). It helps in one gets completely in the boat – not one leg in and the other still on the shore. Its’ also a good idea to ‘untie’ the boat from its mooring, so that it ‘can go on its journey’.

  • If you’ve been given a Mantra from you Guru, or from a trusted teacher, or from a reputable organization (e.g. the T.M. Movement; School of Philosophy etc) and you’re comfortable with it – stay as you are.

  • If you don’t have a Mantra you may consider one of these. Pick a sound that RESONATES strongly with you.

  • The Universal Sound of AUM (OOM) is widely recommended.

  • Aum – oom -Aum – oom…………. [Repeat the Mantra

  • Krishna – Krishna – Krishna……. SILENTLY.

  • Brahman – Brahman – Brahman… Sound it SOFTLY - GENTLY

  • Purusha – Purusha – Purusha ……. Say with RHYTHM]

  • Ram (as in palm) – Ram – Ram….

  • Buddha – Buddha – Buddha ……

  • Jesus – Jesus – Jesus …….

  • The Mantra is merely a ‘TOOL’ (or a steppingstone), to take YOU from your ‘Desire-ridden Egoic Mind’ to the deep SILENCE. When this is achieved, the Mantra will have done its ‘job’ and it will fall silent.

  • Descending deeper still one gets taken to the ‘AHAM’sound of the Creation…. ‘I AM’ (ATMAN).

Then in the deepest state of SAMADHI, there is only the ‘I’ ….’PARAMATMAN’ – the FINAL REALISATION!

By Michael Bohuslav

Quotes


  • “The force that runs the universe breaths in you.” – Kambiz Naficy - Kria yoga meditation master, international Author b.21/3/53 Iran.

  • "The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself. - Michel de Montaigne French Philosopher (1533- 1592)

  • “Meditation gives us the experience of the fullness, the completeness, the infiniteness of ourselves, of the being of ourself that never was hurt, never hurt, never was betrayed, never betrayed anyone, never lied, never was lied to. It brings us into touch with that pure, indentityless, historyless, storyless bliss of pure awareness.” Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati – Motivational Speaker - Spiritual Leader, American born – based in Rishikesh, India.

  • “Meditation will not carry you to another world, but it will reveal the most profound and awesome dimensions of the world in which you already live. Calmly contemplating these dimensions and bringing them into the service of compassion and kindness is the right way to make rapid gains in meditation as well as in life.”– Zen Master Hsing Yun – Chinese Buddhist monk. B.1927.

  • “Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.”– Patanjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – ancient Indian sage, author of a number of Sanskrit works – circa 2nd century BCE.

  • “Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn – American Professor – founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction – b.1944

Take away

  • Various studies have confirmed the cognitive and emotional benefits of meditation – grab some of that!

  • The world is broken and hurt – the social effects of meditation might just help exponentially!

  • Also, try yoga along with meditation – a natural combination for overall well-being.



Compiled by Baz Shirley.


Contact:

barryshirley@iprimus.com.au

*See also: bazabstractart.redbubble.com

Instagram: @bazabstractart - Facebook: Barry Shirley

And all my previous posts on: mumbojumbonews.com*

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