|Change the Paradigm|
Meditation - Lesson 1
Meditation is the most fundamental core practice in any Spiritual discipline, training or exploration.
The term "Meditation" is broadly described as a practice in which the practitioner goes beyond the reflexive thinking mind into a deeper state of relaxation and awareness. There are an endless number of religious and Spiritual practices that use this term. The uniqueness of each type of meditation is defined by the object, idea, ideal, concept or intent to which one's attention is directed. All forms of meditation facilitate the development of an ability to concentrate, direct one's will, and focus one's mind. All forms of meditation facilitate and develop one's consciousness and reality in accord with the ideal and intent with which the practice is engaged.
It is, therefore, imperative that the intent be clear, selfless, and of the very highest character. Meditation is not meant to be used as a way for individuals to escape their conflicts and issues. Meditations and exercises in mental focus that are based on desire, will, and competition imply conflict and a struggle to win or acquire some thing or objective, often without regard to the cost to self, others, or the environment. This conscious, deliberate striving is always within the confines of a limited mind, and in this there is no freedom. The fruits of meditation become bound and limited by the rules of limited thinking that the individual embraces.
Confining one's self to a limited mind and a limited way of thinking is to deny one's divine birthright. Confining one's self to the paradigms of conflict and struggle is to deny the greatest benefits of meditation.
Meditation can be described as one of two general categories: concentration meditation and mindfulness meditation. In concentration meditation, one holds attention on a particular object, symbol, mantra, prayer, etc. while minimizing distractions and bringing the mind back to concentration on the chosen point of focus. In mindfulness meditation, the focus is more open but may use a similar focus such as the breath, a mantra, a visualization, etc. The distinction can be subtle and the meditation can shift smoothly from one to the other.
Meditation is an Altered State of Consciousness
In traditional terms, meditation is the mechanism by which seers see, shamans access "non-ordinary" reality, and mystics access the non-physical realms. In modern scientific terms, researchers are aware that the practice of meditation induces physiological changes in the human body and brain. Brain wave patterns shift. The entire brain tends to become synchronized and the dominant frequencies shift toward alpha rhythms and even theta or delta rhythms in very deep meditation.
Meditation Changes the Practitioner
Research has demonstrated that meditators experience a "relaxation response" that is associated with a number of mental and physical health benefits. A few of these include stress reduction, blood pressure reduction, healing of stress related disorders (which includes most illnesses and diseases), and healing of many mental health conditions. Research has also demonstrated that long term practitioners of meditation experience an increase in the thickness in parts of the brain cortex (this is where most of the neurons are located). In other words, meditation causes the brains of mature adults to actually grow.
The changes facilitated by meditation go beyond the observable physical and physiological effects. Meditation changes the individual Spiritually as well. The fruits of meditation are determined by the Intent and the Ideal of the practitioner.
This point cannot be overemphasized. Meditation changes the practitioner Spiritually. Exactly how the individual is changed is determined by the Intent and Ideal that is embraced by the practitioner. It is entirely possible to reduce Spirituality to a reductionist materiality, amplify one's most base characteristics, or facilitate a Spiritual awakening, all by using exactly the same meditation procedures. It is, therefore, vitally important to honestly assess one's goals and Intent and align these with the highest Spiritual purpose prior to engaging in the practice of meditation. The highest Spiritual purpose is re-connecting to the Divine Source or God or the Creator etc., rather than attachment in the material plane. Once you have your Intent clearly defined, you can proceed with the expectation of only positive results and positive changes within.
Meditation is the catalyst and the facilitator of personal evolution of consciousness. Meditation is the means by which an individual can re-connect to their Source, their Spiritual heritage. Meditation is the means by which an individual can shift the paradigm within which they live, both within themselves and within the environment that they are immersed in. Meditation, through the influence of the morphogenic field, is the means by which a solitary individual can influence and contribute to a complete paradigm shift.
Meditation, when done properly, is a transformative process through which Spiritual Faculties are awakened. When we meditate, Spiritual energy enters and rises from the sexual glands (root chakra) to the pituitary gland (crown chakra) along a silver cord along the spine. The endocrine glands in the physical body correspond to the chakras of the etheric body and the rising energy is called kundalini in eastern terminology. The awakening of this energy facilitates both a spiritual and physical transformation.
During meditation, our energy centers or chakras are activated and energy flows through the autonomic nervous system, up the spine and into the energy centers above our familiar seven chakras. The seven chakras are associated with physical endocrine glands in our bodies. The movement of energy along the glands, chakras and nervous system is called kundalini in some eastern traditions. Meditation influences much more than simply the movement of energy, however.
Meditation also results in a "purification" of the energies in our individual energy centers. Each energy center has characteristics and traits of its own. Some of these traits have become contaminated or corrupted through the process of our separation from our original Source. The traits of lust, greed, desire for power over others and self indulgence all affect the energy expression of our energy centers and extend into effects on our physical bodies and our health as well. As we connect with the higher Source that we can call a Universal God, we surrender our will and in that process diminish our separateness. Diminishing our separateness requires that we "clean up" our energy centers. This can present some challenges as we confront the darkest and most unpleasant parts of ourselves. It takes dedication and persistence to see it through. The rewards are more than worth the effort.
In many religious texts, the kundalini energy is represented metaphorically as a serpent. According to Cayce, the fall of man as depicted in the bible and elsewhere also involved the fall of the serpent. The kundalini energy itself became corrupted and disconnected from the Source as well. The numerous reports of physical, psychological and psychic difficulties associated with raising the kundalini energy are the result of individuals activating powerful energies without first doing enough basic work of self examination, clarification of intent and practice of basic meditation first. Without this basic preparation, desires of every nature can be awakened and intensified.
Emptying the Mind
True meditation, then, involves an element of surrender, but of what and to what? The "of what" is the personal ego and the "to what" is the original Creator, what most individuals from a Judeo Christian background call God. What must be surrendered is one's sense of separateness from the Spiritual dimensions within, one's selfishness and limited thought processes. This is not a surrender of free will or individuality. What one surrenders to is the greater wisdom and awareness that is within one's self and interconnected with everything everywhere.
The single pointed concentration type of meditation uses a mantra, symbol, or both to still the conscious mind. Using the three minds model, this enables one to shift the awareness from the conscious mind to the subconscious mind and extending this to the Superconscious mind. Shifting the operative consciousness to the subconscious mind opens one up to a completely different mode of perception, communication, and understanding. The single pointed concentration then is not an end unto itself but is rather a discipline which allows one to achieve a stillness that makes internal awareness possible.
The empty mind is, of course, an empty conscious mind and the expanded awareness is the result of moving one's awareness and operational consciousness into the subconscious and Superconscious minds.
Meditation and Science
There has been a great deal of scientific study of meditation and the results obtained by practitioners. For several decades, researchers have studied the EEG's of meditators and developed biofeedback technology and autogenic training techniques. More recently, researchers at Harvard, Yale, and MIT have documented evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of the brain. Brain scans of experienced meditators showed increased thickness in those areas involved with attention and sensory processing. In another study, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the brain activity of experienced Buddhist monks who were engaged in compassion meditation. The researchers observed that activity in the left prefrontal cortex (the seat of positive emotions such as happiness) swamped activity in the right prefrontal (site of negative emotions and anxiety), something never before seen from purely mental activity.
In 1993, a research project was conducted in Washington D.C. to demonstrate the potential for reducing crime through the practice of meditation. Approximately 4000 practitioners of transcendental meditation (one of many types of meditation) came to Washington D.C. and practiced meditation for an 8 week period. The maximum decrease in violent crimes during this time was nearly 25%. The maximum reduction occurred when the maximum number of practitioners was present. Note that the criminals were not practicing meditation and had no idea that it was happening. This is an example of the potential for individuals to influence large masses of people through a "morphogenic field."
Meditation Practice - Part I
Before beginning, contemplate the purpose for your meditation and contemplate an ideal consistent with connecting yourself to the Infinite Source, or what some call God.
The mantra should be something consistent with your overall intent. Make one of your choosing. If you can't think of one, consider this:
Consider this interpretation:
Here is another version paraphrased:
"I walk where the long night is not dark.
I AM one with the Source of all Life.
I stand with Divine Energy Awake".
One of the objectives of meditation is to use the will to still the conscious mind. When the conscious mind is still, the subconscious mind opens to our awareness. As we become more aware of the subconscious mind, the veil that keeps our conscious self separate, ignorant, and isolated from out Spiritual self thins. The conscious self, then, dies as we surrender our conscious will and ego to the greater self that is connected to a part of the infinite collective consciousness. It is understood that "thy will" refers to the Superconscious mind or the mind of God.
Meditation Practice - Part II
This technique of deeper meditation is derived from the Edgar Cayce method of meditation. This is more of an inward journey rather than a traditional meditation. This does not fit either the concentration or mindfulness types of meditation. This is not an out of body experience and slipping into an out of body experience should be avoided. Here is the basic instruction:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7Nmud5gLPw, A multipart series on the Revelation.
http://biologyofkundalini.com/article.php?story=Introduction, The Biology of Kundalini
http://edgarcayce.org/ps2/meditation_J_Van_Auken.html, Articles on Meditation and Kundalini by John Van Auken
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation, Meditation article on Wikipedia
The future is created in our minds. When we look forward into the future, it is sometimes wise to make some astute assessments and change course.
Science and technology are not good or evil but can be used for both. Who are we? What are we? What are we doing here? What are the secrets of life? Central to these questions is our connection to religion and Spirituality. The core is Spiritual faculties, psychic abilities, paranormal abilities, psi. How they are developed, suppressed, used or misused determines what we become; a dumb lump of flesh or a brilliant enlightened being.