Monday, November 29, 2010

Secular Meditation or Your Meditation

"In my quest for search of some nice blogs and information on meditation I landed on the website of Tom Von Deck namely The Deeper Meditation- Oceanic mind. Here in this article he brings for readers of e-swastya in dept approach on the topic of meditation. In his thoughts meditation is some thing that is your way... each of us has its own way. Read more below in this article".

There are many meditation techniques in the world for many different kinds of people. There are religious and otherwise devotional meditations. There are secular meditations which are non-devotional and tend not to incorporate religious symbolism. When shopping around for a meditation technique or center, people tend to look for techniques with qualities they can relate to.

If you understand the basic "nuts and bolts" anatomy of meditation and mind body disciplines, you can begin to create your own program instead of looking all over the world and the Internet for a technique that meets your specifications.

Basic Elements in a Meditation

There are two basic elements of a meditation technique: Concentration and Mindfulness.

Concentration is focused attention on an object of focus. The object can be anything. A meditation beginner looking for a technique can decide on something either visual, verbal or kinesthetic that is either constant or repetitive. This can be a visualization of a waterfall. It can be a devotional phrase such as "Lord, make me an instrument of they peace" or a secular phrase such as "Peaceful calm". If you prefer a secular meditation technique, you can try the feeling in the nostrils as you breathe through the nose or the toe, ball and heel of each foot as they touch the floor as you walk slowly.

Meditation is the art of falling in love. Therefore, your object should be a "lover" that you are compatible with. If you fall in love with the imagery of a person or an object or any word, then try a visualization or one can use a chant . If natural scenery appeals to you, then visualize a waterfall or a flower. If it invites a state of deep, loving absorption, then there is compatibility.

Some techniques stop right there. In such cases, you hold your mind on your chosen object. When the mind wanders, you keep bringing it back. This is called Concentration Meditation, Samatha Meditation, Tranquility Meditation and many other things.

The other element is mindfulness. Some call it equanimity or Vipassana. These words mean to see things as they really are by being present with moment-to-moment experience in a non-attached manner. This includes thoughts, emotions and sensory stimulation.

If you are performing concentration meditation and wish to incorporate Vipassana, then you are being present with your thoughts as the mind wanders from your object. You can take note that thinking is happening in the present moment with the word "thinking". Don't judge the thinking. You are the sky. The thoughts are the clouds. When you take note without clinging to them or pushing them away, the thoughts lose power over you. Then, you bring your attention back to the object of focus. You can do the same with feelings of anger by taking note with the word "angry".

This is only a very basic formula for meditation, but it works.

Some techniques have built in warm up exercises. Just like the objects of focus, some are secular and some are religious. Hatha Yoga  stimulates feeling in the body and gets the subtle energy circuits flowing with stretches, postures and breathing exercises. In many schools of "studio yoga", the sequence of exercises is designed to prepare the mind and body for meditation. Come Christian contemplatives use the Bible for the initial inspiration for setting the mood for meditation. Qigong practitioners may use gentle movement, self massage, joint limbering exercises and breathing exercises to prepare for a meditative state. Buddhists often practice Lovingkindness by wishing happiness for other beings through visualization, spoken prayer or through kinesthetic means.

How may you prepare yourself for a formal meditation session? Whether you're religious or secular-minded, it is all about compatibility. Experiment a little bit and find out what works.

Anything you do to warm up for meditation can also be used to integrate meditation into your daily routine. Muslims pray 5 times daily. We don't have such institutions in most countries, but it makes a lot of sense. Interweave consciousness raising activities into your day in short intervals. Use your "elevator time" wisely during those brief periods when you have nothing better to do, such as riding in an elevator. If you are a  secular person, you may not want to pray, but you can stop and breathe, watch your mind, offer silent gratitude for everyone in your life, visualize the waterfall, stretch the muscles and soft tissues, etc. All these activities accumulate peace. Our normal habits accumulate stress.

Take advantage of that elevator time and take 1-5 minute serenity breaks each hour, and give it one month to kick in. You won't want to stop doing it. The peace creeps up on you below the level of consciousness, even if you do not notice immediate results.

Meditation is as religious or as secular as the practitioner. In fact, your "religion" is as unique as you are. Experiment a bit, find out what you are compatible with and you will have a solid plan for peace in your life.

Tom Von Deck is an international corporate meditation trainer, stress management speaker and author of Oceanic Mind - The Deeper Meditation Training Course. You can preview the first half of the book and get free guided meditation mp3s at">www.DeeperMeditation.Net.

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