THE TAO OF MEDITATION
Meditation is an ancient Asian practice and alternative form of therapy. Basically, it is a “science of the mind”. People who meditate do so to train the mind or stimulate the mind to a specific conscious mode, in order to realize some benefit or for the mind to acknowledge its contents in a disinterested way. Some people also meditate for leisure. Its origins can be traced back to the 1st century B.C.E. in early Indian Buddhism. In general, the term meditation describes a wide range of practices that comprises of methods fashioned to enhance internal energy or life force and develop one's virtues.
The Soothing Effects of Meditation
Meditation has a soothing effect; it navigates one’s consciousness in an inward direction until a state of wholesome awareness is achieved. While meditation could mean different things in different contexts, there is one function it has, that cuts through all of its variants. It simply promotes spiritual well-being. In Jainism, an ancient Indian tradition, meditation is a very important religious practice. They believe deep meditation is the way to attain to total enlightenment—and a path to salvation.
In Buddhism, core meditative practices are originally associated with its religious and philosophical doctrines. Similarly with the Jains, Buddhists seek after meditation as a path toward enlightenment or what they call nirvana.
Wisdom Through Meditation
In Buddhism, two principal spiritual qualities are believed to emanate from the wholesome practice of meditation:
Tranquillity or Serenity
This is said to stabilize the mind and give it composure. It also gives the mind unity and the ability to focus.
This enables vision, discernment and exploration of phenomena.
It is believed that through the meditative development of serenity, one is able to let go of vague hindrances. It is with the release of these hindrances through the meditative development of insight that one achieves liberating wisdom.
In present day, many people practice yoga. Yoga is a physical activity that yogis do in preparation for meditation. However, the kind of meditation done in yoga has an essence connected with the exercise itself. Meditation attained in Yoga is seen as a natural awakening of ones pure energy, which initiates a bonding of the individual soul (Atman) and the universal spirit (Paramatman). The spiritual and physical indications of this state are clearly defined:
- The body is cured of diseases
- The mind is at peace and in a state of rest with no thoughts
- A stream of ambrosia is poured into the body of the yogi, followed by a euphoric feeling or great ecstasy.
The uses of meditation may originally be for spiritual purposes, the art has filtered through cultures and permeated into the West. Theosophist meditation has been embraced by some religious and spiritual movements. Also, psychotherapists and counsellors have adopted it in the treatment of some medical conditions. It is sometimes prescribed in the alleviation of daily stress, and mental and muscular relaxation. The approach may not be holistic, but it is used in combination with other behavioral techniques.
Now, without having spiritual inclinations, anyone can enjoy the benefits of meditation. Everyone is capable of meditating. But let us begin by making some clarifications. As Vietnamese monk Nhat Hanh states:
“Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is seeing, there must be acting. With mindfulness, we know what to do and what not to do to help.”
Simply put, meditation is not a way of escaping out personal and societal problems. Instead, it is a medium through which we can find ways to help ourselves and the world. Learning how to meditate will give us the ability to remove negativity from our world.
In philosophy and religion, the ultimate goal of meditation is the attainment to enlightenment. It is an approach towards energy realization the realization of the true nature of one’s mind. By practicing it, we can draw into our consciousness and have a full grasp on how to navigate our minds towards positivism. We then can start to approach things positively. The implication of this is that, we will start to experience physical, spiritual, mental and emotional changes that will certainly make us become better persons.
However, achieving enlightenment and complete wellness of the soul may not be an easy task. While some immediate physical effects may be evident in a short time of practicing, the core benefits which are spiritual take a lot of practice, discipline and adherence to the principles of meditation.
Living Illumination has a movement of meditation called transcendental. there are series of courses beginning at the awakening level to set the practice of meditation. This type of of meditation is excellent for those with a busy head who find it difficult to operate from their feelings.
These courses direct the participants to a follow their feelings and heal the voices that create separations from their inner self. See our Meditation page for more information http://www.
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