Friday, July 29, 2011

What Is Really Meditation Part-1

During recent decades, various parts of the world and the West may in particular have suffered lots of changes. Political changes took place as well as social and cultural changes, as well as significant changes in technology. We could almost say that in recent decades, the world, and especially the West, has seen more changes than during any other historical period of equal duration.

With regard to human affairs at least, we have seen during this period a constantly accelerating pace of change. It seems that there are more and more changes, fewer temps.Auparavant, when the pace of life was slower and people had time to "grow up", could take over many generations before a change in a particular area of ​​life becomes visible. But it is not so. Now, these changes are noticed in a generation, even in the space of ten years - or five. And we see these changes more rapidly in virtually all areas of life and human endeavors, be they political, social, economic or cultural.

But we consider here only one of those areas that practice to use a term, neutral and generally call the cultural field. In this particular field, one of the largest and potentially one of the most important change of recent concern about meditation.

There are fifteen or twenty years, the West had hardly heard of meditation. Knowledge or interest in this connection that existed was confined to groups and individuals obscure eccentrics. But today we can say that almost everyone has heard the term "meditation". However, although the term is widespread, this does not mean what it means - what meditation really - to be truly understood.

Many times I heard people say "meditate is not to think, create a vacuum. ". Others think that meditation means just sit and do nothing. Sit and do nothing can be - and should not be - a good thing, but it is not meditation. Sometimes you hear so to speak, or even you read that meditation is to sit and navel gazing, perhaps squinting, or that it is "entering a trance" (it is unfortunate that a known author and generally reliable books on Buddhism has to some extent popularized the term "trance" as being synonymous with meditation). Other people think that meditation is just sit quietly and think about things, "things back in his mind." Still others think it is to put ourselves in a kind of hypnotic state. And these are just some of the misunderstandings most popular and most widespread of meditation.

The reason for these misunderstandings seems pretty obvious. Meditation is relatively new in the West, at least in the modern West. There is nothing like it in the range of our experience in recent history at least. We do not even have adequate words, specialized terms adequate to describe the states of meditation and its processes. It is therefore quite natural that initially there is misunderstanding.

What Is Really Meditation Part-2

We must also remember that meditation is essentially something that is played, it's something that we do, or are experienced. But most people do not know that meditation hearsay. Their knowledge base is not a practical and personal experience. They are thus based on information that was relayed two, three or even four times. Some have drawn, or perhaps had to tap their knowledge of meditation only in books. There are now many books available that claim to treat or process of meditation. Unfortunately, the books themselves are often based on ouis say rather than on personal knowledge and experience. In some cases they may even be based on pure imagination, if not a speculation. Ago in this area a number of so-called experts. When something becomes popular, as is the case of meditation, there are too many people ready to take advantage of the opportunity. It reminds me of my experience during the years of Buddha Jayanti, the year in the Buddhist world, marked the 500th anniversary of Parinirvana 2 (physical death) and therefore the Buddha 2500 years of Buddhism. The Government of India patronized the celebrations in India, while the various governments of South Asia-East organized the celebrations in their respective countries. All this created a great wave of interest and, as there was a strong demand for books written, all sorts of people began to write books, pamphlets and articles on Buddhism, in many cases without the any qualification. And all these people, compiling documents diverse and varied, some reliable sources and sometimes dubious sources, and produce each other "work" on Buddhism.

In the West, there is now a boom in spirituality in general and to a lesser extent, on meditation. Many people are dissatisfied with their life every day, in the conventional manner in which they live and work. Despite the great successes of science in practical terms the material world, people can not accept a purely scientific explanation of life while at the same time, it also can not accept the traditional explanations, mostly Judeo-Christian things. So they start looking for something that satisfies a deeper, more permanent, more creative and constructive. Some are looking in the direction of Eastern spiritual traditions, especially in that of meditation. They want to learn about meditation and practice - they want to take courses in meditation, going to weekend of meditation - and this is a request for meditation is created.

There are too many people, of course, who are ready to meet this demand - sometimes for a fee. Some may be well qualified to meet this demand, I mean qualified to teach meditation, and others can not. Thus also create all sorts of misunderstandings. Meditation is often identified with a particular form of meditation, or with a particular concentration technique. People do not perhaps always there are many types of meditation - many methods - and several concentration techniques. Sometimes people who know or who do tend to a method of meditation in general identify exclusively with this method or technique. They can claim that this method is best, or even that it is the only, and you do not meditate at all unless you do that in that way, using this technique there. According to them, other techniques, other methods, other traditions have no value. This is the kind of statement that can be found. It is therefore particularly important to clarify what is confusing and resolve misunderstandings. It becomes important to understand what meditation really. To do this, we must keep in mind the distance between the ideal and reality, between man Buddha, or Buddha, and the common man, not awake. We must keep in mind the nature of Buddhism

What Is Really Meditation Part-3

The Buddha or enlightened man, represents a state, an achievement, a way of being and a mode of consciousness that have no real equivalent in Western thought, and for which we have, therefore, no word or equivalent term. "Buddha" does not mean God, Supreme Being, Creator of the universe, nor is God. "Buddha" does not mean man in the ordinary sense. It is better to think rather the Buddha, the Awakened One, in terms of evolution. The Buddha, the Awakened, is a man. But he is a man of a very special kind, a man more developed. In fact he is a man very much developed. That is to say that he is a man who has attained and fully realized the state of spiritual perfection that we call enlightenment. That's what "Buddha" means. And Buddhism is all that helps to bridge the abyss between the ideal and the real, anything that helps to transform the human being awakened in non-human Buddha, all that helps us grow, evolve, to develop. When the real man is the ideal man - not when the man becomes a man awake Awake - an extraordinary change took place - may change and human development the highest that can happen. And it is this kind of development that we call the spiritual life, or the process of what is sometimes called Evolution. But what change? What is this development?

Obviously this is not the physical body is changing, man physically resembling Buddha who is not. The change that takes place is a purely mental change, using the latter term in its broadest sense. It is the consciousness that develops. We could say that therein lies the big difference between the higher evolution of one hand and the lower evolution of the other. What we call the Lower Evolution is the process of development from the amide and leading to the common man, is to tell the man not awake. It is an essentially biological process, which becomes emotional towards the end. Superior Evolution is the process exclusively psychological and spiritual process that part of man not awake and ends in man awake and it's only a psychological and spiritual process, a process that can ultimately account become completely divorced from the physical body.

Traditional Buddhism speaks in terms of four stages or levels of consciousness, each higher than the previous one. There is first the consciousness associated with the "world" or the level of sensory experience. Second, there is the consciousness associated with the "world" or in forms of mental and spiritual - or at the world of archetypes. Then there is the consciousness associated with the "world" or at the formless. And finally, there is the consciousness associated with the transcendental path, that is to say, the path that leads directly to Nirvana, to enlightenment, to Buddhahood, to Nirvana and also associated with the Enlightenment and Buddhahood themselves.

There is another classification that we use often and which may be more convenient. There are also four stages or levels of consciousness, although they differ slightly from those we have already listed. We start with what we call sensory awareness, that is to say consciousness associated with objects such as we are experiencing through the physical senses. It is sometimes known as the conscience of simple or animal consciousness. It is the consciousness that we share with members of the animal kingdom. Second, there is self-awareness: not self-consciousness in the familiar sense of the term, but the self-consciousness in the sense of being aware that we are aware, in the sense that we know. This is sometimes called reflexive consciousness, because here in a sense, consciousness folds back on itself, knows, is the experience itself becomes aware of itself. We could perhaps say that this self-awareness or reflexive consciousness, human consciousness is in the full sense of the word. Third is what we call transcendental consciousness, that is to say that the consciousness of the Reality - the Ultimate Reality - or direct personal contact with Reality, seen as an object that is "out there". Finally there is the absolute consciousness in which the subject-object relationship is fully dissolved, and in which the Ultimate Reality is fully realized and completely transcends the duality of subject and object.

What Is Really Meditation Part-4

In both classifications, the first level of consciousness is that which is, predominantly, that of the ordinary unenlightened, the man who does not even try to grow spiritually. And in both cases, the fourth level of consciousness is that of the waking man.

We can now begin to see what is essentially the spiritual life - that is to say the higher evolution. We can say that it consists of a continuum of states of being and consciousness lowest to highest, the highest ever: the world of sensory experience to that of the mental and spiritual form, the mental and spiritual world to the world without shape to Nirvana, or enlightenment, or the sensory awareness to consciousness of self, self-awareness to Transcendental Consciousness, and the transcendental consciousness absolute consciousness.

We can now begin to see what is really meditation. We shall see more clearly that we spent some time on these basic definitions. There is however one more thing that we must consider. We said that the spiritual life consisted of a development of consciousness, and Buddhism, Dharma, the Buddha's teaching, was all that support this development. But there are two ways to develop awareness, or at least two different ways to approach it. We call the method subjective and objective method or the direct method and indirect method. Having recognized this distinction, we finally have the basis to see what is really meditation. Meditation is the subjective method or direct allows us to raise the level of our consciousness, working directly on the mind itself.

However, I must first say something of the methods 'objective' or indirect used to raise the level of consciousness. Some seem to think that meditation is the only way to raise the level of consciousness, called and consciousness can be raised by working directly on the mind. These people identify so meditation with spiritual life and spiritual life only with meditation. They say you can not have a spiritual life if you do not meditate. They sometimes combine the spiritual life to a specific method of meditation, or a particular concentration technique. But it is a much too narrow. It makes us forget the true meaning of spiritual life - that is to say raising the level of consciousness - and we sometimes forget what really meditation. It is true of course that is at least as important to raise consciousness by direct methods than to do it by indirect methods, we could even say that it may be more important. But we must not forget that there are other methods: if we forget, our approach is too partial, and if we do that we tend to make the spiritual life itself, in part, or to exclude some people , for example those with a particular character, or who are perhaps not interested in meditation. Let us consider briefly some of these indirect methods, not meditation, that help raise the level of consciousness.

There is first the change of environment. We use it quite consciously as an indirect means to change and, hopefully, raise our level of consciousness, when we retire - maybe in the country, a retreat center. We spend a few days or even weeks, in an environment more pleasant, more enjoyable, by doing the same may be nothing special. This often helps more than is realized, and suggests that the environment in which we live and work normally is not particularly good for us - does not help us to raise the level of our consciousness. It seems that in most cases, a positive change of environment leads naturally to a rise in level of consciousness - even without any extra effort.

What Is Really Meditation Part-5

Another way practical, simple and indirectly increase the level of consciousness, is what Buddhism calls the Work Ethic. Almost everyone must work to live. Many of us are doing the same kind of work every day, five days a week, forty-eight weeks a year. And we'll do maybe five, ten, twenty, twenty-five or thirty years until we reach retirement age. All this affects our moods constantly. If our job is mentally, morally, or spiritually unhealthy, the effect it will have on our minds will also be unhealthy. Buddhism, the Buddha's teaching, we strongly advise to review how we make our living and practicing ethical work, in other words, an occupation that does not lower the level of our consciousness, which does not prevent us not to increase it, and that does not harm other living beings. The Buddhist tradition list a number of occupations it deems detrimental to the mental development: a butcher, arms dealer, who sells alcoholic beverages, etc ... This change in the nature of your occupation (even if the occupation you are engaged in this is not entirely ethical), the mere fact of changing work place, environment, this change kind of people you work with, the type of things you do every day, will have a positive and will help you improve your level of consciousness - or at least it will not prevent it from rising.

More specific and concrete we can add the importance of having a regular, disciplined life: something that seems less and less popular. This may consist of observation and practice of certain moral principles and precepts, have regular times for meals, work, study and relaxation, sleep and speech - perhaps even fasting at times , or observe silence for a few days or weeks. When this disciplined life is practiced in its full form we call the monastic life. Over the years, we can see very clearly the change in the state, the level of consciousness of those who live life as a regular and disciplined, even if they do not practice meditation.

There are other methods, such as Hatha yoga (yoga in the physical sense). There is especially the so-called yogic asanas, which affect not only the body but also the spirit. They affect the mind through the body and even those who meditate regularly can sometimes find them very useful. Sometimes even an experienced person in the practice of mediation is sometimes a little too tired at the end of a workday, or has a few too many worries to meditate properly. Then she will practice a few asanas until his mind becomes calmer and more concentrated. His fatigue will dissipate and it will feel refreshed almost as if she had meditated.

There are also the Do or "tracks" such as Japanese ikebana or flower arrangement. Arrange flowers in a vase in a traditional way may seem something very simple and very ordinary, but the spirit, the conscience of those who have done for years have clearly changed. One can also mention of T'ai chi ch'uan etc ... All this has an effect on the mind. These are indirect methods to raise the level of consciousness.

Similarly, the enjoyment of great works of art - poetry, music, painting high levels - contributes to raising the level of consciousness. This enjoyment raises the consciousness if the works in question are truly great works, if the expression of a consciousness higher than our usual state. 

Meditation Working The Mind Part-6

At a more down-to-earth, there is the help we can give to others. We can devote our life to helping the sick, the destitute, the mentally ill, or visit the prisoners. We can do all this with a good heart and happily, without concern for our comfort or what suits us best, do so without personal motive or selfish. This is what the Hindu tradition Nishkama called Karma Yoga, the yoga of selfless action. And this too is an indirect method to raise the level of our consciousness.

We can also connect with people who have a spiritual life, especially those who are more spiritually developed than ourselves, if we can find them. Some traditions, some teachers, look at what kind of relationship as the most important indirect methods. Indian literature religious and spiritual constantly refers to as satsangh. Sat means true, real, genuine, pure, spiritual - even transcendental sangha means association, communion, fellowship. Satsangh is simply being together, often in a spirit of joy and carelessness with people who follow the spiritual path and whose predominant interest is in spiritual things. It rubs off on us almost without our having to make any effort. Satsangh is also an indirect method to raise the level of consciousness. This is what Buddhism calls Kalyana Mitrata.

And then there are the chants and the worship ritual. It denigrates the ritual much these days, especially the smartest people - I should perhaps say the most "intellectual". But it is a way to raise the level of consciousness and has been proven. The mere fact of offering some flowers or light a candle in front of a statue or an image change our minds and we are sometimes surprised to see the extent of change. We read many books on the spiritual life we ​​can even think of trying (and perhaps succeeded), but we sometimes find that simply performing a symbolic ritual action when it is full of meaning, helps a lot more.

One could mention many other indirect methods, which can be combined with each other. Some can be combined with the direct method, with the practice of meditation. Note, however, that, whatever their value, some of these indirect methods can not lead us very far. They can raise us at all levels of consciousness. But as in most cases, we have to wait long before moving on to higher levels of consciousness, indirect methods may be useful to us for a long time. Even if, through these methods, we can get closer to these higher levels, we must still practice meditation more and more to grow higher. We will start working on the mind.

How is that?

What is the direct work of the mind?

So far I have used the general term of "meditation," because it is one that is understood in the West. But the term "meditation" does not match any word Indian or Buddhist. What we call "meditation" is at least three different things, actually covers three different ways to work directly on the mind - we could say three different stages in the development of consciousness - where Buddhism, as of other Indian spiritual traditions, a very different terms. The term "meditation" in fact covers the Concentration, absorption and penetrating view.

Meditation-Natural Power

Please understand that meditation has nothing to do with the life of a monk or an ascetic who seeks to cut the world as is too often perceived. This is not a belief or a religion. You do not need to change your life for you to open meditation. Meditation is a quality in you that is simply a party or in other words an internal vigilance and mindfulness in the moment.  There are many meditation techniques that help the novice to discover and get in touch with his inner: for example, Vipassana meditation, Zazen, the active meditations from Osho, Tantric meditation, Buddhist meditation, etc.. etc.. But in the ultimate sense, meditation is not a technique, it is an understanding, an awareness of what we really are.  The final understanding is often still a long way off for us and that is why meditation techniques are needed, until the state of meditation has become, not just one time experience but an intrinsic part of ourselves, while like breathing for example. It is in us and only us, we can find deep relaxation, calm and true love. These qualities can not come from money, social recognition or romantic partner. Basically, we all know, but we forget so often! There are many different ideas, even contradictory, about what meditation is, but the basic approach is the need for the meditator to understand the nature of the mind rather than fight with him. Please understand that meditation has nothing to do with the life of a monk or an ascetic who seeks to cut the world as is too often perceived. This is not a belief or a religion. You do not need to change your life for you to open meditation. Meditation is a quality in you that is simply a party or in other words an internal vigilance and mindfulness in the moment. There are many meditation techniques that help the novice to discover and get in touch with his inner: for example, Vipassana meditation, Zazen, the active meditations from Osho, Tantric meditation, Buddhist meditation, etc.. etc..

But in the ultimate sense, meditation is not a technique, it is an understanding, an awareness of what we really are. The final understanding is often still a long way off for us and that is why meditation techniques are needed, until the state of meditation has become, not just one time experience but an intrinsic part of ourselves, while like breathing for example. It is in us and only us, we can find deep relaxation, calm and true love. These qualities can not come from money, social recognition or romantic partner.

Basically, we all know, but we forget so often! Most of the time we are taken or dominated our thoughts or feelings. It follows that we tend to believe that we are these thoughts, these emotions. Meditation is that state of Being, just being a pure experience without interference from the body or the mind. It is a natural state that we have forgotten the access. Meditate means "to become a witness," to simply observe the thoughts, emotions and physical sensations that are in us. It is a process to no longer identify with the outer personality with the ego.

Meditation helps us to not just be a slave to this world of thoughts and emotions, but to become an observer, a silent witness who acquires natural ability to know what is really its own nature.

Once we are free, spacious and quiet, life becomes more harmonious! If you feel good, open to others, sensitive, more relaxed and quiet, then you're on the right track!