This is one of the easiest mindfulness meditations there is. It is perfect for beginner, intermediate and advanced mediators. There are more profound meditations, but they take time to master, while learning to be present with your breath takes almost no time at all. Of course, you can get better at it as you will find as you practice.
Mindfulness meditation is about being present in the moment. In reality, now is all there is. The future is unknowable, and the past is done and gone. Being in the moment eliminates all consideration about past and future. Being in the moment eliminates all worry, anxiety and fear because they are dependent on time.
The human body is always in the moment. If you get stuck with a pin the pain you feel is immediate, not in the future or past. (Okay, technically there is a small time gap, but not enough to concern us in this study.) But, staying present with the body can be a lot harder than staying present with the breath, which is also always in the moment.
Staying present with your breath through simply observing it will keep you present in the moment. You become connected to the breath through your observation, through being present with it.
You can do any breathing technique you like with this meditation, including none. I recommend starting with no technique; just watching your normal breath. As you progress you can watch some of the breathing practices videos and use one of those techniques for greater benefit.
You can do most meditations with your eyes open or closed. Eyes closed will likely be easier and better for this meditation, but it really doesn’t matter if you prefer to keep them open. You can always change during your meditation if you like.
Start by sitting comfortably. A general meditation recommendation is to sit without leaning back against something so your energy can flow freely up and down your spine. However, it is more important for you to be comfortable. Also, you can be lying down which makes this a great bedtime practice since it can also help you fall asleep.
The practice is as easy as the name suggests. Simply pay attention to your breath. Notice as it goes in and out. Notice any pauses at the top and bottom of your breath. Just sit and ‘be’ present with your breath.
Being present is a form of mindfulness meditation. Noticing your thoughts is another. Both are important to any meditation practice. As you watch your breath you can simply notice your thoughts without trying to do anything about them. Going back to your breath will likely cause any errant thoughts to leave.
If your thoughts distract, you won’t be watching your breath. Using will power to bring yourself back to your breath will increase your ability to stay present in other situations. Losing yourself is getting caught up in your thoughts.
Set a reasonable time for your meditation. Meditating at the same time every day will make it a habit in about three weeks time. After that you can increase the time as you like. Keeping the time increase small works best. An increase of one minute every ten days works best for most people.
Stay present with yourself by staying present with your breath. It really is that easy for this simple meditation to bring you to and keep you in the moment.
Mindfulness meditation is a pretty big trend lately. And, rightly so! It is a great meditation ideal with many benefits. Plus, it can be done anytime, anywhere and under any circumstances.
Where to start with the benefits!? There are so many. Here are just a few: Mindfulness meditation can reduce stress, eliminate fear, help you sleep, help with weight loss, dispel negative feelings, reduce PTSD, curb loneliness, increase attention, help manage chronic pain, aid in depression and its return, reduce anxiety, improve physical health, increase well being and mental health, increase cognition, think faster and better, increase self control and more. It has even been shown to increase grey matter in the brain!
There are many different meditation techniques that can be called mindfulness meditation, most are included in this series of meditation techniques on this site. You can check this page with the listed meditation practices. The links to the page with the video and article will become live as the articles are written and posted with the videos.
The basic idea of mindfulness meditation is to simply be present. “Simply!” Much harder than it sounds! In fact, it can be the hardest thing to do consistently. The reason is, that for the most part, we humans run on autopilot most of the time. The only time we get jolted back to the moment is when something unexpected happens, sometimes not even then.
In fact, I’d estimate that at least 95 percent of the time we are not paying attention to ourselves and what we are doing. And, that is a very generous number, some people probably go days without really noticing themselves at all. So, if you are even a little awake during the day, you are way ahead of the rest in terms of being mindful.
Let’s do a quick experiment. Stop for a moment after you finish this paragraph. Simply sit (or whatever position you’re in) for a moment. Take a deep breath and relax. Notice yourself, what position you’re in, what you feel physically, your thoughts, your breath. Just ‘be’ for a moment without trying to do anything about it.
Did you feel more awake? Maybe like the lights being turned on for a moment. Being mindful and mindful meditation is just that simple. There are specific techniques that can help, but the basis of mindfulness is just that, being present with yourself.
As a practice, you can pick a sense organ and be present through it. For example, pay attention to what you see and nothing else. Stare at a scene near you and notice that you are seeing through your eyes. Let go of everything else and just see.
Normally, the sense organs pull us away from ourselves. They’ll latch onto any distraction, something they find pleasurable, and fixate on the desire and fulfilling it. True freedom is freedom from desire, and that can be had to a decent degree by simply being present.
Another example is the sense of touch. There is a lot more to touch than just the one sense. There is pressure, temperature, rough, smooth, itch, pain, tickle, vibration and more. Is it any wonder we can lose ourselves when we touch something desirable? Or wanting to touch?
For this exercise, pick something you can touch, something smooth or rough like a piece of wood or fabric. Close your eyes as you run your fingers over the surface and focus on really feeling what you are touching. Get yourself present with it so that there is nothing else but what you are feeling.
Take a moment to introspect and see how that went for you. Was it easier or harder than the eyes technique? Were you able to have no distraction at all? Did your body relax? How present were you? Noticing all these things while staying present with the sensations of touch is being mindful.
Most people will have at least some success at being mindful when meditating. Over time your ability will increase. The benefits make it a very worthwhile activity. And, it really isn’t that hard.Probably the hardest part is developing the habit.
You can do that by starting small and building up over time, even if you start with only a couple of minutes. Decide on the length of time that will work for you and stick with it for at least three weeks. That is how long it takes to develop a habit. After a few weeks you can increase the time by a small amount, a minute is perfect. At this point you will only need to practice for another ten days before you increase the time again.
Continue increasing the time by one minute every ten days until you reach a length of time that works with your life. If you’re really busy yout total time may be lower than someone that isn’t so busy.
After a year and a quarter you will have developed an amazing meditation practice. And, you will likely be noticing some results. People in your life will also likely notice that you are different.
There are a lot of different meditations you can practice, each has the potential to increase your mindfulness. Find one that suits you and stick with it and you will get results. It is likely that your life will change in ways you can’t imagine, all for the better of course.
The enlightenment technique as done on an Enlightenment Intensive (EI) is a modification of Zen meditation that is designed to give the practitioner an enlightenment experience. The technique was developed by Charles Berner who later was given the name Yogeshware Muni. The idea for the EI and the enlightenment technique came to him in a flash in 1968, which was soon followed by the first Enlightenment Intensive.
Traditional Zen practice is done in silence for several hours a day over many years. The process clears the mind of everything that is in the way of experiencing Truth.
Clearing the mind in this way takes a very long time which was not acceptable to Charles. A direct experience of the Truth, an enlightenment experience, is possible and usually takes a very long time. But, the EI uses a different approach to Zen that greatly speeds up the process of clearing a path through the mind. His idea was to combine communication with Zen. The results were much more than he could have ever expected.
An EI is a three day retreat where you do the enlightenment technique for 18 hours a day for the entire three days. Over the years the average number of people that have an enlightenment experiences on any EI is about a third. That is a phenomenal number! And it has been found that any individual taking three EIs has about a 90 percent chance of having a breakthrough to enlightenment.
The Enlightenment technique is a contemplation of self, life or other with the four questions used being, “Who am I?” “What am I?” “What is life?” “What is another?” All enlightenment is ultimately Self enlightenment. Because of this many enlightenment masters, those who give EIs, say to only use “Who am I?” and “What am I?” For this article only contemplation of the self and self enlightenment will be discussed.
There are two main parts to the enlightenment technique, self reflection and being open to who or what that is. The first part is the intention, the second is the surrender. Both are essential for a major breakthrough like and enlightenment. Put together these two parts are called contemplation.
The first part of this contemplation is put your attention on yourself, that which you most appear to be in the moment. You question yourself with “who am I?” Or “what am I?” then notice who or what you are now. In the EI you have added power because your partner will give you an instruction, they will say, “Tell me who you are.” Then you do that. When alone you take the initiative and question yourself.
In a way, the technique is a constant questioning of who or what you are. It is a continuous questioning of yourself; “Who am I?”
Your immediate experience of yourself will change as you do the technique. At first you may notice yourself as your name, your job, or as part of some relationship. Each time you start fresh and be with that most obvious self. This is a gradual evolution of the self.
Once you have your attention firmly on who you experience yourself to be you intend to directly experience the truth of that. Your intention is your direction, you have a particular direction to go. If you want to get somewhere in your car you don’t just drive around aimlessly, you set your direction and go that way. That is what you are doing with your intention.
Once you’ve set your intention, your direction, you sit and stay open. Keep your attention on what you most appear to be and stay open to the truth of yourself, be open to being anything.
Being open to anything can be the hardest part of this process. You start with no idea about the Truth of yourself, so you sit there with your attention boring a hole toward that truth, and stay open. It is that lack of surety that holds us back from the Truth. Not being sure of the truth of yourself is scary, and the mind will fight to the death to avoid it. The mind/ego doesn’t want to give up control, so it fights tooth and nail.
In a way, enlightenment is a death. The you that you currently are has to die for the you that you really are to be. There is a leap that must be taken, you have to throw yourself into the abyss. And, you have to do that each time you go in and focus on the Truth of yourself.
Eventually, if you continue to do this technique for long enough, you will break through to the truth of Self. You will merge with yourself so that there is nothing but You.
At this point, you still have a mind, you will still act and react according to your personality. But, it will suddenly be much easier to disengage from whatever is happening. You will automatically start treating others better, and be a more loving person. You will also start to attract more opportunities to grow and achieve according to your desire.
Enlightenment doesn’t usually happen all at once. There are distinct levels of enlightenment that everyone who finds a deep level of truth experiences. It is possible to become completely enlightened at once, though extremely rare, Buddha being the latest known example.
On an Enlightenment Intensive traditionally there are four questions that are used for contemplation; “Who am I?” “What am I?” “What is life?” and “What is another.” Even so, all enlightenment is knowledge of the self.
There is only one of you, so there is only one enlightenment experience on “who am I.” While who you are is one individual, what you are is the same as all those other individuals in the universe. And, there are several levels of “what” to experience.
An individual, a single self, can experience life and another, but the experience is self related, or self referenced. That means that while you can become more conscious of life and another, it is you that is conscious. You can’t experience other than you without yourself. And, each of those has several levels of awareness that can be experienced.
As you can see, there is a lot of work to do before complete enlightenment can happen. Each experience requires clearing the debris of the mind out of the path that leads to them. The mind will be fairly clear by the time all those paths are cleared from the mind.
And, there is still more to be done before the spiritual journey is completed. Enlightenment is a great start, and for that the Enlightenment Intensive is the best possibility, though it is not essential. You can start by watching the video and reading the article on the enlightenment technique. And, you can contact me if you would like to know more.
An Enlightenment Intensive (EI) is a three day retreat with the purpose of having an enlightenment experience>. The enlightenment technique is Zen meditation coupled with communication that moves people toward enlightenment at an unprecedented rate. You can learn more about the enlightenment technique here.>
The Intensive starts the evening before the scheduled three days. Tea is served and people usually hang out getting to know each other a little. At some point each participant (usually) has a meeting with the person giving the intensive, the enlightenment master. A general talk is given and then it’s time for bed, usually by 10 or so.
The next day starts with an opening lecture where the enlightenment technique is taught. After a short break the first dyad is started.
A dyad is done with two people sitting across from each other to do the enlightenment technique. The dyad is the main process that is done during the EI with 11 or 12 of them happening each day. They last 40 minutes each.
In the dyad each person gets a turn as the speaking partner for five minutes while the other partner listens and receives their communication. After five minutes they switch roles. The process is pretty simple, but over the three days things get pretty intense as you’ll see.
There are other activities throughout the day to break it up and give people a chance to meditate while doing other activities. There are meal breaks, snack breaks, a rest break, two walks, and lectures where the technique is taught and refined. A very full day spent in contemplation.
The power of the EI is doing the contemplation in the dyad. Working with someone has two main benefits. First is that there is someone to listen you communicate what comes up as a result of your contemplation. This is what speeds the process and makes it possible for such a high percentage of people to have an enlightenment experience in just three days. Communicating what is in the way of enlightenment clears it moving the practitioner closer to the core of who they are.
The second main benefit is your partner’s attention, their energy. Your mind has exactly the same power as you, so there is a stalemate. You want to know the Truth while your mind will do anything to keep you from it! The added energy of your partner and the staff gives you the power to move through your mind, to break its power so you can experience the absolute.
Most first timers, and many experienced people, spend the first day dumping the major ideas they have about themselves. When they contemplate these ideas come up fast, so they spend more time talking than contemplating. This is perfect! The mind is mostly full of ideas that aren’t the Truth, and that is what is in the way of a direct experience.
By the middle of the second day the majority of these ideas have been cleared out and people go deeper in their contemplation with far less communicating. They are still clearing the falsehoods that are in the way of Truth, but it is mind stuff that is at a deeper level.
By the third day most people are spending long periods of time contemplating. Their meditation become deep. This is when they are primed to have a breakthrough experience.
It is the empty mind that can be filled with Truth. This process is perfect for emptying the mind, at least part of it. It isn’t a complete clearing of the mind, but rather the part that is in the way of directly experiencing the Truth of who or what you are, whichever question you are working on. In effect, it is like drilling a deep hole into the mind, clearing the path to that area of enlightenment.
The power of this is impossible to describe. You really need to experience it to fully understand the depth and power of an EI.
The process exhausts the mind to the point that it will give in to the Truth. In a way the mind breaks and shuts off leaving space for Truth to come in.
You are given ample time to sleep and rest, but still exhaustion takes over. This is mainly mental exhaustion. The barriers between you and the Truth are torn down as the mind is torn down.
This exhaustion is immediately relieved at the end of the intensive. As the last dyad is finished everyone becomes energized. They let go of the process and the lid of the pressure cooker is removed. Interestingly, this is one of the times when a lot of people have a direct experience. The pressure is off and they let go and Truth floods in.
It takes letting go to have an enlightenment experience, the leap into the abyss of Truth. It can happen any time, even days or weeks later. The opening is there, all it takes is giving up. In fact, it could happen for you now! All it takes is intention and being open as described in this article and video on the enlightenment technique.
One thing to know about an EI is that there will be a crisis. A crisis is feeling or thinking that you can’t get through, that you can’t go on. You will want to give up because it seems impossible. This is when you celebrate! This is the mind near the end of itself, the point where it knows it is going to end, and so it fights back as hard as it can with everything it has left.
But, you can get through. All you have to do is continue with the technique. The staff is there to let you know that, to keep you on track and encourage you to the end. They have all been through it and know that you can and will get through if you continue. An old adage says; the only way to get out is to go through, and this is very true of experiencing enlightenment.
The EI was my first deep experience of meditation, and I simply fell in love with it. I have been involved in well over a hundred of them, giving, staffing and taking. They have been amazing for me and the thousand or so others I’ve seen go through the process. It is probably the hardest thing you will ever do if you decide to take one. And, I highly recommend you take at least one in your life. You won’t be sorry!
There are Enlightenment Intensives given all over the world. You can contact me to find out more about them, or to find out about upcoming EIs.
Enlightenment is difficult to explain because it is an unusual and personal experience. It is outside of time and space, and beyond doubt or certainty. The best way to explain it is to experience it. So, all we can do here is perhaps come close to communicating this amazing experience.
One of the best definitions comes from the originator of the Enlightenment Intensive, Charles Berner. Enlightenment is consciousness of a state of direct knowledge of yourself as you truly are.
This can only be experienced by conscious, direct knowledge of the self. The self is a nonphysical entity with the power of choice or free will. It is timeless and uncaused existing (and not existing!) without location in time or space.
Enlightenment is being conscious of a nonphysical you that just exists without experiencing time, space, the material world or a material you.
The experience itself is called a direct experience because it happens by no means. You can’t think, believe, feel, smell, taste, hear or see yourself to enlightenment. It is instantaneous, one moment you experience yourself one way, the next you are in another absolute state of being.
This instant is timeless. You have to step outside of your mind and the senses just to create the possibility of enlightenment. It is a direct acceptance of yourself in that moment of no past or future.
And then, you are back. The mind comes back, time moves forward, you think and experience the world through your senses. But, that conscious, direct knowledge of the self remains. It is permanent and stays with you outside of time. It is always there in the moment. All you need to do is ‘be’ to be in the state direct knowledge of yourself.
How strongly it stays and how available it is to you after the initial experience depends on several factors. Primarily, it depends on how well you are able to communicate your experience to another. This has to do with your acceptance of yourself and others as you and they truly are.
Direct knowledge can also be understood as direct acceptance of yourself and others. Direct acceptance of yourself gives you the consciousness of the absolute truth of yourself which can only be done by conscious, direct knowledge of the self.
The deeper your self-enlightenment, the easier it is to accept others, and conversely,
the more others you accept, the deeper is your enlightenment. This is so because
the more you know that others are like you, the more your own direct knowledge
of yourself is validated and strengthened.
There are levels of enlightenment. It is usually possible to have more experiences. ‘Usually,’ because it is possible to have a major breakthrough that clears all levels, but that only happens once every few thousand years or so with Buddha being one example.
The more experiences the deeper the level of direct acceptance of self and other. And, the experience becomes more and more accessible. Many wonderful things happen to those that pursue the depths of truth that is within themselves.
As your level of enlightenment increases, the more the veil of illusion becomes thinner and thinner. Life is illusion. In reality there is no ‘life’, there is just Us.
I am going to just stop here. There is a lot more that can be said, but I think I have confused the matter enough for now. I will offer more as I find the inspiration which can come from you. Please ask questions, your desire for and openness to Truth is inspirational.
Regular meditation practice is building something strong and powerful for your life. Getting started is difficult, unless you have a plan that makes starting easy. Keeping up with a regular practice is also a difficult action that is made easy with a simple plan.
Starting a meditation practice takes time and dedication. But, once you have developed your practice as a habit over many years it becomes a way of life. You won’t be able to give it up any more than you could give up eating.
The best way to start anything new is to start slow. Do what you know you will be able to do with ease. Something you can build on.
Starting a meditation practice is no different. But, you first need to find the best meditation for you. You can do that by reviewing earlier articles in this series, in particular this one on The Three Types Of Willful Meditation. Take your time and try out two or three different techniques before deciding on one to stick with. And, stick with it for at least a year and a quarter so you can correctly gauge its benefits for you.
Of course, you can change sooner if you need, especially if you find a teacher you want to follow, then you would want to do what they recommend.
The best way to make a practice a habit is to do it at the same time every day. Many teachers will say to meditate first thing in the morning. While this is the best time for most people, it may not be for you. The absolute best time is when you will do it!
The next thing is to start slow, as in only meditate for a short period of time. Pick the length of time that you can guarantee that you will stick with! If you try to meditate for thirty minutes or an hour to begin you are almost guaranteed to not stick with it. It doesn’t matter if it is as short as one minute, as long as you are sure you will do that every single day. You can always lengthen the time later.
A good time limit to set at first is three minutes. This is a practical length of time that anybody can do. You can start with less if you feel the need, or start with a longer time as long as you are sure about your ability to stick with it. Honestly though, I wouldn’t recommend going past five minutes in the beginning.
This is your commitment to yourself. Practicing for three minutes every day is far superior to meditating for thirty uncomfortable minutes a few days then giving up because it is just too much. However, if you are feeling good on a particular day you can always stop you timmer alarm and meditate a little longer. Just keep your commitment to your regular time no matter what.
It takes three weeks to develop a habit. Likewise with meditation. After three consistent weeks with no missed sessions your habit will be started. It may not be a strong habit yet, but it is a great start nonetheless.
Once you have reached this milestone it is time to increase the length of time that you meditate. The best increase is one minute. Your new commitment is now four minutes at the same time every day no matter what, barring a catastrophe, of course. You can still go over if you like, but keep your minimum four minute promise to yourself.
Now that you have developed a habit you can increase the length of time sooner. The ideal is to increase your meditation time by one minute every ten days. This way you will find yourself meditating for thirty or more minutes with ease.
At the above pace of increase you can get up to 30 minutes in less than a year. When you consider that you will be meditating for the rest of your life a year really isn’t that long. You can continue to increase your time if you like, however I don’t recommend going over an hour.
Every time you meditate it is like weaving a beautiful cloth with golden thread. Each meditation is a beautiful gold thread added to the weft and warp of your golden cloth. As time goes by, you will have something beautiful and indestructible. It is something that will give you refugee in your time of need, and strength anytime you need.
The two basic types of meditation> are surrender for those who only desire to move toward the Divine, and willful meditations for those who want to enjoy life. Enjoying life is one of the fundamental principles of yoga. That is, having a good life with family and friends, being successful, contributing to society. The right type of willful meditation for you will help you attain your goals in life.
There are three types of people who seek truth. This is not dependent on which of these two paths are taken. One is the devotional type, another is knowledge oriented and the third is oriented toward action. Everyone has all three, but one is primary with the other two supporting.
As has been noted in other articles in this series, the use of different names for the Divine are just words. The main thing is to use the words that are best suited for you. Thinking in terms of whatever you consider to be perfect is what is important.
The devotional type of person is full of love. They have a deep love of others and the Divine. Their thoughts and actions come from devotion. Their favorite types of meditation are singing devotional songs, prayer and repeating the names of what they consider to be perfect. Other meditation practices they might enjoy would be healing meditation, guided meditation, positive energy, and chakra healing.
Of course they might also like other types of meditation since all meditation practices have a combination of the three orientations, the same way that everyone has a combination of the three. But, this person has a primary focus of devotion.
The knowledge oriented person loves to study Truth in the form of scriptures and lectures. They also like to find the Truth through experimentation. Meditation for them is an experience of learning about the Truth, be that the truth of themselves like in an enlightenment experience, the truth of the divine nature of the universe or wherever they find Truth.
This person would like mindfulness meditation, scripture study, chakra meditation, contemplative meditations, self improvement and more. Being devoted to study they can spend hours in study of self and scripture.
The action oriented person is the most common. They love to take action and function best when busy. They like meditation practices that involve doing something. It can be hard for an action oriented person to sit and meditate for very long, although some would consider this action and be perfectly content sitting quietly while their mind is actively seeking. Walking meditation is a great practice for them, especially if it is in nature.
Guided meditations can also be good because they are given something to do throughout the practice. They can also benefit from a meditation for sleep, something to help them relax and let go of their active day. Combining the two into a guided meditation for sleep could work well for them.
Even though some meditation practices are more oriented toward a specific type, almost any meditation can appeal to anyone. For example, mindfulness meditation can appeal to the action oriented because there is something to do; constantly bringing your attention back to yourself and what you are doing. The knowledge oriented seeker will enjoy learning about themselves while the devotee will love observing how they are constantly increasing their ability to be good to others. Self improvement will appeal to any serious aspirant.
Likewise with a chakra healing meditation that involves the action of attention, gaining knowledge of the energy centers, and filling your energy with loving devotion. When the energy centers are aligned and whole one’s actions become smooth, knowledge flows and the heart opens.
All meditations involve the focusing of attention which is action. Focusing on the heart like in heart chakra meditation will obviously appeal to the devotee, while the knowledge oriented will love developing a greater ability to focus on their studies, and the action oriented person will be drawn to the action of training their attention.
There are many more examples, but you probably get the idea from these examples. But, feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions. Or, you can send me a message via this link.
These three different types of mediation are very connected, and they support each other. One will be your primary while the other two offer support. One type of mediation will not fulfill the serious aspirant without the other two being included.
The areas where you need improvement will be strengthened by practicing meditation in the way that works best for you. The process is rather simple; find a meditation technique that best suits you, practice regularly and you will grow in a way that supports you getting what you want in life.
There are many specific meditation methods that will be presented in this series. Search through them and find something that fits your personality, something you can stick with, and get started! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments or in a private message to me you may have, I am happy to help where I can.
There are two basic types of meditation. One is for people that want only God, that is they want to leave life behind and spend their life seeking only Truth. The other is the path of living in the world and enjoying what it has to offer.
The first practice is one of surrender to what is seen by the aspirant as Devine. Another way to say this is that they give up their will to Truth. This is called natural meditation, or the path of surrender. There aren’t very many people that want to go this route, most people want to enjoy life, at least until they are much older.
The path of living in the world and enjoying yourself is the path that most people take. This type of person wants to enjoy their life and achieve success. Primarily they want a loving relationship, family and friends. Of course, to have that, you need to have, other things like a job or business, a house, car and anything else your heart desires.
People on this path will like meditations that help them get what they want. Mindfulness meditation is a term that is very popular these days. Being mindful means being present in what you are doing. It also implies using will power to control yourself so you can get what you want.
There are many other meditations that can help you get what you want. For example, meditation for sleep. You need sleep to get your life together so you can get what you want. People on the path of surrender give up and let sleep be when it is, they are directed by the Absolute in all things.
An important clarification here; saying the Absolute, Truth, God or Divine Love is using words that may or may not resonate with everyone. Just substitute in whatever word or words you like that describes what you consider to be perfect. Describing something that is greater than is a concept that runs through all cultures and religions, so use what rings true for you.
Guided meditations are great for directing your attention toward what you want. Of course, this will depend on the meditation, for example you may want to meditate on healing anxiety which could be a soothing relaxation technique. Or, you can meditate for positive energy, chakra healing, self improvement, mental health or to let go of fear. All of these meditation techniques can help you get what you want whether they are guided or something you learn and improve in a way that works for you. These types of meditation primarily use the will, your will power.
There is an element of surrender in the path of using the will as there is an element of using will power in the path of surrender. You could even say they both are healing meditations that increases mindfulness.
In the willful path you primarily use the will, and some surrender. There always has to be some surrender or the meditation practice won’t produce the desired results.
For example, in a healing meditation attention and therefore energy can be focused on the area to be healed. But, you also have to let go, relax and allow energy to flow to the area so healing can happen. If all you have is the tension of focus then no healing can happen, the healing energy will be blocked.
A more obvious example is a sleep meditation, or a relaxation technique. In many of these types of meditations you focus your attention to different areas of your body and then let go so they can relax and release. The will is used to focus on the area, then the area is let go so tension is released.
In enlightenment meditation you focus your attention and will to that which you wish to merge with, the self. Then you must let go and surrender to the Truth so you can become one with Self.
I won’t go into the path of surrender and how will is needed there, that is a huge subject that is really only appropriate to the person who wishes to follow that path. Suffice to say that will is developed in a way that is very strong and intense. But, it can only happen through surrender first, just like in willful meditation the will is used first followed by surrender.
And, just because someone chooses the path of using the will doesn’t mean you can’t also go for the truth! It may be a bit slower, but the progress you can make is very real. One way you can go fully for the truth in small increments is by taking an Enlightenment Intensive.
Whatever path is right for you depends on what you want from life. It you are like most people then you want success and joy from life. If that is the case then a willful practice like mindfulness meditation is a good place to start. There are other videos in this series that can help you get started. If not, then you can contact me directly to learn more about the path of surrender.
There are many different types of meditations with different objectives. One of the primary goals of most practices is to help the practitioner in achieving their life’s goals.
One of the main aspects of meditation is focus. Over time meditation can train the mind to focus on whatever is important to the practitioner which increases their ability to get what they want in life.
In a very famous yogic scripture called (roughly translated as) The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, or The Yoga Sutras, meditation (which will be referred to as deep meditation from now on) is broken down into three main parts. This process is designed to clear the mind so the practitioner can focus on the object of their desire.
Note: the different parts of meditation can also be called stages or steps
The parts of deep meditation are: concentration, meditation and absorption. These words are rough translations from Sanskrit which indicates that they have deeper meanings. And in the Sutras the word meditation is used twice to help really confuse things! That is why we will call the general subject of meditation deep meditation, the three parts put together.
Concentration is the start of meditation. This is the one pointed focus of attention on something. That something completely depends on the individual. It has to do with their experience and desire. If their desire is only for Truth then that is what they will focus on. But, if they are like most people, their desire will likely in the worldly realm.
While it is possible to meditate on attaining something in particular like a partner or wealth, it is usually better to have a more general goal like improving yourself in some way. Once your mind is strong and focused, life tends to send you what is best for you, what will fulfill you in your life. And more importantly, you will gain the ability to go directly after what you want rather than just dreaming about it. Practicing concentration develops concentration and focus that supports the fulfillment of all your life’s desire.
The second stage of deep meditation is called meditation. Meditation happens when concentration becomes steady. While concentration can be disturbed by many factors, meditation is immune to most influences. That is, focus becomes so strong that nothing short of a sudden shock can break it.
Once you are steady in the meditation stage you are primed for absorption, the third stage of deep meditation. At this point you are only ready for absorption because all you can really ‘do’ in meditation is focus and be open to the truth of what you are seeking, absorption can not be forced.
It takes acts of will to get to this point, and will power to stay steady in your meditation. Absorption requires an act of surrender, giving yourself over to the object of your attention. It takes faith that you will break through to both continue, and for the break through to happen.
Absorption is merging with that which you are focused on. There isn’t really a better way to explain it except through examples. Let’s look at the three steps of deep meditation with a couple of examples.
An example of deep meditation is study. When you focus on a subject that you don’t know much about there is a lot of distraction. First, is the fact that it is hard to understand the subject. Then, there are numerous outside distractions like hunger, discomfort, tiredness, our inner dialogue, thoughts, frustration and so many more distractions that it’s impossible to know them all.
But, you keep bringing your attention back to the subject. You use your will power to pull your focus back onto your studies again and again. Eventually, you start to get a bit of a handle on the subject. Your focus gets stronger as your understanding increases.
Then, your attention is on the subject for a long time. You start to develop a pure focus that is no longer distracted by the little things. Your concentration is now steady as you meditate on the subject. You may not fully understand it yet, but you understand enough about it that you can stay with it for long periods of time without distraction.
Then. finally, you get it! Something clicks and you finally understand in a way that is completely different from before. You may still not be there completely, but your new understanding is deeper than you ever could have imagined when you first started. Your consciousness of the subject has shifted.
Another example is the enlightenment technique. An enlightenment experience is an absolute change in consciousness. It is consciousness of a state of direct knowledge of yourself as you truly are. This is one of the best uses of meditation; to have such a deep experience of yourself that your consciousness is profoundly changed from one state to another permanent state of consciousness. It is simply life changing.
Getting to that permanent state of consciousness is a difficult process that usually takes years of deep meditation. But, it can happen much faster when the meditation is done during an Enlightenment Intensive (EI). That is where the enlightenment technique used in this example comes from.
To have such a deep experience of the self you have to focus on yourself at a very deep level for a long time. That starts with concentration. The technique is to continually bring your attention back to yourself again and again. Distractions will come up and cause you to lose your focus, but the environment is set up to maximize your capacity to develop your ability to come back to yourself. In an EI this usually takes a day or two.
By the middle of the second day most people will be at a point where their focus is steady. They sit in contemplation for long periods of time without distraction. They have achieved the meditation phase of deep meditation. But, they aren’t at the point of absorption yet.
However, they are primed for absorption. At this point all you have to do is continue doing the technique, continue with your attention on yourself while being open to directly experiencing yourself as you truly are. That is all you can do. Enlightenment comes by no means, it just happens in a timeless instant, and all you can do is be open to experiencing yourself as anything.
Now, you sit in deep meditation, or contemplation as it is called in the EI (contemplation is the word used to describe doing the enlightenment technique in an EI) for long periods of time that usually takes years to achieve in a Zen monastery. You are, in fact, in a deep meditative state at this point. Eventually you have a break through, and you become absorbed in the self.
This may seem obvious, but you have a direct experience of yourself contemplating yourself. The breakthrough is realizing at an absolute level that the two ‘selves’ are really the same! In reality, you merge with yourself, which is the experience of absorption. This description is limited, you can read more about what an enlightenment experience is here.
That description of the enlightenment technique was greatly shortened to keep this from being too long. You can read a better explanation of it at the link above. But, it works well as an example of deep meditation.
You can use this knowledge to start a meditation practice, or you can learn different practices taught by a lot of different teachers. Here is a list of the meditation practices that I am created for you here. Feel free to ask about others and I will do my best to describe as many of the various practices as possible. As you learn about different types of meditation> you can look for the three stages, that will help you go deep into whichever practice you chose.