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Meditation What It Is and How to Do It--A Primer.

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1 Meditation What It Is and How to Do It--A Primer

2 What Is Meditation? (from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation) a family of self-regulation practices that focus on training attention and awareness a family of self-regulation practices that focus on training attention and awareness a practice that self-regulates the body and mind, thereby affecting mental events a practice that self-regulates the body and mind, thereby affecting mental events a type of discipline, found in various forms in many cultures, by which the practitioner attempts to get beyond the reflexive, "thinking" mind (sometimes called "discursive thinking"[or "logic”) into a deeper, more devout, or more relaxed state a type of discipline, found in various forms in many cultures, by which the practitioner attempts to get beyond the reflexive, "thinking" mind (sometimes called "discursive thinking"[or "logic”) into a deeper, more devout, or more relaxed state an imprecise term that designates a variety of widely divergent practices that alter one’s state of mind an imprecise term that designates a variety of widely divergent practices that alter one’s state of mind

3 Physiological Effects Scientific studies are of mixed quality because of an inability to precisely define meditation and because techniques are so divergent that it’s difficult to compare results. Scientific studies are of mixed quality because of an inability to precisely define meditation and because techniques are so divergent that it’s difficult to compare results. BUT research from the University of Massachusettes suggests that meditation reduces stress, anxiety, depression, headaches, pain, and elevated blood pressure. BUT research from the University of Massachusettes suggests that meditation reduces stress, anxiety, depression, headaches, pain, and elevated blood pressure. Meditation creates a host of biochemical and physical changes in the body that alter metabolism, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and brain activation. Meditation creates a host of biochemical and physical changes in the body that alter metabolism, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and brain activation.metabolism respirationblood pressuremetabolism respirationblood pressure Its effects on brain activity are measurable but not understood. Its effects on brain activity are measurable but not understood.

4 Psycho-Emotional Effects Increased compassion and forgiveness Increased compassion and forgiveness Decreased anxiety and judgment Decreased anxiety and judgment Improved self-awareness and acceptance Improved self-awareness and acceptance Greater relaxation Greater relaxation Increased ability to sustain focus and concentration Increased ability to sustain focus and concentration Improved memory, self-esteem, perceptual sensitivity, empathy, reaction time, and self control Improved memory, self-esteem, perceptual sensitivity, empathy, reaction time, and self control Altered state of awareness that relies less on thinking and doing and focuses on BEING Altered state of awareness that relies less on thinking and doing and focuses on BEING

5 Types Wiki suggests two broad categories Wiki suggests two broad categories concentrative and mindfulness concentrative and mindfulness concentrative meditation focuses attention on a chosen object (mantra, symbol, image, quality, sensation, etc.), bringing attention back to this object, when it wanders concentrative meditation focuses attention on a chosen object (mantra, symbol, image, quality, sensation, etc.), bringing attention back to this object, when it wanders mindfulness meditation (also known as open monitoring) involves non-reactive awareness of the content of bio-emotional experience from moment to moment mindfulness meditation (also known as open monitoring) involves non-reactive awareness of the content of bio-emotional experience from moment to moment brain wave studies suggest that each type of meditation stimulates different areas of the brain; that is, each type has a different effect and a different result brain wave studies suggest that each type of meditation stimulates different areas of the brain; that is, each type has a different effect and a different result concentration and mindfulness are often linked/practice together, w/one form being given precedence concentration and mindfulness are often linked/practice together, w/one form being given precedence

6 Origins Techniques are intimately bound to the religions in which they originated Techniques are intimately bound to the religions in which they originated Etymology: In the Old Testament, the Hebrew haga means to sigh or murmur, but also to meditate. When this Bible was translated into Greek, haga became the Greek melete. The Latin Bible then translated haga/melete into meditatio, which means "to think, contemplate, devise, ponder, meditate.” In the west, the use of the term meditatio as part of a formal, stepwise process of meditation goes back to the 12th-century monk Guigo II. Etymology: In the Old Testament, the Hebrew haga means to sigh or murmur, but also to meditate. When this Bible was translated into Greek, haga became the Greek melete. The Latin Bible then translated haga/melete into meditatio, which means "to think, contemplate, devise, ponder, meditate.” In the west, the use of the term meditatio as part of a formal, stepwise process of meditation goes back to the 12th-century monk Guigo II. Anthropology notes that prehistoric cultures used repetitive, rhythmic chants (to appease the gods) Anthropology notes that prehistoric cultures used repetitive, rhythmic chants (to appease the gods) First written references to meditation: First written references to meditation: Judeo-Christian Bible-- 1400 BCE Judeo-Christian Bible-- 1400 BCE Hindu Vedas--15th century BCE Hindu Vedas--15th century BCE Taosit China and Buddhist India, 6th-5th centuries BCE Taosit China and Buddhist India, 6th-5th centuries BCE

7 Spiritual Traditions Baha’I: communion w/one’s self w/focus on the Divine Baha’I: communion w/one’s self w/focus on the Divine Buddhism: cultivates serenity (samatha) and insight (vipassana) to illuminate and release mental obstructions to the natural state of consciousness, which is loving, compassionate, joyful and peaceful Buddhism: cultivates serenity (samatha) and insight (vipassana) to illuminate and release mental obstructions to the natural state of consciousness, which is loving, compassionate, joyful and peaceful Christian: increase personal relationship with the divine; contemplates qualities of divinity Christian: increase personal relationship with the divine; contemplates qualities of divinity Islam: 5 acts of daily prayer designed to strengthen bond between individual and God and to assist w/problems of daily life; beyond this, there are 2 primary forms of meditation w/in the Islamic tradition: Islam: 5 acts of daily prayer designed to strengthen bond between individual and God and to assist w/problems of daily life; beyond this, there are 2 primary forms of meditation w/in the Islamic tradition: Tafakkur or tadabbur, literally means reflection upon the universe; the aim is submission to God Tafakkur or tadabbur, literally means reflection upon the universe; the aim is submission to Godtadabbur universe;tadabbur universe; Sufi traditions: broad spectrum that vary greatly; some have similarities to Buddhis concentration and introspection Sufi traditions: broad spectrum that vary greatly; some have similarities to Buddhis concentration and introspection

8 Spiritual Traditions, cont. Jainism: Meditation in Jainism aims at realizing the self, attaining salvation, take the soul to complete freedom. Mantra an important practice, as are asana and pranayama. Contemplation of the following are also practiced: life and non-life, the inflow, bondage, stoppage and removal of karmas, and the final accomplishment of liberation. Jainism: Meditation in Jainism aims at realizing the self, attaining salvation, take the soul to complete freedom. Mantra an important practice, as are asana and pranayama. Contemplation of the following are also practiced: life and non-life, the inflow, bondage, stoppage and removal of karmas, and the final accomplishment of liberation. Judaism: 2 traditions--the Talmud (reason and scholarship to aquire knowledge that can be easily shared w/others) and the Kabbalah (mystical practices that lead to an intuitive understanding of the Divine). According to Wiki, the ideal is to merge the 2. Judaism: 2 traditions--the Talmud (reason and scholarship to aquire knowledge that can be easily shared w/others) and the Kabbalah (mystical practices that lead to an intuitive understanding of the Divine). According to Wiki, the ideal is to merge the 2. Sikhism: the focus is on the attributes of God and on movement through each of the “10 gates” (analogous to the chakras) until one reaches and is able to sustain awareness at the 10th gate, which brings a continual meditative state while in everyday life. Also important are the cultivation of love through meditation on the Lord’s name and mantra/kirtan (a form of call and response chanting of mantra). Note: Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is incorporates the Sikh tradition w/yoga. Sikhism: the focus is on the attributes of God and on movement through each of the “10 gates” (analogous to the chakras) until one reaches and is able to sustain awareness at the 10th gate, which brings a continual meditative state while in everyday life. Also important are the cultivation of love through meditation on the Lord’s name and mantra/kirtan (a form of call and response chanting of mantra). Note: Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is incorporates the Sikh tradition w/yoga. Taoism: includes numerous meditation and contemplative traditions--I Ching, Tao Te Ching, T’ai Chi Chu’an, Qigong; some are considered moving meditations and others are seated, focused exercises and some have a divinatory nature. Taoism: includes numerous meditation and contemplative traditions--I Ching, Tao Te Ching, T’ai Chi Chu’an, Qigong; some are considered moving meditations and others are seated, focused exercises and some have a divinatory nature.

9 Hinduism done to realize union of one's self, one's atman, with the omnipresent and non-dual Brahman. done to realize union of one's self, one's atman, with the omnipresent and non-dual Brahman.atman non-dualBrahmanatman non-dualBrahman earliest clear references to meditation in Hindu literature are in the middle Upanishads and the Mahabharata, which includes the Bhagavad Gita. earliest clear references to meditation in Hindu literature are in the middle Upanishads and the Mahabharata, which includes the Bhagavad Gita.Hindu UpanishadsMahabharataBhagavad GitaHindu UpanishadsMahabharataBhagavad Gita According to Vivekenanda: Meditation has been laid stress upon by all religions. The meditative state of mind is declared by the Yogis to be the highest state in which the mind exists. When the mind is studying the external object, it gets identified with it, loses itself. To use the simile of the old Indian philosopher: the soul of man is like a piece of crystal, but it takes the colour of whatever is near it. Whatever the soul touches... it has to take its colour. That is the difficulty. That constitutes the bondage. According to Vivekenanda: Meditation has been laid stress upon by all religions. The meditative state of mind is declared by the Yogis to be the highest state in which the mind exists. When the mind is studying the external object, it gets identified with it, loses itself. To use the simile of the old Indian philosopher: the soul of man is like a piece of crystal, but it takes the colour of whatever is near it. Whatever the soul touches... it has to take its colour. That is the difficulty. That constitutes the bondage. In Hinduism there are many, many forms and traditions; hatha yoga and pranayama are considered preparatory practices for meditation, especially in Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga In Hinduism there are many, many forms and traditions; hatha yoga and pranayama are considered preparatory practices for meditation, especially in Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga

10 Yoga Limbs 5-8 Yoga Limbs 5-8 Pratyahara: commonly referred to as “withdrawal of the senses” or “closing the sense doors.” But can also be thought of as opening the doors to the inner senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Pratyahara: commonly referred to as “withdrawal of the senses” or “closing the sense doors.” But can also be thought of as opening the doors to the inner senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Dharana: concentration/focus--a tether for the mind, which wants to wander and react Dharana: concentration/focus--a tether for the mind, which wants to wander and react Dhyana: to contemplate/meditate --the untethered but still mind (placid lake mode) Dhyana: to contemplate/meditate --the untethered but still mind (placid lake mode) Samadhi: advanced state of meditation; absorption in the Self; Oneness; the mind becoming identified with the object of meditation; no differentiation between seen and seer; self and object of concentration; self-effacement Samadhi: advanced state of meditation; absorption in the Self; Oneness; the mind becoming identified with the object of meditation; no differentiation between seen and seer; self and object of concentration; self-effacement Limbs 5-8 are often experienced as a seamless flow--one into the other and back again--not as separate disciplines Limbs 5-8 are often experienced as a seamless flow--one into the other and back again--not as separate disciplines

11 Techniques (focusing; not all Hindu) Sound Mantra: Sound Mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum/Hung: considered by Tibetans to be the essence of Buddha’s teachings; a prayer to the embodiment of compassion and not easily translated; considered to be the words of and prayer to Avalokiteshvara, an the incarnation of compassion. Om Mani Padme Hum/Hung: considered by Tibetans to be the essence of Buddha’s teachings; a prayer to the embodiment of compassion and not easily translated; considered to be the words of and prayer to Avalokiteshvara, an the incarnation of compassion. The six syllables perfect the Six Paramitas of the Bodhisattvas. "The mantra Om Mani Padme Hum is easy to say yet quite powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching. When you say the first syllable Om it is blessed to help you achieve perfection in the practice of generosity, Ma helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and Ni helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience. Pad, the fourth syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, Me helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final sixth syllable Hum helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom.

12 Mantra, continued Mantra, continued So Hum: I am That So Hum: I am That Ham Sa: That is me Ham Sa: That is me Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu: may all beings be happy and free and my thoughts words and deeds contribute to this happiness and freedom Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu: may all beings be happy and free and my thoughts words and deeds contribute to this happiness and freedom Om: a-u-m (the beginning and end of all things--the universe) Om: a-u-m (the beginning and end of all things--the universe) Sat Nam: truth is my name Sat Nam: truth is my name Transcendental Meditation/TM, Natural Meditation, etc.: mantras are person-specific and often derived from an astrological chart (jyotish) to invoke particular deities/energies; meaningless sound. see manual for explanation Transcendental Meditation/TM, Natural Meditation, etc.: mantras are person-specific and often derived from an astrological chart (jyotish) to invoke particular deities/energies; meaningless sound. see manual for explanation Kundalini meditations are generally sung mantras, often with mudras or body movements that coordinate with the sounds Kundalini meditations are generally sung mantras, often with mudras or body movements that coordinate with the sounds

13 Yantra/visual representation Yantra/visual representation sri yantrapenta star

14 Yantra, cont. Tara, Green Tara Tibetan

15 Yantra, cont. Kali and Ganesha

16 Yantra, cont. Annapoorna and Laxminarayan

17 Other Forms of Visual Meditation Tratak: candle gazing Tratak: candle gazing Visualization: Visualization: guided (this can include yoga nidra) guided (this can include yoga nidra) creative (Shakti Gawain) creative (Shakti Gawain) affirmations (Louis Hay and Yoga Sutra)--this is also a form of sound meditation affirmations (Louis Hay and Yoga Sutra)--this is also a form of sound meditation vision boards, third eye or other chakra meditations, color meditation, shamanic journeys, drawing and painting vision boards, third eye or other chakra meditations, color meditation, shamanic journeys, drawing and painting

18 Breath-based Anapana: focus on sensation of breath on upper lip (from Buddhist Vipassana tradition) Anapana: focus on sensation of breath on upper lip (from Buddhist Vipassana tradition) Vipassana: focus on sensations in body Vipassana: focus on sensations in body focus on movement of diaphragm or abdomen focus on movement of diaphragm or abdomen breath of fire (Kundalini): included w/physical movement and posture breath of fire (Kundalini): included w/physical movement and posture walking (from Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini and Thich Nhat Hanh--includes affirmations as well?) walking (from Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini and Thich Nhat Hanh--includes affirmations as well?)

19 Mindfulnes/Open Monitoring often use breath-based focus as basis to watch what arises in body-mind system often use breath-based focus as basis to watch what arises in body-mind system sometimes use techniques of self- observation and interrogation such as sometimes use techniques of self- observation and interrogation such as consequences of thinking consequences of thinking origins of thought/feeling origins of thought/feeling reasonableness of same, etc. reasonableness of same, etc. see forms of jnana yoga--Vedanta, Course in Miracles see forms of jnana yoga--Vedanta, Course in Miracles

20 Meaning meditating on the meaning of things: life, the universe, death, God, patterns in one’s life, archetypes, etc. has been prevalent for ages. this can be meditating on the meaning of things: life, the universe, death, God, patterns in one’s life, archetypes, etc. has been prevalent for ages. this can be divinatory-- what do I need to know for my current circumstances? what will/might happen and how can I help myself? divinatory-- what do I need to know for my current circumstances? what will/might happen and how can I help myself? cosmic--as above cosmic--as above and anti-meaning--”What is the sound of one hand clapping?” --designed to get us out of the box of meaning and into a more spacious place and anti-meaning--”What is the sound of one hand clapping?” --designed to get us out of the box of meaning and into a more spacious place

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