This is a continuation in the series about how to redirect your thoughts. Often you find that you are unable to stop yourself from being afraid and thinking of unpleasant things that are either real or imaginary. Bomb Drop and your MLCer’s Monster spew continue to scream in your head. You obsess about infidelity and betrayal. You feel sorry for yourself and puddle up in self-pity.
Meditation is a valuable tool for regaining control of your mind and body.
Focus on an object, concept or physical motion such as breath can act as an anchor, maintaining and stabilizing your focus.
Mandala is a Sanskrit word for circle, it is a circular form of concentric diagrams. Mandalas are frequently symmetrical and may feature a deity at their center which is called the temple or palace. The circular symmetry is kaleidoscopic with repeating shapes, patterns and colours. Mandalas are often in the form of a labyrinth. Symbolically and metaphorically they represent the cosmos. Meditating on a mandala can facilitate mental and spiritual integration. Approach the mandala as a journey with a path from the outer edges to the temple center which is the place of unification.
Incense & Essential Oils
Though it can be used as a focal point, incense is perhaps more frequently used as an accessory to enhance meditation. Successful meditation depends on the mental state of the meditator. Incense has a soothing and tranquil effect and is used to purify the air and clear negative energy which helps to create a positive state of mind. Certain fragrances transmit positive impulses to the brain which when used repetitively condition the brain to respond in a particular way to the fragrance used. Different types of fragrances have different properties.
- Fruity: Mood Enhancement
- Citrus: Refreshing the Mind
- Vanilla: Enhances Feelings, Improves Emotional Stimulation and Energy
Meditation beads such as the Catholic rosary or Buddhist mala beads with a set number of beads provide a physical means of maintaining counts of repetitive prayers, chants and devotions in a pattern, freeing the mental mind to meditation.
Bring your attention to your breath, becoming aware of the sensations as it enters, travels throughout and passes out of your body. Breathe naturally and give your attention to the natural rhythms of your breath. Notice how easily breath flows. Notice how it encompasses your whole body as it travels.
Focus on a specific body region or body part i.e. Focus on your left pointer finger so that you eventually feel the pulse within the finger and the movement as your flesh rises and falls. Focus on all of the fingers in a single hand and you will eventually feel your pulse move rhythmically from one to the other.
A koan is a puzzle without a set answer. The purpose is is to break through traditional analytical patterns of thought. Since analysis destroys the essence, meditating on koans can help to break down analysis paralysis. If you find yourself becoming frustrated because you are trying to solve the puzzle, you are concentrating rather than focusing. Example of koans:
- What is the sound of one hand clapping?
- What is the colour of the wind?
- When you can do nothing, what can you do?
- When the many are reduced to one, to what is the one reduced?
Beware of desire. Meditation is not meant to be a deliberated path to peak experience, rather such an experience is a gift of Grace that may or may not come. Release the desire for any specific outcome, message or experience and simply merge into a state of being. Perhaps you are hoping for a sign or message regarding your Stand. There is nothing wrong with hoping for a sign or message, unless you make it the purpose of your actions. Desire for and clinging to peak experience, signs and messages blocks the open flow of energy and may prevent or cut short the experience. In the same manner, using meditation as an escape from life’s pain and sufferings rather than as a method for facing them also obstructs the flow of energy.
MLCers are seeking peak experience through in-fatuation hormones and experiences as well as other Replay activities, such experiences are false and misleading, but each person must learn this through their own experiences. Peak experiences are transformational leaps which escalate us to divine unity. But they are not permanent. The idea is to learn from the experience so that we can bring the lessons to grounded reality.
Problems arise when a person clings to the experience, constantly seeking the high and often believing the experience can replace rather than be integrated into everyday reality—such is the problem in many addictions.
The Transfiguration, Matt 17:1-8
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
Peter failed to realize the ultimate Grace of the experience and instead wanted to cling to it by building altars, but to do that would have been to create a place of escape rather than return to the world and show Christ as a refuge that enables us to face the world rather than avoid it. You’ve got to come down from the mountain top and participate in the world.
There is a Zen proverb that says before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. Maintaining an open awareness even during the mundane tasks of daily life removes the burden of those tasks, facilitating communion. But the proverb says more, it is also about remaining grounded in the world. Enlightenment is not meant to be an avoidance; life goes on and it opens a person up to the unity existence and is about participation rather than seclusion and escape.
What are some other objects you can use for meditation?
What other things are helpful for meditative focus?
What can you do to open your energy, remaining balanced and grounded?