Before I begin, I must stress in the strongest possible terms that I am no more an accomplished meditator than I am a doctor. If I could do as well as I can talk, I could do much more with my life than I am doing. I am not a “human complete,” rather, I am a “human becoming.”
I began my study of meditation decades ago when I read Dion Fortune’s book Training and Work of an Initiate. In that book she explains that there are two types of meditation, which she ascribes as the difference between Eastern and Western cultures. She says that Eastern cultures try to reach the soul up to the heavens, whereas Western cultures try to bring the heavens to Earth. As I look at the behaviors of these cultures (in a less blended form than perhaps we have now), I see her point. Anyway, to accomplish the cultural goals, which are expressed person by person, the Eastern approach is passive, uniting ones self with the “oversoul,” the Western approach is active, pulling the beauty of the ‘oversoul” to enrich the individual. Subtle difference, but it manifests strongly in the meditative approach. You can see the stark differences when you look at the Deepak Chopra approach (Eastern) vs Franz Bardon’s approach as discussed in Initiation into Hermetics.
Today I discuss the passive approach, as I find it is easier to get started in that one. Over time, migrating to the active approach may be useful, especially to activists who want to see change on Earth.
There are several books out about Eastern meditation practices, and although I tend to lean toward Chopra’s books (and his methods are discussed in several of his publications, so I don’t call one out here) because he communicates his information in words and phrases that the Western mind grasps easily. I summarize his words here with my own thoughts intermingled.
All meditation literature I have found talks about how our minds have a chatterbox constantly yammering in our heads. The first goal of meditation is to not necessarily silence that chatterbox, but to make it shut up unless it has something worthwhile to say. Once the chatterbox is controlled, it can be used for great effect in your life.
Find a quiet place where you can be alone. While the literature suggests that you can do this sitting or lying down, most suggest sitting if only to avoid falling asleep. I also find that sitting gives a better circuit for the energies to pass through. I find that this is best done in the morning, with a different exercise (to be discussed later) as I go to sleep. Wear comfortable clothing, loose fitting, that will not be a distraction or an irritant. I recommend a notebook where you will write your impressions and observations when your session ends – it is a great learning tool and way to monitor your progress.
To begin, set a timer for 5 minutes. It is not reasonable to expect your mind to start training at 30 minutes just as it is not reasonable to expect your body to begin workouts by running a marathon. Sit quietly and watch your thoughts go by. Do not engage them, just release them like bubbles in a lake. To aid your mind, you can keep it busy with a meaningless phrase, such as “so-hum,” with so on the intake and hum on the outtake. You can also watch your breath.
Your chatterbox will start telling you all these things you have to do, all the offenses you experienced the day before, how your mother is coming for Christmas and doggone it the cat is in your potted plants again. Don’t engage these thoughts, just let them float away. Over time, you will notice these thoughts coming slower and slower. Then you find a way to keep yourself in what Chopra calls “the gap.” This is the space between thoughts. This is where you have what he calls “pure potentiality,” that is nothing is already created there so it is open to creation. The goal is to eventually go the entire session in “the gap,” that is, no thoughts bubbling up for the entire session.
Increase the time as you are successful, until you can do 30 minutes. Once you are able to do that, you can take a specific goal or thought into your session and it will begin to penetrate who you are. Some use a mantra, such as “Be still and know that I am god,” or “Peace and calm.” You pick the mantra based on your goals, beliefs and personality.
At night, your thoughts as you drift into sleep are giving instructions to your subconscious. Therefore you must be careful what those thoughts are. Your subconscious does not differentiate between what you want and like and what you don’t want and like. So if you are going to sleep worrying about debt, your subconscious takes that as instruction to increase debt. If you go to sleep worrying about how you are going to get everything done that you need to do, your subconscious will make your schedule more harried and you less efficient to meet that instruction. If you go to sleep thinking about how blessed you are, your subconscious will go out and find more ways to add to your blessings (and you will begin to be able to recognize more of the blessings you have – a good practice for peace of mind.) If you have a goal, visualize that you have attained that goal. Do not tell your subconscious how to get there, just where you want to be. Visualize it until it becomes plastic. Be advised, that as you get more accomplished in this, things begin to change in your life. I am always amazed at how fast those changes occur, and more than once it was almost too fast for me to grasp.
There is much, much more to passive meditation that meditators more experienced than I am can share. But this is a good starting point, and just following these steps should result in more peace and control.