By Life Positive
Meditation can be of various types, with various techniques that might seem contradictory. But they all have the same goal: questioning of the mind and realization of the spirit. Here is an overview of some of the most popular and effective meditation techniques
Creative visualization can help an Individual obtain his highest potential
When one looks at the world one feels that there is an urgency to restore balance. Hundreds of thousands of people are needed around the world to meditate and create good vibes to put an end to violence.
In his book on Dynamic Meditation, In Search of the Miraculous, Osho had predicted: “Unless a mighty spirituality is born, unless a mighty and massive spiritual movement sweeps the earth, making its impact on millions of people, it will be impossible to save the world from the mire of materialism.
Osho devised Dynamic Meditation because he felt that modern society with its fast pace of life, sophisticated means of communications and stress-filled lives was incapable of sitting silently.
Anger is like a baser metal. Meditation can transform it into gold. This therapeutic technique of breathing and catharsis, hammers the coiled energy of kundalini with strong sounds of ‘HOO’ mantra resulting in total relaxation and celebration.
Dynamic meditation lasts an hour and involves five steps:
First Stage: 10 minutes: Breathe in and out through the nose, let your breathing be intense and chaotic. The breath should move deeply into the lungs. Allow any body movements. Use natural body movements to build your energy. Feel it building up, but do not let go during the first stage.
Second Stage: 10 minutes: Explode! Let go of everything that needs to be thrown out. Go totally mad—scream, shout, cry, jump, shake, dance, sing, laugh, throw yourself around. Hold nothing back. A little acting helps to get started. Do not allow your mind to interfere.
Third Stage: 10 minutes: With raised arms, jump up and down shouting the mantra ‘HOO! HOO! HOO!’ as deeply as possible. Each time you land on the flats of your feet, let the sound hammer deep into the sex centre. Give all you have, exhaust yourself completely.
Fourth Stage: 15 minutes: Stop! Freeze where you are in whatever position you find yourself. Do not arrange the body in any way. A cough, a movement, anything will dissipate the energy flow and the effort will be lost. Be a witness to everything that is happening to you.
Fifth Stage: 15 minutes: Celebrate! With music and dance express whatsoever is there. Carry your aliveness with you throughout the day.
—Swami Chaitanya Keerti
Vipassana means to see things as they really are. Rediscovered by Buddha nearly 2,500 years ago and taught as a universal remedy, Vipassana is one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques.
By definition, Vipassana is “the ability to see things as they really are, through a process of self-observation”. The technique has been promoted in our times by S.N. Goenka who defines it as: “The development of insight (vipassana means insight in Pali) into one’s own nature by which one may recognise and eliminate the causes of suffering.”
Ideologically, this technique is unique for it is free of rites, rituals, dogmas and creeds. It is the relationship with yourself that is stressed, to take the journey within yourself. This way, one has to derive an insight and understanding of life on the basis of the experiences you undergo in the process of first observing your breath and next, body sensations.
In a grueling 10-day course where you are not allowed reading, writing or talking, the first three days are spent in anapana-sati, watching one’s natural patterns of breathing by concentrating on the triangular space between the upper lip and the nostrils. The free-ranging mind, with the universe as its oyster, has to restrict itself to that tiny wedge of space. The tethered mind is then harnessed upon the task of studying the subtle sensations within the body—heat, cold, pain, itching or throbbing. On the 10th day, participants are finally allowed to talk.
The technique divides Buddha’s eight-fold path into three processes: sila, samadhi and panna. Sila refers to the moral precepts, which cover three parts of the eight-fold path—right speech, right action and right livelihood.
The second process, samadhi, focuses on developing concentration. It encompasses right effort, right awareness and right concentration through anapana-sati, a technique which paves the way for awareness and concentration. Finally comes panna—insight. The unique contribution of the Buddha to the world was a way to realise truth personally and thus to develop experiential wisdom, bhavana-maya panna.
To practise Vipassana, set aside 15 minutes. Find a quiet place. Sit down on the floor or a chair with a straight back and legs crossed. Breathe through your nose and become aware of each breath. Take a mental note of whatever feelings you experience during meditation. Open your eyes slowly after about 10 or 15 minutes and get up gradually. Do not worry if you do not get any great insights in your first session. Try to be aware of your senses and emotions and their impact on you. Vipassana offers an independent path to self-purification for everyone.
Zazen refers to Zen meditation practiced in the lotus position. Buddha was seated in this position when he obtained enlightenment.
Zazen is simple and easy to follow. The pyramid structure of the seated Buddha is the most effective position for this practice. In Zazen one sits cross-legged, waist pulled toward hands, spine straight, open upper body with the chin tucked in and symmetrical weight distribution to the legs and knees. Keeping the back straight is of vital importance as it allows the diaphragm to move freely.
Zazen is a way to discipline life. The agony of sitting on one’s legs for an hour or more is part of the endurance test. Zazen disciples feel that when we cannot move our hands or legs, we realise how much valuable time we waste every day.
Sudarshan Kriya is a special breathing technique that triggers the mind and body to release stress. This technique was developed by Sri Sri Ravishankar, founder of the Art of Living (AOL). It is one of the main techniques taught in the AOL basic course. It uses unique rhythms of breath and calms the mind. During the practice, the mind becomes peaceful and centred as every cell of the body becomes oxygenated and enlivened.
By learning a special pattern of breathing, one can rid one’s system of accumulated stress and toxins, release negative emotions and rejuvenate the body.
Sudarshan Kriya produces positive influences on the mind, soul, intellect and the body. During this Kriya, oxygenated blood full of prana reaches each and every cell of the body. Physical blocks (fibroids and tumours), blocks in the blood vessels, mental blocks and blocks in aura (energy body) due to our karmas get released. In Sudarshan Kriya the jap dhyana accelerates towards the navel chakra, as the rhythmic pace of the prana merges the three states—mana, pavan and gagan (mind, wind and sky). In such a state, it is said the sadhak may immediately undergo experiences like stillness of mind, unconsciousness, deep yogic sleep, recollection of previous births or extreme sense of happiness. This process simulates the action of Pingala Pranayama. It is also essential that the person meditating rests himself on the right side of his body after the main Kriya is over to set the Ida (one of the invisible nerves connecting the base chakra to the head) current in motion before terminating the Kriya.
Preksha Dhyan is a system developed by Jain guru Acharya Mahapragya, based on ancient wisdom while keeping in mind the modern scientific concepts. It aims at eradicating negative emotions and achieving amity, peace and happiness.
This system enables each body cell to revitalise itself, facilitates digestion, makes respiration more efficient and improves the quality and circulation of blood.
On the mental level, Preksha Dhyan proves to be a practical method to train the mind to concentrate. It offers an effective method to treat serious psychosomatic illnesses, getting rid of addictions and other bad habits. By realisation of the inner conscious it reveals the mysteries of the psyche which includes both the subconscious and the unconscious. Further, it harmonizes the functioning of nervous and endocrine systems.
Kayotsarg is the core technique of Preksha Dhyan. Kayotsarg means abandonment of the body coupled with high degree of conscious awareness. But before the mind can be steadied, the body has to be free of tension. Kayotsarg achieves this because the principle behind it is that “this physical body is not mine and I am not just this physical body”.
Acem is a new kind of meditation which was introduced by Dr Are Holen, a trained psychotherapist, in 1966 in Norway, after extensively studying various meditative practices in India. This meditation supplements ancient insights with modern psychological skills and theory.
Acem meditation is based on the concept of greater inner freedom where thoughts are allowed to flow out instead of controlling them. Consciousness sets its own agenda. It is like creating a kind of free zone where you can locate the source of your tension and release the stress. It inspires deep reflection and addresses the core questions regarding the nature of existence, exploring the world in a profound preverbal way.
Acem meditation does not involve seeing visions, lights or colors. What is required is effortlessly repeating a meditation sound like the mantra in TM. Thoughts, experiences, images, bodily sensations come and go. The mind follows its spontaneous activity, which is partly a reflection on the future, partly unfinished business or residual tension from the past or present. A person can then consciously alter his state of mind.
Acem meditation can be practiced all by oneself. The results obtained are determined by the quality and length of the practice. It helps relieve persistent body aches such as sore necks, stiff shoulders, upset stomachs and headaches.
Creative visualization is a technique used as an aid to healing or self-discovery. It can be done alone or as a guided meditation with a group.
Visualization involves mental pictures to train the mind to manifest its goals. Creative visualization involves three steps—setting a goal, learning to relax and visualizing a successful outcome.
It involves reaching the subconscious to access what is going on there. Visualizing images, performances and moments create patterns in the brain. The more we visualize the more ingrained these patterns become. As the brain guides our muscles, the movement becomes more perfect.
When we use affirmations along with visualization, a message goes to the subconscious mind which conveys it to the super conscious. This technique can help an individual obtain his highest potential and excel in any field. It is the process of enhancing the activity of the right hemisphere of the brain—the seat of creativity, imagination and new ideas.
Any creative visualization must be brought to a proper closure. The journey must be retraced to return to the conscious level. It may be counter- productive to use this technique too often as an escape from the real world.
Raja Yoga Meditation
In the Brahmakumaris system, Raja Yoga may be defined as the link established by single-minded, passionate and purposeful mental remembrance of God which absolves vicious sanskaras, resulting in purification of the soul and attainment of lasting peace and bliss.
A scattered mention of yoga is found in many ancient scriptures of India. In course of time, the term yoga began to be used for certain physical postures called asanas—practices like breath-control called Pranayam, various observances, niyamas, mental exercises like thought-control, contemplation, samadhi (absorption) and so on.
Raja Yoga meditation fills the yogi with super-sensuous joy or bliss which is the highest and most ennobling experience. This bliss easily sublimates and elevates his mind, raises him above carnal and sensual pleasures, moulds his bad habits and erases his bad sanskaras.
Soul consciousness is the first step in the practice of Raja Yoga. Just as the insulating sheath of an electrical wire has to be removed before it can be connected to the electrical power supply line, in the same way, body-consciousness has to be abandoned before the soul can commune with God. Raja Yoga is the attainment of God-consciousness in a state of soul-consciousness. A Raja yogi establishes paternal relationship with God by remembering: “I am an immortal child of my most beloved Father, the Supreme Soul.” Dwelling on the attributes of God who is the ocean of knowledge, peace and the bestowed of mukti, his mind, in course of time, gets immersed in the state of deep meditation. The mind then starts experiencing the ecstasy of the true heritage of the Supreme Father in the form of supreme bliss.
A Raja yogi withdraws from all superfluous and avoidable worldly activities and concerns himself more and more with accumulating the imperishable treasures of divine virtues in the soul. Such withdrawal by him does not mean renunciation of karmas. A Raja yogi is a karma yogi but he takes care to abstain from vicious karmas and performs noble deeds to build up divine sanskaras. He spends minimum time and resources on his personal comforts and devotes maximum energy for the noblest service of bringing about a spiritual awakening in his fellow-beings.
Credit: Before practising any of these techniques you should learn it from a qualified teacher or an authorised centre.
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