Recently a friend of mine engaged me in a conversation about meditation. He’s pretty new to the whole thing and decided he really needed to start meditating to improve his health and, because of that decision, he was going to start meditating for a full 8 minutes a day!
Well, I’ll get back to him in a moment, but for now it just shows you all the misconceptions that are out there! The fact is, if you’re basic understanding of the meditative process is wrong from the start, these misconceptions will limit your progress accordingly.
Yes, meditation can have profound effects on your physical health, however, that’s not the purpose of meditation. Beware of mixing up benefits and purpose!
Meditation is really a two phase process. Phase-1 teaches you how to stabilize your mental continuum and "delete" negative and unhelpful emotional / spiritual content, whereas Phase-2 teaches you how “download” new and superior emotional / spiritual content.
Phase 1: Stabilizing Your Mental Continuum and Deleting Negative Content
This negative content consists of all of your cultural conditioning (which controls and predetermines most of your reactions day to day to everything and everyone you encounter), your personal negative emotional content (from early life traumas and many other factors) and, in general, anything that’s holding you back.
Pursuing this training will eventually return you to the truly natural human state – where your mental continuum is free from extraneous thoughts and emotions. Basically, you think when you decide to think. Other than that, you mind remains crystal clear and without thought. When this condition is stabilized throughout the day, virtually all of your emotional and physical symptoms will disappear.
The most effective way to train this method is something I’ve described in a really basic form in The 5 Pillars of Life book, and in much greater detail – pictures and all – in Rock Solid Tranquility (http://www.harapower.com/ ). To simplify things, it involves a meditational sitting practice where you use your mental attention to follow your breathing. Yeah okay, that glosses over some crucial details, but it’s an accurate description nevertheless.
When you start to practice this marvellous procedure, you’ll get lots of other benefits, of course. Health is certainly one of them, as is a certain level of detoxification. Others include a direct understanding of “harmony” – of the rhythm of the universe surrounding you. Then you’ll slowly learn how to surrender, to let go of your own expectations, your hopes, your fears, and dwell trustingly in the moment. In other words, you develop true faith. (Please don't tell me how religious or "spiritual" you are unless you actually trust the Absolute Reality to care for you).
You’ll develop intuition – you’ll learn how to listen to your gut, trust you gut, and listen with a much wiser faculty than your ears or your thinking brain.
All these things will come into your reach through the practice of sitting meditation, unless…. you shoot for such hopelessly inadequate practice levels as 8 minutes a day! Ain’t nothin’ happenin’ there… At the beginning it may well take you twice that long just to calm your mind and eliminate your distractions. From the beginning of your practice, you should probably aim to sit for 20 minutes at a time.
Next time, I’ll attempt a brief description of Phase 2 of the meditative process, which is even more fascinating. Just remember that you need to make some serious headway in Phase 1 first!
~ Dr. Symeon Rodger