Nov 21, 1995 06:00 PM
MEDITATION - something to *do*.
This meditation is based upon a very simple principle: that in
order to truly know and understand ourselves we try to set aside
from our usual awareness everything that is seen to be "not us"
or "not me." The usual method for this meditation is as follows:
First establish awareness in the place where you are. Establish
awareness of _body_ by giving attention to its physical location
the place where it is the chair upon which it sits the
pressures of weight clothing warmth cold air etc. which may
be sensed by it. This is the starting and finishing "place" of
the meditation the body within which our true self or spirit
Having established this keen awareness of the physical we ask
ourselves "Is this body with all its sensations truly me?"
Clearly if we can ask the question the answer is "No it is not
me." While retaining as much awareness of the body as is
essential for us to know where we are and what we are doing we
then withdraw our attention from body and simply _let it be_.
It is soon observed that attention goes immediately inward that
thoughts about what we are doing crowd in offering intellectual
attempts to "explain" this or that aspect of whatever may take
our fancy. At this stage we must repeat the question in a more
subtle way asking of the thoughts "Are these thoughts me?"
Again if we can ask the question the answer is clearly "No."
So we proceed by eliminating everything which is _not me_ to
discover or uncover the true "Me" or "I" who is able to ask the
questions in the first place.
At the level of rushing thoughts we may need to withdraw
attention from individual single thoughts over and over again
letting them go in the sense that one may hold something between
the fingers and by opening them let the something drop. Drop
Thoughts we have observed are inspired by feelings feelings
of like and dislike - "Am I my likes and dislikes?" No.
So the process is really quite simple to understand if difficult
to practice. Am I my body? No so let awareness of body go. Am
I my thoughts? No so let go of thoughts. Am I my feelings? No
so let go of feelings.
The process is simple but difficult to do and has to be worked
at. Subtleties arise such as thoughts about feelings feelings
about thoughts speculations about the practice itself. Even the
smallest observation will promote an immediate reaction of
thought and feeling urging the body to some form of action
which because attention is being consciously held to a minimum
prompts physical restlessness. Let it go - there is nothing for
the body to do in this meditation other than to sit peacefully
and quietly leaving us to get on with the process of discovery.
Some small disciplines can help. A straight-backed chair can be
useful for many people enabling them to sit upright holding the
spine erect. Allowing the eyes to shut once the settling of the
body has been established can be a great help.
Experience has shown that at least twenty minutes may be required
simply to settle the activities within us sufficiently for the
"letting go" to be truly effective and so this meditation
practice is usually undertaken for half an hour the most
favourable results coming if they come during the final ten
Finally this form of meditation can be difficult; some may find
it needs to be varied according to individual needs and what is
set out here is essentially a set of guidelines. The important
thing is to work for the principle:
Once I have let go of all that is not I then the true and
indivisible I that I AM remains and thus I may come to KNOW
NB: This can be practised as a group activity or solo in the
privacy of one's own quiet place - preferably both!
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