Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Me and You

Me and You

Rising in the early morning dew,
I remember the me and sing about the you.

Laying down in the twilight skies,
I dream about the stars and who you are.

Cascading rhythms of crimson hue,
Reveals the nature of me and you.

Brought together over eons of time,
Displayed in ripples of celestial rhyme.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tao of Meditation

Look, it cannot be seen.

Grasped, it cannot be felt

Listening, it cannot be heard.

Seek beyond the senses to the Tao.

This is the way of the Tao and Meditation.

What on earth does this mean? It all sounds very paradoxical. Look, it cannot be seen? What's up with that. Either you see it or you don't, right! Well, no. Tao points to the fact that everything is an illusion on this plane or plane-it. What it means is that you cannot trust your five senses to tell you what is real. And that there is a reality that underlies everything beyond the senses. How do you get beyond the senses? By not paying attention to them! Which takes practice. It takes practice because everything we have been taught is all biased. Biased by culture, philosophy, religion, politics, education, sociology and our belief systems. There is nothing wrong with learning about these things, but it does not get you any closer to truth or wisdom. Our world is constantly directing us away from this, through the lastest news and current poop. While we race around in circles, moving through the universe at break-neck speeds. The Truth sits quietly in the center at perfect peace and harmony. And will always do so!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Way of Heaven and Earth

There are many different types of meditation schools out there today as well as many different styles of meditation. How do you find what is right for you? I know many people that dabble with the latest meditation craze and they never get very far. It is important to find a meditation technique, style or way of life that suits you and stick with it. It takes time and practice to acheive results from meditation. Most people do not want to take the time and that is why so few people meditate. They would rather watch TV. We are part of the Pepsi generation and are hooked on activity. We need to keep our minds preoccupied with all the flotsum and jetsum that is happening in the cosmos. If we could just take a moment from our busy world to look within. Oh, what an outstanding difference that could make on this planet!

I can't tell you what mediation practice is best for you. Let your intuition guide you. I can tell you that it will make a profound impact on your life. My intuition revealed that it is important to remember that Heaven is above and Earth is below. When you meditate, one should circulate the breath and attention between Heaven and Earth, letting the breath flow upwards to Heaven and back down to the Earth. In our daily lives, we do just the opposite. We are constantly bringing down the creative energy from Heaven and utilizing them in our everyday world. There is nothing wrong with this, as it is the Way of the World. But we also need to be balanced and realize the Way of Heaven. That is meditation. Learning how to be nourished by the Eternal Spirit.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Joy in Meditation

There are many different schools of meditation out there, but they all use many similar techniques and processes. Basically, there are two different kinds of meditation that I would call: “esoteric” meditation and “exoteric” meditation. Very simply, “esoteric” meditation are those practices that involve going inward, and focus on what is going on inside of you, while “exoteric” meditation are those practices that focus on what is outside of you. Esoteric meditation practices focus on one’s inner states, and processes like breathing, emotions, thoughts, etc., that lead to higher states of consciousness and awareness. In esoteric meditation, it is important for one to become very receptive. In other words, one has to be able to empty ones’ self of all thoughts, conceptions, and ideas to receive higher spiritual energy.

It is like that old Zen story, where a prospective student wants to learn the essence of Zen. He has all these ideas of what it should be like after reading a book or two about Zen. Finally one day, the student goes before the Zen master, requesting to learn about Zen. He tells the Master all the things he has read about Zen and wants to learn. The Zen Master says nothing, but brings out a pot of tea, and asks the student if he would like some. The student does not want to appear ungrateful and accepts the offer for tea. But he continues on with his discourse on his many ideas about Zen. The Master pours the student some tea. Soon the tea has reached the brim of the cup and starts to overflow. The student becomes alarmed, and tells the Master, “Sir, the tea is overflowing!” The Master replies, “It is like your mind, overflowing with thoughts on Zen, but if you are to really learn Zen, you have to empty yourself of all thoughts and ideas of Zen, and be open to the real nature of Zen.” Such is esoteric meditation. One must empty and calm the mind in order to experience higher levels of spiritual consciousness.

Exoteric meditation is when the awareness is focused on what is happening outside oneself. Now, one might think that this is our normal state of affairs. Our everyday reality consists of focusing our awareness on what is happening all around us. But exoteric meditation is more than what I call “reactive awareness”, which is our customary consciousness of the world. Exoteric meditation allows one to see or feel the connection that exists, between the inner and outer aspects of ourselves, and the universe around us.

One example of exoteric meditation is the practice of “mindfulness”. This is a Buddhist meditation that focuses the awareness on the present moment. The emphasis of this meditation is to experience fully the present moment, without judgment or apprehension. For most of us; our present reality is always colored with a constant mental dialogue that is filled with apprehension, fear, and judgment. For example, I may be at a meeting for work, and not have paid any attention to a word that was said, because I was preoccupied in a mental dialogue about my next project deadline; or I may have eaten my entire lunch, without tasting one bite of it, because of a pending appointment; or I may feel bored waiting for the clock to strike four o’clock, so I can go home. If you are ever bored, you are not in the present moment! The present moment is always infinitely interesting!

An important aspect of mindfulness is acceptance; acceptance of the present moment. If you are stuck in traffic and becoming irritated, you are not in the present moment, as you would rather be somewhere else. This does not mean you have to be happy, because you are stuck in traffic, it means you just have to accept it, and allow things to move at their own pace. Every morning, I have to commute to work and whenever there is a traffic jam, I tend to get upset. I get upset because I am not accepting the present moment, and would rather be moving along the road to my destination. But if I am able to become aware and accept the present moment without judgment, then I can just experience this event; called a “traffic jam” without letting it bother me. Then it becomes an interesting experience instead of a frustrating one.

Exoteric meditation is also intense concentration on an object or course of action, where you lose yourself in that object or action. When people who engage in sports say; “they are in the groove”, that is natural exoteric meditation. I have experienced this feeling when I have been on the cutting edge in trail running and cycle racing. It feels like you have hooked into the flow of the universe, and every move you make is natural and perfect. The sense of effort disappears and you are completely at one, with what you are doing. In Zen in the Art of Archery, the goal of the archer is not to hit the target, but to become one with it. At that point the archer, the arrow and the target all become one.

Intense concentration on an object is another form of exoteric meditation. In Yantra Yoga; meditation on pictures, symbols and “mandalas” are used to transform one’s awareness to a higher state of consciousness. Within the esoteric arts; there are many exoteric meditative practices where one concentrates on various objects, plants, animals, people and divine god forms. Through meditative techniques, one can experience the object of meditation from the inside out; instead of looking from the outside in. In other words, through meditation, you can experience an object, plant or being from within. In a sense, you actually become that object of meditation. I have spent hours watching geese, birds, squirrels and other animals in the park. I have practiced meditating on them and it is quite fascinating how your perception changes. You actually begin to feel what it is like to walk like a goose, move like a goose, think like a goose and fly like a goose! Our consciousness is not limited to our little mortal bodies, but can move and become wherever we put it. This is the great secret of meditation!

Esoteric and exoteric meditations are really just two sides of the same coin. They are just two different approaches to the one universal reality that is part of all of us. The great sage, Hermes Tremegistos said: “As above, so below; as within, so without.” Such is the nature of the One Reality. Whether we seek the divine from within or without, it is there and everywhere. But the interesting thing is that it has to be discovered. We have covered our divinity through our physical bodies and egos manifesting on the physical plane. Meditation is the best way to uncover our real nature and realize inner divinity.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Joy of Meditation

It is amazing to me the amount of people that know about meditation, but how few actually do it. I have many friends that practice yoga, but have never tried meditation. They have no idea what they are missing! The popular notion of meditation is that it is helpful for finding peace and tranquility. And it certainly is. But it is so much more! There is a joy and bliss in meditation that not too many people have experienced or understand.

I began meditating when I was about twenty years old. I was first inspired to meditate after reading a book by Ram Dass called, Be Here Now. The book really made be reflect upon my life and the values that I held. It sparked the beginning of my spiritual awareness. I started practicing a very basic meditation, which consisted of simple breathing awareness techniques. I practiced daily and after several months, I began to experience this state of “lightness”. My entire body would begin to feel “light”, like it wanted to float, and with it; I would experience a feeling of joy. It was not quite a feeling of ecstasy, but more an overall feeling of well-being. And the interesting thing was that after my mediation, the feeling of joy would linger as I began my daily activities. I was very moved by these joyful feelings arising from my meditation, and would talk about it with my friends. Most of my friends knew about meditation, but had never practiced it. They pretty much thought it was just a mental exercise to bring about relaxation. Some of them had tried to practice meditation, but became discouraged when they could not slow down their thought processes. So they usually gave up quickly. I thought that it was sad as they were not willing to make the effort at regular practice and wanted instant results.

Meditation does take time, effort and practice. And so do most things that are worthwhile on this planet. But if you hang in there, it is amazing the amount of joy and peace that meditation brings. Meditation is not just sitting there with nothing going on upstairs. It is not boring! But you have to get pass the normal ebb and flow of the thought processes, before things begin to happen.

In my next blog, I will review some different meditative techniques for people to practice at home that can bring more joy and peace into your life.