Practical Meditation

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Meditation is much more than just contemplation of the breath. In fact, it could be said that life is meditation. If, when you are walking, you are aware of the walking, if when sitting, you are aware of sitting, if when speaking to someone, you are aware of that, and so on, then you are meditating.

Meditation is the ongoing, unconditioned azwareness of what is happening now!....and now!....and now!

When I say unconditioned I mean that you are not thinking about what is happening, but feeling it - even the thoughts. These too are sensations that can be felt. Out of this unconditioned awareness of every moment comes a new way of being, where you find you don't have to worry about things to come up with the right decision, and you sdon't have to think hard to find a creative answer - these things arise out of the process of being here now.

I'll just describe now a sitting meditation that perhaps you can try:

1. First, contemplate the sitting body, - the sensations - all of them, moving from one to another, and where you find tightness, encourage the muscles concerned to let go. there is no particular order to moving - let the sensations call for your attention.

2. Once the body is relatively relaxed, rest the contemplative focus of mind on the breath - the movement of breath in and out of the body - the sensations of it, in the nose, or the throat, the chest or the belly. Contemplate the breath. It is suitable because it has the least amount of reactive tie-ins with the conditioned aspects of mind. It is easily perceivable, has always been there, it will always be there (in this life anyway), and there is nothing to think about it.

3. The mind will constantly be pulled away from the breath - that is accepted - don't try to cling to the breath - it is merely somewhere to default to when nothing else is pertinent. If it is thoughts that have drawn you away, contemplate the thinking, but not the thoughts - that is, contemplating how it feels to be thinking - the mental noise of the thoughts, but don't bother with what they are saying - perhaps you could gently note to yourself, ‘mind is thinking' and as soon as you can, let go and go back to the breath and rest the focus there. In your peripheral awareness, you will still be aware of activity in the thought aspect, but you are not focused on it.

4. If it is a sensation that persists in distracting the mind from the breath, go to it, and contemplate it, and note with very small thoughts, mind is feeling....mind is feeling...', and so on with the other senses - seeing, hearing, thinking, feeling, tasting, and touching, as well as any other notes that are useful, like ‘tightness' and so on. But only note those things that are persistently nagging for attention.

These notes function to remind the conscious mind of the change of emphasisyou wish it to reorient itself to. You are not interested in what the mind thinks about what is happening, or it's opinions, or it's fears, or desires or memories - you are only interested in the naked sensation of it - as it is.

At first the mind will fight - it will lure you like a cheap politician, bringing up thoughts that demand attention - sex, pain, fears, everything - and then it will try to get you to react to sitting still - it will cause pains, itching, aching, and so on. Try not to react to these cheap tricks - just keep reminding the mind of this new emphasis on sensing thing rather than thinking about them.

Practice in the same way as a sportsman trains - you are building a skill - reconditioning the mind to be clearer about thing, not so lost in it's reactive thoughts, and not so worried about things it cannot do anything about. So the thought world becomes less prominent, and other aspects begin to appear - intuition, creativity, love, and most importantly, a new thought free way of understanding things that you can act from, and trust that those actions will always turn out to be appropriate. Why? Because the impulse came from a deep knowing that is shared by the rest of the greater mind - the world, and universe around you.

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