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introduction to Meditation





INTRODUCTION

TO

MEDITATION

Dr. Lewis Keizer

Program Director
Meditation Fellowship of U.C.S.C.










INTRODUCTION
TO
MEDITATION

Preface


Many people want to begin a meditation practice but feel unsuccessful
when they try.  They are discouraged by the fact that their minds
wander, they don't feel any benefit from what they are doing, they
wonder whether they are doing things "right," or they don't find the
cosmic bliss they have been led to expect.

This little booklet is a simple distillation of centuries-old wisdom
from many traditions that can help the serious student move into a
productive daily practice of meditation.  Once a person has become a
daily meditator using an effective practice based upon an analysis of
his or her particular mental tendencies, and once this person has
developed a realistic expectation and a long-term view about meditation
practice gained through many months of commitment and perseverence, he
or she will enter into a process of "break-through" into a luminous
nectar-ocean of ever-expanding awareness.  This will become the
foundation for things beyond the scope of our text, and it will be the
reliable basis for all further progress.  It may lead the meditator to a
particular school or teacher, or establish channels for superb
self-guidance, or directly reveal intermediate and advanced practices to
the student in due season.

I have composed the main text, with some suggestions by Marie, and she
has written the final portion entitled, "Visualization Meditation."  My
wife, Tess Popper, also helped by proof-reading the rough draft.

Marie and I hope this booklet will be useful to our friends of the
Meditation Fellowship and any other people who seriously want to begin
regular meditation.



Dr. Lewis Keizer
February 3, 1991
Boulder Creek, CA

WHAT IS MEDITATION?

Meditation is an approach to self-knowledge that uses direct subjective
experience as a means of revealing and integrating untapped creative,
intuitive, and psychic faculties.  It includes techniques that are
effective in amplifying and fine-tuning existing abilities or skills as
well methods for psychological self-discovery, analysis, and positive
transformation.  Thus meditation is a kind of "high tech" approach to
the systematic unfoldment of human potential.

Meditation is a daily practice that produces long-term, cumulative
effects.  Over the years, they result in deepenings, maturations,
ripenings, and sequential unfoldments of expanded awareness and
self-mastery in mental, emotional, and even physical life.  Advanced
meditators often develop and can demonstrate conscious control over
basic cellular functions of their own physical bodies.

Meditation is not a religion or set of beliefs, although meditative,
contemplative, and related mystical and spiritual practices have been
carried into modern times  through the cultural traditions of religion.
But meditation is a tool of consciousness that allows us to work
dynamically with direct experience of relatively uncharted human
potential that in ancient times was attributed only to gods, and it
clears the way for the evolution of a wiser, more expanded human nature
not only among individual practitioners, but in all human society.

From the treasury of meditation paths and practices that developed among
historical religious, yogic, and shamanic traditions, it is possible to
discover, expand, and adapt techniques for modern people that can
develop into fruitful daily practice. Although it is desirable for a
meditator to seek and find a skilled teacher who can guide him or her
through effective traditional practice, it is also possible for many to
follow an intuitive,  more interior guidance that draws from readings
and encounters with many different teachers and schools.

There is no reason to be intimidated by all the schools, paths, and
variations of meditation practice.  The countless varieties of
meditation technique are simply "skillful means" of integrating
increasingly better, more inclusive, more sensitive, and more refined
maturations of expanded consciousness (or ego-state, or self-awareness)
into conscious, daily life and personality.  The choice of technique, or
of school, or of teacher (if necessary), is not of primary concern in
order to begin a fruitful daily practice. These things may or may not be
useful at a later time, as meditation begins to be established in one's
life.

Rather, the single most important thing about meditation is simply to do
it ! 

-2- 

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF MEDITATION?

The first result of persistent daily meditation is to penetrate and
finally break through the ground of false, limited, "normal" mental
consciousness into what might be called the vast and luminous nectar of
awakened consciousness. It is often called a "nectar" because the
experience of it is sweet and harmonious, and it is called "luminous"
because there is a sense of a kind of matrix of white light filling the
space of what was once perceived as the dark void of one's interior
visual field when the eyes were closed (thus terms like
"enlightenment"). 

This "awakened" state of awareness lasts for only a few seconds at
first, and it is often perceived as a lapse into momentary
unconsciousness, but with perseverence in daily practice it becomes a
familiar experience that can be generated and held as a kind of "field"
of attunement to bring the deeper levels of "self" into greater harmony
and focus for the work of the day.

When the meditator is able to evoke this sweet, harmonious, luminous,
and greatly expanded consciousness without falling asleep or allowing
the mind to wander, he or she discovers a new, more awakened, higher
ego-state or sense of "self" that takes much more control over the
normal mental and emotional processes than the original, pre-meditation
"self."  The net result is that one keeps a cooler head and is able to
function more effectively and realistically in crisis situations than
before starting meditation practice; is better able to concentrate,
focus effort, and visualize problems and solutions; is able to "think on
his or her feet" and tap into spontaneous, helpful insights as needed;
is able to approach emotional problems with less worry and mental
static.  As one begins to develop this new, higher ego-state, his or her
mental faculties begin to clear and function in the moment with expanded
awareness. The effect  might be described as a demonstrable gain in
intelligence and me ntal self-mastery.

Everything that a meditator achieves becomes a permanent asset, because
this "interior" kind of growth, which activates and brings what was
hitherto unconscious, subconscious, or superconscious into the field of
expanded consciousness, is cumulative in nature. That is, although the
meditator may "ripen," complete, and then leave a specific practice, the
effects it has produced remain as foundation and building blocks for
more advanced practice.  Thus the meditator, once firmly established in
the kind of attunement that enhances his or her daily work "in the
world," can deepen practice for more comprehensive "self-evolution" by
expanding into advanced practices such as those of the Tibetan
Vajrayana, or simply choose to focus on work in the "world," using
meditation as 

-3-

the daily springboard for that.

After meditation has begun to produce the kinds of effects described
above, regardless of whether the meditator is moved to undertake
advanced practices,  he or she may become aware of an even higher
ego-state that seems to offer a kind of telepathic guidance--never
compelling, never speaking in words, yet existing as a kind of voice or
inner prompting. It appears as octave upon octave of successively
"higher" or more expanded and universal "selves" or ego-states ascending
from a close and accessible field of consciousness to one that seems
more than remote--one that is infinitely universal and contains all
ego-states.  

It seems impossible at first to integrate even the nearest and most
accessible of these "selves" as the "I" of the meditator, who instead
might develop an attitude of reverence or prayer towards this Self, this
Other.  In meditation he or she might approach this Teacher, Guide, or
Source at first as a child would a parent.

But through the myth and allegory of daily life, and in the fiery
crucible of life's trials, this Source of interior guidance reveals
subtle and spiritual realities to the very heart of the meditator, and a
new level of effect from meditation begins to unfold: an awareness or
identification of other beings (not necessarily human) as "self," which
is called by the mundane term "compassion" in the mystic Christian,
Sufic, and Boddhisattva traditions of Buddhism, but which is the
beginning of higher psychic development in all spiritual traditions;  an
awakening in sleep unto  "lucid dreaming," with various developments
that eventually lead to a continuity of waking and sleeping
consciousness such that one "works" at night while the body rests as
well as during the day;  a refinement and extension of five-sense
reality beginning with more intense experiences of taste, touch, smell,
hearing, and sight, then developing into spontaneous manifestations of
psychic faculties (not necessarily und er personal control) which tend
to cause the meditator to take seriously and examine closely the more
subtle parts of perception;  a radical intensification of emotional
experience which causes the meditator to undergo indescribably profound
initiations of high bliss and cleansing agonies; and much more.

Finally, as the meditator is able to identify with, then integrate,
successively higher ego-states, meditation itself becomes continual
without necessity of sitting or closing the eyes.  At this point the
meditator rarely prays or seeks guidance from an even higher
unintegrated "self," but instead takes his or her place as a co-worker
with the One Self that is always beyond self and all ego-states.  The
meditator yogically oversees what to most people are "involuntary"
bodily functions, using intuitively-grasped techniques to correct
illness and disharmonies

-4-

of his or her own and even other's physical bodies; the meditator enters
into intimate dialogue with the treasury and profundity of subtle,
invisible, esoteric reality hidden from normal minds and works for the
greater good of all other beings, which the meditator feels and
empathizes with as "self;"  the meditator gradually makes telepathic and
even physical contact with other highly developed brothers and sisters
living in human bodies on the planet who have made similar achievements
and are doing similar but coordinated work under the same higher,
planetary guidance as part of an orchestrated whole selflessly promoting
the higher evolution of human consciousness and the various fields of
human activity.

This is a very abbreviated summary of the long-term effects of
meditation.  While the more advanced effects may seem totally out of
human range, they are in fact very real.  There are many human beings
world-wide who quietly function at "superhuman" levels.  They do not
reveal themselves under most conditions, and they do not offer their
wisdom or guidance on the market places or in books.

Many of them no longer inhabit remote mountains, but live near
population centers.  Some, like the Tibetan Rinpoches, have recently
become quite accessible.

It is much easier today to find a good teacher than it was a century
ago, but there are also more fraudulent or self-deluded "spiritual
teachers" in the world than ever before. 


HOW DO I BEGIN?


The first approach to meditation is simply sitting and focussing in
order to discover how your particular mind operates to distract you and
keep you boxed into normal mental consciousness.  There are many
time-honored techniques for this, but we suggest sitting in three
sessions on separate days for a period of five to ten minutes to do the
following sequence of three exercises--one each day in the order given.

MEDITATION POSTURE

Sit comfortably in a chair with feet on the floor and touching each
other, palms up on knees or thighs with the tip of the thumb touching
the tip of the forefinger.  The head should be tilted slightly down (too
far down will cause drowsiness), with the eyes gently closed,
positioned straight ahead,  and facing a window or 

-5-

other source of slight illumination.  Don't sit in darkness, which
promotes drowsiness, or use candle light alone, which flickers and
distracts. Sit in a quiet place free from interruption and physical
distraction or discomfort.

The idea of sitting with spine perpendicular to the ground (not
slouching or held in an artificially stiff position) is to achieve
mental focus through benefit of a kind of sensory deprivation.  Thus
physical comfort is vital to assure that the physical body doesn't
become a distracting battleground of aches and itches.

Unless a meditator is used to sitting in yogic postures comfortably, it
is best to either sit in a chair, or to use some sort of high cushion or
cushion-and-box combination.  To keep the body happy, the knees should
be lower than the hips.  Purchase a proper meditation cushion or devise
something else that will keep your buttocks six to twelve inches above
the floor if you want to sit cross-legged.

FIRST DAY'S EXERCISE

Sit in meditation posture, take a few deep breaths, and then relax.
With eyes closed, focus your attention onto the tip of your nose and
begin to "watch" your breaths.  Inhale and exhale slowly through your
nostrils, and count each cycle of breath as it comes and goes:
1...2...3...  Don't allow your mind to wander or be distracted by
anything.  Simply stay on task counting breaths.  When you lose count,
start again from the number one.  Do this for at least five minutes.

When you finish, write on a sheet of paper how many breaths you were
able to take before losing count, and record what things seemed to be
distracting you--sounds, thoughts, worries, uncomfortable physical
sensations, etc.  It is vital that you remember and record everything
you can remember about your distractions.

SECOND DAY'S EXERCISE

Sit comfortably in meditation posture, take a few deep breaths to relax,
and then with eyes closed imagine that a pure, soft, white illumination
is slowly permeating your cranium, and you are aware of this soft
brightness slowly increasing.  Focus on the increasing illumination and
don't let your mind wander.  Whenever it does and you suddenly realize
you've strayed off task, imagine the deep, rich, resonant voice of your
best and highest self authoritatively commanding, "Mind, be still and
seek the Light."  

When you finish, record your distractions and any visual hallucinations
or vivid mental wanderings you experienced, noting especially if they
were visual, auditory, or tactile.

-6-

THIRD DAY'S EXERCISE

Sit in meditation posture, making certain that your meditation
environment is as completely silent and without sound distraction as
possible.  Take a few deep breaths, then focus on your ears and the
sense of hearing.  Listen deeply into your ears until you can hear a
thin ringing of sound.  It may sound like the subtle movement of a
gentle wind through trees, or like the sixty-cycle hum of an electric
speaker, or like a very high-pitched ringing.  But it is the subtle,
ever-present "background field" for every sound you hear, and it fades
or modulates every time a sound intrudes from outside.  Be still and
focus your attention on hearing that "soundless" sound, and when you
hear it listen even more intently with the idea of bringing it closer,
louder, and more fully into your consciousness.

If your mind wanders, bring it back into line by commanding, "Mind, be
still and listen to the soundless sound."

When you are finished, record a description of the soundless sound as
you heard it as well as any mental wanderings or other distractions you
may have experienced, making special note as to whether they were
visual, auditory, or tactile.

ANALYZING YOUR RESULTS

By now you will have become familiar with which types of distractions
most effectively impede you during meditation--whether they are visual,
auditory, or tactile.  In other words, are you most distracted by
outside sounds, by mental imaginings and wanderings of a mostly visual
nature, or by tactile bodily discomforts?  At the same time, note
whether distractions tend to pull your consciousness into the past
(worries, rehashing the day or the week), into the present (outside
sounds or motions that are happening at the time of the exercise), or
into the future (visual or auditory hallucinations, mental wanderings
concerning "what comes next" or plans in process).  Note also whether
your mind tends to wander into day-dreaming fantasies (active
imagination) or night-dreaming, narcoleptic lapses into sleep
(unconscious imagination).

Now from the subjective experience of your own mind-scape you can find
useful answers to the following questions:  How does my mind try to keep
itself attached to mundane, five-sense reality, perpetuate its
individual illusions, and resist expanding into the greater awareness
that is, for it, a kind of fearsome unconsciousness?  Which dimension of
time does my mind prefer?  Which of three basic modalities does my mind
prefer--visual, auditory, or tactile--or which two does it favor and in
what proportions?  Which of the three exercises seemed 

-7-

most fruitful to me--that is, which did I enjoy the most and gave me the
feeling that I was good at doing it and could go on for a long time with
it?

USING THE RESULTS TO DESIGN A MEDITATION STRATEGY

Minds that are most easily distracted by sound are also most open to
inspiration through sound, and do best to start meditation with with
auditory techniques.  The same applies to visual and tactile approaches.
The first exercise has a tactile orientation, the second a visual, and
the third an auditory.  Whichever of the three seemed easiest and most
productive is the one that should be used for the first stage of
meditation practice, which is all the scope of this pamphlet is intended
to provide.

If you felt that the meditation on light was most effective for you, but
found that your most serious distractions were auditory, still use the
light meditation as your base.  As you concentrate upon light and get
more skilled at stilling the mind, you may experience auditory mental
wanderings that sometime bring flashes of insight and guidance.  Later
on you may want to work with the soundless sound and find yourself
experiencing visionary insight and guidance through that focus.  Most of
us have active tactile, visual, and auditory components for meditation,
though we may be most developed in one or the other, and through
meditation all three will unfold into a unified field of consciousness.

If your mind tends to move back into the past when it wanders, you may
be able to do well in one of the traditional paths or schools of
meditation.  If it tends to be distracted toward the future, you might
do better in a New Age or non-traditional system of meditation.  If your
mind is distracted by conditions existing in the present, like sounds,
and if you are able to overcome these distractions by strong will and
devotion to practice, you may be able to make great progress without an
incarnate teacher by developing an ability to follow telepathic guidance
that comes through higher octaves of self. You may be able to develop
great intuitive faculties and razor-like discrimination that allow you
to stand apart from schools and systems. 

Determine which of the three forms of meditation exercise you want to
use and read over your notes about how your mind was distracted.  See
the patterns, and then knowing the patterns, determine how you will
provide for recognizing them as they try to manifest during meditation.
Just as the prudent driver learns to recognize his own symptoms of
drowsiness and pulls off the road before falling asleep at the wheel,
the meditator who has studied his or her mental tendencies will be
increasingly better able to compensate for wanderings and distractions

-8-

by "nipping in the bud" whatever begins to arise to pull the mind off
task, and thus will achieve increasingly longer periods of focus.

Finally, if you find that your mental wanderings seem to be more of the
active-imagination "day-dreaming" sort, then tip your chin down and
lower your eyes to decrease mental stimulation.  If, on the other hand,
you find yourself having a tendency to get drowsy and fall into fits of
vivid unconscious "night-dreaming" while attempting to meditate, try
tipping your chin up more and raising your eyes to the horizontal or
even a bit higher to stimulate your conscious mental process.


THE FIRST STAGE OF MEDITATION

Having chosen one of the three meditation exercises and made an
introductory analysis of your particular mental tendencies, knowing that
the channels and modes through which your mind is most easily distracted
are probably also the same channels through which your highest and best
inspiration comes, you are ready to take up your first meditation
practice.

SUGGESTIONS

1.  Meditate for no more than five or eight minutes once a day in the
morning after awakening from sleep, but before  talking to anyone or
otherwise engaging or stirring up your mind.  Go to the bathroom, but
don't eat anything. Don't meditate in the evening unless with a group.
It will be much harder to meditate fruitfully later in the morning or
afternoon because your mind will no longer be inwardly focussed , as it
is for a short while after awakening, but outer-directed to the exterior
world.  So do it first thing in the morning.

2.  Create a special and private meditation place, perhaps in your
bedroom, and designate a chair or cushion for meditation that no one
else is allowed to use. Cleanse your cushion or chair using a little
eucalyptus or sandalwood oil  diluted in water and sprinkled, or as
incense with the smoke wafted into the fabric, and then consecrate it
for your exclusive use with left hand over heart, right hand extended,
and the breath of your blessing. Set up an altar of sacred objects as
they come to you and keep it in your meditation spot. If possible, face
East when you meditate, and wear a white garment used only for this
purpose.

3.  Do not use candles or recorded music.  Your place should be quiet,
and you should allow natural light into the room.  Never meditate with
sunlight on your face, but face a window or white wall to create a dim
field of light in your closed-eye vision, or hold the eyelids just
slightly open--not enough to see any

-9-

objects, but enough to admit a little light.

4.  If you pray or carry on any ritual, do it after meditation unless it
contributes to a quiet mind with a non-verbal focus.

5.  Meditate as close to sunrise as possible and do it daily.  Rhythm
and regularity greatly empower the cumulative effects of meditation.

6.  Regularly attend a meditation group if possible.  This will
potentiate your individual practice.

7.  Don't expect anything from your meditation.  Treat mental wanderings
as what they really are--psychological manifestations, not divine
revelations.  Don't feel superior to non-meditators.  Don't adopt any
special diets for meditation unless they are already a part of your
life.  Don't meditate with a headache, and don't meditate immediately
after sex (many suggest separating the two by several hours as they each
draw similar energies).

The most important rule about meditation is very simple--JUST DO IT!
AND KEEP DOING IT!


WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?

Do your five-minute meditation practice faithfully every morning.  After
many months or maybe a year, or even longer, you will begin to see many
positive cumulative effects of the sort described above.  

During the first few months you may have certain kinds of mystical
experiences, but just observe them, record them if you want, and let
them go.  There may be negative by-products of the meditation, such as
the unearthing of unsettling psychological elements, nightmares, or
self-confrontations.  Note them and let them go.

Don't get the idea that you are a meditation teacher or guru after your
first six months.  You're still in pre-school, or maybe kindergarten (if
you are extremely talented). Don't fall victim to mystical "inflation."

As time passes and you become better at keeping on task, you can extend
your meditation period to ten and even twenty minutes, if you want.  By
then you will start being aware of short, seemingly "unconscious"
periods of your meditation

-10-

when your mind is not wandering, but time seems to stand still.   You
emerge from these little episodes with a feeling of great peace,
harmony, and resolution.  When this happens, you are beginning to break
through the false ground of human mentality and briefly touch the
luminous nectar of what has been called rigpa, the universal ground of
consciousness.  The purpose of this first stage of meditation practice
is to lead you there.

As you begin to recognize the luminous state and enter it every morning,
you will find that even a brief contact of only three or four seconds
establishes an interior attunement that empowers the work and activities
of your entire day. You will increase your ability to make this
break-through by fits and starts--some days doing it almost
effortlessly, and other days only with supreme effort.  But you will not
quit your meditation until you achieve it, even if only for a few
seconds, because now you will finally understand for yourself why people
meditate, and how it is that the greatest treasures in life are the most
hidden.  You will feel doors opening for you that lead to unimagined and
undreamed-of potentials for human good and dynamic transformation.

As you continue your daily dialogue with rigpa, it will teach you and
lead you into the next stages of meditation--perhaps through a teacher,
perhaps not. But from this point on, your break-through will stand as a
foundation and an oasis of nectar to which you can return again and
again.

This is the introduction to meditation. 




Dr. Lewis Keizer



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