MEDITATION: KEY TO THE LOTUS
There is no greater practice for developing the seventh chakra than meditation. It is the very act through which consciousness realizes itself. It is as essential to nourishing the spirit as eating and rest are to the body.
There are countless techniques for meditation. You can regulate your breath, intone mantras, visualize colors, shapes, or deities move energy through your chakras, walk or move with awareness, hook yourself up to a brain machine, or just stare blankly in front of you. To be worthwhile, all of these forms must have one thing in common-they must enhance, soothe, and harmonize the habitual clutter.
We take it for granted that we need to take showers, clean our houses, and wash our clothes, We’d be uncomfortable if we didn’t, to say nothing of being the object of social criticism, yet, the mind and its thoughts need cleansing, perhaps even more than our bodies. The mind works longer, encounters wider dimensions, and runs the operating system of our life as well! While few of us would consider eating dinner on yesterday’s dirty dishes, we think nothing of tackling a new problem with yesterday’s cluttered mind. No wonder we feel tired, confused, and ignorant!
Meditation is both an end and a means. We may achieve better clarity, mood elevation, or simply better physical coordination; but the mind, as an inseparable commander of all else, deserves the best treatment we can give it.
As the seventh chakra exists in the dimension of “witness” meditation we can systematically tune out the outside world and cultivate sensitivity to the inner. Through that sensitivity we can then enter the point of singularity which connects all things. We are the vortex of all that we experience. At the center of that vortex lies understanding.
Through harmonization of our bodies, breath and thoughts, we can line up our chakras and perceive the unifying essence of all creation. But this is not an alignment of physical reality as much as it is an inner alignment of archetypal energies, a spiritual alignment with the underlying unity we have come to discover in each chakra.
But what exactly does meditation do? What are the physiological effects, psychological states, and resulting benefits? And why is this strange practice of doing nothing so valuable?
The widespread practice of TM, or Transcendental Meditation, as thought by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi , has enabled some systematic study of mental and physical effects over a wide variety of subjects. Transcendental Meditation, as taught by the TM association, involves the simple practice of spending twenty minutes twice a die sitting quietly and internally uttering a mantra, given to the mediator by the teacher. There are no strange postures, breathing patterns or dietary recommendations, making this practice easy to learn and easy to study.
The most noteworthy finding of these studies seemed to show up in the EEG measuring of brain-wave are random and chaotic, and most commonly in the beta frequency. The two hemispheres of the brain may generate different wavelengths, and there may be further difffences form the front to the back of the brain as well.
Meditation changes this dramatically. Immediately upon beginning, the meditation subjects showed increased alpha waves (brain waves characteristic of a relaxed state of mind) which began at the back of the brain and moved forward. After a few minutes, the alpha waves increased in amplitude. The back and the front of the brain became synchronized in phase as did the left and right hemispheres. This resonance continued and in many cases theta waves appeared (a deeper state than alpha0 especially in those more experienced with the practice. In the most advanced mediators, alpha was found to occur more frequently in a normal, waking state, and with greater amplitude.
With these people theta was more prevalent during meditation, and even occurred during normal waking states.
Meditation has physiological effects as well. Oxygen intake decreased by 16-18 percent, heart rate decreased by 25 percent and blood pressure was lowered, all of which are controlled by the autonomic nervous system, (the controller of involuntary processes). This allows the body to enter a state of deep rest-far deeper than what it receives in sleep. This rest the n allows for greater alertness in waking consciousness.
It is interesting to note that while mediators do enter a state of deep rest, the attention/awareness increases rather than decreases.
When a sound was produced periodically to a non mediator, the brain waves showed a gradual acclimation to the noise-less and less reaction until it was effectively “tuned out.” The mediator, on the other hand, while meditating, reacted freshly to the sound each time it was made. Therefore, while the body diminishes all its activities, the mind is essentially released from the body’s limitations and freer to expand to new horizons.
It is suggested that meditation de-stimulates the cerebral cortex and the limbic system, and through brain-wave resonance heals the split between the old and the new brain. This split has been suspected to be a cause of alienated emotional states and schizoid behavior, difficulties particular to humans and essentially nonexistent in animals. Beater coordination between the two hemispheres can also lead to increased cognitive and perceptual ability.
And the psychological effects, Aside from a general feeling of relaxation, inner peace, and inner peace, and increased well-being mediators were found to have improved academic performance, increased job satisfaction and production, a decrease in drug use(both prescription and recreational), and faster reaction times. All this from simply sitting still and doing nothing!
In the face of this evidence it is hard to deny that meditation has feat reward. Who wouldn’t want greater health, mood elevation, and increased performance? All that for a practice that costs nothing, requires no equipment, and can be done anywhere! Yet why is it that so few people actually do take the time to mediate, and that even those who do find it difficult to practice as often as they would like to?
We have spoken of rhythms, resonance, and morphogenetic fields, and how all three of them tend to perpetuate themselves just as they are, In a world whose vibration level is largely oriented around the first three chakras, placing greater value on material, it is difficult to find the time, validation, and even desire to go off and enter a different wavelength-especially one whose reward is so subjective. The idea that one “should” meditate, added to the thousands of other “should” hammering on us each day, can almost make the practice repugnant.
Yet true meditation is a state of mind-not an effort. Once the state is achieved a few times, it begins to create its own self-perpetuating rhythms, its own morphogenetic field, and its own effect on the vibrations around us. Then it becomes an integral part of life, staying with us through waking consciousness, sleep, and all other activities. At this point meditation becomes a joy, not a discipline. But until then we can only describe the effects and hope they are enough to fire the will’s curiosity. At least the price is right!
So now we come to the how-tos. And here we find that meditation has as many techniques as there are mediators. I suggest that it is worth-while to. At some point, give each of them a try, and from the experience tailor one to suit you exactly. Then stick with it for awhile, for it is over time that meditation practices show their greatest rewards.
It is important to find a quiet, comfortable environment where you won’t be disturbed. Make sure you don’t have clothing that is binding, that you won’t too hot or too cold, and that distracting noises are kept to a minimum. Meditation is generally better on a slightly empty stomach, though intense hunger pangs can also be distracting.
Most meditations are done while sitting comfortably with the spine straight, but not tense. This can be done in a chair, or sitting cross-legged on the floor-in either full or half lotus or simple Indian style. The reason for this is that the body needs to be in a low-maintenance position so it can relax, yet not so comfortable that you fall asleep. Furthermore, a straight back allows alignment of all the chakras, and better transmission of energy up and down the Subhuman.
While in the half-lotus position, you can do any number of things: you can follow your breath in and out, tuning yourself to it s rhythms;
You can gaze at a Mandela, a candle flame, or some other appropriate visual stimulus; or you can simply watch your thoughts as they go by, neither following them, stopping them, nor judging them. The separation of self and thoughts helps to achieve the Transcendent state.
As in the TM technique, you can internally utter a mantra and focus your mind on its vibration going through you. This harmonizes the vibration states, as we have seen. You can watch your emotional states and achieve detachment from them, visualize various colors running through your chakras, or spend your time asking who it is that’s meditating. A common Zen practice is to concentrate on a paradoxical statement, called a Koan, Which de-intellectualizes the mind by its lack of logic. “What is the sound of one hand clapping? Is a typical Koan, Another is “What was the face you wore before you were born?
“ The idea is not to find an answer but to allow the question to knock down the barriers of your normal logical mode of thinking, and allow perception of something greater.
It is difficult to compare one method to another and make any kind of value judgment; Different meditations affect people in different ways. The emphasis is not on the technique used, but on how well one is able to use it. No matter the technique, the act of repetition and concentration charges the act over time. It is a discipline, and like any other discipline becomes easier with practice.