Loving Oneness Now
MEDITATION and CONTEMPLATION
This is a set of instructions about how to meditate and/or to contemplate as spiritual activities. It is a distillation from the various methods of meditation and contemplation I have personally used and taught, of my extensive reading on the subject, and of my study of A Course in Miracles over many years.
The meditation sections introduce quick methods for emptying (silencing, or stilling) the everyday ego-mind, and of getting in touch with the Universal Mind of God of Which our Minds-as-such are a part. "Mind-as-such" denotes what your Real Mind is, and what you are (as a Spirit-Mind-Being), when your Mind is emptied of everyday ego-thoughts. Do not confuse your Mind-as-such, which is the thinker/feeler Being, with what it thinks and feels, any more than (as an analogy) you would confuse a cup with what it contains or a computer with its loaded programs and data. Even the most powerful computer (a metaphor) can be filled with nonsensical programs and data, and that is what the Course says we mostly do with our God-like Minds-as-such. Of our own free will, throughout our lives, we fill our Minds-as-such with thousands of insane, nonsensical ego-beliefs.
Also, please do not confuse your Mind-as-such with your physical brain or body. Your Mind-as-such is eternally in the Mind-as-such of God. God is the One and Only Universal Mind-as-such in Which we All share, and within Which we Live eternally as Mind-Beings. God's Thoughts of Being, Love, Light, Peace, Joy, Oneness, Creation, Extension and Knowledge within His Mind-as-such are REAL. Although we have temporarily forgotten them, we all share His Thoughts and Ideas with Him. There is nothing else that is REAL.
Note that prayer is about "talking" to God, while meditation is listening to God with a still Mind-as-such.
Contemplation is seeing and experiencing God's
Creation everywhere, as in, for example, your favorite flower, or a close
THE PURPOSE OF MEDITATION
ultimate objective of
meditation is to immerse our (stilled) Minds-as-such into the
Universal Mind of God and to rest there in a state of completely unified
communication (called communion) with God as One ("My Father and I
are One"). However, there is almost always a period of training, before
such a clear state is achieved, even though some people have been bathed in
indescribable Love or Light after only a few meditations. The Course says
that a sufficient aim of meditation is to find the Peace of God
within us. If we can reach that Peace, or approximate to it, by
(or eventually dismantling) the ego, then the Holy Spirit (as the
Voice for God, or Higher Self, or Inner Teacher, or Guide) can communicate
directly, explaining to us the spiritual steps we can take. Some
people may communicate with their Spiritual Guides while in a meditative state,
and that is okay, but deep Peace, Stillness and Universal Loving Oneness are
also our objective. None of this discussion is meant to imply we cannot have a
conversation with God directly--which we can do anytime we are able to commune
with God as a Mind within God's Mind-as-such.
the book "Friendship with God" [by Neale Donald Walsh] God emphasizes
(as do all Masters) the fundamental importance of meditating with the intent
of stilling the ego-mind of all thinking, and of thus getting into
a state of complete silence. God says when the blue or white light is
seen in the Stillness/Silence during clear ego-less meditation, our State of
Mind in those moments (Holy Instants) is our Real Self.
"achieving" this Stillness/Silence is, in part, only a stepping-stone to
several other Spiritual Experiences which are listed here. As you read,
note the word "Experience." An Experience is much more
than intellectually knowing, even though intellectual knowing may be a
prerequisite for Spiritual Experiences.
MEDITATIVE STATE AS A WAY OF INNER LISTENING
hear that Voice, or inner Teacher, Guide, or Real Self we have to
remain alert as we meditate and to "listen
to" (pay attention to) any spiritual thoughts which the
Voice/Teacher/Guide/Real Self places in our stilled minds-as-such.
Almost all schools of meditation rightly instruct their learners to remain alert
and focused all the time
during meditation. In fact, the whole idea is to stay alert, focused and attentive while in a state of relaxed internal
silence; it is only into such a state of silent mind-as-such that God can
come. Everyday thought-chatter, ego-anxieties, fears, fantasies, emotions
and distractions shut out His Voice/Thoughts, not because they are
"sins" but because they distract us. Also, do not
become drowsy, or sleepy, or daydream. Those activities may sometimes be
refreshing, but they are not meditation. Stay relaxed
but alert, and listen
for the Voice for God, which usually comes to us as spiritual thoughts and
feelings, or blissful Peace. I would add here that external silence in the room
is also helpful. Music will probably distract you, but white noise can aid in blotting
out extraneous noises you can do nothing about.
The methods outlined below are ones I have developed from many sources including A Course in Miracles. There are many other methods available from other spiritual paths, both East and West (I have taken several courses in Yoga). Some call for years of training involving elaborate preparations, procedures, postures, and vocalizations, most of which are not necessary. I have tried to keep the methods described here as simple and as direct as possible.
to Meditate, and for How Long? Most
teachers of meditation suggest we meditate twice a day, once in the early
morning shortly after waking up, and once in the evening either before the
evening meal or just before bed. Some people also meditate at midday. Those who
find it difficult to relax should start with only five or ten minutes, gradually
increasing this period to twenty or thirty minutes, but this may take weeks or
months to accomplish. If you tend to be restless, at first try one of the more
active meditation techniques described below. If you also find that one
particular time of the day is best, make that your long meditation, and keep the
other briefer. Remember that sugar and coffee increase restlessness. However, if
you have trouble staying alert try drinking a small glass of juice or a small
cup of mild unsweetened tea before you begin your meditation. Some people need
to meditate initially for up to an hour in order to hear their
Voice/Teacher/Guide/or Self speak to them.
and Posture: You do not have to sit in the traditional Eastern yoga
posture, unless you are already familiar with it and wish to do so. Most of us
can simply sit in a comfortable chair which keeps the back reasonably straight
(do not slump) and the head vertically balanced. The feet can either be placed
flat on the floor, or if the chair is low, they can be crossed at the ankles—a
cushion on the floor under the feet helps. Wear
light, loose clothing that does not constrict your body. Place your hands on or
beside your thighs, or lightly clasp them in your lap. A darkened, quiet room is
my own preference, although I know others prefer to meditate with the light on,
or facing a lit candle, or even outside communing with Nature (which is when I
like to do a walking meditation.) When meditating inside a room I used to
cover my eyes with a soft mask for a reason which will become apparent
shortly. However a mask is quite optional. Some people find it bothersome.
Initial Settling In: Allow yourself a few minutes to quieten down. If necessary, do not hesitate to readjust your position slightly, scratch an itch, rub a muscle, move your hair, and so on during this initial period. Close your eyes lightly, and part your teeth slightly. Drop your lower jaw comfortably. If you feel tense, you may wish to consciously relax each major muscle from toes to scalp, or vice versa. Make sure your facial and jaw muscles are relaxed. Let any tension go. This is not a test!
Phase: Once the body is settled and relaxed, take one long, slow,
deep breath. Fill your lungs to capacity with air, then let it all out
gently without extreme forcing. One deep
breath is usually enough, but if you feel a strong urge to do so, take another,
but not more than two, or
you will re-stimulate the body, especially the skin. After the deep breath or
two, resume your own gentle breathing, but with one slight difference. While you
will still be breathing in
normally and slowly, each out-breath
is expelled a little
faster than usual. Gently huff it out by allowing your rib-cage to collapse a little
faster than is usual, and empty your lungs a little
more than you usually do. After each gentle
huffing out of the breath, cease breathing (i.e. pause) for two or three seconds
before taking your next long, easy in-breath. While each out-breath and brief
pause is taking place let your mind "drop" and empty out; let
it go naturally blank. You
will find that each out-breath and brief pause will cause the mind to empty more
and more, so just relax
and let it happen.... However if your ego-mind is still active you may wish to
mentally (not out-loud) say the word "Peace" during each
out-breath. Either way, after a short period, while continuing to breathe
in this way, move to the next phase called "Visual Focusing."
your ego-mind is mostly full of unstoppable chatter during your meditations, the
following method may help. Place one hand (open) on your solar plexus just above
your navel. Then breathe in lightly through the palm of your hand as if the air
were coming into your lungs at that point. Then breathe out lightly through the
palm of your hand as if the air were going out through your solar plexus. This
method removes your focus (quiet attention point) out of your "busy"
head, to the point of empowerment.
Focusing: Gently continue with the one of the above breathing patterns
throughout the meditation, letting it become habitual—even though it
usually become less precise and less deliberate. This may take days or even weeks of
But, first, let us return to the sequence of initiating
your meditation. After a minute or two of this patterned breathing look
at (gently stare at) the light behind your closed
eyelids. Do not scrunch up
your eyes; just close them lightly. This "light
behind the eyelids" takes many forms in different people. Most people
"see" a very dim gray fog or dark cloudiness. Others see a patch of
dim blue or purple. Still others may see tiny flashes of dim light against a
darker background. The type of dim light you see behind your eyelids also
depends on both the amount of light in the room and the type of
light—daylight, or a lamp, or a candle, for instance. A darker room will
darken any dim light behind the eyelids—which is why I sometimes wear a
soft black mask. When I'm lightly
masked, any light I see is light from inside, not outside.
A few people may see brighter light or lights, and that is all right too.
Anyway, whatever you see behind
your eyelids, focus on it steadily, but gently without straining. This
gentle fixation on the light behind your eyelids will further empty your
mind of its everyday ego-thoughts, and leave it blank—even though you can be
passively "curious" about what may happen during the
meditation. Sometimes, as you gently stare at the light behind your eyelids, it
will increase in brightness, while at other times it may fade; all this is okay.
Some people get to the point where they see a "pearl" or
"sphere" of bright white light, or blue light, and if you do so,
gently maintain your focus on it.
What to do about Interfering Thoughts: If, at any time during your meditation interfering thoughts, worries, daydreams, or fantasies intrude, merely note them casually when you become aware of them, let them go (you may wish to offer them to the Holy Spirit or God for their dissolution), and then return to focusing on both (a) the light behind your eyelids and (b) your habitual breathing routine. The quality of initiating meditation and the training period almost always varies considerably both from day to day, and sometimes from minute to minute. Do not be discouraged, but (as White Eagle says) "Keep on keeping on." Remember the times we most need meditation are the ones when we are most distracted and under stress. Meditation is about forever, so don't give up.
An excellent way to stop the ego-chatter and still the ego-mind is to YEARN for God to come into your Mind and fill it with Love, Light, Peace and Joy. I find that when I am longing for God to come in and take over my Mind, I cannot think everyday ego-thoughts (see F2).
Methods of Continuing Meditation or Mindfulness Contemplation
Alternative Methods of Continuing Meditation or Mindfulness Contemplation
During your meditation session it is possible to continue along any one of several alternative paths. Each of these techniques may be practiced separately, or they may be consecutive, or they may be used in any combination together, or at different times of the day or week.
Listening for the Voice for God (through the Holy
Sprit/Guides/Real Self): This requires considerable relaxed alert
concentration and focus. The ego-mind remains silenced by continuing to look at
the light behind the eyelids and by breathing in the manner described above, but
the attention now becomes riveted expectantly on listening for
any "inner voice," or for new thoughts of a spiritual nature.
Some people receive a kind of inner dictation in which words form
spontaneously in their stilled minds, and these words contain spiritual
information, often advice of some kind. Usually this Voice will identify itself
by name or function (as God/ Voice/ Teacher/ Guide/ or Higher Self). Note that the
words are seldom heard "out loud" as actual external voices, but more
as verbally articulated inner thoughts; but it is obvious to you that these thoughts
are not your ego's ramblings. Alternatively,
the information may come as purely non-verbal thought-concepts which
might be described as spiritual insight
or intuition. You may even
have Visions. Either way, you may wish to record this information
immediately after the meditation or it is likely to become lost. With extended
practice you may be able to automatically type or write the information as it is
given you—with your eyes open.
2. A Blissful State: The above-mentioned inward fixation and focus may transform to a steady state of non-specific happiness or gentle blissful feelings. This state requires no effort to hold and maintain. During it, we can send spiritual Love and Light into the minds of others effortlessly. Once this joyful state is established we do not want it to end, and it often continues for a while after the meditation is over. Some meditators may experience very intense spiritual Love and/or Light during this type of meditation. However, do not be dismayed if this state of bliss is not forthcoming, or that it may wane during a meditation, or over a longer period of time, because this may indicate that you need to listen!
Spiritual Sayings or Mantras:
If you find it difficult to concentrate on listening for an Inner Voice,
use the technique of repeating a selected spiritual saying over and over
again. The use of the word "Peace," as described earlier, is an
example. Students of A Course in Miracles could select the Idea
from their daily lesson for this purpose. A mantra of my own is, "Only Our
Love Father, Now!" By constantly repeating the sentence, "Be still,
and know, I Am God," one person became enlightened in a few months. If you
need a more specific type of help, select a saying which is
appropriate. For example, "I am not a body. I am free. I am still as God
created me," (as Mind-as-such). Another example: "I am God's Love
Extending to all Beings Everywhere." Make up your own mantras, such as,
"I call forth my Christ-Self, Now," or, "We are Love,
Light, Peace and Joy."
Some more advanced mantras are, "I am One with You Father and You are flowing through me as me—right here, right now!" or, "Thy Will Father, not mine." Switch to another mantra when one becomes monotonous.
One way to
keep focusing on the mantra for many minutes is to examine the deeper meaning of
each word in the mantra separately. Take each word "apart" by searching for its
spiritual significance and deepest Real Meaning. As you do so, you may find
spiritual thoughts popping into your mind (as in #1 above). The Zen Koan is a
variation of this mantra technique. A
Koan is a kind of spiritual riddle or puzzle which focuses and preoccupies the Mind-as-such
as it tries to find the Answer. Many Course in Miracles statements can be
used as a form of Koan during meditation; choose a statement which puzzles you
and examine it gently, preferably by waiting for an Inner Answer. I have
a list of my own modern Koans which you will find in Section G10.
Alternative Situations and Ideas for Meditation/Contemplation:
Here are some more methods that have help some people.
Warm water is relaxing and some people have
found it easier to meditate in a warm bath or hot tub, but try the other methods
first. The warm, womb-like nature of a tub may make you sleepy.
Flower power is a powerful way of seeing God's
Creation Now. Select a single stem of your favorite flower and contemplate it
with intense focus for ten minutes, observing its incredible Design and
Beauty, and also understand that its Spiritual Purpose and Gift to you is to observe
God in Creative Action Now! Anyway, this is a good solid practice to add to your
spiritual repertoire permanently. You can also contemplate an intricate sea
shell, a favorite tree or plant, the stars, or a sleeping pet, etc.
Contemplating the sun for a few minutes at sunrise and sunset is strongly recommended by Jesus and other Guides, but do not stare at it when it is even a little bright. Be sensible about this.
With a spiritual friend, sit opposite him or
her and, while staring into each others' eyes, say to each other every minute or
so, "I Love You Holy Child of God, Now and for all Eternity," or words to that
effect. One woman's marriage was transformed when she said this just once to her
husband one evening (see K12).
Converse with God out loud. By using your
normal out-loud speaking voice (the voice you would use in quiet conversation
with a close friend) to talk to God directly, you override the ego's
distracting voice. Chat with God--in Whom you are always immersed;
God loves you to do this and always hears you. Relax, God Loves
you, but He does not stand on rituals or ceremonies as a prerequisite. Brother
Lawrence (1611-1691), a lay monk in France in used to chat with God all day and
most of the night.
5. Mindfulness: This is another technique, somewhat different from the others. Here, one becomes a kind of Observer or Witness of the interfering ego-thoughts as they pass by. Try to become adept at becoming aware of ego-thoughts, "catching them in the act," so to speak. Whenever you realize your mind has wandered into ego-thoughts or day-dreams, just gently observe them for a moment and let them pass by. If you keep doing this in your meditations you will eventually become more subjectively aware of Who (as Mind-as-such) is doing the thinking, in other words, this Who is the Observer/ Witness/ Self (the Real You). This mindfulness technique can be carried over into everyday life where the process leads to living only in the present moment, NOW. Throughout the day, catch your mind when it is dwelling on past or future events, aspirations, and thoughts. Let them go and return to dwelling only in the present "Now" with Spirit and the immediate task in hand. See others as only pure Mind-as-such Beings "clothed in" non-real, unwanted ego-imagination. Except for unconditional Spiritual Love, include all your own emotions and the emotions of others (especially fear and anger) in the category of unwanted ego-imaginations. But note that I am not implying there is something wrong with imagination; imagination is not necessarily "bad" or "wrong" because, used creatively, it can give us great music, art, literature, etc.
also that you may wish to try one of the other methods for your daily
meditations, and keep the mindfulness technique for everyday activities.
One combination of meditation techniques has just been mentioned, and others are
possible. It is even quite natural to switch from one method to another during a
particular meditation. You may try one technique in the morning and another at
night. Any permutation or combination is fine if it works for you.
the Clock Awareness:
Remember that the ultimate objective of all meditation is to become Self-aware
of God NOW as the Inner Self/Mind-as-such, twenty-four hours a day.
We must come to want nothing of the ego, but to desire only continuing Awareness
(a direct communion experience) in the NOW-moment of Love, Light,
Peace, Joy, Oneness, Creation, Extension and Knowledge within All Mind-As-Such.
This does not mean we opt out of everyday activities; rather we see them
as an opportunity to (perhaps silently) spread our Love, Light, Peace, Joy,
Oneness, Creation, Extension and Knowledge to everyone, and do no harm. This is
God's Will for us as Eternal Mind-as-such Beings within Him. Once
God lives through us, as us, we are the Christ, the Buddha,
in our own unique God-given Identity. We are eternally Free
Beings in God, so, sooner or later, Waking Up has to be a choice you make.
from A Course in Miracles Workbook -- Page 360 -- emphasis added)
JESUS IS SPEAKING:
do this: Be still, and lay aside all
thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned
about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty
your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or
bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is
ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past
has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything [or anyone].
Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty
hands [and open Mind] unto your God.
Is it not [God] Who knows
the way to you? You need not know the way to [God]. Your part is simply
to allow all obstacles that you [as ego] have interposed
between the Son/Daughter and God the Father/Mother to be quietly removed
forever. God will do His/Her part in joyful and immediate response. Ask and
receive. But do not make demands, nor point the road to God by
which He/She should appear to you. The way to reach [God] is merely to let
[God] be. For in that way is your Reality [as an Eternal
Mind-Being in the Mind of God] proclaimed as well.
And so today we do not
choose the way in which we go to God. But we do choose to let
[God] come. And with this choice we rest. And in our quiet hearts and open
minds, [God's] Love will blaze its pathway of Itself.
Loving Oneness Now -- Copyright © 2007 Alexander Bannatyne, PhD