Thursday, May 31, 2012

Meditation translated as the practice of familiarity. I need your help!

Hello my dear readers. I recently wrote an article for a health centre here in Vancouver speaking about meditation and how is can be seen as a practice of familiarity. They have asked me to do a revision of the article and I could really use some feedback from anyone and everyone. They gave me two main points to focus on.

1. streamline the message with more of a focus on one singletheme
2. simplify the language – write about it like you would choose to talk about it – with passion, yet simplicity.

If you could read the article and tell me what you think I would greatly appreciate any feedback whether positive or negative.

Thanks in advance.

Below is the article:

Meditation and familiarity

In my experience, meditation is a broad term that is difficult to communicate effectively. The word meditation triggers a variety of thoughts influenced by culture, region, and religion. Some people will think visualization or inner peace or long sounds of OM. Others will think of meditation as a state with no thoughts or a state of pure love and compassion. As a young seeker I struggled when I heard instructions along the lines of “fill yourself with love and compassion.” Upon hearing this I would immediately fire back with the question of how? And are you kidding me? How do I fill myself with something that I am unfamiliar with? Something that I only have a limited awareness of? The answer was neutral observation of the self but it would take me years to fully understand that answer.

Someone much wiser than I once said that meditation is running into reality, implying that there is space for discovery and of course, running. This line of thought is harmonious the idea that in meditation we are discovering ourselves and the world around us. Learning to see the world for what it is without precepts and judgments tacked on by fragments of the whole truth. Please allow me to omit discussions of concentration, mindfulness, and insight today as we explore the idea of meditation as the act of familiarity.

The Sanskrit word for meditation is sometimes translated into familiarity or the practice of becoming familiar. What do we become familiar with in meditation? It seems almost ridiculous to say that we are not familiar with ourselves but that is exactly what I am contending here. We are not so familiar with ourselves. In meditation I had to admit to myself that I did not know much about myself. I was quite familiar with my likes and dislikes and I was skilled at pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain; beyond that however I had little more to say.

 In meditation we should seek to hold an intention for aspiration while allowing the mind to present itself in whatever manner in each present moment.  The keyword here is allow. Furthermore, it is important to hold an open, neutral, and curious attitude to each mental phenomenon that arises. It is useful to maintain a sense of neutral witnessing in your meditation. Arm yourself with the intellectual vigor of an inquisitive scientist and the compassion of a friend in meditation; there are no good and bad results, only results. Furthermore, in meditation we often have to work with truths that seem paradoxical and contradictory.  Does pain and pleasure arise from the same place? Find out for yourself!

With regards to the act of becoming familiar, I say once again that there is no bad meditation and there is no good meditation; there simply is. In meditation we practice just observing ourselves and nothing more. By doing this we will slowly become familiar with our tendencies to judge ourselves. We will become familiar with how we instantly react to steer the mind to a “good” place. In meditation we seek to see more than just the light, we seek to learn how to illuminate the darkness. Step by step we become more familiar and step by step our awareness expands. Concentration and insight is built from within and we begin to develop the capacity to truly internalize and integrate with the truths that we recognize to be so. Can you imagine how this will change your life and your experience of it?


Meditation said...

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