Meditation Practice: The First Form
It is necessary to decide certain fundamental things about the quality of the meditative mind and the nature of meditative practice.
When the student Theosophist comes to the need for meditative practice, and this should come as soon as possible, certain definite decisions have to be made about how to proceed.
There is a wide array of meditation practices with long historical traditions behind them. Theosophical meditation is Wisdom Path Meditation which is called Jnana yoga in the Hindu traditions and Mahayana Vajrayanna in Buddhism. Because of the inherently compassionate nature and purpose of Theosophy a strong atmosphere of Devotion permeates this practice of Meditation.
We must never loose sight of the purpose of meditative practice and posture:
The initial purpose of meditation practice and posture is clear: It is to reach the awareness state within which we can hear the Voice Of the Silence. The Self’s aim is to re-merge into Silent Present Time Wakefulness.
There are progressive forms of Meditation which change and adapt as the Meditator’s practice progresses and deepen. Wisdom Path Meditation is just such a practice when regarded from within, but the outer form never changes. You are learning a way of meditating that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. This form of meditation practice will be described below.
The first fundamental quality of the meditative mind is Silence.
Meditative Silence is not static and inert; on the contrary, it is vibrantly alive fluid responsive and intelligent in deep abiding Higher Selfhood.
The best first form of meditation practice will always be the most simple and elegant. This is what will be described here.
A simple strong wooden chair should be placed within a couple of feet of a blank featureless wall. There is nothing hanging on the wall to distract the Meditator’s attention. The chair is facing the wall. The wall should be either white or slightly off white. If the wall is any particular color it will attune the Meditator’s attention to unwanted emotions and visual effects. A plain sheet can be used to cover a wall.
The Meditator sits facing the blank featureless wall. Sit in the chair facing the wall up close. If need be there can be a firm flat cushion or pillow on the chair. There need only be a few inches between the Meditator’s toes and the bottom of the wall. The aim here is to sit as close as possible to the wall while remaining comfortable.
Essential to any approach to meditation posture is an erect spine with an upright and balanced head. Feet are planted firmly on the floor; there is no need to keep the knees together if this is found to be uncomfortable or distracting.
This is open eyed Meditation.
Keeping the eyes open breath in a relaxed and unstrained way. The hands are folded in the lap, left hand open facing up, and right hand inside left hand with the thumb tips lightly touching.
The Meditator does not look at any particular point on the wall; instead the eyes are gazing into the peripheral edges of vision. In this way the Meditator is equally aware of everything within the visual field. The eyes are relaxed and simply gazing at the whole visual field simultaneously.
At the same time the Meditator is listening to the silence which naturally abides behind all sound. In this way the Meditator is not trying to exclude or resist any sound that may be in the environment. The Meditator is simply listening to silence and listening to the mind as a total auditory field. This is called “Shravana” “Listening”.
Within this listening to silence and peripheral gazing:
The practice involves counting the breaths up to twelve and then starting over at one and counting the breath back up to twelve and so on. The count is on the in-breath through the nose. The out-breath too is also through the nose; both the in-breath and the out-breath count as one.
The purpose of this breath counting is to move attention away from the head into the total field of Self presence and at the same time to be able to easily observe when the mind wanders.
In the event that the mind wanders at some count before twelve, the Meditator goes back to one and starts over; keeping track of the breath count and always on the in-breath. There is a natural inwardness to this practice even though the eyes are open. Any visual effects which may appear on the blank wall are to be simply witnessed and otherwise ignored.
Inevitably the mind will wander and jump all over the place. The Meditator does absolutely nothing about any of this except calmly watch it happening, with an attitude that is not love not hate & not indifference.
There are definite and obvious advantages to this ancient time honoured approach to beginning Meditation: For one thing it stops you from falling asleep!
Also the Meditator becomes aware of the total field of consciousness and sensation and the inevitable ‘obstructions’ that it contains.
As it states in the Third Fundamental Proposition of the Secret Doctrine : “the Esoteric Doctrine admits of no special gifts or privileges in man save those won by his own Individuality through countless reincarnations and metempsychosis”.
When the Meditator is able to do the First Form, without loss of focus or concentration for sustained Two Hour Periods, for Forty Continuous Days they may pass into the Second Form. The second form has to do with integrating pure awareness and compassion.
Nearly everyone has heard of meditation, but really only people who have tried it, have any idea of what meditation is. But if someone has tried meditation for a short period of time and then given up they may be left with a distorted and even negative view of what it is. The only way to understand meditation is by doing it until actual meditation takes place.
The approach to meditation described here will take the individual into the meditative state if they continue with it until that happens. People often ask about how long that will take. The fact is that no one can say how long it will take to enter the meditative state once the practice of meditation has begun. Obviously everyone is different.
It is a compelling and telling fact that anyone who continues the practice of meditation until it actually takes place, will continue with it for the rest of their lives.
The Silent Watcher is the Meditator:
You should try this practice for Twenty minutes per day always at the same time, if at all possible. You need to embrace Meditation as a daily practice in your life and rearrange other circumstances around it. You have embarked upon a daily practice of the utmost importance.
Word to the wise: If you are in therapy or taking mood balancing medications or have a history of substance abuse or any other diagnosable mental health issue you should consult a medical professional before adopting this practice.
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