The art of being present – in your living-dying. Guidance for those new to meditation, an introduction to the vast range of meditative methods available and a meditation toolkit.
What is Meditation?
An introduction to what meditation is and related articles that include ‘The role of the mind,’ ‘Choosing a meditation method,’ ‘The benefits of meditation’ and ‘Getting started.’
Meditation is the state of consciousness. In it we are present to the moment, open and aware; in a relaxed and easy way simply being. It’s an experience that is intrinsic to us. In fact it’s more than an experience: we are beingness. It’s our nature. That’s reflected in the fact that we define ourselves as ‘human beings,’ not ‘human thinkings’ or ‘human doings’!
Because the space of just being is natural many of us have stumbled into it at some time or other. We may not even have realised that what we experienced was meditation.
Meditation can happen when you’re lying in a hammock, listening to the birds, for example; or gazing at a peaceful landscape, playing music, making love or playing tennis (Sports people are well acquainted with this space, which they call ‘being in the zone.’) You can experience it virtually anywhere – yes, even in a hospital or hospice. However different the situations in which it is triggered, there are certain characteristics that people can later describe, which include…
* a sense of relaxation and harmony; of ‘at-oneness’ within and without
* being fully present and effortlessly aware
* thoughts are no longer intrusive: they are quieter, fewer, moving more slowly than usual or even entirely absent.
* what you saw as problems now may not have disappeared but they seem distant from you. The same is true of your body with its various sensations, its aches and pains, along with thoughts and feelings: you view them dispassionately, observing them as separate from you. In a word, you’re not ‘identified’ with anything.
* a direct experiencing of what is.
* feeling expanded beyond your body. You sense yourself in a new way, as energy that is not confined to your physical self. You might also feel buoyant and as if lit up.
* a sense of ‘This is the real me’.
*your perception of time changing. For example, when you emerge from this space you might see that, according to your watch, it lasted just a few moments. Yet while you were immersed in it, it seemed eternal.
As for how all this feels: our everyday language doesn’t have the words because – sadly – it’s not most people’s everyday experience. Some people call that experience of conscious being, ‘bliss’ or ‘ecstasy’. For others, this profound joy can best be described as ‘isness’.
Especially when you are experiencing a lot of change and you feel out of control, remembering who you are, consciously returning to beingness, is the most significant key you can have.
If you are otherwise feeling upset, hopeless or frightened, disturbed by what’s happening inside you and around you, by relaxing into yourself you regain perspective. You know a freedom independent of your body and mind, of other people, of time and place, and untouched by any situation in which you may be.
Given that meditation is a natural state, why aren’t we in it all the time? Why do we need methods?
Because our minds get in the way and we have forgotten how to put the mind on hold. In The role of the mind we look at the nature of the mind, and how, when we approach it rightly, rather than getting in the way of our finding inner peace, it can actually help us meditate.
When we meditate we move from our doing aspect (including thinking and feeling) to the most essential aspect of ourselves – that of being, of consciousness.
‘Thinking, Mindfulness and Consciousness’ explains the difference, and it’s a significant one, between ‘being mindful, aware or conscious of’ and ‘thinking about.’
Meditation methods, which are less like paths and more like ways to help us open to our natural state of meditation, are useful until meditation has become so much our lived experience that we no longer need them. Choosing a Meditation Method suggests ways to find a method that works for us.
In Special Points we look at the need for active meditations and the importance of being total in our meditation but not pushing ourselves.
Finally, read about the physical, psychological and spiritual Benefits of Meditation.
When we begin living from our centre of being or consciousness, we change qualitatively – physically, psychologically and spiritually. If there were a pill that provided a quarter of meditation’s benefits we’d be downing them by the handful!
Getting Started with Meditation – guidelines for beginners
Meditation as a window on dying – the offerings of OSHO Sammasati have a strong focus on meditation as a way to be more conscious in our dying as well as in our living. In this article we explore some of the ways in which meditation and dying are similar.
Our Meditation Toolkit provides resources, which include:
*Meditation methods – a varied and growing selection of techniques to practise
*How to Guide Someone in Meditation – suggestions that even a non-meditator could use to guide another in meditation, whether they are healthy, ill or dying
* Words from OSHO about meditation – in the form of discourse excerpts, video clips and books
*Articles on various aspects of meditation by Maneesha & others
* Products – including meditation chairs; OSHO Bardo and other guided meditations visit meditation toolkit