A Few Thoughts About Love
Just a couple of quick thoughts came to me this morning:
First, the most obvious one: It's really a fabulous feeling to be deeply loved by someone you love, but it's even more incredible to feel the miraculous good your love does for themin terms of healing old wounds, bringing joy, giving peace.
Now something a little less obvious: Have you ever been with someone and felt their love like a tangible, powerful wave sweeping over you? I realized today that to be a person who can transmit
love like that, you have to have lots of Being (spiritual power, consciousness). Being is the medium for love to radiate tangibly. Without being, love remains a small ripple in the pond of limited consciousness. You may feel it inside yourself, but it doesn't radiate into the environment powerfully. Only upon the ocean of pure unbounded being-consciousness-bliss (Sat Chit Ananda) can love rise in a huge tangible tidal wave that concretely washes over and uplifts those around you. That said, any love is a good thing, but why not increase the voltage? Of course, you know my approach
for doing that...
Why All the Stars?
Okay, if you've ever gone to my Web site
, you might wonder, Why all the stars? What does outer space have to do with meditation? Good question.
Actually, if you've been meditating for some years, you probably already know the answer: In deep meditation, the limits to the mind dissolve, and the mind "becomes" of the nature of space, so to speak. That is, extremely subtle, unbounded, pervasive, cosmic. Thus the term, cosmic consciousness, also "chit-akasha" or the "space of consciousness."
Now if you're really paying attention, you'll notice that in the previous paragraph I put "becomes" in quotes. Why? Because the real nature of the mind already is like space. It's just that consciousness is so subtle that it assumes the form of whatever it associates with, and most of the time our consciousness is associated with the material world through the senses. Consciousness identifies with the boundaries of sensory and mental experience and so we mistakenly feel consciousness is limited and bounded, when in actuality, if we could experience consciousness in itself (which is what can happen in meditation), we would realize that it is subtler than the subtlest, absolutely unbounded and all pervasiveeven more so than space. So that's why all the space. Hope you enjoy my site
What's the Value of Pranayama?
Someone recently asked me this, so, as I couldn't think of anything else to blog about, I thought I'd say just a few main things about pranayama (which, for anyone who doesn't already know this, is basically a term referring to various techniques of regulated yogic breathing; it is one of the 8 limbs of yoga described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, and a favorite practice of yogis). First off, I love pranayama. I practice a number of different types of pranayama, and it is quite a powerful adjunct to meditation. And perhaps just for that reason, it should be taught by an experienced teacher. I don't recommend experimenting from a book, as some pranayama practices can be quite powerful. Anyway, here's a few of my impressions:
Physics tells us that matter is energy. Well, that applies to air as well. What I find is that during pranayama the breath becomes more and more refined and subtle, and the mind also becomes more subtle and focused. You can get to a point of such subtlety that you literally feel that you are not simply breathing in air, but pure energy. No kidding. Further, you can feel this energy filling you up, or perhaps moving up and down the spine. Of course there's much that could be said about this in relation to the nadis (subtle conduits through which energy or life force moves throughout the subtle body), spine, and the nostrils, but I'm not going to venture there right now. I don't want to talk theory, but direct experience.
When I say this energy fills you up, you can feel your whole body and being becoming stronger, invigorated, and as you get filled up by the subtle prana from pranayama, your mind becomes more and more still, which is great for deepening meditation. Think of it like this: Take a closed jar with some water in it. If the jar is only half full, and you shake it, you get lots of waves and bubbles. That's like if the subtle body is only half filled with energy, then when it's "shaken" by sensory experience, the mind wavers and quivers in lots of activity and thought. But if the jar is filled to the brim with water, you can shake it and see hardly any change inside the jar. Likewise, the subtle body, filled to the brim with life force or prana from meditation and pranayama, is much more stable. As the mind and subtle body are so directly related, this means that even in the midst of experience, the mind remains unshaken, clear, and stable. This is why it's generally said that pranayama promotes steadiness of attention (dharana), which is supportive of meditation (dhyana).
Okay, time to meditate. Don't forget to visit my Web site
. And I'm sorry you can't comment, but feel free to send me comments/questions at email@example.com
Have You Tuned Up Your Consciousness Today?
Okay, so it may be a corney analogy, but we all tune up our car from time to time, why doesn't everyone also take the time to tune up our consciousness? After all, the quality of our experience of life every moment depends upon the quality of our consciousness: How alert, how creative, how happy, how loving we are all depends upon our consciousness. For instance, if you miss a night's sleep or two, you're not going to feel so great. How can we afford to miss a meditation, which fine-tunes our awarenenss as even sleep can't? Awareness is the basis of our every experience, thought, feeling, and action. Seems to me if there is one thing in our lives we should be taking good care of, it is this. And fortunately it's not exactly a painful process; in fact, it's an exquisitely subtle and sublime experience.
Okay, so it's time for me to do it. Yeah, I need a tune up.
Oh, I just posted an article on my site about What Is Meditation
if anyone's interested. And by the way, if anyone knows of a site where I can blog and allow people to post comments to my blog, can you e-mail
me and let me know? Thanks.
Can You Learn Meditation from a Book?
I get asked this a lot. Someone just asked me yesterday in fact. The problem is, and this is why I've never written a book on meditation, it's extremely difficult to learn a really deep form of meditation from a book. Yes, you can learn exercises that approach meditation, if you're disciplined enough to do it. But the most effective forms of meditation transcend doing. Meditation puts you into a different state of consciousness, at least deep meditation does. So think about it this way: If you were an insomniac and you read a book to fall asleep, you might get some ideas for relaxing. You might rub oil on your feet or put warm oil in your ears, or get a foot massage, or count sheep or whatever. But when all is said and done, while you're lying there, if you're making any conscious effort to fall asleep, that will keep you awake. Likewise with meditation. you might get some things that help you approach a meditative state from a book, but the actual slipping into deep meditation, which will bring the real results, happens without your doing. If you can get that from a book, with the confidence you are doing just the right thing (for you'll need that confidence to continue for many years), then go for it. You'd be one of those very rare people who got it from a book. A good teacher, however, can convey that to almost anyone, if the person is open, interested, and has a little patience. This is why, traditionally, meditation was always taught directly from teacher to student. I've taught so many people who tried to learn from a book first. None of them knew the first thing about real meditation, no matter how many books they had read. In my opinion, there just isn't really a good shortcut. But good luck, if you're so inclined. If you're interested in learning from a teacher, check out my Web site
Meditation: Is it a matter of Self-Discipline?
Many people seem to think that they can't progress in meditation because they lack the self-discipline. "I just can't seem to get myself to take the time to do it," is a common statement I hear from would-be meditators. Funny thing is, I've meditated at least twice a day for nearly 34 years, and I don't think it's ever been a matter of discipline for me. I meditate for the same reason I eat blueberry sorbetbecause it's absolutely a wonderful experience. Only more than sorbet, way more so.
What people need is a deeper experience of meditation. With deeper experience, you get more bliss, and with more bliss, who wouldn't want to meditate? The best meditators are hedonists; you can bet on that. Sure, eventually, it's good to transcend the hedonism, but by then you're into so much bliss, you don't need to seek it anymore; you're already in it.
Anyway, there are ways to increase depth of meditation. The Power of Being
combines a number of simple but profound practices to insure the deepest experience of bliss and pure consciousness. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to meditate regularly, but thinks they lack "discipline."
(If you got here from my website home page, to return, click here
Enlightenment: Self-effort or grace?
A few days ago, someone who'd taken my meditation class, The Power of Being
, asked me whether enlightenment was something we earned, or a gift. Seems to me that everything is a gift, every single moment, everything that comes to us. We may think we have control over what we get, but actually it's nature that delivers the fruits of our actions. We have no absolute control; we are dependent on the laws of nature to respond to our actions. The fact that some people get results with minimum effort, and others may get little result with great effort, shows that the response of nature to our actions depends upon other, less obvious factors, such as past karma. Nevertheless, our actions do certainly increase the chances of receiving the gift of whatever we are striving for. There is definitely a relationship. We do need self-effort, we do need to actso long as we still experience ourselves as the actor.
So it seems to me the perfect attitude in everything, but especially regarding spiritual experience and growth, is to know that by our actions we are merely soliciting grace, and remain entirely grateful for the gifts we receive. This doesn't mean we can be weak in our actions. As it says somewhere in the Bhagavad-Gita, God responds to us according to how we worship. If we "worship" life in a weak manner through our actions, the result is likely to follow accordingly. If we strive with sincerity, intensity, and devotion, the result will also follow accordingly (karma and other factors remaining equal). For the greatest possible fruit, absolute bliss consciousness, enlightenment, the greatest sincerity, intensity, devotion, and balance is needed.
But the main factor in receiving grace, is that our actions be in harmony with all the laws of nature, for this thinking, feeling, and action need to arise from the clarity of inner pure consciousness. This is why meditation
is the greatest support for achieving anything in life.
Talking about meditation, spirituality, Indian Philosophy, various topics related to spiritual growth, including relationships as a path of spiritual growth.
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
My Meditation Web site.
Articles on Meditation.
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John Welwood, Ph.D. (Journey Of The