A meditative awareness comes like a whisper, not a shout, with noiseless footsteps. If you are full of occupations, busyness and noise it might come and wait, but then it will leave.
Set aside some time — 3, 5, 10, 15 minutes or longer — preferably every day, for sitting in silence. It doesn’t matter where you are, just sit, close your eyes, and wait. Don’t do anything, just sit in great waiting with an open, trusting heart. Then if something is to “happen” you will be ready to receive it. If nothing happens, at least you’ve had this “down time” to do nothing. No matter what, after sitting silently for a while you will feel more in touch with yourself, more peaceful.
When and Where:
Most people find that it works best to do this at the same time every day. It doesn’t matter what time you choose, but setting aside a set time, say as a mid-morning break or during your lunch hour, helps make it part of your daily routine. When the inner consciousness knows that the outer consciousness is waiting for it, there is a greater possibility of a meeting.
As you practice doing nothing, by and by an understanding will start to arise between you and the meditative state. As this understanding grows you will start to feel a subtle quality of relaxation, of serenity woven into the texture of your whole day.
Breath is life and change, a basic connection between the inner and the outer. It is a flowing bridge between life and death. Every breath is rebirth, inspiration, a letting go of the old. Breathing is a constant source of energy, a continuous affirmation.
Change your breathing and you will think differently, and this change can be created by choice because breathing is one of the few bodily functions that can be voluntary or automatic.
Here is an easy breathing exercise:
Fix your concentration in the middle of the forehead. See a radiant jewel there. Watch and observe what happens as you inhale through your nose – pulling your diaphragm in, and exhale through your nose – pushing your diaphragm out.
Repeat this process 6 or 10 times.
- What happened?
- How do you feel?
In this exercise you will meditate on your skin, muscles, bones, and blood. You’ll discover that your blood runs not only in your veins, but also flows back in time to its ancestral source. Thus you can find or better determine your spiritual and magical roots, the exploration of which will be part of your own unique brand of magickal initiation.
Read through the exercise to get a good idea of how it flows, and then begin.
Get comfortable, quiet, and centered. Breathe deeply and relax your body. When you are fully relaxed, begin the meditation by thinking about your skin. Focus on how it feels. Maybe you have an awareness of how your clothing feels in the places where it touches your skin. It is through your skin that you interact with all things….
Think about this for a few minutes… It is through your skin that you interact with the world.
Now, think about how it is that your skin keeps you separate from all things as well. It contains you. Feel yourself as a being who is separate… you are quiet you are contained within yourself, and in that quiet containment you are relaxed, confident, and your spirit is free from intrusion and fear.
Now, feel your muscles and bones. One way to do this is to visualize them under your skin. Or you might move your body – the smallest possible amount – as you picture your bones solid, dense, and providing a frame, which, in your imagination, your muscles maneuver, vividly filled with vitality.
Feel your blood. One way to do this is to imagine it running in your veins. Don’t worry if you can’t really “feel” it, simply imagine that you are feeling it and that will be sufficient.
What does your blood tell you? Anything? Be open: see if you hear anything or if a thought pops into your mind or you get a sense of some feeling stirring in your body or idea peeking at you in your thoughts.
My blood is of a river,
my blood flows through the dark void of time and space,
back to its source.
What is its source?
Where did it come from?
What did my blood do at that time,
in that place?
Again, visualize the blood running in your veins… imagine it flows past you like a stream or brook, not in the sense it would if you were injured but in a miraculous, mystical pilgrimage… Imagine your blood flowing through a safe, comforting darkness… You are going to follow that flow as it moves to it’s source…
Now your blood arrives at its source. Perhaps you will suddenly get a picture of, or sense, an ancient people. You might encounter anything, the possibilities of what happens in this step are endless… you might encounter anything from a star in the sky to a specific race of people or species of animals or to a plant or even a mythical beast.
You might not see anything. You might instead hear, smell, or simply get a sense of your ancestral source; modes of psychic perceptions are endless, and no one is better than another. An idea, word, or phrase that comes to mind might be your psychic perception even if it makes no sense right away.
Note whatever it is that might be happening at that far-off time and place. Are you doing anything? Are your ancestors? Are there words or sounds? Do you have any feelings or impressions?
Are you given any gifts?
Say to your ancestors, even if you feel that you have experienced nothing in this voyage, “I thank you for this visit.”
Imagine, picture, somehow be aware of your blood traveling a long distance back through time and space… this is a dark, safe, and comfortable journey, your blood flows through this space carrying any gifts you’ve gained.
Now, be aware of your blood flowing all the way back to you, arriving with its new gifts. Feel your blood flowing through your body, replete with its new gifts and power.
Feel your skin… Feel how it interacts with your clothes… feel how it interacts with the seat under you… feel how it interacts with the air.
~ Francesca de Grandis
To begin your meditation select a quiet time and sit with a straight back on a cushion on the floor in front of a low table, with a lighted candle and incense if you desire.
Alternately, sit in a chair and place your candle and incense on a regular table. Either way, have your mandala in front of you at eye level – on the table or behind it on the wall.
Fold your hands in your lap or place them palms up on your thighs. Begin with a prayer and then set your intention of using this time of meditation and contemplation to move into a place of spiritual centeredness.
I like the phrase “Toward the One.”
Next, for the reflective portion of your meditation just sit quietly, eyes open, gazing at the mandala. If you find your eyes wandering gently bring them back to the mandala. If you find your eyes watering, or feeling heavy, allow them to close while keeping a mental image of the mandala in your mind. If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back. Maintain this quiet time for about 10 or 15 minutes. Allow yourself to enjoy the experience.
Now, close your eyes. If your eyes are already closed, open them and look at the mandala once again, and then close your eyes. Conclude your meditation with thoughts, affirmations or prayers for personal and world peace.
Meditating regularly over a period of time brings spiritual discipline, and produces ever longer stretches of centeredness and peace.
1. Sit on the forward third of a chair or a cushion on the floor.
2. Straighten and extend your spine, keeping it naturally upright, centering your balance in the lower abdomen. Push your lower back a little forward, open your chest, and tuck your chin in slightly, keeping the head upright, not leaning forward, or backwards, or to the side. Sway your body gently from left to right in decreasing arcs, until you naturally come to a point of stillness on your cushion.
3. Keep your eyes on the floor at a 45-degree angle, neither fully opened nor closed, and gaze naturally about 3 to 4 feet in front of your body. If the eyes are closed, you may want to start to daydream or visualize things. If your eyes are open wide open, your mind will scatter.
4. Keep your lips and teeth together with your tongue resting against the roof of your mouth.
5. Place your hands on your lap with the right palm up and your left hand (palm up) resting on your right hand, thumb tips lightly touching, forming a vertical oval. This is the mudra of zazen, in which all phenomena are unified. Rest this mudra with the blade of your hands against your abdomen, a few inches below the navel, harmonizing your own center of gravity with the mudra.
6. Take a deep breath, exhale fully, and then take another deep breath, exhaling fully. Let your breathe settle into its natural rhythm.
7. Keep your attention on your breath. When your attention wanders, bring it back to the breath again and again — as many times as necessary!
8.. Practice this Zen Meditation every day for at least ten to fifteen minutes (or longer).
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