The Knack of Meditation The No-Nonsense Guide to Successful Meditation
* INTRODUCTION Meditation is certainly not a modern idea - forms of meditation have been with us for thousands of years! Thought-free meditation is detailed in ancient writings and has been advocated widely over many centuries. Unfortunately, information concerning thought-free meditation is scarce today and, where it is available, the practice is seldom described clearly, or instruction offered freely. All-too-often talk about meditation is confused and confusing.
If those learning to meditate hear suggestions such as 'go deep', 'go beyond thought', 'empty the mind', 'blank the mind', they can easily become confused and get put off. Such instructions are quite misleading and make it all-too-easy for people to imagine that meditation involves discomfort or dissociation. Indeed, the topic of meditation is so muddled that some even fear they might fall prey to self-hypnosis or find themselves in a trance!?! Here, on this webpage, thought-free meditation is explained, clearly and simply. Guidance is offered independent of any personality, guru, cult, or belief system.
* WHAT IS MEDITATION? Meditation is an age-old practice described in ancient texts of various cultures across the world, some more than 2000 years ago. Meditation is variously referred to as 'Dhyana' in Sanskrit, 'Ch'an' in Chinese, 'Zen' in Japanese, and 'Sgom' in Tibetan. Thought-free meditation is sometimes referred to as the 'Royal Path' or 'Raja Yoga' ('rājā' = king i.e. royal). Authentic thought-free meditation can be practised by anyone regardless of beliefs, or lack of beliefs. Meditation is a very useful practice.
WHY MEDITATE? There are various reasons why people are drawn to the practice of meditation - the desire to simplify, to neutralize stress and to come to terms with oneself, and the wish to relax, to find inner happiness and experience stillness and tranquility. We live in an age where it is increasingly difficult to keep up with pace of change, where we are overloaded with images, sounds and ideas from multiple sources. So, it essential we find sufficient peace of mind in order to live such a lifestyle meditation fulfils this need. Meditation is a gift to ourselves as no fee is payable for understanding or practising meditation. Meditation is completely natural.
WHEN TO MEDITATE? Soon! There are no hard and fast rules about when to meditate - but best not to practice if you are too tired, or have just eaten a meal, or are in an induced state of consciousness (through drink or drugs).
HOW TO MEDITATE? The Practice of Meditation Explained in 7 Easy Stages 1st stage of meditation Find somewhere comfortable enough for you to sit, where you are unlikely to be interrupted for at least half an hour or for as long as you wish to meditate. If you choose to sit in the traditional crossed-legged pose, sit with a thick cushion beneath the bottom, to prevent strain to the knees and spine. It cannot be stressed too much that when you sit to meditate you should be comfortable! 2nd stage of meditation Settle for a short while, then close the eyes. Closing the eyes, perhaps you feel some stillness, some quietness, some silence? No doubt thoughts will arise whilst you sit. Thinking is a natural process. Thinking occurs without effort. Enjoy the thoughts. 3rd stage of meditation Then place your attention on something other than thoughts. This can easily be achieved by placing one's attention onto airborne sounds or on to one's own breath. Or one can direct the attention to the sensation of light within, which at first might appear very faint but can become quite intense on occasion. 4th stage of meditation Gradually, gradually minimise and decrease mental activity, but do this reasonably gently. The mind seems to be active just because that is its habit. See the thoughts as just the apparently endless workings of your mind, which ought to be allowed to take a break. It is time to exercise one's mental brakes, very lightly but firmly. See the thoughts for what they are - just mental activity - and realise that this would be a good time for the mind to be less active. If the mind is determined to go on being active redirect it to awareness of the breath or just listen to outer sounds, just place your attention on the sounds without involvement. Do not resist sounds you may hear whilst meditating, just listen and accept (respond to sounds only if there is some good reason). If you get caught up in a whole load of thinking, thats fine, just observe the thoughts. Agitating against thoughts is counterproductive, so just relax. Don't be unduly frustrated if you do not readily sustain a state of no thought. Just be a witness to the experience, this is meditation. Whilst you are sitting quietly witnessing the thoughts that come and go, the body may, from time to time, draw your attention. Both the mind and body are settling down. 5th stage of meditation Ask yourself what it would be like to sit without thoughts. Remind yourself that you are giving your mind permission to quieten and be without thoughts for a while. The mind might rebel against this idea. No problem, don't force the issue. But from time-to-time summon this idea again. At some time the mind will be curious enough to co-operate. 6th stage of meditation The meditative state is found to be a state of alert passivity, and is often accompanied by reduced breathing. When the state of no-thought is arrived at there is nothing to do! This state of no-thought is a chance for the mind and body to relax for a while. Indeed, whilst in this state of mind there can be no anxieties, no concerns about what is past, no worries about the present or the future. It is a truly refreshing experience. 7th stage of meditation When you feel the wish to resume activity again then gently open the eyes and slowly re-adjust to your surroundings before getting up.
* HOW WAS YOUR MEDITATION? Hopefully, you relaxed and didn't put any effort into 'trying' to meditate - it is important to be without expectations in meditation and not to force anything, else you might find yourself with a headache! Take it easy and don't get achievement-orientated - just relax, and, when a moment comes to let go, then let go of the thoughts and enjoy the natural result. Remember, don't get frustrated trying to achieve anything in your meditation. Just find time to sit again and again to meditate. Meditation is well described as a 'circuit breaker'. If you find yourself falling asleep during meditation, don't resist (unless you have some prior appointment or duty). If you have fallen asleep during your meditation, then, once you have awoken sufficiently, open the eyes and re-engage with everyday activity. TOO WOUND UP TO MEDITATE? It is possible that some may feel unable or unready to practice meditation, on account of being unable to relax long enough, unable to sit and close their eyes for more than a couple of minutes or so. Some people are convinced that they are too wound up to meditate but believe that certain techniques, such as using an additive such as a mantra to distract and please the mind, or dwelling on certain thoughts, or contemplating certain qualities such as love and compassion, can help them settle down. Indeed, if you have already been taught a meditation technique that you value, you can practise that technique until you settle down somewhat, and then follow the tips about letting go of thoughts. So, go with your own choice of 'technique', if you use one, and when the mind has settled somewhat, and the thought comes to let go of thought, then simply go with that. As long as you are settling down and are not straining to achieve something, the mind will find that moment to let go of the mind-chatter and be free to just indwell. It is about choice, your choice, nobody is pressurising you. BENEFITS OF REGULAR MEDITATION It has been pointed out that this process of clearing the mind of thoughts is useful in preparing to go to sleep. It would be great if it were also adopted as a means of waking up! It is not uncommon for practitioners of meditation to sit for two periods per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. If in doubt as to how long to sit for meditation, a widely used method is to sit for the length of time a medium length stick of incense takes to burn down, say about twenty minutes or half an hour, whatever suits you. However, it is not necessarily beneficial to meditate for particularly long periods or to meditate more frequently. Ideally, one should live a balanced life, so meditate for a while and then get up and get on with the everyday life. It is held that the experience of meditation is extremely beneficial, both physically and mentally. as apparently experience of the thought-free wakeful state gives rise to positive changes of brain chemistry (allegedly linked to an increase in levels of dopamine). It is also taught that the repeated conscious experience of the state of no-thought (sometimes referred to as Pure Consciousness) eventually gives rise to a permanent state of higher awareness. Pure consciousness is a level of consciousness that underlies the three basic states of consciousness, viz. waking, dreaming and deep sleep. In Sanskrit this pure consciousness is called 'turiya', 'chaturya' or 'chaturtha' meaning fourth. The repeated experience of this Pure Consciousness can be likened to oil being poured, flowing into the other three states of consciousness, oiling the mechanisms of perception, thereby bringing greater freshness, clarity, and purpose to everyday life. In many traditions and cultures it is taught that such experience is the basis of 'enlightenment' (definition and description of this exalted state varies). All told, the experience of thought-free meditation is held to be extremely positive with enjoyment of the now being its chief purpose.
* ARE ALL MEDITATION METHODS EQUALLY USEFUL? Nowadays a very wide variety of meditation methods are available, though not all meditators are guided to a thought-free state. Meditative techniques that engage the mind or imagination seem popular, especially those taught in groups, which rely on visualization or focus on qualities of sensation, colour or sound. Though these teachings may initially appear attractive, they are unlikely to do more than affect a temporary change to mood levels, without producing significant long-term benefits. Also popular are those less accessible esoteric teachings, often purporting to be from a special lineage or an ancient tradition, revealing secret practices only to committed 'initiates'. Though it is tempting to believe that such-and-such a teaching can miraculously transform one's life - be aware - initiates can find themselves disappointed, disillusioned, ill-used and impoverished. Beware of cults! The important thing to realise about meditation is that, unless a 'thought-free state' is attained, one is still involved in the incessant activity of the mind, regardless of how interesting that might be. So, at some time, you need to give yourself a break from the seemingly endless process of thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking .... Question: 'Why don't more meditators reach the "thought-free" state?' Answer: 'One of the most important limitations is not knowing that a state of "no thoughts" is possible, desirable, or useful. Having few thoughts is not something described cryptically in obscure texts of one small sect. The state of "no thoughts" has been described by many leading spiritual figures in many different traditions.' 'A Practical Guide to Awakening'
- Gary Weber author 'Happiness Beyond Thought'
* Yes, contained in the Scriptures of various cultures are numerous references to the practice of thought-free meditation, and over the centuries many thinkers, spiritual teachers and gurus have emphasised the importance and value of this practice. This fact seems to have escaped most people's notice, resulting in all-too-many getting caught up with strange beliefs, imaginings and the occult. Interestingly, the wave of 20th Century teachers, though critical of one another's teachings, appears to have been united in praise of thought-free meditation! But, rather than publicise their views on thought-free meditation, these controversial figures spread their own philosophies and practices.
* A Selection of Quotations relating to Thought-Free Meditation - ancient, modern & contemporary Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Christian & others Disclaimer - this site is NOT an endorsement of any organisation or individual quoted.
Bhairava - Shiva - Shankar - Mahadeva
Dharana (Attention) on Thought-free-ness
yatra yatra mano yāti tattattenaiva tatkaam| parityajyānavasthityā nistaragastato bhavet || 129 || 'The very moment that the mind goes wandering, that inattentiveness is to be abandoned [then] stillness should follow.' VB v129 - Vigyana Bhairava Tantra
Krishna - in meditation
'In a clean spot, having set a firm seat (cushion) of his own, neither too high nor too low, made of cloth, a deerskin and kusha-grass, one upon the other. Gita 6:11 'There, having made the mind one-pointed, with the activities of the mind and the senses controlled, let him seated on the seat, practise "yoga" for self-purification. Gita 6:12 'Let him steadily hold his body, keeping head and neck erect and still, directing the gaze towards the tip of the nose, without looking in any direction. Gita 6:13 'Abandoning without reserve all desires born of thought and imagination and completely restraining the whole group of senses by the mind from all sides. Gita 6:24 'Gradually, gradually let him attain to quietude by firmly holding the intellect; establishing the mind in the Self; let him not think even of anything. Gita 6:25 'From whatever cause the restless and unsteady mind wanders away, from that let him restrain it and bring it under the control of the Self alone. Gita 6:26 'For supreme happiness comes to the yogi whose mind is quite peaceful, whose passion is quieted...' Gita 6:27 - BhagavadGita c.5th Century BC
yadā pañcāvatihante jñānāni manasā saha | buddhiśca na viceate tāmāhu paramā gatim || 2-3-10 / 6-10 || 'When the five senses are settled and the mind has ceased to think and the intellect does not stir That is the highest state, they say.' Katha 2-III-10 / 6.10
tā yogamiti manyante sthirāmindriyadhāraām . apramattastadā bhavati yogo hi prabhavāpyayau || 2-3-11 / 6-11 || 'Thus "yoga" is considered to be holding still the senses. Then one should be alert, for "yoga" comes and goes.' Katha 2-III-11 / VI.11 - Katha Upanishad c.5th Century BC
“Yoga is the halting of mental activity” Yogadarshanam (Pajanjali's Sutras) Ch1 v2 (Earliest known definition of word ‘yoga’ - c.3rd Century BC)
atha yogānuśāsanam 1.1 yogaścittavttinirodha 1.2 tadā drau svarūpe'vasthānam 1.3 vttisārūpyamitaratra 1.4 'Now, the teaching of "yoga"... YS 1:1 "yoga" is "nirodha" (restraint, stopping, halting) of the "vritti" (whirling, thought-waves, mental activity) of the "chitta" (consciousness, memory, subconscious). YS 1:2 Then the seer rests in his own self. YS 1:3 At other times he is identified with the whirling [of the mind].' YS 1:4 - YogaDarshanam of Patanjali Patanjali's Yoga Sutras c.3rd Century BC
Commemorative Stamp of Patanjali
Dhyāna [Meditation] in Buddhism The jhānas are states of meditation where the mind is free from the five hindrances—craving, aversion, sloth, agitation and doubt—and (from the second jhāna onwards) incapable of discursive thinking. The Buddha also rediscovered an attainment beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, Nirodha-Samapatti, the "cessation of feelings and perceptions". This is sometimes called the "ninth jhāna" in commentarial and scholarly literature. Dhyāna in Buddhism
The Ninth Jhana: Cessation When you reach the limits of perception, you realize that lesser mental activity is better for your calm and peaceful state. You enter a state of “cessation” of consciousness where there is only a very subtle form of perception. The meditator may appear to be unconscious. There have been reports of meditators having heart beats as low as 20 to 40 beats per minute at this jhanic level. The nearest way to describe this state is something like a very deep sleep. The eight and ninth jhanas are not full enlightenment, but very close stepping stones to full awakening. Only those who are very close to being fully enlightened can enter the eighth and especially, the ninth jhana.
9 Jhanas - From The Dhamma Encyclopedia
'Be still, and know that I am God.' Psalms 46:10
- Bible (Old Testament)
'But seek ye first the kingdom of heaven of God and all these things will be added unto you.' Matt 6:33 '.. the kingdom of God is within you.' Luke 17:21 - Bible (New Testament)
Zhì xū jí shu jìng d 'Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind rest at peace.' 'Tao Te Ching' v16 (translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)
- Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu c. 6th century BC
Zazen 'When no thought arises in the mind it is called za (sitting) and to look at one's own nature inwardly is called zen (meditation).'
wu nien [about zen (meditation) & wu nien (no thought)] 'Have your mind like unto space and yet entertain in it no thought of emptiness.' - Platform Sutra of Hui-Neng (638-713) Chinese Ch'an (Zen) Buddhist Wu-Nien. Zen Buddhists apply this term (meaning literally "no-thought") to meditation on one's own self-nature. Wu-nien does not imply the exclusion of mental activity except in this special kind of meditation. Only when one has achieved the realization of one's own selfnature can one know the essential nature of other minds and other things. Wu-nien is not a cessation of consciousness but, rather, a seeing and a knowing that exclude all attachment and so is called "thoughtlessness" (wu-nien). It is related to shūnyatā (emptiness): the selfnature cannot be what anything else is. "I am what I am." Dictionary of Religion and Philosophy, New York: Paragon House, 1989
'Question: A little while ago you spoke of refraining from thinking (nien), but you did not finish your explanation. Answer: It means not fixing your mind upon anything any-where, but totally withdrawing it from the phenomena surrounding you, so that even the thought (szu) of seeking for something does not remain; it means that your mind, confronted by all the forms composing your environment, remains placid and motionless. This abstaining from all thought whatever is called real thought...' IA 36.1 Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening
- Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening Dazhu Huihai 'the Great Pearl' (9th c.) Chinese Ch'an Buddhist
'Think the unthinkable. How to think the unthinkable? Be without thoughts - this is the secret of meditation.' Fukan Zazen-Gi of Do-gen Zenji Japanese Zen Buddhist (13th c.)
'mi-mno don't recall, mi-bsam don't imagine, mi-shes / mi-sems don't think, mi-dpyod don't examine, mi-sgom don't control, rang-sar-bzhag gather oneself anew.' - Tilopa (988-1069) Indian Tantric
Shri Valmiki Maharshi
'.. by self-effort and self-knowledge make the mind no-mind. Let the infinite consciousness swallow, as it were, the finite mind and then go beyond everything. With your intelligence united with the supreme, hold on to the self which is imperishable.' YV 3.111 'If you give up all thoughts you will here and now attain to the realisation of oneness with all.' YV 3.17 (trans. Venkatesananda - SUNY, 1993)
- Yoga Vasistha Maharamayana of Valmiki
'When I went beyond myself, the pathway finally opened.' - Mahsati Ganjavi (12th c.) Sufi from Azerbaijan
'.. when the mind becomes devoid of all the activities and remains changeless, then the "yogi" attains to the "laya" stage. 4-31 When all the thoughts and activities are destroyed, then the "laya" stage is produced, to describe which is beyond the power of speech, being known by self-experience alone. 4-32 They often speak of "laya", "laya"; but what is meant by "laya"? "laya" is simply the forgetting of the objects of senses when the "vasanas" (desires) do not rise into existence again' 4-33 The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (trans, Pancham Sinh)
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika oldest known text on Hatha Yoga exercise c. 14th Century
Swami Brahmanand Saraswati Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, 1941-1953
'According to Upasana Khand of the Vedas we are told:- "yoga" is stopping the fluctuations of consciousness ['yogashchitta-vritti-nirodhah' - YogaDarshanam 1:2]. The ultimate aim is this, that by the practice of having stopped the fluctuations of the inner self, to experience the Supreme form of the Self. Calm without a ripple in any part of the pool of water, that manner a person can see his own face. That really is the method, stopping the fluctuations of the consciousness is really giving a clear reflection of the imperishable self in the instrument of inner vision. This indeed is "darshan" (sight) of the "atma" (self or soul).' from page 86 of 'Shri Shankaracharya Vaaksudhaa' (published 1947) - Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati (1871-1953)
'In samadhi, there is only the feeling 'I am' and no thoughts. The experience 'I am' is being still' 'Maharshi's Gospel Book 1 - VI Self-Realisation'
'This ‘I’-thought is not pure. It is contaminated with the association of the body and senses. See to whom the trouble is. It is to the ‘I’-thought. Hold it. Then the other thoughts vanish.' 'Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi' by David Godman
'When these thoughts are dispelled, you remain in the state of meditation (aware of awareness), free from thoughts. When the practise becomes firm, your real nature (awareness of awareness) shows itself as true meditation.' 'THE SELF' - by Sri Ramana
'The limited and multifarious thoughts having disappeared, there shines in the Heart a kind of wordless illumination of 'I I' which is pure consciousness (Being-ness).' 'THE SELF' - by Sri Ramana
'What is meditation? It is the suspension of thoughts.' 'Simple and Powerful Meditation'
'There are no impediments to meditation. The very thought of such obstacles is the greatest impediment.' 'Ramana Maharshi Biography'
- Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950)
'Raja Yoga is the king of Yogas. It concerns directly with the mind. In this Yoga there is no struggling with Prana or physical body. There are no Hatha Yogic Kriyas. The Yogi sits at ease, watches his mind and silences the bubbling thoughts. He stills the mind, restrains the thought-waves and enters into the thoughtless state or Asamprajnata Samadhi, Hence the name Raja Yoga.' from Introduction to 'Raja Yoga' 'ASAMPRAJNATA: Highest superconscious state where the mind is completely annihilated and Reality experienced.' from Glossary to 'Raja Yoga'
- Sivananda (1887-1963)
'In meditation, try to go beyond thinking. As long as thoughts enter the mind, you are functioning on the conscious level.' -------------------------------------------------------------------------------A disciple was having difficulty with his meditations. He asked Sri Yogananda, “Am I not trying hard enough?” 'You are trying too hard. You are using too much will power. It becomes nervous. Just be relaxed and natural. As long as you try to meditate, you won’t be able to, just as you can’t sleep so long as you will yourself to sleep. Will power should be used gradually. Otherwise, it may become detrimental. That’s why it is better, in the beginning, to emphasize relaxation.' -------------------------------------------------------------------------------'Don’t feel badly if you find yourself too restless to meditate deeply. Calmness will come in time, if you practice regularly. Just never accept the thought that meditation is not for you. Remember, calmness is your eternal, true nature.' ----------------------------------------'Where motion ceases, God begins.' 'Go Deeper Into Meditation - from The Essence of Self-Realisation'
- Paramahansa Yoganananda (1893-1952) Self-Realisation Fellowship
'Method involves time, does it not? If not now, then eventually, - tomorrow, in a couple of years, - I shall be tranquil. Which means, you do not see the necessity of being tranquil. And so, the "how" becomes a distraction; the method becomes a way of postponing the essentiality of tranquility. And that is why you have all these meditations, these phoney, false controls to get eventual tranquility of the mind, and the various methods of how to discipline in order to acquire that tranquility. Which means you do not see the necessity, the immediate necessity, of having a still mind. When you see the necessity of it, then there is no inquiry into the method at all. Then you see the importance of having a quiet mind, and you have a quiet mind.' Talk in London, England - 7th April 1952
- Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986)
'The practice of meditation is not what is ordinarily meant by practice, in the sense of repetitious preparation for some future performance. It may seem odd and illogical to say that meditation, in the form of yoga, Dhyana, or Za-zen, as used by Hindus and Buddhists, is a practice without purpose – in some future time – because it is the art of being completely centered in the here and now.' 'Meditation is therefore the art of suspending verbal and symbolic thinking for a time, somewhat as a courteous audience will stop talking when a concert is about to begin. Simply sit down, close your eyes, and listen to all sounds that may be going on – without trying to name or identify them. Listen as you would listen to music. If you find that verbal thinking will not drop away, don’t attempt to stop it by force of will-power. Just keep your tongue relaxed, floating easily in the lower jaw, and listen to your thoughts as if they were birds chattering outside – mere noise in the skull – and they will eventually subside of themselves, as a turbulent and muddy pool will become calm and clear if left alone.' 'The Practice of Meditation' from 'Way of Liberation' pp91-95
- Alan Watts (1915-1973)
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
'Those who meditate, they retire from the outside, they take their awareness from the outside and gradually go deep into the thinking process and eventually go beyond the thought. Transcend thought and then the thinking mind, the conscious mind becomes consciousness. When it goes beyond thought then it transcends thought and becomes consciousness. This consciousness is pure consciousness. The nature of this pure consciousness is bliss. It is non-changing sphere of life because we have transcended all the variable section of relative life and gone to the Absolute. This is called Being, Inner Being, Absolute Bliss consciousness.' 'Seven States of Consciousness' - recorded lecture USA - 1967
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918-2008) 'Transcendental Meditation' - 'TM' meditation
* 'As long as the thinking mind is experiencing a thought, so long the mind is a thinker and the thought becomes finer and finer, then the thinker becomes more and more alert in order to experience the finer thought, and then the thought becomes finer and finer, it becomes finest and when the thought drops off, the thinker remains all by himself and this is selfrealization. What I have to do to realize myself? I have only to stop realizing things from within and see that I don't go to sleep.' 'Seven States of Consciousness' - recorded lecture USA - 1967
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918-2008) 'Transcendental Meditation' - 'TM' meditation
Acharya Rajneesh aka Bhagwan aka Osho
'Really, there can be no method as far as meditation is concerned. Meditation is not a method. Through technique, through method, you cannot go beyond mind. When you leave all methods, all techniques, you transcend mind.' Lecture at the invitation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, with questions & answers, Pahalgam, Kashmir 1969
- Acharya Rajneesh (1931-90) 'Dynamic Meditation'
'When you are not doing anything at all, bodily, mentally... on no level, then all activity has ceased, and you simply are, just to be.... That's what meditation is.' Meditation is a Very Simple Phenomenon (video)
- Osho (1931-90) 'Dynamic Meditation'
Mataji Nirmala Devi
'In meditation you have to be absolutely effortless, expose yourself fully and you have to be absolutely thoughtless at that time. If you are not thoughtless, at that time you have to just watch your thoughts, but do not get involved into them. You will find gradually, as when the sun rises, darkness goes away and the sun’s rays go into every part and make the whole place enlightened. In the same way, your being will be completely enlightened. But if you put in an effort at that time or try to stop something within you, it will not happen. Effortlessness is the only way into meditation, but you should not be lethargic about it. You should be alert and watch it.' 'Effortless Meditation' - London, 1st January 1980 - Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (1923-2011) 'Sahaja Yoga'
'To remain without thought in the waking state is the greatest worship.' ''I AM (EXISTENCE, CONSCIOUSNESS)''
'As long as you are a beginner certain formalised meditations, or prayers may be good for you. But for a seeker for reality there is only one meditation - the rigorous refusal to harbour thoughts. To be free from thoughts is itself meditation....You begin by letting thoughts flow and watching them. The very observation slows down the mind till it stops altogether. Once the mind is quiet, keep it quiet. Don't get bored with peace, be in it, go deeper into it....Watch your thoughts and watch yourself watching the thoughts. The state of freedom from all thoughts will happen suddenly and by the bliss of it you shall recognise it. ' 'I Am That' (translation by Maurice Frydman), p.224f
'When thus the mind becomes completely silent, it shines with a new light and vibrates with new knowledge. It all comes spontaneously, you need only hold on to the 'I am' ' 'I Am That' (translation by Maurice Frydman), p.332
- Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897- 1981)
contemplatio - prayer not using thoughts or emotions. "Contentless meditation" doesn't use emotions or thoughts - not even spiritual thoughts. It's often called simply meditation or thought-free meditation. It does not develop thoughts, images, or feelings, but rather rests attentively, receptively, in awareness, in the presence of God, with the intention of consenting to the presence and action of God in oneself. You do this without identifying with any thoughts or feelings that may spontaneously arise. You don't reject, suppress or block the thoughts, by the way - you just let go of them, without the affirmation "this is I" or "this is my thought". And you rest attentively and receptively in the space between each thought and the next. Those spaces may grow a little, though new thoughts will probably keep coming. One reason for avoiding the use of even spiritual thoughts during contemplative prayer is that at this time you intend to be present to God, not to an idea or image of God. Actually, it's not so much a matter of avoidance but rather not-identifying-oneself-with the thoughts. Another reason is that the ordinary self, which is maintained by thoughts and emotions and by identification with them, is to be given a rest during these practices. And just think of all that "surrendering" training you get by not hanging on to each thought.' easterspirit - Christian Contemplative Practice
'.. in meditation the method used is intended to lead to a prayer beyond all methods, that is contemplative prayer. Contemplation is often a misunderstood word. It is not a prayer that we can initiate or cause to happen. It is divinely produced and no amount of action on our part can produce or prolong it.' 'We have entered into a wordless prayer, an awareness of the Divine Guest within, not through the use of the intellect but through a knowing loving, a deep communion with the Triune God. It is a prayer of quiet calmness in which we drink deeply at the life-giving fount.' from 'Meditation and Contemplation… What’s the Difference?'
- Carmelite Sisters Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles
'Once your mind is free from thought, it becomes clearly wakeful and at rest in an utterly simple awareness. This awareness cannot be described adequately.' 'Mindfulness in Plain English' chapter 16, p171
- Bhante Henepola Gunaratana b.1927 Theravada Buddhist monk - founder Bhavana Society
Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
'Meditation training, in the sense of sustaining the nature of mind, is a way of being free from clinging and the conceptual attitude of forming thoughts, and therefore free from the causes of samsara: karma and disturbing emotions. Please do not believe that liberation and samsara is somewhere over there: it is here, in oneself. Thought is samsara. Being free of thought is liberation. When we are free of thinking, we are free of thought.' 'Thought-Free Wakefulness'
- Dzogchen Master Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche b.1951 Tibetan Buddhist lama Sasāra. The cycle of birth and rebirth as understood in Hindu teaching. It is dictated by the karmic principle. (See Karma.) Sasāra implies bondage: only by the control of thoughts and desires can human beings overcome that bondage and be liberated in such a way as to transcend the cycle. Karma and sasāra imply both biological and spiritual evolution and a relation between human beings and lower forms of animal life such as imposes on the former the duty of compassion toward the latter: reverence not only for human but for all life.
Dictionary of Religion and Philosophy, New York: Paragon House, 1989
Karma. Sanskrit term meaning "deed" or "action". The karmic principle is the basic principle of the spiritual dimension of being. It is a principle of balance. Although commonly associated with Hinduism, Buddhism, and other oriental religions, it can be seen as expressive of the Torah in Judaism, considered as the eternal principle of righteousness embodied in the written Torah and also as expressed in the Golden Rule, to be found in Confucius, in Kant's Categorical Imperative, and in the form laid down by Jesus: "Do unto others as ye would have others do unto you." Contrary to the vulgar misunderstanding of it as a fatalistic principle, it is in fact a principle that preeminently implies and is based upon freedom of choice. It is associated with the principle of Reincarnation and may be thought to imply it. Actions, good or bad, have consequences upon the karma of each individual. Each individual has a karmic inheritance, good and bad, and sooner or later must work off the bad and develop the good. Dictionary of Religion and Philosophy, New York: Paragon House, 1989
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