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BOOK: Mindfulness Meditation

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Introduction

Twenty-six hundred years ago, when Buddha introduced meditation, it was part of a thought revolution that civilized three-quarters of the world at that time. That revolution in thought led to science. Science then gave us knowledge and control of the physical environment to make our lives comfortable. But to get the insight into our fundamental nature science must now turn its attention back to meditation and thought revolution.

Wikipedia describes meditation as “a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.” Dictionary only provides substitute words like concentration, contemplation and reflection. None of this truly captures the meaning of the ancient practice of meditation.

Going back to Buddha’s words, and researching through them scientifically, we discover the following meaning.

Meditation is “being there with total attention, and seeing things as they are.”

Meditation is neither concentration nor contemplation. It is not focusing the mind on some object, thought or activity. Instead, meditation is a completely detached mode of observation.

What happens when one meditates? How does it lead to a thought revolution?

As one meditates, one starts to see through the mind’s obfuscation. One begins to recognize things that have always been there in plain sight. Out of this come realizations into the nature of things. This is how the fundamental discoveries in science are made.

But what does it mean to aim for enlightenment through meditation? What was the enlightenment that Buddha sought and attained?

Oxford dictionaries define enlightenment as “The action or state of attaining or having attained spiritual knowledge or insight, in particular (in Buddhism) that awareness which frees a person from the cycle of rebirth.” But this doesn’t completely explain the meaning of enlightenment. A sense of mystery seems to surround it. When we look at the original word for enlightened, Bodhi, it simply means “awakened”.

Again, going back to Buddha’s words, and researching through them scientifically, we discover the following meaning.

Enlightenment is “the direct perception of the very nature underlying our being.”

Enlightenment is not some vague spiritual awareness. Linking it to some mysterious cycle of rebirth does not explain it. Enlightenment is an insight into one’s own nature and its relationship to the fundamental nature of existence. It has to be perceived directly to be fully appreciated. This is the enlightenment that Buddha sought and attained.

So how does one go about being there with total attention, so one may directly perceive the very nature underlying our being?

The following chapters guide you one step at a time on this journey of meditation and enlightenment.

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Reference: Mindfulness Meditation

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Preface

Recently, I happened to accompany my wife to a Yoga center in Ocala, Florida, where I chanced upon a book, The Surrender Experiment, by Michael A. Singer. This book is about the author’s journey into life’s perfection through practice of meditation. He desperately wanted to get rid of the voice that chatted incessantly inside his head.

I was fascinated by how this author was able to establish himself into deep meditation quickly and comfortably. He had no teacher. He had only the book, Three Pillars of Zen, by Philip Kapleau to guide him. This book answered his real questions, like “Who am I that watches that voice talk?” It guided him simply to sit down in a quiet spot, watch his breath go in and out, and mentally repeat the sound Mu with focus centered below the belly button. This simple formula worked like a charm.

This surprised me because not many people get such results so quickly in meditation. Even the book, Three Pillars of Zen, describes the practice of meditation in monasteries to be arduous, and monks taking years to reach enlightenment. Instance of a person making rapid progress through meditation is unheard of. I was curious to know about the example that Buddha set.

Buddha left home in search of self-realization when he was twenty-nine. By the time he attained enlightenment he was thirty-five. It may seem that it took him six years to attain enlightenment, but Buddha spent most of those years in practicing asceticism, which almost killed him. Once Buddha realized the middle path of meditation, it took him just a month after his recovery from asceticism to attain enlightenment.

This book is written on the premise that when meditation is practiced correctly it takes only months, and not years, to reach enlightenment.

This book, therefore, focuses, first, on defining the terms ‘meditation’ and ‘enlightenment’ so they are understood correctly. Second, it provides a number of simple exercises that guide one smoothly through various gradients of meditation.

Many of us have dreamed of a grass-root movement of spiritual awakening spreading throughout the world like wild fire. May this book provide the spark, which makes this dream become a reality.

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Reference: Mindfulness Meditation

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Being Comfortably There

Comfortable

Reference: Mindfulness Meditation

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EXERCISE MM 5:

Being comfortably there.

PURPOSE:

To train the student to BE there comfortably in the presence of another person. The idea is to get the student to BE there and not do anything else but BE there.

PRE-REQUISITES:

The student must have completed Exercise MM 4: Relief from Guilt

The student must have read and understood: Be a Friend

INSTRUCTIONS:

You sit with a fellow student a comfortable distance apart facing each other with eyes closed. There is no conversation. This is a silent drill. (Note: The fellow student may be different for different sessions).

Both must establish themselves in mindfulness meditation with the awareness that another is sitting in front of you. Comfortably perceive whatever is presented by your environment and the mind. Hold still, watching the flow of your breath, not attaching yourself to passing attitudes, emotions, sensations and pains, and see what happens.

Do this with eyes closed for the first half of the session. In the second half of the session, the students sit and look at each other and say and do nothing. (Note: You may set up an alarm when to switch.) Students must not speak, blink, fidget, giggle or be embarrassed or go unconscious. They must not use a body part or some system to confront. There should be no apologizing or moving or being startled or embarrassed or defending self. They should just BE there and PERCEIVE.

Many reactions may occur, but they all disappear as one perseveres with this exercise.

Each session may be 20 to 30 minute long; but a session can be as long as two hours. You may continue with this exercise over several sessions until you reach the end of this exercise.

END OF THE EXERCISE:

When the students can BE there comfortably and PERCEIVE and have reached a major stable win, the exercise is passed.

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The Comfort of Friendship

Friend

Reference: Mindfulness Meditation

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As a person handles his feelings of guilt he starts to become his own friend. He can now see more of his natural self. His defensive façade starts to melt away. His level of affinity comes up, and he starts to feel differently about others. He wants to go out and talk to other people. But there could be a feeling of shyness. He may still hold himself back because he does not feel comfortable in the presence of others.

However, the truth is that we are not very different from each other. As you learn more about yourself, you are actually learning more about others at the same time. Others have the same curiosities, urges, fears, anxieties, aches and pains as you have. They may have somewhat different experiences and reactions, but, at the core, others are not very different from you.

Shyness is a general reaction you may feel in the presence of others. When you meet a stranger or somebody familiar, other reaction may arise. It is simply a matter of facing and letting go of a new level of reactions.

As you get rid of more reactions, you come to learn more about yourself; and in doing so, you come to learn more about others. Finally you can simply be there and comfortably perceive no matter whom you meet. At this point you have become more yourself.

You have also become a friend to others; because a friend is one who can calmly listen and assist.

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Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness

Reference: Research in Metaphysics

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BOOK: Mindfulness Exercises

—A  Scientific Approach

Preface

Introduction

ARTICLE 0: Posture in Meditation

EXERCISE 0: Establish Meditative Posture

ARTICLE 1: Letting Go of Reactions

EXERCISE 1: Mental Chatter & Anxiety

ARTICLE 2: The Universal Viewpoint

EXERCISE 2: Pre-conceived Notions

ARTICLE 3: The Law of Continuum

EXERCISE 3: Anomalies in Thinking

ARTICLE 4: The Feeling of Guilt

EXERCISE 4: Relief from Guilt

ARTICLE 5: The Comfort of Friendship

EXERCISE 5: Being Comfortably There

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I am planning to rewrite the above materials as a book. I would love to have the following feedback from you:

1. Can you follow what I am saying?

2. Are there some portions that are boring?

3. Are there places where the language is a bit unrealistic?

4. Which passages you had to read twice?

5. Which sections do you remember best?

6. Which parts could be eliminated when necessary?

Thank you.