Meditation Styles

 In Awareness, Consciousness, Judgment, Meditation, Mindfulness, Philosophy, Zen

Often I get asked “what style of meditation” I practice and so I thought I’d elaborate on what meditation is to me along with my thoughts on meditation styles. It seems when we create a style in many ways it becomes a fixed, static system. A system where we attempt to create levels to measure growth. This creates a mental trap of protecting the system while sustaining the ego. This leads to judgments and beliefs around the system, keeping us at the level of thought.

When we are in thought or focused on a style both the teacher and student become impacted. There is no one mold for inner discovery. So what worked for the teacher may not work for the student. To add, the student remains in the state of validation seeking approval when focused on a “right” or “wrong” way to do something. To free both from these traps, a teacher becomes a guide while suspending any beliefs they picked up along their journey.

Going beyond thought

Meditation is about going beyond our limited thinking. When one experiences that state of inner peace, often defined as satori or enlightenment, there is no desire to boast about it because we shift beyond that egoic attachment. It’s about going beyond thought into that infinitely expanding presence within. Each experience being greater than the previous experience, as long as we remain open and free from the limitations of mind. This helps avoid a trap of trying to go back to a previous experience, for the next one is to take us beyond as we progress in expansion. The concept of going back is often clothed in attachment to a previous experience.

“Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”
~Lao Tzu

Meditation is self-discovery

As we look at what meditation is, we realize there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ approach that we could possibly take. For Meditation is an endless process of inner discovery and expansion. How could you possibly go wrong with discovering yourself? You are the only one that can discover and know yourself. The only thing you could possibly do is limit your experience by incorporating beliefs (and limitations) from others. Silence leads the way, and expansion is infinite, always expanding beyond the previous experience.

My journey

When I was introduced to meditation around 15 years ago, my Kung Fu teacher at the time didn’t even mention styles. It was more of a notion to sit with myself until my thoughts are no longer a part of my attention. There were no rules, no constraints. Since then, I’ve crafted up my own practice which consists of stillness, reflection, mantra, prayer, visualization, tarot and whatever else I like to add to my morning ritual. I loved coming across this post “How I start my Day” by Danielle Laporte to see another with similar methods.

Chunyi Lin founder of Spring Forest Qigong, suggests moving away from right or wrong by focusing on “good”, “better” and “best”. By learning under this concept his students start off with greater confidence from the very beginning (without doubt) and end up achieving more immediate results. This leads people to an immediate experience beyond any idea or conception. This is similar to what I’m suggesting here as well, which is to experience it for yourself without any limitations of others. Then embrace and welcome what is to come, for each experience that follows has potential to take you beyond the previous experiences that led.

Meditation tips

Meditation is as simple (or complex) as you wish to make it. You can sit in any comfortable position or even lay down, the key is to maintain awareness so you can drift into that state of ‘no thought’ without falling a sleep. The state of no thought is not about thinking of not thinking. It’s about observing the thoughts as they pass. Then go into and beyond them. There is a layer of awareness that resides above our thinking, allowing us to observe what we are thinking while we are thinking. There are layers beyond this, where there is nothing and then something. Each is but a level of expansion taking you further into the self. Group meditations can also be great for enhancing your experience, but are not required. Some of the group meditations are style based so its good to maintain your own awareness (with questioning) so you can avoid taking on any beliefs or limitations. As you might find… there are a plethora of limiting beliefs within each system. As we question while maintaining awareness, we avoid sticking to any limitations and remain fully open to experiencing it all for ourselves.

Until next time,
James-Simon

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