The best way to begin is prepare to meditate since as a beginning student you want the experience is to be successful. The next consideration is contemplation because we want to bring to mind the object of placement meditation. The next part of our journey is the meditation itself, and that happens when the object appears clearly.
Following meditation is dedication. Dedication is recited at the end of the meditation session. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, is how to integrate meditation into our daily life, or make it the subsequent practice. Each of these areas will be discussed to provide a better understanding of how to meditate to begin your path of relaxation and enlightenment.
In order to prepare for a successful meditation, we must purify obstacles caused by our negative actions. One analogy is to use the farmer and his crop. The farmer must first remove anything that may obstruct his crop’s growth. He must remove stones and weeds from the soil. So like the farmer, we must remove the negative thoughts, which are the stones and the weeds, to purify our mind, which is the soil. In order to give our mind the strength to support our new ‘growth,’ we must accumulate merit. Merit enriches the soil by feeding it with compost or fertilizer in order to sustain new growth. Finally, in order to activate and stimulate growth, warm, moist conditions must be provided to allow for germination of the new seeds. For our session, we need to activate and receive blessings from a higher source or divination, according to the Buddhists. Other practices to prepare for meditation is to recite prayers while contemplating their meaning. One example would be to recite the Prayer of the Seven Limbs:
With my body, speech, and mind, humbly I prostrate,
And make offerings both set out and imagined.
I confess my wrong deeds from all time,
And rejoice in the virtues of all.
Please stay until samsara ceases,
And turn the Wheel of Dharma for us.
I dedicate all virtues to great enlightenment.*
The purpose of contemplation is to bring to focus the object of placement meditation. To accomplish this, consider various lines of reasoning, contemplating analogies, and reflection on the scriptures. Also, keep in mind that it is beneficial to memorize the contemplation so that you do not have to keep referring back to the text. Much of the information is to be used as reference tools or guidelines to assist you. Keep in mind, that by supplementing our contemplation with these tools, it will enrich the meditation with greater understanding.
Through our contemplations, the object appears clearly. We leave the analytical part of the meditation process and enter into the single part of the concentration, which is the actual meditation. It is easy as a beginner to become distracted and lose site of our object of meditation. For this reason, it may be beneficial to alternate between contemplation and placement meditation many times during each session. For example, if we are meditating on compassion, we would contemplate human suffering until we feel a strong sense of compassion in our heart. If the feeling fades or we become distracted, we should return to analytical meditation to bring the feeling back to mind. When the feeling is restored, we can return to our single object of meditation. Both contemplation and meditation acquaints us with more honorable objects, and the more familiar we become with these objects, the more peaceful our mind becomes.
Dedication directs the merit that we achieved through our meditation so that we may attain a higher level of understanding and enlightenment. To accomplish this, dedication prayers are recited at the end of each meditation session to ensure that the merit we have created is not wasted but acts as a conduit for enlightenment.
Finally, the subsequent practice is how to integrate the meditation in our daily lives. It is something that should permeate our whole life and not just a fraction of it. In order for meditation to be a success, we should keep watch over our mind by applying mindfulness, alertness and conscientiousness. More importantly, we should practice the abandonment of bad habits for greater peace of mind and spirit. The deeper experience is the result of training over a long period of time, both in and out of meditation. So there is no need to rush as we will see the fruits of our labor by the obtaining deep, spiritual growth and understanding.
At the time of this writing, Rachel has been meditating for about a year. In that time, she’s seen many astounding near-instant results. She’s found her way to her purpose (which she believes has to do with helping people discover their spirituality), has had greater relationships, released weight, and is overall a LOT happier.
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