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(See also “Breath and Meditation,” “Posture,” “Relaxation Meditation," and "Waters of Life.")

You can start this meditation by placing yourself in a still posture that is comfortable and relaxing–standing, sitting, or lying down. You then takes several deep breaths, letting each out slowly, and then relax your lungs, chest, and stomach so that natural–usually deeper–breathing then happens.

Then you focus on an extremity of the body–one or both hands, one or both feet, or the top of the head–and begin to calm and relax the muscles there. You then switch to the other hand or foot, doing the same. Or work your way toward the center of the body and then to the other side or end, relaxing the body parts as you go.

At each step, you focus on that part of the body, relax it, and continue to breathe deeply. You may use a word such as “relax” or “rest,” either out loud or in your head, as you move to each part to help you stay focused. You may also use a finger to tap the part of the body you are relaxing. Be patient, move deliberately and slowly rather than quickly, and be aware of each body part you are relaxing. You also may combine this meditation with rubbing of the muscle or body part by hand, or ask another to do so in a calm, relaxed, deliberative manner.

You also may use this meditation while you are receiving a massage. The massage should be more slow and deliberative than vigorous. The massage penetration, gentle, medium, or deep, should be whatever helps you best remember to focus on your meditation.

You can use this meditation over a half hour for deep relaxation, or for just five or ten minutes for a faster calming of yourself and a break from whatever you are doing. Some people also use this meditation as a way to fall asleep.

If you experience small muscle twitches during this meditation, and they subside relatively quickly, you do not need to be concerned. The twitches are just the body’s way of letting go of tensions. For a more advanced version of this meditation, see “Relaxation Meditation.”

See “Evil.”

CATAPHATIC (KATAPHATIC) THEOLOGYSee "Apophatic and Cataphatic Theology."

CELESTIAL BODIES AND MEDITATION (See also the "Four Elements.")

Historically, many people have believed that celestial bodies such as the sun, the moon, the stars, and Mars, Venus, Mercury and other planets hold special powers or represent gods or godly forces. The tides of gravity and other scientifically examined influences from different celestial bodies do affect individuals on earth. In addition, the earth itself is a far stronger influence scientifically than the planets, moon, or sun because we are closer to the earth, and its gravity fields shift as we move through different astronomical relationships with the other celestial bodies.

All of this has at least some effect on meditation, our mental capacities, and our moods. And in some spiritual systems, using these different celestial bodies as centering points for meditation is said to offer results.

Thousands of years ago, many people thought celestial bodies were gods and goddesses. Most of us no longer believe that. However, some spiritual traditions believe each celestial body has its own conscious awareness or spirit. Examples of such practice include dances to each of the celestial bodies, especially to sun, moon, earth, Mars, and Venus; prayers to the their spirits; and invocations to these spirits, asking for their help or intercession.

In ancient times, one of the greatest and longest lasting religions in history, Zoroastrianism–a thousand-plus years long, Middle Eastern religion–was for most of its followers a form of sun worship, or worship of the spirit of the sun. One of the great advantages, in terms of meditation, of this religion and others that worshipped the sun is that is asked people to focus on something above them, usually somewhere above their heads. This type of focus in meditation would at times help them connect, consciously or unconsciously, with their highest energy centers (see).

In ancient, female-oriented, Middle Eastern and Western religions, the moon, earth, or Venus often was worshipped. And in early Western history near the Mediterranean, those who worshipped the Greek gods or their equivalent in other cultures also sometimes worshipped the planets for which they were named: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune.

However, in meditation practice, following celestial bodies is like using your own body’s energy centers (see) as focuses for meditation. If you are practicing meditation alone (not in person with a master), there are a few helpful guidelines:

  1. The first guideline is that you may safely use the higher energy centers (above the head, third eye, throat, and heart) as safer meditation focuses. Likewise, in meditating upon the influence, power, or spirit of celestial bodies, safer focuses are the bodies inside the earth’s orbit (sun, Mercury, and Venus), and the higher aspects of the moon and the earth (literally and/or figuratively).

  2. Likewise, unless you are working in person with a master meditator, working with the body’s energy centers that are below the heart center is not safe and may cause considerable problems (see “Energy Centers”).  Similarly, the planets beyond earth represent or are tied to powers or forces that are more dangerous.

  3. It also may be helpful to remember, when meditating upon celestial bodies, that you are not trying to merge with the materials–rocks, gases, etc.–of the bodies, but rather the spirit of them, whether symbolically or otherwise.

  4. Yet another guideline that may help is to focus on a celestial body when it is overhead (except, of course, for the earth), rather than below the horizon. This keeps your focus on the higher energy centers of the body, as well, rather than the lower ones. for meditations on earth, you may find it more helpful to meditate or commune with aspects of nature. Many people commune with, or meditate lightly upon, trees and other plants in particular.

  5. A final guideline that might help is to remember–whether with one’s own body’s energy centers or with the celestial bodies–what, exactly, you are focusing on. You are looking for the powerful energies in these centers or bodies, not on the purest form of your own self or the highest state of being. In other words, focusing on them may help you attain better awareness, growth, or happiness, but they are limited in what they can achieve for you. You might want to use a variety of them–or even better, you may want to sometimes go to a higher primary source of meditation (see “Starting Stage” and “Middle Stage of Meditation”)–to help you organize these other focuses into what works best for you.

CENTEREDNESS, CENTERING (See also "Centering Prayer" and the "Energy Centers.")

The experience of being centered or seeking centeredness is closely related to meditation. Being centered is an important act not just in meditation but also in health, physical exercise, thinking, and mental acuity. Being "centered" means, in all of these, being (or thinking or feeling) neither left nor right, not one-sided or unfocused, but rather being right at or in the center. In meditation and in other systems and activities, such centeredness is good because it helps create balance, harmony, and improved energy flow. You don't have to be constantly centered. However, in general, even if you favor one physical side or another, it is good to alternate between such sides to create a more centered existence.

Centering in meditation often means centering on a point of awareness along (or slightly above) the spine and head. Chakra meditation (see) systems suggest you concentrate on central nerve clusters or nerve areas slightly above your head, between your eyebrows (the "third eye"), in the front of your throat, or in the front center of your chest (level with your heart). You also may center yourself in your heart. You develop this "chakra" or energy-center type of meditation by by concentration using your sense of space, or by imagining where these physical centers are, or by your physical feeling of where they are. You also may center yourself on these physical points by touching or tapping them; you may keep your fingers or hands on the spot as you meditate, or remove them. For more on these types of meditation, see "Energy Centers."

Another type of centering in meditation is to center your awareness on your awareness. There are two methods in particular for concentrating in this way. In the first way, you build awareness of, or concentrate on, each feeling, thought, image, and sound your awareness touches, watching yourself being aware of each; in other words, if reality is a flow of constant stimulation, you watch each item in the stream of the flow as it comes to you  (see "The Flow Meditation").

A second way of centering your awareness on your awareness is to become aware, directly, of your awareness itself. In other words, you watch the watcher, hear the hearer, feel the feeler: you turn your consciousness upon itself, bend it back upon itself (see "Awareness of Awareness").

Other types of centered meditation also exist. For a longer list of such meditations, go to the home page table of contents, look at the "Guides," and choose the "Starting" stage guide. If you are interested in developing a path or style of meditation that centers on your specific needs, see "Pathways of Meditation."

CENTERING PRAYER (See also "Centering," "Prayer," and "Lectio Divina.")

"Centering prayer" means, in meditation, to prepare yourself for contemplation and for a deeper relationship with the divine. It is a Christian term; however, its practitioners generally say it can be used in all religions and non-religious meditation practices. In fact, if the words "God" and "holy" or "divine" are interchangeable among many religions, then the Centering Prayer method works in most major religions as a meditation technique.

The original sources of the Christian version of Centering Prayer come from the fourteenth-century anonymous Christian mystical work The Cloud of Unknowing, and from mystic St. John of the Cross. This method involves learning openness to God–in other words, to an ultimate state of being–in inner (and outer) silence, and learning to develop that necessary silence. Developing that silence can itself be a challenge that will be successful on some days but bring up new roadblocks on others.

Centering prayer was developed especially as a system in the latter half of the twentieth century and early twenty-first century by a founder of the Centering Prayer movement, the Trappist monk Thomas Keating. The movement's stated aim is to "seek relationship with the Ultimate Reality through listening to God's first language: silence" (Keating, Intimacy with God xxv). It is a variety of prayerful methods that prepare one for deep contemplation (for deep states of meditation). These methods have been combined in practical ways with twentieth-century psychology and its understandings of the unconscious or subconscious and emotional problems. Again, this method easily can be applied in many religious and non-religious meditation systems that believe in an ultimate reality, and different experiences of it, accessible through meditation.

Centering prayer is not simply "centering" oneself (though learning to center yourself is a good beginning level of meditation activity: see "Starting Stage of Meditation"). And centering prayer it is not simply a restfulness or a hope. Instead, it is an activity in which you center yourself within yourself, you learn silence, and you wait within that silence for a higher, deeper power to enter your awareness. Some consider centering prayer to be a beginning step that precedes or helps develop contemplative prayer.

Notably, those who practice centering prayer consider it a surrendering of themselves, not a specific type of concentration. When you practice surrender of your ego and daily self to silence, or the search for inner silence, in many ways this practice is relaxing. You are not working hard to try to achieve; rather, you are letting go of what you don't need.

As you become more centered in silence, you gradually work your way to a middle point where higher or deeper states of being commingle with your silence (or your half-silence: often, it is difficult to create perfect silence). Throughout this process, you keep yourself open to these higher or deeper states of being. Note that these are very positive states of being, those often described by some as spiritual or even mystical.

As you go into these higher or deeper states of being, you usually find a deep restfulness or peace, and/or an energetic relaxation, not one of sleep but rather of awake, alive, peaceful energy. (Note that some people use this kind of relaxation to help them fall asleep. This is quite acceptable, as it creates brain networks and patterns for also learning to feel these states of being when awake.)

In more advanced stages, you gradually learn to let the higher or deeper states of being become stronger. They feel, increasingly, like they are taking over your normal thinking self that is learning to remain silent. Such surrender is nothing to worry about: you will return (perhaps more often than you want) to your normal ego self, still able to make decisions with it and to recognize how powerful and helpful these states of being are.

Note also that as you seek silence within yourself, you do not need to try to force total silence, which may easily slip away from you. You may use a helpful word (for example, "love," "peace," "joy," "God," or a word or phrase from another religion such as "Om," "om manipadme hum," or any other useful word or phrase (see "Mantra"). You may, instead, use an image that is important to you, one which helps you find meditative silence. You also may use the memory of a physical feeling, or create your own physical sensation by tapping yourself on some part of your body, such as your heart or heart center (see).

The key to using a word or phrase, images, or a physical memory or sensation is that doing this is easy for you: that it helps you relax and slide into surrendering your small, daily, busy ego self. Surrendering instead of mentally or emotionally working hard is at the core of centering prayer.

One negative that happens in the Centering Prayer method is a problem that you can almost expect and must deal with. That problem is that all kinds of recent and older mental and emotional conflicts, fears, anxieties, and emotional pain can come into your awareness, along with feelings from your unconscious and/or your memories. These elements can be a problem in most types of meditation, especially those centered in simple increases in awareness or consciousness, and those centered in focusing on any of the energy centers (see) that are not the the above-the-head energy center (see) or the heart energy center (see).

In Centering Prayer and similar rest-and-wait-in-Awareness methods, the key to dealing with negativities is to simply watch them pass through you but detach your own true self from them: let them go by while you watch or hear them, but don't participate in them. The more you do this–the more you let your Awareness or your silent sense of peace and centeredness simply watch and wait in confidence and peace–the more these emotional and mental waves, or disturbances on the surface, will lose their power and gradually go away. For more on this, see "Emotion in Meditation," "Emotional Reactions to Meditation," "Depression," "Fear," "Memories," "Pain," and "Problems.")

To deal with such problems, another option is to combine Centering Prayer, which is a more staying-in-wait-and-rest method, with other more active, concentrative methods: focusing above the head or in the heart centers (see): when you have painful struggles, try one of these other two areas. When a clearing of the problems has occurred, then try going back to Centering Prayer, if you wish. However, if these problems are too much for you, get help. Centering Prayer advocates also recommend that to use their method thoroughly over a long period of time (daily beyond several months), you might need to find a mentor who already is deeply experienced in this method.



CHURCH Christian place of worship. See “Architecture" and "Group Meditation.”

CHAIN MEDITATION(See also "Starting Stage of Meditation.")

 “Chain” meditation means, simply, that you purposely use two or more types of meditation in a row, separated by minutes or even seconds, so that you can more easily access more difficult types of meditation. “Chain” meditation does not in any way mean being chained or tied to a specific type of focusing. Many naturally easier “chains” exist:

1.    You might start meditating by first focusing easily on the “heart center” (see), then moving to the “throat center” and/or the “third eye center” (see), and then moving upward to the somewhat more difficult “above-the-head center” (see).

2.    You could start with the meditation called “Awareness of Each Object of Awareness” (see), and then switch to the one called “Awareness of Awareness” (see).

3.    You could move from a focus on any one of the “Energy Centers” (see) to a “Descending or Ascending” experience (see).

4.     Still another is that you could move from one of the energy center points to a midpoint in space between it and another person’s similar body meditation center.

5.    With the permission of the other person in “3,” you could then move from that middle point to the equivalent body point within him or her.

6.    If you’re re in a group situation, you can move from a meditation point within yourself to a point in space that is in the middle of the group: for example, from above one’s head to a focus that is approximately just above the middle point of everyone’s head.

7.     You also can invent your own chain meditation. Simply choose what works for you, step by step, to go from easier to more difficult or more complex types of meditations. You also can develop a meditation chain as a form of exploration of new or unusual meditations, whether as a way to step easily into the unknown, or to give yourself a safe harbor to which you can return if you feel unsafe or overwhelmed.

(See “Energy Centers.”)

The Hindu chakra system is a series of seven points or areas on the human body, the lowest being at the base of the trunk and the highest being at the top of the head or slightly above it. The chakra system was part of an overall medical mapping of the human body that gave ancient Hindu doctors a surprisingly useful body of knowledge about how to treat illnesses.

It also was a system of spiritual development. When an initiate was ready to start lessons, he or she would go to a spiritual center where there was one or more masters. The initiate would get permission from one of these masters to study with the master. Then, over a period of years, the master would train the initiate in finding, activating, and controlling a spiritual energy called “Kundalini.” Kundalini, also known as the snake that moves from the base of the trunk upward through the spinal column, would open each of the initiate’s chakras in turn, illuminating the initiate, until Kundalini reached the top of the head, and the initiate was ready to become a master, as well.

In modern times, especially with the proliferation of written and video texts and guides about the chakras, many meditators try to develop their chakras by themselves, without a master. There are, according to master yogis, many dangers to doing this in the traditional way because the Kundalini power, as it rises, must go through some of the most base and harsh urges, desires, and emotions that humans can encounter.

For this reason, most modern yogi masters recommend that if a meditator wishes to explore the chakras, he or she should do it from the top down. In other words, it is best, they say, to start with the higher chakras and then let your gradual development of them descend, when the time is ready, to lower levels. The top four chakras are relatively safe, especially the highest (on top of or slightly above the head) and the heart chakra (in the heart itself; and also in the center of the chest or sternum between your breasts, on a level about even with your heart).

A modern discussion of how you can meditate alone with the chakras is in the listing called “Energy Centers” (see). Each energy center also is listed separately:

1.     Above-the-head Energy Center (see)

2.     “Third-eye” Energy Center (see)

3.     The Throat Energy Center (see)

4.     The Heart Energy Center (see)

5.     The Solar Plexus Energy Center (see)

6.     The Healing Energy Center (see)

7.     The Base-of-the-trunk Energy Center (see)

CHANGE (See also “Problems.”)

Change in or from meditation often is unavoidable, either quickly or, over time, more slowly. Meditation creates a change in you by increasing your awareness of yourself and, often, relaxing yourself in some ways. However, it also causes you unexpected new awarenesses of your tensions or other needs for change.

For example, you might use meditation to learn to feel more restful and at peace. When you are successful, this may change how the you responds to conditions in your normal, external life: you may become less stressed in some situations, but you may also become more aware of stress–in yourself or among others–in other situations. As a result, you may need to make some outward adjustments, however simple, too.

Often such changes are small. However, on occasion–especially as one becomes increasingly or more deeply involved in meditation–greater change may occur. Such changes often are for the better. For example, if you learn to feel happier about yourself through regular meditation, you likely will express this happiness in some way, whether obviously or subtly, toward other people, and as a result you may become more well liked.

However, sometimes you may discover through meditation that you have new or old problems that need fixing. Often these problems may have been there already, but you were unaware of them or were not worried about them. Thus your meditation may have caused you to feel a greater need for change.

Another example is as follows. Have you regularly helped or been supported by a friend or partner? After sufficient meditation, you may change your behavior for which you had received help. What then becomes of the friendship? It can no longer be based on your need for help or support, at least not in the same way.

Change also tends to happen faster from meditation when one meditates upon the highest meditation energy center (see) or when working with a master (see). The type of change also can be determined to some extent by which types of meditation you are trying: for example, working on the intellectual energy centers (see “Third-Eye Center” and “Throat Center”) may bring about mental changes in your life more quickly, whereas focusing on the heart center (see) may bring about changes having to do with love and related emotions more quickly.

In general, focusing on the four higher energy centers and on awareness itself (see “Starting Stage of Meditation”) are more likely to bring positive change. But focusing on the three lower centers may be more likely to bring about disruptive change without the guidance of a regular meditation master.  

In addition, external change in your life is inevitable. Even so, meditation can help you move through changes more smoothly and with greater awareness and comfort. It can give you a stronger sense of inner self, and it may offer you a core of peaceful, strong, or joyful meaning.

CHANTING See "Mantra" and “Others, Meditating with/around/in.”


CHI See “Massage.”

CHIMES See "Bell."

CHIROPRACTIC PRACTICE AND MEDITATION (See also “Breathing,” “Exercise,” and “Pain.”)

Chiropractic practice, or the manipulation of skeletal structures, has, as its primary purpose, the aligning of the skeleton within itself and with bodily organs so that all of these parts are in their proper places and balances for optimum physical health. Chiropractic is not just massage or “cracking one’s bones,” though certainly these healing activities can be part of it. Hatha yoga and chiropractic have many of the same stretching exercises and end goals, though each contributes differently and uniquely to physical health.

Visits to a chiropractor can be an excellent way of checking for lack of proper physical alignment and of improving general physical and mental health. Chiropractic, when combined with meditation and/or yoga, may have a very powerful positive effect on one’s health. 

CHRISTIAN MEDITATION See "Centering Prayer," "Prayer," "Born Again," "Holy Spirit," "Baptism," “God," "Religions," and "Western Model of Christianity.” Also see specific terms related to Christian meditation throughout this dictionary.

CLAIRVOYANCE – Seeing distance happenings. See "Gifts" and "Psychic Abilities/Phenomena."

CLEANSING See “Light," "Healing," and "Waters of Life.”

CLARITY In meditation, inner clarity means a clearing of your thoughts, emotions, and memories. For related information, see “Jnana Yoga,” “Nirvana,” and “The ‘No’ Meditation.”

A "CLEAR" A level of achievement and a state of being in Scientology in which one has attained the ability to clear oneself of negative perceptions and old memories. For related information, see “Jnana Yoga,” “Nirvana,” and “The ‘No’ Meditation.”

CLEARING MEDITATION, CLEARING THE MINDSee "Energy Sphere," “Jnana Yoga,” “Nirvana,” and “The ‘No’ Meditation.”

COMMUNION Using bread and wine: See "Symbols."

COLOR MEDITATIONS (See also "Maitri Wisdom Meditation.")

          Color meditations exist in a number of systems. One of the most ancient and common, from ancient Chinese religion, Chinese Buddhism, and Tibetan Buddhism, is the maitri system of colors (see "Maitri" for more information), updated by modern psychologists. The five colors of maitri are related to the five elements of earth, air, fire, water, and space/spirit. The colors themselves are no more "holy," "spiritual," or alive in any special way than is a statue in and of itself. However, meditating upon the colors can help you discover meditation energies and tendencies within yourself.

          For example, the color white long has been associated, in many religions, with purity, spirituality, and a high level or state of being. Meditating upon it may help you find your own higher energy level, or reveal how natural it is to you–or how lacking it may be in your life.

          Briefly, to meditate on the colors, start with several deep breaths and a comfortable posture; then breathe normally and naturally, preferably in a darkened room. Then open each of the following links, one at a time. Use each screen for at least a few minutes each; twenty to thirty minutes per screen may be more effective for some. Keep your eyes toward the color, and come back to being aware of the color whenever your mind strays.

          Adjust your posture as needed for comfort; you may stare at the color or look to the side of it, as long as it is present in your sight. Then simply see what happens. Which color takes you into better, more intense, or more interesting inner energy states, thoughts, and feelings? Which colors don't seem to do anything for you? Which seem most natural to you, and which the least natural?

EARTH: Golden Yellow

WATER: Sky Blue

AIR: New-Leaf Green

FIRE: Fiery Red

SPACE: White

          You may use what you discover in a number of ways, either for further meditation or as deeper insight into yourself. To find out moreand use a chart of personality correlations from Buddhist tradition and modern psychologysee "Maitri."

COMMUNION Using bread and wine: See "Symbols."

COMMUNION OF SAINTS See also "Afterlife," "Prayer," and "Other People, Meditating with.")

          This is a Christian term meaning that you can share yourself and your thoughts and feelings with saints who have passed into the afterlife. The communion of saints is not limited just to officially designated (or "canonized") saints; it also includes friends, relatives, etc. who have passed on to an afterlife.

          For example, you may, according to some parts of Christianity such as Roman Catholicism and Mormonism, pray not only to designated saints. You also may pray to or with your own friends and relatives, inviting them to help you with your prayers or meditations. Mormons also believe, for example, that you can help family members reach heaven after they've died.

          Such activities are meditation practices. They may fall under the categories of prayer (see) or communications with others (see "Others, Meditating with"). Also see "Afterlife."

CONCENTRATION See “Mindfulness.”

CONCENTRATION ON OTHER PEOPLE See “Groups” and “Meditation with or on Others.”

CONSCIENCE A sense or intuition of right and wrong. See "Superego," "Guilt," and "Emotional Reactions to Meditation.”



CONTEMPLATION (See also "Centering Prayer," "God," "Prayer," "Starting Stage," the "Third Eye Energy Center," the "Throat Energy Center," and the "Starting Stage.")

"Contemplation" has many meanings, from simply thinking or feeling in a quiet way to active forms of deep contemplation that are the same as moderate to deep states of meditation. Contemplation does not mean just any type of quiet time or quiet thought, but rather refers specifically to more thoughtful types of thinking and observational feeling.

"Contemplation" is a word used in the West especially for and by Christian contemplatives. Following this tradition, you use specific practices of quiet prayer, meditative moments of silence, or moments of looking within to find your spirit or inner Self (see), or to regard your own or God's spiritual and mystical experiences, capacities, or events.

However, in non-Christian and general terms, contemplation means simply to quietly think about, or focus on, important or meaningful words, phrases, images, and feelings, and how they all work; on special higher feelings (love, peace, strength); or even one's own consciousness. All of this contemplative activity is for helping you understand or discover deeper meditative experiences. For beginning guides to many forms of contemplation and introductory meditation, see especially the Guidebook in this dictiionary called the "Starting Stage."

CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER See "Centering Prayer," "God," "Prayer," "Starting Stage," the "Third Eye Energy Center," and the "Throat Energy Center.")      


CONVERSION (See also "Awakening Experience" and “Born Again")

          "Conversion" is a religious term meaning that you have discovered either the ultimate reality or some aspect of it, or you have realized the truth of a religion. It is a change, a movement away from the normal, self-centered, materialist world and toward ultimate reality is some way. The word is used in many languages and religions, but is given special emphasis in the major Western religions–Christianity, Islam, and Judaism–for which this changeover is considered very important by many.

          An example of an external conversion is when you decide to join a religious group and learn to abide by its guidelines, or in times of war when you are forcefully required to "repent of" (surrender your allegiance to) your own religion and accept the religion of the conquerors, upon penalty of death or banishment if you do not. An example of internal conversion is when you have a "born again" (see) spiritual experience or similar inner experience of some aspect of ultimate being that significantly changes your ways of acting or thinking in the world, whether slowly or suddenly.

          Meditation practices involve the inner type of change. Some meditation experiences lead to changes in the way you practice searching for and finding your inner states of being. You are welcome to consider them conversion experiences or to not worry about the names of things: whichever attitude is fine as long as it helps you better meditate. Outer conversions have little to do with the inner life of meditation, except to either lead you in your lifestyle toward more meditation or, instead, block you from experiencing meditation more deeply.


COUNTING MEDITATION (See also "Throat Energy Center," "Heartbeat," and “Mantra.")

          A "counting" meditation is one in which you use numbers verbally–usually with internal word thinking, but doing it out loud also is allowed–as you move deeper into a meditative state. It does not mean that you are, in your thoughts, depending or counting on something, nor does it mean that you are keeping track of your meditations by counting them. Rather, a counting meditation is similar to a mantra, or single-word meditation, in that it helps you focus more clearly, or even better clear your mind or emotions.

          One example of a counting meditation is to count your heartbeats. If you cannot feel them when sitting or lying down, then you may place your fingers on a pulse point (see "Heartbeat"); you may count in a continuing series of numbers, or you may simply count to a predetermined number (e.g., a count of ten, or one hundred) and then start over.

          Another example of a counting meditation is to simply say (internally or externally) the numbers. Usually, you want to count either at the rate of your heartbeat or slower.






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