GAIA – Gaia is one of the most commonly recognized names from paganism. The name has a variety of meanings, especially "Earth," "Earth Goddess," and "Mother Earth." In more recent decades, it has been adopted by ecology, green earth, and climate change movements. For its meditation-related meanings, see “Paganism," "Goddess," and "Transcendentalism."
GAS – See “Body Functions.”
– To "get religion" or "find religion." See "Conversion."
GIFTS OF MEDITATION (GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT) – (See also “Seven Gifts of the Spirit" and "Distractions.")
"Gifts of the Spirit" are strengths or powers you might sometimes gain through meditation. They are not considered the parts of your normal, regular personality, even if you are–like everyone–more gifted than other people in some ways. Rather, gifts of the spirit refer in a variety of spiritual systems and religions as special qualities that regular meditation confers on some people.
For example, the more common ones are what are called the "Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit" (see) in Roman Catholic Christianity. In India, people called "fakirs" are known for being gifted at sleeping on beds of nails (see "Pain for Meditating"), walking on fire, sticking pins through various body parts, raising up poisonous snakes, and other carnival-like attractions. In the Western world, snake-handling (again, of poisonous snakes), levitation, speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing, seeing spirits, exorcising evil spirits, and others are mentioned among major religions (Paul, for example, author of many of the Christian Biblical Letters, described how to regulate many of these gifts) and in earth religions, as well.
While some people who gain such gifts make use of them for helping others find meditation, other people become trapped in these "gifts" just as much so as some people become trapped by money, fame, and power. In other words, such gifts often should be taken by a meditator as distractions to meditation, not important. If you are meant to regularly use such gifts for the good of others, then they will continue to happen through, from, and because of your meditation practices. Otherwise, attaching yourself to them can distract you from increasingly better meditation (see "Detachment" and "Distractions").
GNOSIS, GNOSTIC – (See also “Awareness," "Immanent and Transcendent," “Mystic,” "Self," “Spiritual,” and “The Superconscious.")
"Gnosis" and "Gnostic" often have different meanings. One refers to a type of awareness or knowing, while the second more often refers to a group or type of early Christians.
"Gnosis" means a deep, intense knowing of a higher, deeper state of being, whether ultimate being or some aspect of it. It is more than just intellectual thoughts or regular human emotional sensing. The word in the Jewish and Christian Greek versions of scriptures comes from the Hebrew word "da'ath," which means an awareness involving the whole self or deeper self. It also is used in the Christian Greek-written scriptures as knowledge of ultimate being that goes to/with those who love ultimate being.
For example, when the founders of the world's great religions, who themselves were mystics, had their experiences of ultimate being, they did so through gnosis. When you in meditation experience a profound, higher- or deeper-than-normal experience of great joy, love, peace, or strength, or an experience of profound Awareness beyond intellect and emotions, you, too, do so through gnosis. Again, gnosis is a deeper state of awareness (see), Transcendence (see), or more profound Self (see). Awareness or gnosis is a basic element in meditation as you grow more aware of deeper and higher states of energy and being. You, yourself, as a meditator, are trying to develop a greater state of Awareness or gnosis.
"Gnostic" usually means something different. Technically, it can be used to describe a person who has gnosis or Awareness and may use this knowledge to teach and care for others. However, the term more commonly refers to a major branch of very early Christianity that based many of its teachings and writings on specially "revealed" (to the leader or writer of a particular division in this branch) information about the ultimate reality and how to attain it, and/or the meaning or teaching of Jesus.
Most such "revelations" in Gnostic texts occur in many nontraditional Jewish and Christian scriptures or writings that are outside of the accepted biblical canons. (To some extent, the same also is true of some writings in other major and minor world religions.) These non-canonical texts are called "apocryphal," or not acceptable in regular Jewish or Christian scripture (with almost all such decisions having been made many centuries ago by central leaders of mainstream Judaism and Christianity). Many of these non-canonical writings are considered "Gnostic."
On the one hand, some people argue that one of the Christian Gospels, the book of "John," is at least partly Gnostic, as well as a few of the Letters and perhaps the book of "Revelations." On the other hand, wilder versions of Gnostic writings include, for example, messages about how the writer was taken to heaven, to hell, or another non-earthly location and shown the "truth" as revealed to them about all the divisions of heaven, hell, the powers and forces that created the solar system, or other such divisions in, steps to, or parts of the divine realm.
Can Gnostic texts in any
religion help you in meditation? The answer is that some of them may be
able to. The key is, first, whether they make sense to you individually;
second, whether the texts themselves actually encourage or aid meditation
practices rather than just simply give intellectual answers; and third,
whether they work as meditation aids specifically for you. As always,
though, you should approach any text with scientific curiousity and
questions, asking yourself whether it helps and whether it is in agreement
with a multitude of other texts about people's meditation experiences.
GOD, THE GODHEAD, GOD AND MEDITATION – (See also “Born Again,” “Delusion,” “Faith,” "Immanent and Transcendent," “Mystic,” “Spiritual,” “The Superconscious,” and the separate, short "Guide to God in Meditation.")
The words “god" and "God” have very many meanings. They vary on the one hand from established religions’ one Ultimate Being above and beyond all, or responsible for everything, to ancient religions’ beliefs in nature as the body of an all-powerful, all-present God or spiritual being. Historically, there has been a wide variety of other meanings, as well.
What does “God” mean to meditation? It means that you may be able to reach a level or depth at which you perceive God, or perhaps you merge or join with this singular state of Being. However, in most meditation practice, it may be wiser to follow the admonition of Buddha, which was to not worry about theology and philosophy, but rather just meditate and live a right life. In meditation, the actual practice of meditation is what is most important and useful.
In meditation, if you begin to have experiences that seem to be some kind of merging with God, be sure they are real (see “Born Again” and “Delusion”). Use a rational, research-oriented approach to your experiences to validate them: read further, here, for various definitions and understandings in a variety of spiritual paths about what experiencing God means. And do further research as helpful and needed.
For more information, in the
Guides section see
A Guide to God
GOLD – See "Fire in Meditation."
GONG – See "Bell."
See “Spiritual Grace” and "Purity."
GROUND OF BEING
GROUP MEDITATION – See “Others, Meditating with/around/in,” “Leading by Using Meditation,” and “Leading Meditation Sessions.” See also the short Guidebook to "Other People."
GUIDANCE, DIRECT (IN PERSON) – See “Master.”
GUIDEBOOKS TO MEDITATION – You can find each of the entries below as a short definition in this dictionary. However, each entry also exists as a separate, longer "Guidebook" to Meditation. If you would like to see it as a Guidebook, please go to Guidebooks or click on your choice below:
Brief Starting Guides: What is Meditation?
Stages: Beginning Middle Advanced
5 Myths about Meditation Help! Ten Rules of Good Meditation
Brief Guides about Practices: Problems Pain (Physical and Emotional)
Energy Centers Other People Middle Path
Breath. Balance Posture Prayer
God and Meditation Mind Reality
Other Resources: A Handout for Meditation Classes (10 pp., illustrated)
Ancient meditation guide Patanjali's Yoga Sutras: www.YogaSutras.org
GUILT – See "Sin" and "Emotional Reactions to Meditation."
Home A - Z Guides Yoga Sutras
Most recent content revision 16 Jan. 2021
Text © 2017-2020 by Richard Jewell
Images © 1994-2018 by Gabriel R. Jewell
First edition: 1 Sept. 2018. Second edition: 1 Sept. 2019. Free Use Policy
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