MAGIC – (See also “Mysteries” and “Mystic.”)
“Magic” does not exist, in and of itself, in any real or factual sense in meditation. This is because to create “magic” usually means to create something scientifically impossible, and nothing in meditation is scientifically impossible. Many experiences in meditation have not yet been measured or in some cases even recognized by science, but someday they will be. Something that actually happens that seems like magic is, simply, just what science cannot yet explain.
However, “magic” also can mean “very special,” as in “this magic moment” or “the magic of love.” In this sense, meditation sometimes can be full of magical moments in your awareness, moments that you develop as you explore meditation.
example, you may be concentrating on your heart center, normally a
comfortable focus that might bring a measure of warmth or peace. Then
suddenly, even unexpectedly, a strong force or feeling of love develops,
glowing within you, shooting up or down, or even moving outward to someone else.
Over months and years of meditation practice, such magical moments are not unusual.
MAITRI FIVE-WISDOMS ENERGY BUDDHIST MEDITATION – (See also the "Four or Five Elements," "Energy Centers," "Psychology," and "Yoga.")
Maitri (pronounced "my-tree") five-wisdoms energy meditation comes from Tibetan Buddhism, which in turn adapted it from Chinese meditation and medicine tradtions. "Maitri" means, in the ancient Hindu language of Sanskrit, "loving kindness," "openness," and "friendliness." Maitri meditation practices emphasize the five ancient elements of Chinese medicine and of Tibetan wisdom: water (vajna), earth (ratna), air (karma), fire (padma), and space (buddha). These elements, according to this meditation system, saturate the universe, and you can relate to–or find them in yourself as–either positive (wisdom) energies or negative (neurotic) energies. In the West, maitri is used as a combination of modern psychology and traditional meditation.
Maitri is not a specific Hindu practice, nor a practice in other types of Buddhist traditions. Rather, it is part of a Tibetan tradition particularly related to the five basic elements and their corresponding colors and personality types.
Common meditation practice is to meditate in an aware state while suffusing yourself with one of main five colors, and while using a related yoga posture. Each color represents a main element and type of personality in the world. The use of the colors, and to some extent the postures, may intensive your experience of that type of personality. This is true especially if that type of personality is very personal for you in a positive and/or negative way. In actual meditation practice, you may, instead of colors, use related images, places, or feelings; and you may modify your postures so that you are not uncomfortable.
Western maitri psychology:
According to Western maitri psychology, your personality likely is predominantly one or two of these five traits. Maitri psychology says that groups, organizations, businesses, and even states and nations tend to be organized with one or two of these five traits predominating, or are controlled by people who have, primarily, one or two of these traits. Your own one or two predominant traits usually represent or contain both your positive (wisdom) and negative (neurotic) energies. (See the list below.)
However, from a psychological perspective, all five traits are needed in reasonable quantities for you, your group, or your culture to be healthy. Thus within yourself and in your group or culture, you are wise to strive for accepting the positive aspects of all the elements. Often, says maitri, if you are growing in meditation and/or deeper, higher awareness, such striving happens naturally.
Methods of maitri meditation:
First, choose any color you wish from the list below. Click on the color in a preferably dark room and place your electronic device as close or as far away from you as needed so that the color commands your attention but the light is not blinding or uncomfortable. If necessary, it is okay to hold your device. If you prefer, you may, instead, use an image related to the color and element, as listed below or otherwise similar, or perhaps a feeling or memory. Your chosen image, feeling, or memory can be one you create from outward sources (such as a computer image or a physical sensation of the element), or you can imagine them within yourself or surrounding part or all of you.
Second, move into the related posture. However, if the posture is painful or extremely uncomfortable, then switch to a comfortable sitting or standing position that is similar. Pain and discomfort are distracting and unhelpful. If sleepiness occurs, it is okay to fall asleep, as the color energy continues to affect you in your sleep. Or, to stay awake, you can move from a position on the floor to a similar sitting position, or a sitting position to a similar standing position. You also can use pads of any thickness you desire when lying down or sitting. See the posture descriptions and image examples below. (Note that slight differences between the posture descriptions and the pictured examples may exist because teachers teachers may offer slightly different instructions.)
As you experience the color, image, or feeling, let yourself be immersed in it. And simply see what happens. For many people, twenty to thirty minutes of waiting and watching may be needed for the fullest effects to begin. If you have difficulties maintaining a focus of any kind at all, try another color first; however, it is wise, if you wish to be thorough with this type of meditation, to try each of the colors in turn for twenty to thirty minutes each. Keep your attention on what you experience, but do not focus or concentrate hard on it: rather, be the watcher who simply watches your own thoughts, memories, and feelings pass by.
You may find the experience more useful if you write notes or a list afterward of what you experienced with each color. Which colors most stimulated you, and in what descending order? Were the experiences positive, negative, or both? What was the nature of each experience: each major image, memory, thought, or feeling? Which one or two color meditations created the most recognition or feeling of being "at home" in yourself or the world? These one or two may be your dominant personality: what other traits, as listed below, do these colors or elements often signify that sound like you?
Another method of practicing this kind of meditation is to immerse yourself in the natural element, itself, rather than just a color: for example, for new-leaf green, meditate in a garden; for sky blue, meditate looking up at the sky; etc. Yet another method is to buy sheets of colored cellophane or globes of light matching the colors, and use those. And one more practical method is to try these meditations at the same time with others, either each of you alone on your own, or in a group, and share your results with others.
List of maitri elements, colors, images, and feelings:
Golden Yellow (see)
Posture: Lie on your back, arms straight out, fee5 one-three feet apart.
Times, locations, images: twilight, facing west. Lakes, wells, rivers, oceans, rain, fog, tides
Positive: Compassion. Dreams, intuition, feelings. Kidneys. Emotional relationships. Love, empathy, hospitality, earthy jobs, friendships
Yoga: Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga. Healing yogas
Negative/neurotic/confining: Aggression, negative judgment, poverty, materialism, pessimism, feeling underappreciated or a failure
Sky Blue (see).
Posture: Lie on your front, head facing to the left, legs almost closed, arms straight out: an eagle.
Times, locations, images: Winter, midnight, facing north. Caves, mountains, gardens, groves, plains.
Positive: Strength. Form, wealth, body. Digestive system. Physical relationships. Power/leadership jobs. Seeing patterns in people, situations, and organizations.
Yoga: Karma yoga, physical yoga work, yoga exercise
Negative/neurotic/confining: Aggression. Angry, complaining, blaming. Poor diet, exercise, and sexual relations.
New-Leaf Green (see).
Posture: Lie on your back with arms out at 45 degrees, hands on edge, feet one foot apart.
Times, locations, images: Spring, dawn, facing east. Sky, wind, high places, vibrations, clouds
Positive: Mind. Wise action, breath, music, images. Liver. Intellectual relationships. Knowing and doing what is needed. Mages, intellectual jobs
Yoga: Jnana yoga, mantra yoga
Negative/neurotic/confining: Too much need for speed, jitters, nervousness, action for action's sake, mindless action, anxiety, aggression, war, chronic pain, death, addiction, spying, informational gluttony, fight or flight
(*Note: Not "karma" as in "fate")
Fiery Red (see).
Posture: Lie on one side, legs folded toward your center, top arm following your body, bottom hand/arm cupping your head (or put your head on a pillow).
Times, locations, images: Summer, noon, facing south. Deserts, volcanoes, lightning, sun, stars
Positive: Will. Passion, courage, energy. Heart. Warmth, safety, loving relationships, sitting around fire with friends/family. Emotional nourishment. "God is love," love power. Phoenix, snake. Energetic jobs
Yoga: Bhakti yoga, tantra yoga, kundalini yoga
Negative/neurotic/confining qualities: Over-concern with sexuality, difficulty in relationships, narcissism, relationship pains, co-dependency, fear. Burning up bridges, relationships, or the past. Avoiding emotional pain. Following a cult, boundary violations, violence. Dividing sexes into men as heroic dragon slayers and women as pretty dependents
Posture: On elbows and knees, place your face downward in your open hands, looking forward.
Times, locations, images: All seasons, timeless, facing up. Vast spaces (sky, outer space, et al.)
Positive qualities: Equanimity, openness, nonattachment. Lungs. Spiritual relationships. Seeing all. Allowing all other elements to be included. Spiritual leadership
Yoga: Raja yoga, purification from above
Negative/neurotic/confining qualities: Responding to external negativities by using them to fight back at them, misplaced passion by grabbing it, ignorance by ignoring it, hate by hating it, selfishness by selfishness, etc. Nihilism, emptiness, purposelessness. God reflex: "I am king of all I see." Ostrich with head in sand
(*Note: Not "buddha" as in the person known as "Buddha")
Cautions about maitri meditation and negativities
Remember two important points as you meditate in maitri: (1) These colors
and elements can be expressed within you in both positive and negative
forms. (2) As a result, don't be surprised if your maitri meditation brings
possibly negative experiences to your awareness. Some of the negative or neurotic aspects
are listed above. Several ways of dealing with these negativities during
meditation are listed below.
Maitri meditation practices reversal of negative to positive: what you experience that is negative also can be experienced as positive. Here are several ways to change negative experience to positive:
(A) Concentrate once again on the color or related image, letting that color or image soak deeply into you. Rest in it, feel it being absorbed in your entire mind and body, and /or concentrate on it alone.
(B) Or let the negative memories or feelings Rather, let it come to you and even fill your awareness, but do so without getting caught in it. Simply observe it, and often, eventually (sometimes with several or more occurrences), it will go away or gradually decrease in strength.
(C) Or switch, in your meditative thought or feeling, to positive feelings or memories of whatever negativity or element you are experiencing, or other, similar positive versions of the feelings or memories.
(D) Switch to a "higher" form of meditation, such as focusing purely on your own awareness (see "Awareness of Awareness Meditation"), above your head (see "Above the Head Energy Center") or in your heart (see "Heart Energy Center").
(E) Ask for help from an experienced meditator, counselor, or psychologist.
MAJOR MEDITATION PATHS – See “Pathways of Meditation.”
MANIC-DEPRESSIVE ILLNESS –
Any "manic" experiences of deeper or higher states of being are just as
real (or as unreal) as the same experiences gained through other means of
meditation. For manic-depressive illness, see “Depression."
MANTRA YOGA – (See also “Prayer,” Throat Energy Center,” and “Word Meditation.”)
A “mantra” is, in Hinduism and Buddhism, a repeated sound or movement that helps you focus in meditation. It is not just some kind of saying empty of meaning to you, nor is it a repetition with little or no feeling. Rather, it is full of meaning when you use it correctly.
You are actively involved in a true mantra only when you are meditatively open and experiencing the repetition, feeling for something more from it, and very aware of it. It is the meditative state that you are in and want to maintain, or a seeking for the state you want to reach.
A common mantra from India is the Hindu and Buddhist spiritual word “Om” (also spelled “Aum”), which starts and ends many spoken mantras in those two spiritual traditions; or, similarly, the three-word phrase “Om manipadme hum,” which, very roughly translated, means “Please listen and help (‘Om‘), Jewel in the Lotus (‘manipadme‘), in the spirit of enlightenment (‘hum’).”
A similar Christian mantra, but longer, is the ritually used Lord’s Prayer, which starts, “Our Father, who art in heaven” (which is changed by some meditatively-minded people, now, from “our Father” to “our God,” or to “Our Father and Mother”). Yet another type of mantra, one that is movement oriented, is the Zen Buddhist physical activity of making sand paintings with many intricate patterns and colors.
of these examples, the meditative importance is not in the theological or
intellectual meaning, and not in the artistic result. Rather, the power
and force of the mantra is active only when you are using the words,
songs, or colorful movements to meditatively feel or search for the
presence of a higher power or being.
MARTIAL ARTS – (See also “Breath,” “Exercise,” “Hatha Yoga,” “Health,” “Karma Yoga,” and “Posture.)
The martial arts are physical forms of meditation. Correctly done, they are like a mantra (see) of physical movement.
They are not mere exercise, a game, or a self-defense routine when pursued in their meditative form. Rather, if you practice the martial arts meditatively, you become involved in careful–and, in advanced stages, deep–concentration on the body, its breath, its postures, and the purposes of the physical movements.
There are many forms and schools of martial arts. Karate, tai chi, and judo are among the best known, but many others exist. Some are more purely interested in physical movements and strategies. Others also involve themselves purposely in spiritual or yogic forms of concentration, as well.
enjoy both meditation and physical movement or assertiveness, the martial
arts are an excellent form of developing both your meditative
concentration and your health (see). You also might find that they
improve your mental and emotional (see) health. The martial arts
are, in general, a branch, subdivision, or cousin of hatha yoga (see),
though the repetitions in them make them also akin to mantra (see)
MASSAGE – (See also “Meditation with or on Others," "Sex and Meditation," “Breath,” “Energy," "Energy Centers," "Exercise,” “Hatha Yoga,” “Health,” “Karma Yoga,” and “Posture.")
Massage is, with the right awareness and a good masseur or masseuse, a form of meditation. It helps you concentrate more carefully or thoroughly on parts of your energy body (see) and on locations in the parts of your body that need more energy focused upon them. It is a direct form of the healing arts. Some types of massage are simply a rubbing of your muscles and skin, in itself a healthy activity.
Other forms of massage, especially "Asian" or "Oriental" massage, in the hands of experts, involve focusing on your energy locations in your body. The general body energy in these Far Eastern forms of massage is called the "chi" in China or "ki" in Japan (with multiple and, in some sources, slightly different meanings for both words). These "acupressure" or "acupuncture" nerve or energy locations are points where nerves come together or are especially important or active in your body. They are the same energy points, in general, to which traditional and modern Hindu medical systems also refer.
Most massages, whether Western or Eastern, can be useful in improving your focus on parts of your body, especially if you are in the hands of a well-trained masseuse or masseur. However, there also is a strong positive effect even if you self-massage, or if you work together with a partner. Just as your muscles need regular use to maintain their best functioning, so do your skin and the layers directly under it remain healthier when you touch them regularly. If you are working with an untrained partner, then he or she must be willing to receive guidance from you about what works best, helps you most, and/or feels best to you in giving you more awareness of different parts of your body.
MASTER/TEACHER – (See also “Energy Centers,” "Gifts," “Leading Meditation,” and “Problems.”)
A “master,” "master teacher," or personal teacher of meditation is a meditator who has mastered a system, a type, or several types of meditation and can help you through that system or type of meditating. He or she also knows the pitfalls and problems that can occur, and can help you with those, should they happen to you.
A master is not someone who is simply a meditation or ritual leader, and is not someone with some experience but not a mastery of many experiences. A master also generally is not someone unused to leading others through a system. A master is not merely a facilitator of meditation sessions or another practitioner simply sharing what he or she knows.
Every founder of a major world religion was a master who taught his or her followers meditation techniques. He or she also taught that such techniques are available to everyone.
Any teacher of deeper, more difficult, or sometimes darker forms of meditation and gifts of the spirit–such as physical healing, Wiccan summoning, kundalini yoga, or the Dark Arts–is a true master only if he or she is willing to stay with you, a student, for as many years as you need the master, and this master also has a proven track record for experiencing some of the more difficult, dangerous, and painful side effects of the system you are being taught.
master like this is a true master only if he or she is able to provide you
the help for such problems that you might need. He or she should be able
and willing to keep you safe, balanced, and continuing to grow. Using
masters and teachers is like finding the right doctor or job. Find what
works for you, and until you do, seek variety, if you wish.
– See “Blankness,” “Dark Night of the Soul,” “Nirvana” “The ’No’
Meditation,” and “Problems.”
MEDITATION – (See also “Starting Stage,” “Middle Stage,” and “End Stage.” Also see “Balance,” "Contemplation," “Energy Centers,” “God and Meditation,” and “Paths of Meditation.”)
“Meditation” means to enter into a state of mind or feeling in which you are very aware, and you are concentrated or focused. In addition, you are creating or entering into a condition or state of mind that is not normal, average, everyday thinking and acting.
“Meditating” also can mean “thinking” or “pondering.” However, in the context of this dictionary, the practice of meditation is more than just normal, typical thinking about something. It is more than just having thoughts, and more than just brief noticing of one’s feelings.
Examples of the practice of meditation do occur, sometimes, in normal life. One example is when you become intently aware of beauty in visual art, a song, or some other form of art, so much so that your consciousness is caught up in it completely for many seconds, even sometimes minutes.
The same thing can happen in being caught up in awareness of nature. Another example of normal-life meditation is the especially intense or noticeable moments of strong emotion that you may have. Love, strength, peace, devotion, and many other intense, prolonged feelings you might have are types of meditation if you focus on them and maintain them long enough to watch them and continue experiencing them.
Prayer–all kinds when you are very focused and aware of it–is a form of meditation, too. In addition, any strong mental focus on the meaning of a single thought, feeling, or physical movement is a type of meditation. Watching your own, inner flow of experiences, thoughts, and feelings carefully is yet another form of meditation.
For more information on
"Meditation" and introductory methods of meditating, see the Guide called
Introduction to Meditation.
MEDITATION CENTERS OF THE BODY
– See “Energy Centers.”
MEDITATION, LEADING IN
See “Leading by Use of Meditation” and “Leading Meditation Sessions.”
MEDITATION PATHS, MAJOR
See “Pathways of Meditation.”
– See “Meditation” and “Pathways of Meditation.” For using
specific practices, you may start with the “Guides” to “Starting Stage,”
“Middle Stage,” and “End Stage” of Meditation.
MEDITATION WITH OR FOCUSED ON OTHERS
– See “Others, Meditation with." Also see "Art," "Chakras," "Chanting,"
"Prayer," "Religion," and Ritual."
MEMORY– (See also “Memory Meditations” and “Memories, Good and Bad in Meditation.” Also see “Brain,” “Emotion,” and “Mind.”
Memory, or the recall of a thought or experience, can be very useful–or can be a hindrance–in meditation. Recalling a positive memory through meditation can be a good focusing point for meditation, to help recreate or consider the state or its components.
other hand, bad memories can hurt meditation, disrupting it or even making
it painful. If this happens, there are several ways of correcting it. One
is to flood the bad memory with good ones or with other positive
meditative states or feelings. Another is to dive into the heart of the
bad memory to deal with it, either letting it run so many times that it no
longer is a problem, or taking its mental and physical components apart so
it is no longer a difficult emotion (See “Emotion.”)
MEMORIES, GOOD AND BAD IN MEDITATION – See also “Memory and Meditation” and “Memory Meditations.” Also see “Brain,” “Depression,” “Emotion,” “Fear,” “Health Energy Center,” “Mind,” “Pain,” “Pleasure,” and “Problems.”
Sometimes, within meditation experiences, good or bad memories may come to us. Sometimes these are useful, sometimes not.
First, in terms of the science, it is good to remember that in a sense, most meditations start with memory. You remember a previous meditation state, center, or method and then repeat it. This kind of recall is not just important but necessary for a good meditation practice. Lower animals and people in advanced dementia may not be able to have this kind of recall without help. However, this “Good and Bad Memories” section refers specifically to the use of important, intense, or highly “memorable” memories in and for meditation practices.
The more intense or strong a positive memory is, the closer it may be to some type of purer or higher state of consciousness. For this reason, recalling good memories, especially strong ones, or especially the purer central part of them, can be a good focus in meditation.
Simply meditate upon the memory, recalling the best of it, whether that best is a single second, a specific feeling, a person, or another thought. Let that best of the memory stay in your awareness, expand, and/or lead you more deeply into a new or helpful meditative state.
However, bad memories can interrupt the conscious work of meditation, causing you disruption and the discomfort of reliving the bad memory. Sometimes meditation can be used to block your bad memories by your either casting them out before they enter (see “Nirvana” and “The ‘No’ Meditation”) or by flooding your mind or body with a positive state or feeling when a bad memory starts to cause disruption.
One way to deal with bad memories is simply to meditate upon breathing (see) well. Then focusing on your meditation using a method you have learned (see “Starting Stage”).
In another method of meditation, you can focus directly on the heart of the bad memory itself. In one form of this type of focusing, you let the memory go through yourself time and time again, trying to relax and distance yourself from it more each time, until you reach a point at which the memory no longer causes you as much pain. If this method is successful, then each time you examine the memory, on average, you should feel a little bit less attached to or agitated by it.
In another form of diving into the heart of the memory, you examine the components of the memory. Most bad memories are composed of a sensory memory (a visual, verbal/auditory, or tactile event) and a physical response by you: the two together make up what we define as an “emotion” in you, or your “emotional response.” This emotional response usually leads you to more thoughts and feelings–a sort of chain reaction of emotional feelings and thoughts–that is unpleasant or even painful.
Meditation may help you deal with this bad memory if you examine the process of how you have recalled the negative memory: what triggers this memory? Next, meditate upon your reaction to it. Continue, in a meditative state, to break the chain of parts into separate pieces or actions in you: memory, feeling, mental reaction, and physical reaction. Another way of saying this is that you are breaking down the emotion into separate event, thought, and physical feeling. If this works, then you will be less caught up in a replay of the memory and resulting emotional response.
In either of these two forms of meditative examination of a bad memory, you do not want to simply replay the memory time and again with the same effects in and on yourself. If this happens, then your meditation upon the emotion is ineffective, and you may need strengthen other elements of your meditative practice. Or you may need help from a counselor or doctor.
that good meditators do not avoid counseling or doctors when they are
needed. Rather, meditation, counseling, therapy, and doctors all can go
hand in hand to create a better life and deeper awareness of yourself and
MEMORY MEDITATIONS – (See also “Memory and Meditation” and “Memories, Good and Bad in Meditation.” Also see “Brain,” “Emotion,” “Health Energy Center,” “Mind,” “Pain,” Pleasure,” and “Problems.”)
Working with memories in meditation using the following methods sometimes creates powerful meditations and reinforce or expands memories. Here are three specific memory meditations you may use.
Memory Meditation 1: You begin simply: breathe regularly and fully. Then recall a time when you experienced your best moment ever of joy, peace, love, happiness, strength, or awareness. Focuse on it, and recall it as well as possible. What was the essence or most pure form of it? You then should hold it in your awareness as well as you can for several minutes or more. Then, breathing deeply, return yourself to normal awareness and note how and what you feel.
Memory Meditation 2: You may choose several such experiences listed in “1,” just above, to recall at the beginning or end of your usual meditation time, or even in the middle. Some people will use a sequence of favorite memories to ease them into meditation. Others begin and end a meditation with one or two specific memories.
Memory Meditation 3: Recall one strong memory and then associate it with one of your internal energy centers (see “Energy Centers”). You may want to try this with two or three other memories, as well. Or you can do the reverse: choose one energy center at a time, and recall a memory that you think or feel will fit well with that energy center: then imagine the memory as being in the energy center.
even take one memory and “move” it from one center to another until you
find a good “place” in your body and energy centers for that memory. You
can do this with your own memories of your personal experiences, or you
can do it with people, remembering, for example, one person in one energy
center, another in another center, etc.
MENTAL POWER – See “Mind Power.”
– See “Psychic Abilities," "Gifts," and "Distractions.”
MERGING – (See also “One, Oneness, the One” and "Groups." Also see "God," “Mystic,” and "Sex.")
Often "merging" means you feel like you have become one with some kind of higher force, power, or being. To learn more about this, see "God," "Mystic," and "One, Oneness, the One."
is an experience some people have with a partner or someone close to them.
Occasionally this closeness may simply occur in talking or doing something
together, and even (or especially) when meditating together. However, it
more often occurs in sexual activity, even simply from prolonged kissing,
but especially, on occasion, from sexual intercourse. The feeling is that
you and the other person are the same, or are one person. (See "Sex and
MEDITATION ENERGY CENTER
– See “Energy Centers” and “Heart Meditation Center.”
MIDDLE PATH, BUDDHA’S – (See also “Balance” and the Guide called "Middle Path.")
Buddha’s “Middle Path,” also known as his “Eight-fold Path,” is a series of eight steps that Buddha recommended. History records that he may have first taught the Middle Path after coming out of his experience with enlightenment under a Bodhi tree, and that the first people to whom he taught it were five ascetics with whom he had shared many practices of denial such as near starvation, long periods of silence, etc.
Buddha said you can follow these to avoid suffering. Suffering, he said, is caused by pursuing either the extreme of nothing but animal pleasures, or the extreme of nothing but ascetic denial of food and shelter, discomfort, and even pain.
Because of the original time and purpose in this teaching, the Middle Path is especially relevant to those who wish to start seeking a path to meditation. If this is you, you may already be living, at least in part, some of the eight steps. If you want to start meditating, there is no requirement that says, scientifically or in one’s inner life, that you must follow these eight steps. However, billions of people over thousands of years have found many of the eight steps helpful.
The Middle Path is not a religion, just a set of guidelines. Science has proven, in many experiments and surveys, that the Middle Path’s recommendations improve people’s lives. In addition, the eight steps are similar in many ways to the essence of the teaching of most world religions and ethical systems throughout history.
The first six steps describe how you can develop more balance (see) in your life, daily activity, and daily thinking and feeling. The last two steps recommend, in general, good ways for you to meditate.
The Middle Path and its eight steps are not rigid, prescriptive rules to follow. Rather, they are guidelines for you to apply in a liberal and general way, a little bit at a time, over a period of months, years, and decades. They are not meant to make you feel unhappy, useless, or overly confined. Rather, they are meant to help lift your burdens slowly, bit by bit, and make you feel better.
For more information on the Middle Path, see the Guide called Middle Path.
MIDDLE STAGE OF MEDITATION (See also “Meditation,” “Starting Stage,” and “End Stage.” Also see “Balance,” “Energy Centers,” “God and Meditation,” and “Pathways of Meditation.”)
The middle or intermediate stage of meditation is a period or time in your life when you are meditating often or regularly (but not necessarily every day or even every week), and you are having long-lasting success in making your life better because of your meditation practices.
This middle stage is not the result of just one or a few intense experiences, nor is it gained from intellectual knowledge or intuition or strong feelings alone. Rather, it is gained because of a frequency and deepening intensity of actual experiences in meditation.
There are a number of examples of what may have happened to you when you reach a middle stage. First, you likely have become very comfortable with meditation. Second, you may have found a major pathway for most (if not all) of your meditations (see “Pathways of Meditation”).
Third, you may have started developing your own definition of what the word “God” (see) or “mysticism” (see) means to you. Fourth, you likely have had some kind of experience with at least a few types of strong meditation events (see Awakening Experience,” “Awareness of Awareness,” “Energy Centers,” and “Prayer.”
For more information on the
Middle Stage of Meditation, see the Guide called
MIND (See also “Brain” and "Mind Power.")
“Mind” is an abstract concept used for thousands of years by philosophers, religions, systems of psychology, and others. In each millennium and, now, in each century, the definition changes and, for the most part, expands.
“Mind” is not your heart or your nervous system. In fact, most scientists note that “mind” is not the “brain” (see), but rather your “brain” is the physical organ that somehow is the body of what you think of as your “mind.” “Mind” is a general concept something like the word “soul” (see): a generic, not totally scientific concept.
One example of “mind” includes your daily mind, in which you think your daily thoughts; have your daily reflections, wonderings, and memories; and run your daily physical routines that you choose or process using your mind. Another example of “mind” is in paying attention, or mentally accepting something, as in the question “Will he or she mind?” Yet another example is in deeper questions you may have such as “Is intuition natural to our minds?” or even “What is the mind of God?”
Mind, in other words, is no single thing like the brain. Rather, it is an idea that grows as society and culture grow. It embodies not only rational, scientific thinking but also many of the traits that mystics and religions have given it throughout history. Mind is both a processing of specific verbal thoughts, images, and memories, and a holding or observing place for special experiences to which you wish to pay particular attention.
In addition, scientific advances over thousands of years increasingly show that your biological and psychological structures reflect the material structures of the universe. For this reason, we may increasingly wonder whether the truest structures of your and others' “minds,” as they are discovered, will reflect the natural structures of the universe and of other living creatures. In this, your “mind” may follow the ancient maxim “as above, so below.” (See also “Nirvana.”)
For more information on
"Mind," see the Guide called
(See “Energy Centers.” Also see “Above-the-head Energy Center,
“’Third-eye’ Energy Center,” and “Throat Energy Center.”)
MINDFUL, MINDFULNESS – (See also “Awareness of Each Object of Awareness,” "Contemplation," and “Starting Stage.”)
“Mindfulness,” or being aware of your flow of experience in the present, is a concept from the East that has become widespread in the West, especially through hatha yoga classes. "Mindfulness" or "being mindful" is the primary English word for the seventh step in Buddha’s Eightfold Path or Middle Path (see).
Mindfulness involves simply being more aware of, or focusing more on, what is your immediate “now” thought, "now" memory, or "now" sensory sensation or feeling. It also can refer to specifically choosing to concentrate more thoroughly and carefully on an outer or inner object.
Mindfulness does not mean simply “minding” or “not minding” something as in liking or disliking it. Mindfulness also does not mean that you are busy thinking intellectual thoughts. Rather, mindfulness is a form of intent focus. It is a conscious, full awareness on some one thing, outside of you or within you, or a careful watchfulness of a flow of such things–whether outer or inner, whether object or subject–more so than you might normally pay attention to it.
You practice mindfulness when you try carefully to see or hear something more clearly, focus intently on a person, or let your mind consider all the possibilities of some idea, memory, or physical sensation. In other words, you–and the human race and even animals–are naturally “mindful.”
In practice, there are two major methods of being mindful. One is unfocused; the other, focused.
In the unfocused type, you simply follow, with your awareness, the flow of your own thoughts, feelings, and sensations. In the second type, focused, you hold something in your awareness for an extended period of time (or return to it repeatedly), whether that time is for a minute, an hour, or more. You also can combine these two types: choose a single thought, sound, image, or impression and make it central in your awareness. Then, as you concentrate on it, you allow or watch associated thoughts, images, or feelings that spring out from it or seem to be in, near, or around it. At any point in this combined method, you may either keep focusing on your chosen central point, or you may follow the associations, letting them flow, while you remain mindfully aware of them at each point in time.
In the first type of mindfulness, examples would include sitting, standing, or walking in an environment that helps you be most mindfully aware, breathing deeply in a relaxed way, maintaining a good posture, and then letting your awareness move, fly, or swim from one thing to another that present themselves to your awareness. Some people use a reminder device such as touching their fingers to each other or patting themselves alternatively in a regular rhythm to help them remember to return to being aware. Others use sound, such as a gong that sounds every several seconds or minutes. Still others use a cell phone or watch app reminder.
In the second type of mindfulness, one specific example would be to look more carefully at a piece of art or a sunset, taking it in much more fully with more detail than usual. Listening very carefully to a song–more carefully than usual–is another example.
A third example is to take a word or an idea, hold it in your mind’s eye and ear, and examine all of its possible meanings or feelings to you. A fourth would be to examine a lover’s face and limbs more carefully, looking for more detail or meaning than ever before.
Physical therapists recommend mindfulness as part of exercise routines, and many other experts–from psychologists to medical doctors, ministers, and priests–recommend it as a way of thinking and meditating more deeply, or becoming more aware of your own inner self.
Such mindfulness also is an excellent way to start meditation practice. It can
prepare you for deeper, more intense types of meditation.
MIND POWER – (See also "Heart Energy Center," "Third Eye Energy Center," "Throat Energy Center," and “Mind.”)
Do you need mind power–a powerful mind–to meditate well? The answer is
"no." Some of the best mediation experts rely solely, or mostly, on the
power or strength of their hearts, love, and devotion; on visualizing
inner images that are powerful to them; or using repetitive chants, words,
MOON – See “Celestial Bodies and
Islamic place of worship. See “Architecture" and "Group Meditation.”
“God.” In meditation, "Mother" also is a term of respect or endearment
for, or devotion to, a leader or authority in meditation, spirituality, or
a religious group. It does not refer to a parent. For example, the head of
a Roman Catholic convent for nuns often is called "Mother."
MOVING MEDITATION – (See also “Hatha Yoga,” “Martial Arts,” “Public Meditation” and “Still Meditation.”)
Moving meditation means meditation while you move. You may use special walking patterns, but you also can meditate while walking, running, or exercising, and even while working or playing.
Moving meditation does not include what is often thought of as more traditional meditation when you sit or lie down. While you may pursue any kind of meditation that works for you, moving meditation has both the dynamism and tension of your still or calmed awareness coupled with your body in motion.
As with still meditation, moving meditation has natural forms. For example, you can walk or hike through nature that is so beautiful that it makes you more mindful of deeper states of awareness. You can exercise more mindfully by slowing your pace of exercise and paying deeper attention to your muscles, tendons, and other body parts. You can meditatively (more slowly and thoughtfully) learn new sports moves. You can walk in repeated patterns in your own home, such as in a circle, square, or figure eight.
like movement, meditation, and exercise, you might also want to consider
taking up hatha yoga (see). Gettting involved in one of the martial
arts (see) is yet another option. .
– See “Body Functions.”
MUSIC, DANCE, AND MEDITATION – (See also “Arts,” “Beauty,” and "Sound.")
Music sometimes, and for some people, can aid meditation. Music also can distract from meditation or even destroy your focus. However, when used mindfully and adjusted to the type of meditation you are pursuing, music can be either a background or a focal point for your meditation.
For example, some meditation classes play quiet background music, and in most religions, singing and listening to music are considered powerful ways of focusing on meditative or spiritual states.
In addition, music itself can be a powerful meditation tool: the best way to listen to music often is to carefully follow or “watch” the leading edge of the wave of sound, mindfully hearing every part of the music in the present instant. This in itself is a type of meditation.
In addition, this practice in following the leading edge of sound can be transferred to other types of meditation, such as following the leading edge of your awareness (see “Awareness of Each Object of Awareness”). In other words, learning a deeper meditative awareness of music can teach you how to treat your inner experiences and momentary flow of life as a concert to which you listen with your awareness.
If you are looking for good background music for meditating, most experts recommend music that is without words, or perhaps with mantra words or phrases. In addition, it is better to have softer, more gentle music than to have extremely loud, raucous music.
other hand, if you wish to use music to put you into a different state of
being and feeling, you may want to use your favorite band or group turned
up high, and move and feel the music completely. In this way, you might
achieve the same kind of meditative high that people sometimes experience
when dancing to music. Such physically active experiences often drain the
body of physical energy; however, if you treat them like exercise–eating
good carbohydrates before such experiences, drinking a lot of water during
them, and getting plenty of rest afterward–they can be illuminating
experiences that are healthy for you.
MYSTERIES, MYSTERY RELIGIONS – (See also “Magic,” “Mystic,” and “Pagan.”)
“Mysteries” in meditation often refer in particular to special mystery religions: those that have secret rituals or other secret practices, such as the Eleusinian and the Orphic Mysteries of ancient Greece. Mystery religions and mystery societies have existed around the world throughout time. They are open only to initiates–those who have passed the tests. Such mysteries usually include secret practices, secret teachings, and secret theology.
However, in meditation, there need be no “mysteries.” You can learn all such mysteries on your own or in working with a more wide open, non-secretive group. You aldo do not have to join a secret group or sect to “discover the real truth.” If you join any group, it usually should be one that is comfortable with accepting many types of people. It should be a group that also accepts the methods, experiences, and wisdom of many other paths and spiritual groups.
Mystery religions in many societies in past times may have been legitimate enterprises. This is because, in societies throughout the world, they were countercultural: they ran against or even opposed the typical spiritual teachings of the culture around them. If they or their individuals were exposed, they often would be ridiculed, jailed, or even tortured or killed.
Early Christianity was, in its beginnings, considered by the Roman Empire to be a mystery religion. Its small groups had to meet secretly, hide their beliefs, and communicate using secret symbols (such as drawings of the cross and the fish). And many of its adherents, when found out, were killed. Other secret societies existed in ancient times as mentioned above, in medieval and renaissance times, such as the alchemists, and even in current times in states where spirituality is punished.
However, you should be especially careful of hucksters and false leaders who tell you that you can gain the results of meditation only by following them. Hundreds of thousands of people each year on earth, or more, are lured into giving up their money, their individuality, and their bodies in labor to fake leaders for the promise of such mysterious, secret salvation. Charles Manson’s followers are a good example of believing in a leader who psychopathically manipulated him for his own interests. The believers who lived in a compound with David Koresh were likely following a man who mistakenly believed he was divine. Whatever the inspiration of the leader, the result can be the same.
Meditation for the great majority of people is a relatively open process.
You don’t usually talk about your meditation experiences with a large
number of people. But neither do most people in any major religion or
spiritual movement. On the other hand, in such movements, you certainly
feel free to talk with anyone about your experiences, and you are allowed
to question, to experiment, and to hold a highly rational viewpoint, as
MYSTIC, MYSTICISM – (See also “God,” “Mysteries” “Superconscious," and "Mystical Phenomena.”)
“Mystic” in meditation practices usually refers to especially high or deep levels of inner experiences that can be considered some kind of meeting with God. “Mystic” also is the name used for people who regularly have such experiences. “Mysticism” is the practice or regular experience of merging with God.
In common language, sometimes “mystic” may mean a magical or mysterious experience. Also in common usage, sometimes the word “mystic” is loosely applied to any kind of “spiritual” (see) experience.
However, more often, the word “mystic” means an experience that is more than just spiritual. Rather, the experience is higher: often a joining with or experiencing of God (see).
Examples of mystics are all of the founders of the great religions. Each
founder is credited with experiencing God in some way. If you have had an
experience of the presence of God in some special way–more than just a
born-again (see) or other spiritual experience–then you have in
some way had a mystic experience.
MYSTICAL PHENOMENA – Sometimes psychic phenomena are called "Mystical Phenomena." See "Psychic Phenomena."
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Most recent content revision 7 Oct. 2019
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