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See  “Gifts” and "Ignatius of Loyola."


NAVEL MEDITATION CENTER See “Energy Centers” and “Solar Plexus Energy Center.”

NEGATIVE FORCES See also “Calming Meditation,” “Depression,” Emotion,” “Exorcism,” “Nirvana,” “Living Waters,” “The ’No’ Meditation,” “Pain,” “Problems,” and “Relaxation Meditation.”

Negative energy forces come in a variety of forms and in varied intensities. They range from your negative thoughts, emotions, and physical pain to your feelings of surrounding darkness or danger, or even physical danger to you or others close to you. Meditation can help with some such feelings. However, it cannot counter all of such feelings all of the time for all people.

If, for example, there is a hurricane coming toward you, it is better to run than to try to meditate it away. Similarly, if you feel an intuition of danger, what is its source? Is it external or internal? Is it real or just a worry?

In addition, you should not believe that meditation alone can cure negative forces like regular physical pain (see) or regular feelings of depression (see). Meditation may be able to help you, but pain and depression usually are physical problems with physical sources, and thus they often require–at least to some extent–physical solutions.

The same is true of ongoing stress. While meditation may help you, you also should use meditation to identify the external source of the stress in your life and then alleviate it externally, as well.

In short, meditation is not a cure-all. However, it can be one part of a multi-front attack.

If you are dealing in meditation with the discovery or onset of internal negative forces, then you may be able to use meditation to counter them. If the negative forces are a feeling of darkness (see), evil (see), or fear (see), then this may even be a sign of progress in your meditation because you are opening previous unopened areas of your consciousness.

One method of banishing these forces in meditation is to push or force them away (see “The ‘No’ Meditation”).

Another is to return to the meditation focus point that may have opened you to a negative force. Then let its light, clearness, or strength wipe away the negative force.

A third method is to use the “Awareness of Awareness” (see) or the “Awareness-of-each-object-of-awareness” meditations. These may clear your mind and feelings or provide a safe harbor.

A fourth method is to simply change your breathing, posture, and condition of meditation. Changing your condition means simply that if you are lying down or sitting, try walking (see “Moving Meditation”) or even gently exercising (see) while you meditate. You also can try meditating in a different room or other location.

A fifth meditation that many people consider very “safe” is to go into the heart energy center (see). This center can help bring a feeling of love or safety.

A sixth method is simply to write about your experience, research it on the Internet, talk with a friend or someone who knows about meditation, or even, if your experience is severe and/or prolonged, get counseling (see “Emotion”).

NEGATIVE THEOLOGY/PRAYER See "Apophatic and Cataphatic Theology."

NIDRA MEDITATION/YOGA (See also "Savasana," "Maitri Meditation," "Energy Sphere," "Waters of Life," "Meditation," and "Starting Stage of Meditation.")

          "Nidra" means "sleep," thus "Nidra yoga" means "sleep yoga." However, this is not a practice of actually sleeping. Rather, you direct your body into such a deeply relaxed state that you come out of your meditation feeling as if you took a nap, and during your meditation you are alert on increasingly deeper levels. Nidra meditation or yoga is a popular introductory meditation practice. It is relatively easy and may help you with insomnia, anxiety, PMS, and other stress-related problems. You may join a class or work alone.

          For example, in a typical Nidra meditation of twenty to thirty minutes (but you may choose any length of time), start by finding a quiet place to lie on your back on a mat, rug, or bed; place a pillow, not too thick, under your head; spread your arms and legs a little, if you wish; close your eyes; and take several deep, cleansing breaths.

          Then with relaxed breathing, focus on your physical sensations, moving from feeling to feeling or body part to body part. Adjust your body as needed for comfort. Let your mind slow down, and avoid grabbing onto any particularly strong thought or emotion. Set yourself apart and let your feelings, memories, and thoughts go, even as you remain alert. Let your breathing naturally slow, as well, and let your body relax as much as is possible in all parts of it.

          Once you have become aware of each part or feeling in your body in turn, become aware of your entire body. You may do this by imagining a sphere around it (see "Energy Sphere") or imagining or feeling a relaxing glow, flow, or rain of energy throughout your body (see "Waters of Life").

          Then come out of it whenever you are ready. Do so slowly, enjoying and remembering the relaxation you had. A successful Nidra meditation means that you have gone deep into a meditative state that feels like deep sleep, but is not, and you return from it with your body and mind feeling as if they have had a good, long nap.

          If you would like more specific instructions and guidance, many resources are available. In cities, you also can find classes.

          Note that while Nidra can be very helpful for alleviating immediate psychological problems, be aware that continued practice–as in any meditation discipline–may open you to memories, thoughts, and feelings, old or new, that may be disturbing. This is a natural process of meditation practice. See "Problems" and "Psychology" in this dictionary. If you experience severe problems, see an expert to help resolve them.

          For more information related to Nidra, see "Sadhasana." Also see "Breath," " Energy Sphere," "Sleep," "Problems," "Waters of Life," and "Meditation" (a general brief introduction), all of them in this dictionary. For more about another Western psychological adaptation of Eastern techniques, see "Maitri Meditation." There also are many other written and visual resources about Nidra meditation.

NIRVANA (See also “Dark Night of the Soul,” “Mind,” “The ‘No’ Meditation,” “Third-eye Energy Center,” “Throat Energy Center,” and “Self.”)

Nirvana is the experience of what might be called a blazing awareness of yourself and your surroundings with no inner content: no images, no thoughts, no memories, and no emotions. You are able to speak with others normally and to act as a normal, if somewhat quiet, human in the normal world. But internally, you are simply an awareness looking out of a body shell.

The word “nirvana” is a Hindu and Buddhist term which means “zero” or “nothing” awareness. Muslim Sufis describe nirvana as “fana” or “annihilation” because your day-to-day personality is annihilated. Other spiritual traditions have similar descriptions for this experience that, though not common to all meditators, has happened to many people throughout the ages and wherever people live. (See also “Dark Night of the Soul.”)

The experience itself is not really of “nothing.” Though you may find it through meditation (see “The ‘No’ Meditation,” “Third-eye Energy Center,” and “Throat Energy Center,”) you also might fall into it as if by accident. In addition, the experience itself is neither negligible nor minor. It is, rather, a strong, even intense awareness in which your own personality or normal self (see “Self”) is absent. The most common or “lowest” level of it is not a negative or a positive experience, and does not feel either good or bad. It just simply is.

Some Buddhist and Hindu writers describe several states or levels of nirvana. Advanced meditators may move in and out of these at will. The higher the level of nirvana, the more powerful or deeper the meditation energies that you will experience (see “mystic”). Many of the higher levels contain positive energies of illumination (see) by light, love, peace, and other strong experiences.

If you accidentally fall into or discover nirvana–usually a lower level of it–you will automatically come out of it after a time. This time may be brief, or it may last for months. Falling into it by accident may come from high levels of stress, drug use, or mental self-examination, especially if you are trying to rid yourself internally of old patterns of thinking or feeling.

A particularly unique experience happens to some in nirvana or in other strongly cleared states of mind and feeling in meditation, according to Patanjali (Patanjah) in his Yoga Aphorisms. He says that some thoughts, emotions, and physical feelings are not ours. They come to us from external (outside of the body) sources. When this happens, he says, the external energies appear as seeds or seed husks first. Then, if you do not reject them–if you let them into your own body vicinity–they will blossom into thoughts, emotions, or physical feelings. Thoughts are smaller, lighter seeds; emotions and physical feelings are darker and larger.

After first experiencing nirvana intensely, you may (as, for example, Buddha did) come out of it with an entirely different perspective on what your self (see) is and what the nature of reality (see) is. In nirvana, as in regular meditation practice, you discover that you are a simple, pure awareness that exists in the very core of whatever personality you might have at the time. That can lead you to a change in your personality to some extent. However, other parts of your personality will return to you and remain with you, if you wish.

Experiencing nirvana does not make you automatically a master meditator or particularly “spiritual” or “religious” in the common sense of these words. If that is the direction in which you were headed, then nirvana may move you in a truer, deeper way toward that goal. However, nirvana also can be a cancellation of most or all of what you thought you knew intellectually and emotionally.

Nirvana can be a beginning for change in your life. Importantly, it may make you more rational and experience-based concerning the meaning of self (see) and reality (see).

THE “NO” MEDITATION (See also “Calming Meditation,” “Emotion,” “Nirvana," and "Apophatic and Cataphatic Meditation.”)

 The “No” meditation involves saying “no” in your mind and body to any thought, memory, or feeling that comes into it. The repeated saying of “no” is not a casual thought but rather a firm, often verbalized intention with strong resolve.

For example, if you feel a thought (whether wanted or unwanted) coming into your awareness, you say “no” to it until it goes away, no matter how many times you must say it. Sometimes, for stronger thoughts and feelings, you may need to practice this meditation repeatedly over many months.

This “no” meditation is a way of clearing your mind and feelings. Most commonly, this practice involves actually using the word “no,” spoken internally or externally. However, a more silent version simply means that you place a barrier of will, resistance, or even an imagined physical or visual barrier between your awareness and anything else that might come to it.

The “no” meditation is a way for you to create a clearer, more aware state of consciousness in meditation. For some, it may lead to a state of nirvana (see).

NON-DUALITY See also “God" and "Oneness."

        "Non-duality" means you are experiencing the oneness of something: for example, the oneness of all reality, of all consciousness, or of God. Non-duality refers to feeling, knowing, or experiencing in a mystical way. It is an awareness that is beyond the "dualisms" of world versus soul, inner versus outer, or heaven versus earth. It also is an experience that goes beyond, or feels very different from, the normal observer-observed experience in our conscious awareness, an experience also sometimes referred to as subject-object. 




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Text © 2017-2020 by Richard Jewell

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First edition: 1 Sept. 2018. Second edition: 1 Sept. 2019. Free Use Policy

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