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See “God," "One," "Mysticism," "Reality," and "Self."

UNHAPPINESSSee “Depression” and “Emotion.”


UNION, UNITYSee also “God," "Mystical," and "One."
          Union or unity refers in meditation to a joining with, or having an experience of oneness with, some spiritual or mystical aspect. It often refers to an experience of God, but it also can be a strong or intense union with some other powerful meditation experience, level, or location. The most intense such experiences are a form of internal ecstasy.

UNITIVE CONSCIOUSNESS See “Memory," "Mind," "Middle Stage of Meditation," and "End Stage of Meditation."

UNPRODUCTIVENESS See “Blankness,” “Dark Night of the Soul,” “Nirvana” “The ’No’ Meditation,” and “Problems.”

URINATION See “Body Functions.”

USELESSNESS See “Blankness,” “Dark Night of the Soul,” “Depression,” “Nirvana,” “The ’No’ Meditation,” and “Problems.”

VAJRAYANA See "Tantra."

VISIONS See "Gifts," "Mysticism," and "Psychic Abilities/Phenomena."

VISUALIZATION (See also the "Art in Meditation" and the "Third-Eye Energy Center.")

          "Visualization" is a psychological and meditation technique in which you visualize what you want in order to make it more likely to happen. It is a more useful meditation technique when you use it for a purer, simpler purpose. This is true whether you are focusing on what you think a spiritual experience might look like, or you are, for example, trying to build an inner portrait of the kind of person who would best suit you as a partner in love.

          Many other visualizations are possible, too, more material ones such as focusing on the look of money or the look of you winning a contest. However, these material visualizations, though also a type of meditation, can become "meditations downward," meaning they may lead to material gains at best, which in turn tend to lead people away from meditation. In other words, they may lead to distractions rather than to a life helped by meditation.

          One meditative compromise for material visualizations is, during meditation, to place the visualization in the center of a positive energy. For example, you can go to your heart energy center (see) or your above-the-head energy center (see), and place in the center of it your image of some material object or event. This helps focus your hopes and energies on creating a higher or purer way of making your material object or event be realized.

          However, be aware that any kind of material visualization can, like an incompletely made wish, backfire. As is often said, "Be careful what you wish for." For example, if you imagine receiving more money at work, this could, whether from psychological forces or in meditation, lead you to lose your current job and spend months or even years training for a new job–one in which your visualization might more easily come true.

          If you wish to pursue meditation as visualization, there are a number of positive and helpful visual techniques you may use. See "Art in Meditation" and, especially, the "'Third Eye' Energy Center."

VOODOO See “Black Magic” and “Paganism.”

WAITING FOR GOD See "Centering Prayer."

See  “Gifts.”

WATER (ELEMENT) See below. Also see the "Four Elements” and "Maitri Wisdom Meditation."

WATER IN MEDITATION (See also the "Four Elements” and "Waters of Life.")

          Water in meditation and related literature may refer, in general, to the life of feelings, emotions, and internal workings of organs and muscles within the body. For example, if a meditation experience or meditation writings focus on your internal feelings of your body workingsuch as warmth, coolness, heartbeat, nausea, digestion, pain, numbness, internal physical pleasure or joy, et al.–these are the "watery" parts of your meditation experience.

          For several Eastern meditation methods combined with Western psychology using the element of water as a focus, see "Maitri Wisdom Meditation." For "water" in higher, deeper meditation or spiritual experience, see "Waters of Life" below.

WATERS OF LIFE(See also “Four Elements.”)

          "Waters of Life" is a phrase used in the Dead Sea Scrolls written by an order of Essene Jewish monks 200 BC-100 CE (AD). The phrase refers externally to part of their daily cleansing rituals in baths using fresh water they piped down from the mountains to their monastic set of buildings beside the Dead Sea. It also is possible that the form of baptism used by the mystic John the Baptistin the New Testament of the Christian Biblewas intertwined with, or directly connected to, such Essene-order ritual cleansing.

          In terms of meditation, "Waters of Life" in this ancient Essene literature also clearly refers to an internal cleansing of the body: of the Essene monks' internal bodies. What they cleared away in this internal cleansing were internal imperfections or "sins," as John the Baptist called them.

          In meditation, this is a specific experience. You feel as if fresh water is pouring or raining into your body or parts of it. The experience is like a tantalizing, vibrating, and/or relaxing energy. It may more easily affect–and be felt in–your muscles. The experience is not strictly mystical or spiritual, but also may occur in you normally, especially if you are athletically inclined or in excellent health.  The effect is to relax you, make your natural physical processes (digestion, heart rate, et al.) work better, calm you mentally, and cleanse your body of negative emotions. All of this leads to more positive feelings and thoughts and, if you wish, deeper meditation.

          In mystical literature, some say that this internal cleansing of sins, or internal "baptism," is a needed prelude to eventually being able to experience the mystical body of Christ (as in the elements of wine and bread). What this means in meditation experience is that the deep and purifying waters-of-life experience may be needed before you, as a meditator, can experience the even deeper and more purifying meditation cleansing and purifying of your physical matter in your body.

WESTERN MODEL OF CHRISTIANITY (See also "Guilt," "Sin," "God," and "Religion.”)

          If you were brought up in Christianity (or any other religion and group in which rules are extremely important), you may have been shown an unfortunately anti-spiritual understanding of religion. Richard Hauser of Creighton University has called this view "The Western Model of Christianity" in his book In His Spirit. Hauser considers this model of Christianity incomplete. He argues it is dualistic because it falsely interprets scripture to separate spirituality from our daily material world. Mystic Thomas Keating in his Intimacy with God explains Hauser's theory of The Western Model by discussing three three main, incorrect beliefs in this dualistic model:

  1. The first false, dualistic belief, Keating says, is that "[e]xternal acts are more important" than internal meditation. In this false belief, "external" means, for example, that good works, public giving, and rituals are far more important, or are the only important acts, for someone, and that inner life is far less important or not important at all.

              From a meditation perspective, yes, your outer acts and outer life are important. However, your internal (meditation) acts and experiences are just as important. In addition, both external and internal activities deeply affect each other and, sooner or later, work hand in hand.

  2. The second false, dualistic belief is, says Keating, is that there we have to add "good works" to our individual ego personality: that this individual ego self "initiates all good works and God rewards them." This is a false assumption because it simply builds more ego personality, and more expectation of an external reward. 

              However, as Keating says, "Interior motivation is more important than external acts." In a mediation perspective, any external acts of good works should flow not from any expectation of some external reward, but rather because the meditation experiences themselves are worthwhile, have positive results, and build their own rewards.

              Meditation rewards are that you are led toward a higher, deeper sense of self and, as a result, toward acting with a higher and deeper outlook upon the world. In deeper, higher meditation, a continuing sense of the inner self, a truer self, builds. And from knowing and experiencing your inner, truer self, good external acts from you will follow, not for an eventual external reward but rather because they flow from your truer sense of self
    and of what you realize are other people's true selves (see "Self").

  3. The third false, dualistic belief, says Keating, is "an overarching accumulate merits in this life" for "getting to heaven." This false belief makes people think that everything they do or don't do will make them go to heaven and/or to hell. This view emphasizes learning the rules of the religion and/or proper societal behavior, including worshipping, praying, and handling other people in the correct ways, so that a person can earn his or her way into heavenor in some religions, earn material happiness, success, and even wealth in this lifetime.

              However, meditation and spirituality do not concern a heaven "up there" or "at death"
    not a heaven in the abstract, somewhere or someday. Meditation practices encourage your inner growth right now, in the present. Is there a heaven? If so, then in meditation you are discovering it, making it, and building yourself into it, step by step. Is there no heaven? Meditation still helps you create what you can consider your own heaven on earth with deeper, more meaningful inner experiences of joy, peace, and strength. Either way, it is this inner-based, truer-self "heaven" that is meant in the major religious scriptureswhich themselves are major guidelines for meditation and mysticismas well as by other true meditation experts and mystics. 

WHITE LIGHT See “Light.”

WHITE MAGIC(See also “Black Magic,” “Magic,” “Paganism,” “Witchcraft,” and “Wicca.”)

“White magic” means good, pure, or selfless witchcraft. Opposing it is  black or dark magic, which is considered witchcraft pursued for dark, nefarious, power-hungry, or selfish purposes. Examples of white magicians in fiction are Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series. White magic often is considered a positive form of or activity within paganism (see) or of wicca (see).

WICCA (See also “Paganism,” “Shaman,” and “Witchcraft.”)

Wicca is the practice of witchcraft (see), a form of paganism with ancient roots that exists in the present. Many of the activities wiccans engage in are forms of meditation and/or religious rituals.

WIND See “Air," "Breath," and the "Four Elements."

WINDOWS, STAINED GLASS See "Symbols" and "The Arts and Meditation."

WINE See "Symbols."

WITCHCRAFT (See also “Black Magic,” “Magic,” “Paganism,” “Shaman,” “White Magic,” and “Wicca.”)

Witchcraft is the practice of rituals and meditations using one’s own, a group’s, or a deity’s powers to create changes. Usually, though not always, witchcraft is associated with female powers and a Mother-Goddess as the ultimate expression of God.

Witchcraft has existed since before recorded history, lives in various forms in many cultures throughout the world, and remains a major religion today. Often, because of its sometimes secret rites and because of distrust of it by other major religions, it exists in underground culture or, at the least, practioners tend to avoid being noticed.

Witchcraft almost never is devil worship or demonic practices, nor is it usually haphazard and selfish, as sometimes defined in popular culture. Rather, it uses specific rituals and meditation forms to create greater power, strength, health, love, sexual attractiveness, and other positive individual and social virtues in its followers and the world.

There are many versions of witchcraft, ancient and modern. Examples include the practices of the seers and devotees of various Greek oracles such as the famous Oracle of Delphi; the historically famous witches of medieval times, who also were herbalists and village healers; Native American seers in various tribes, such as Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan; and shamans and seers in many other religions often considered pagan (see).

For purposes of meditation, each of the many versions of witchcraft has rituals and methods of concentration. If you practice these, you can go into any of a wide variety of deep awareness.

WILLPOWER ENERGY CENTER See the fifth energy center in “Energy Centers.”

WORD MEDITATION (See also “Jnana Yoga,” “Mantra,” “Socrates," and "Writing.”)

Word meditation simply means meditating on a specific word or phrase. It is not meditation if a word or phrase is repeatedly mindlessly. Nor is simply thinking intellectually or mentally about the word, its connections, or its meanings. Rather, it is an act of waiting, of observing, or of feeling the word or phrase in a meditative fashion.

The meditator chooses one word or phrase and, if needed, reads about it before meditating. Then, in meditation, the person focuses on the word and its meanings, and allows associations–words, memories, or feelings–to come to mind, generally for five to thirty minutes. Word meditation is a form of, and related to, using mantras (see) and to jnana yoga (see), also known as “knowledge” yoga.”

WORDLESS PRAYER (See also “Mantra” and “Prayer.”)

“Wordless” prayer is meditation that feels like prayer but does not use words. Sometimes the praying person sends out a request that is without words but uses feelings or yearnings, instead. At other times, wordless prayer simply can mean a waiting or open type of meditation in which the person “prays” to someone or something, or for someone or something, simply by remaining open to whatever comes from a higher source.

WORK MEDITATION(See also “Hatha Yoga” and “Karma Yoga.”)

“Work meditation” can mean meditating in your work on aspects of the work, itself. Or it can mean choosing work, professional or volunteer, that gives you a more meditative approach to life.

It is not work that is primarily for your own advantage, power, or pleasure. Self-advantage, power, or pleasure are acceptable side effects of devotional work, but they cannot be the primary goal. Part of your work, if you want it to be part of your meditation, also should be to meditate on individual parts of the work. By doing so, you learn more of what these parts of the work mean in a larger, deeper context, and how you can improve them.

Examples of devotional, meditative work include volunteer work, social service, counseling, working in a nonprofit organization, and teaching, to name a few. Again, it is not just the work itself but your attitude, focus, and concentration that turn it into a form of meditation.

Working meditatively means that you do your physical work or job in such a way that you attempt to bring increasing awareness to that aspect of the work. Meditating in such a way when at work does not mean simply developing patterns and then sticking to them. Rather, you increase your awareness of or concentration on one or more specific parts of your work.

For example, you might learn to concentrate on your “awareness-of-each-object-of-awareness” (see) during a meeting in which you are simply listening. Or you might learn to focus on a midpoint between one of your own energy centers (see) and that of a co-worker as the two of you talk.

If you choose a form of work as a selfless devotion, you might meditate on your object–whether it is a person, organization, or idea–to which you are devoting yourself. Such “selfless” work means that you are doing it primarily for the sake of helping another person, a group, or humanity in general.

WORRY See “Emotion” and “Problems.”

WRITING AND MEDITATION (See also "Art and Meditation" and "Word Meditation.")

          Any kind of meditation you pursue using words also can be done using reading and writing. Reading someone else's deep thoughts and feelings can help you discover meditative states more easily, and connect meditative activities with each other and with other parts of your life. And writing as meditation often helps slow down your thoughts and feelings so that you can sense them better. This allows you to focus better on their chain of thought and feeling, which thoughts cause what, and how feelings are involved.

          Meditation using reading simply means that you find some book, page, sentence, or word–whether in spiritual or completely non-spiritual sources–and concentrate on it, or feel its meaning for you. You may simply look at the passage once or stare at it, or you may repeat it several or many times. You let its meaning and feeling reverberate within you, trying to answer such questions as why you have picked this set of words, what it means especially to you, or what it could mean. If it is an oppositional set of words–something that bothers you deeply–then you would meditate upon it oppositionally: what is its preferred opposite in life, thinking, or feeling; why does it bother you so much; to what does it connect you; how can you cure, heal, or improve it?

          Meditation using your own writing simply means that you write about a thought, feeling, or event that has a special, deep, or compelling meaning to you. You focus on it as you write about it, or you follow the chain of thoughts and feelings that start with it or that radiate outward from it. Write your way toward its center, or write your away around it in a circle, seeing or feeling it from several different sides. As you write, you may, if you wish, sometimes stop and think or feel your words more deeply by reading them several times or even repeating them.



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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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