Basic "Non-Expectation" Meditation
Week 1 Non-expectation meditation - also known as 'still-prayer' and 'calm
abiding'. Posture. Meditation using a
physical object as a focus or support. Working with thoughts that arise. Remedies for
agitation and sluggishness.
At its most simple level, Meditation is perhaps best defined as 'knowing what's
happening while it is happening'. The practice of
this form of meditation enables us to train our minds in order to cultivate our
objectivity, as well as achieve a state of "relaxed
awareness", a relaxed but alert level of consciousness. Meditation is not
concentration, mind control, a hypnotic trance, or making the mind go blank, any more than
a steering wheel or four tires are an automobile. Meditation is a method of taming
a mind that is out of control, or resting an overly agitated mind. Committed practice also
includes methods for deeper self awareness, self knowledge, and discernment. Note that
while meditation can help you determine more about yourself, it is, in and of itself, as a
discipline it is completely non-judgemental and non-evaluative.
- Posture (Asana, in Yoga). Sit in a firm chair, on the floor cross-legged,
or use a prayer or meditation bench. It is important that you keep your back and torso
straight and in alignment in a posture that you can comfortably maintain for a long period
of time, particularly as your mind becomes abstracted from the body.
- Breath control (Pranayama). Breath gently, regularly, through the nose.
Breath from the diaphram: inhale for a beat of four, hold, exhale for a beat of four,
wait. This should be an easy continuous motion, with no jerking gasps, or straining. If
you must cough, do so, and calmly return to your breathing. As your breathing is calm, so
your mind will be calm -- the states of breathing and the states of consciousness often
mirror one another.
- Focusing of the mind on a single object (Dharana). Select a Focus for your
attention - a visual object, a sound, a mantra (prayer word), or even following your
breathing. Give a relaxed attention to your Focus. Concentrate on that focus; its physical
attributes, material, how it feels how you think it would feel if you held it. Gradually,
as you do this, you will come to know all there is to know about that object, and you can
set aside your thoughts and mental wandering ABOUT the object, and simply concentrate on
IT. Let go of the world around you -- all of the distractions around you. Do not ignore
them, so much as not repond to them, accept them and move beyond them.
- As you do this, thoughts may arise. They will be positive, negative, or neutral. In most
people, the natural tendancy is to cling to positive thoughts, to get rid of negative
thoughts, and to deny or negate neutral thoughts. Pay attention to this tendancy to judge.
- As thoughts are noticed, accept them, let them go without judgement, and return to the
focus of mediation. The specific practice of "mediation" occurs with this return
to focus. AGAIN: Notice, accept, let go, return.
- Practice for no more than five minutes at a time for the first week if you are new to
this form of mediation.
- For Agitation (Physical or Mental):
Allow your back to relax slightly, as if you are about to slouch, and lower your head.
Breathe slowly, deeply, from the abdomen. Imagine before you a deep pit in which there is
a pool of dark water. The air arising from the pool is moist and cool. Visualize the
darkness and this calming air moving against your face. Breathe deeply and relax.
- For Sluggishness (Sloth or Torpor):
Straighten your posture until your back begins to arch, and lift your head slightly. While
holding this position, breathe rapidly and shallowly from the top of the chest, as if
panting, but through your nose. Envision a brilliant light before you, you breath it in
with the air. The light enters your lungs, near your heart, and begins to flow into your
blood, pumping to all parts of your body, filling your mind as well as your heart with
energy and alertness.