MEDITATION, A PRACTICE OF AWAKENING
The content of this page is from my experiences. The statements in it are verifiable and are based on the philosophical principles taught in the “Buddhist” and “Shintoist” traditions. If you want to develop these notions in more detail, you can refer to :
- the books presented on the Library page of this site,
- a meditation center “Vipassana” or a center of Tibetan Buddhism.
I present here some fragments of the teachings of meditation in a context of seeking the benefits of practicing regular meditation. Let us remain free in our practice of the arts whatever they may be, as long as the intention is just and benevolent. For our well-being and that of others.
Let us share our experiences for the understanding we have, of what they bring us in terms of fulfillment, awakening and liberation from our sufferings.
May these few words direct us on the path of true happiness.
Meditation, like the bridge crossing the river to link two shores, unifies the body, mind and soul. It opens doors for us to understand how we function as a living being. I mean here what we are as physical, intellectual and spiritual matter. We ourselves, every being that we meet, has a functioning of its own but all of us are linked to each other, to our natural environment. The nearest being the earth and the farthest, the universe. Let us not forget that here and now, in the present time, we are in permanent contact with everything that exists, from the smallest insect to the scintillating stars.
Our perception of events, of the living and of all that is organic, is based on the intellectualization of our mind and the images it is making of it. In response to a cerebral stimulus, we associate these images with a judgment, a concept whose foundation emanates from our beliefs, the education of our body and mind. By repercussion, where the thoughts produced are moving towards a choice that lies with our functioning as a human being: is the stimulus good, positive or bad, negative? (Implied for «me», «my person»). Almost simultaneously, in response to the stimulation of our mind, biochemical reactions are created and manifested on the surface of the body. The ineluctable reaction to mental and bodily stimuli will be an emotion manifesting either greed for these stimuli (something that makes us feel good, attracts us, arouses desire), or aversion (something that repels us, displeases us, causes anger). In both cases, whenever we react to the stimulation of our mind, we develop emotions of aversion or greed toward something or another, people, object… Hence we accumulate countless needs which we feel obliged to answer. To satisfy our needs in order to satisfy ourselves continually and thus feed the egocentric being at the expense of the essential being.
Man is thus made. He endeavours to satisfy his desires, to fill his gaps in response to what his mind directs him. Whether it be greed or aversion, if he can not fill them, then he develops frustrations that gradually put the body and mind in a state of suffering and tension. If, conversely, he runs to ease his needs, satisfaction will fuel new needs. The fulfillment of all our desires is an illusion, so again will develop frustrations and their consequences …
What we learn in the early days of Zen or Vipassana meditation is the calming of our mind, the attenuation of the cerebral hyperactivity of which we are subject to every day. React as little as possible to the stimuli of our mind and approach a state of silence and appeasement. Thus, our mind becomes more receptive to the surrounding subtle sensations (from our bodies, people, animals, plants…). Our sensitivity increased, we are more serene and attentive. A Chinese proverb associates the image of our mind with a monkey in a forest that, stung by a bee, goes crazy, jumps from branch to branch without knowing where it goes or what it really wants.
Tame the mind attenuates our share of egoism, strengthens our altruism and pushes the essential being that we are to express fully. Our thoughts are clearer, our actions more thoughtful, our consciousness rises. The values to which we adhere take on their full meaning, they reflect what we aspire to, not for ourselves but for others.
FIRST STEPS IN MEDITATION
- 1 : YOUR PLACE
- 2 : POSITIONING
- 3 : VENTILATION
- 4 : WHY ?
- 5 : YOUR ATTENTION
- 6 : CONCENTRATION
- 7 : OBSERVATION
- 8 : AWAKE CALMY
- 9 : ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
- 10 : STRETCHING
Find a quiet place. The first few weeks, avoid meditating outside. Surrounding noises easily divert attention and concentration. Define a time of meditation. If you are starting out, 10 to 15 minutes can be a good start. A sound indicator can set the time for meditation.
Take the time to position yourself, to be aware of your breathing. To help, ventilate deeply by inspiring through the nose and blowing through the mouth (allowing an energetic bridge between design and governor vessels or the free flow of energy in the microcosmic orbit). If you feel agitated, start ventilating deeply, calmly. Release the shoulders, open the chest slightly forward and keep your axe stretched. You can close your eyes or leave them half-closed (to reduce the envy to sleep that may appear), put your hands on your knees, your palms towards the ground or the sky.
Now appeased, take a few minutes asking yourself why you are there to do this meditation, are your reasons beneficial ?
- Point 6 Qi-Hai (located two fingers under your navel), in this case visualize (not imagine) a luminous and white sphere that expands upon inspiration and then concentrates at a point at expiration,
- The base of your nostrils to observe the air that goes in and out.
Be attentive, calm, soothed, vigilant and serene. If your mind wanders to this or that thought, let it spin and then take a few deep breaths. Then again focus your attention.
Just observe your moving abdomen or the air that enters your nostrils. Whatever the sensation (which is often pain the first time, given the posture), try to be an observer and not react to these sensations. Stay focused on your abdomen, the base of the nostrils.
When the sound indicator indicates the end of your meditation, remain calm and equanimous for a minute or two, without moving. Take 1 or 2 deep breaths if necessary.
Thank then whoever you want, what you want (Dhamma, the universe, the beings that compose it, peace, universal love…) but do it by verbalizing, expressing yourself (thanks to the Dhamma, thank you…). Be filled with gratitude and compassion for others. You can also remember the 10 values for which you feel your meditative practice is right.
To calmly return to you, take a few deep breaths and then start by stretching your neck, shoulders, arms. Sit down (hands behind your back on the floor) with your legs outstretched. Make circles with your feet, mobilize your thighs. Gently turn, one side. On your knees, you can curve your back. Stand up gently. If you have the feeling of wobbling (turning head), stay seated. This sensation can occur in the case of long meditations or for persons in a state of high tension.
- Gratitude to all beings, everything that gives us and sustains life.
- Appreciation for everything, even that which we consider as difficulty.
- Patience with everything we commit ourselves to do without worrying about time and results.
- Understanding of any situation, considering that every thing has his purpose.
- Compassion is cultivating one’s propensity to become aware of the suffering of others to share
- Sincerity is just action, done with good intention.
- Respect consider each being with its own rhythm, its own need, its own life.
- Will is to nourish our determination to pursue the efforts necessary to achieve a high goal.
- Courage is to put forward the strength of the soul and the heart in the face of difficulties.
- Generosity means giving without waiting in return.
According to the teachings of the Shintaido and Meditation seminars
2010 to 2014
« Gassho Meiso » or meditation of mental appeasement, according to the teaching of Okada Mitsuru Senseï
« Takishûgyô » or meditation under a waterfall, according to the teaching of Michel Paolillo
10 Days Retirement – Vipassana Center Dhamma Mahi, France
Meditation as taught by S.N Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin
10 Days Retirement – Vipassana Center Dhamma Suttama, Québec
Meditation as taught by S.N Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin