Author Topic: What is meditation? Help needed.  (Read 2235 times)

Flipasso

What is meditation? Help needed.
« on: January 28, 2009, 01:11:59 AM »
Hi people..
I'm starting to do a website that's about answering begginers the question "What is Meditation?".
It was my main struggle for sometime to understand what meditation is, because I was first introduced to a book that talked about a mind-observation technique, but didn't explain it.
Then I started looking everywhere, and I always got different answers.
Meditation is about stopping thought.
Meditation is about listening to the inner sound and watching the inner light (Sant Mat).
Meditation is about saying Aaaa, and Eeeee and Iiiiii....
I never understood it properly.
It was probably when I read Daniel Goleman's The Meditative Mind that I learned that:
There are 2 principles to meditation...
Concentration: Placing your attention on an object.
and
Mindfulness: Observing the inner workings of the mind-body complex.
With practice I learned that no meditation can be done excluding the other principle... There's no Samatha without mindfulness of you being concentrated (or not) and there's no Vipassana without concentration on the "act" of observing.
I want to put this forward for begginers and I would like to talk a bit about the goals of mindfulness and concentration meditation.

Mindfulness aims at you understanding how the mind works.

And concentration aims at progressively entering a peacefull state of mind.

What do you think about this info? Do you agree?

Could you give a description of a jhana state?

Do you agree that as you progress in each of the approaches (mindfulness/concentration) you become more skilled not only on that approach but on the other aswell?

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: What is meditation? Help needed.
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2009, 07:32:52 AM »
Mindfulness is not just applicable to mind, mindfulness and awareness are interchangeable in this sense. So mindfulness helps us understand how mind, body and the world around us work through an increase in awareness.

Concentration is about calming the mind. By concentrating on one thing we calm our mind progressively and we can then use our awareness in a more focussed way. The peaceful mind or calm mind make examining things much easier.

Yes - you can not have one without the other - and both reinforce each other.

Don't forget the aim: to be in charge of your mind and life, instead of having a wild mind that react from all kinds of unconscious patterns formed and internalised through our experience of the world.

Matthew
« Last Edit: January 28, 2009, 07:33:33 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

alex

Re: What is meditation? Help needed.
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2009, 10:24:41 AM »
Wow, you want to answer the question "what is meditation"? I hope you are still young enough, because this question will keep you busy for many decades ;).

Problem: Meditation is a very generic term, including hundreds (or even thousands) of techniques. Many of them are concentration-only (like mantra meditation, no explicit awareness), others seem to be very different (e.g. Osho's Dynamic Meditation). For some, meditation is a technique, for others it is a state of mind. Some meditations claim to be personality transforming, others are for relaxation or feeling better. With meditation you can meet God, or experience your True Self, or see you brain malfunctioning due to repetitive exercises, sensory deprevation, whatever - depending on the believes of whom you ask.

Oh yes, and very important: whoever you ask can tell you why his believes are right and the others are wrong.

You might want to consider a less challenging question like "what is vipassana meditation?" or "what is Buddhist meditation?".

Flipasso

Re: What is meditation? Help needed.
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2009, 07:51:41 PM »
Yes... answering that question correctly doesn't seem very possible!!

I never remembered to considered the dynamic meditation osho invented... I guess I haven't had much contact with those...

I wouldn't want to answer completely but to orient a begginers search. I imagine what my meditation career would be like if I understood this point before.

BTW - Anyone knows a good samatha/concentration book?

bryony

Re: What is meditation? Help needed.
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2009, 10:20:21 PM »
I first thought I would like to try and meditate 30 something years ago... oops now everyone knows how old I am.. but did nothing about it.  When the time is right one just jumps in never to return... I think if I had googled  'what is meditation', I may never have gone to a vipassana 10 course and that would have been too bad...  As others have said you will have your work cut out trying to answer that one, but that dosent mean its not a good idea to try. I am sure there are loads of potential meditaters who will appreciate your efforts..  Good luck, Bryony

 

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