Issue No. 9
Table of Contents
- Why Important
- Difference between Meditation and Prayer
- Stages in Meditation
- How to Meditate
I. Why Important
Meditation is an important part in the process of self-discovery. It helps
integrate our personality where the inner will starts to take charge. It
diminishes internal conflict in the personality. It makes us more calm and
serene, as well as allow us to be more sensitive and compassionate. Correct
meditation is a vital steppingstone to genuine spirituality.
II. Difference between Meditation and Prayer
Many people confuse meditation and prayer. To clarify we must distinguish
different kinds of prayer:
- Petitional prayer: asking for something: health, safety, money,
success, etc. This is an active and somewhat selfish prayer. Sometimes
this takes the form of affirmation to attain some goals or ambition.
This is not meditation at all.
- Vocal prayer: which usually means the repetition of some set
verses and is often done mechanically as if it is a but a ritual. Again
this is not meditation.
- Mental Prayer: A form of self-reflection using certain themes
that allow the person to free himself from external attachments and draw
his consciousness inwardly or to a more subtle level. This is part of
- Nonverbal prayer: This is no longer prayer in the usual sense.
There is no desiring, there is no effort, just silent communion with the
Divine. The extended effort of this state is identical with meditation.
III. Stages in Meditation
Meditation is not simply sitting down and closing our eyes and going into
silence. It is a process that involves the transformation of our daily life.
Hence even children can be taught the rudiments of meditation while young.
- Awareness: Try to be aware of yourself all the time: when you
feel irritated, bored, angry, fearful, excited. Be aware of your
prejudices and motives.
- Reflection: Reflect on what is happening to your life, whether
your priorities in life are clear. See if you are merely allowing
circumstances to push or drag you around.
- Self-Transformation: Undertake a program to change what you feel
is not compatible with your deepest values. If you don't believe in the
ethical practice of your place of work, you may wish to change jobs. If
you know that some bad habits are destroying your health, determine to
remove the habits.
- Daily Deepening Practice: This is the formal meditation practice
part. Decide to spend at least 20 minutes a day to calm down yourself
and become more deeply aware of your innermost consciousness.
IV. How to Meditate
This is a typical approach to meditating 20 minutes a day. Details may vary
from approach to approach, but the essentials are here.
When practicing meditation, do not give up too easily. Try one
technique for at least three weeks. Do not jump from one technique
to another. Read some good books on meditation so that you will be
guided by those who have deep experience on this practice.
- Find a place where you can have privacy, and sit comfortably either on a
chair or on the floor, with a cushion supporting your buttocks. Keep spine
straight and don't lean. You may close your eyes or if you keep them
half-open, sit facing a wall.
- Start by relaxing your entire body, being aware of any tension from your
head, neck, shoulders, arms, body, legs and feet. Breathe evenly, and as
you breathe out, feel your body becoming more calm and relax.
- Be aware of any emotional tension, and let them go. You may picture a
white light flowing through your entire body which harmonizes your
- Be aware of your thoughts, and let them settle down naturally. [This part
may take many, many sessions before you can finally master it. You are
actually trying to discipline a mind that may have been undisciplined for
twenty or more years.]
- Use an image, a sound, or a point in your head as an anchor of your
attention. You may use Amen, Om, Mu, or any word you choose. Or you may
count your breath: 1 when you inhale, 2 when you exhale, 3 when you
inhale . . . up to 10 and back. [This tool helps you to become focused
or concentrated and aids you to come back to your meditation when you
tend to be distracted by memories or worries.]
- As your thoughts stabilize, let your consciousness transcend thinking:
beyond form, beyond images, beyond names, infinite, timeless, without
motivation -- letting the ego fade into the door of the transcendent.
[Take note that this does not mean that you become unconscious or go
into a trance. One is highly alert in a very different way.]
- Stay in the silence or communion for some time. This is the gateway to
self-discovery or self-realization, which is also the gateway to the
experiencing of the Divine Reality.
- In coming out of meditation, slowly become aware of your mind, your
emotional state, and then your physical body. Let the benediction of the
meditation throw light on these various personality states, then become
aware of the surroundings and open your eyes.
- End with thoughts of benevolence and peace on the people in your home,
your workplace, your community, the nation and the world. Reaffirm your
willingness to be of practical service to help alleviate the suffering
of mankind and become a selfless instrument for unity and goodwill.
If you need further information, you may write the Theosophical Society,
1 Iba St., Quezon City, Philippines, Tel. No. (632) 741-5740; Fax
No. (632) 922-6337
Copyright 1995. Permission to reprint is granted provided acknowledgment is made to:
Theosophical Society in the Philippines, 1 Iba St., Quezon City, Philippines
"If five percent of the people work for peace, there will be peace."