How can I get to know myself? Not by thinking, for thinking only reflects my conscious being, but by meditating. Meditation goes beyond the conscious mind into the unconscious. In meditation I can become aware of the ground of my being in matter, in life, in human consciousness. I can experience my solidarity with the universe, with the remotest star in outer space and with the minutest particle in the atom. I can experience my solidarity with every living thing, with the earth with these flowers and coconut trees, with the birds and squirrels, with every human being. I can get beyond all these outer forms of things in time and space and discover the Ground from which they all spring. I can know (…) the Origin, the Source, beyond being and non-being, the One ‘without a second’. I can know the birth of all things from this Ground, their coming into being in the Word. – Bede Griffiths
Posts on Beyond Meds that explore the nature of meditation:
● Science of mindlessness and mindfulness… Take note that Ellen Langer is very clear about the fact that sitting meditation is not the only way to become mindful. I love how she doesn’t attach any particular belief system or set of practices with becoming mindful. There are many ways to pay attention as I’ve tried to make clear many times on this blog but since I do have my particular ways that I talk about frequently that may sometimes overshadow a larger message some of the time. We can all find a way that makes sense to us. Individually.
● The foundation of healing mental distress and of becoming a mature human adult – I’ve collected posts on this page that speak to embracing the full spectrum of our emotional inheritance as human beings. I’ve found that without acknowledging and integrating the darkest part of our psyches we cannot heal. We also cannot become fully mature adult human beings. One need not be labeled “mentally ill” or be sick for this to be an important part of our life’s work. Learning how to do this involves a lot of “paying attention.”
● Meditation, not all bliss and roses – A very common misunderstanding about meditation that can lead to discouragement is that it’s supposed to be all bliss and roses. That is simply not the case on the ground, so to speak. Sometimes meditation is about being with the dark and ugly and anxious parts of our being too. Meditation is about being with the whole spectrum of human psyche and emotion. We cannot know ourselves without becoming intimate with those parts too. That means it’s just not always fun or peaceful or calm to practice meditation. Though it can lead to all those things in time. It can help us learn to live more skillfully in general.
● Life as a meditation: my contemplative adventure — ”Formal” meditation — the kind where you set aside a specific time and sit on a cushion…I don’t do anymore and haven’t since I’ve been seriously ill. First it became impossible, but then I found another way of meditating deeply. What happened with my illness is that I learned that formal meditation is not always necessary for everyone, though I did start with more formal sitting years ago and it’s likely that it’s a good place to start, in general, if at all possible.
● Inhabiting our bodies in meditation — As we engage our somatic crisis, whatever it may be, we realize that embodied meditation is a very different and far more fruitful way to practice than the disembodied path we have been following. But this leaves us wondering just how to carry out our meditation in an embodied manner and inhabit our body in practice. Most fundamentally, meditating with the body involves paying attention to the body in a direct and non-conceptual way.
● Body-Centered Inquiry — This program deepens this capacity of allowance. Allowing oneself to feel more. He uses a process called RAIN — a practice for meeting all experience with acceptance, kindness and compassion. There are also forgiveness practices and body scans and much more. It’s an incredibly rich collection.
● Healing somatic meditation (welcoming prayer)