Why has meditation become so popular? What was once an outlier practice known by a few in esoteric circles has in recent decades turned the tide to trigger a surge in interest in this Eastern tradition. Once you start to dig into the practice of meditation, you’ll soon realize that there are many types and applications for them. As anything that goes from East to West, it takes an entirely different form and marketability than what was originally intended by its creators. All that aside, the benefit of meditation, mindfulness and reflection are all evident with or without studies to validate it. Those that use the techniques corroborate its effects on serenity, clear thinking, emotional stability among others.
In one of my previous lives, I was a huge fam of the Christian mystics, like St. John of the Cross, known as the Mystical Doctor or St. Teresa of Avila, the Mother of Carmelite Reform. Both were mystics, poets and ascetics. All of their spiritual disciplines were after a loving knowledge and affectionate conversation with God in order to prepare the soul for contemplation, which they understood to be the infused communion with the divine. A noteworthy quote of St. Theresa is “Prayer does not consist in thinking much, but in loving much”.
They were refreshing to me, especially at that point in my life, because it put that connection or communion in my hands through concrete spiritual disciplines, meditation and contemplation. Furthermore, they made it seem like a normal everyday occurrence of where one could dwell. To this day, I understand it as being enveloped by Love.
The idea of “communion” or connection with the beyond can sound to some like witchcraft, to others like nonsense and to others like the very thing they’ve been searching for. To those that it sounds like the occult, yes there are numerous practices that seek to connect with some external source but the key to gauge it, is the intention of the search. Is it for a sense of belonging or is it to manipulate? All truly occult practices that I’ve researched had one thing in common and it was to seek personal gain at the expense of another, or exploitation of power in some degree. This has nothing to do with the mystics.
To those that it seems like nonsense I would argue that to think that humans and this plane of reality is all there is, is rather silly. Just pick up any book on quantum physics to have your bubble popped.
And for those that it sounds like music to your ears, I recommend giving this type of meditation or contemplation a try. It is similar to many other Eastern traditions but using passages or imagery to evoke emotions that create states that are more receptive to insights and perceptions.
To tell you that there is more to life than what meets the eye is useless, you’ll simply have to decide to be open to it and be brave enough to explore. For those that are still not there, I still encourage you to try meditation, mindfulness exercises or reflection. All of these give your mind and heart, space to breathe, empty and renew. This should be practiced daily and sometimes several times a day depending on the demands of life. The greater the stressors, the greater the need to turn inward. Think of these practices as a turning inward in order to not lose sight of your center. Ever increasing volume of the external world requires consistent discipline to not drown out the inner voice. Whether to connect to the Source greater than you or simply to your inner voice, these techniques are a part of a healthy diet of wellbeing regardless of your belief system.
With the remaining time, we’ll do a short guided meditation. I’ll ask you to please not do this while driving or operating heavy machinery.
Slowly open your eyes and return to the present moment. How do you feel? How was the trip down memory lane? There are countless ways to use all of the before mentioned techniques, it all depends on your objective at a given moment in time. Clearly you can see how it can be beneficial for calming the mind and fostering mental clarity.
Until next week when we will explore listeners suggestions. Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org by this Friday 24th.