From: (Grendel Grettisson) Subject: Tantric Meditation Lecture Date: 16 Jun 1993 08:18:40 GMT MEDITATION: AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY FOR THE TANTRIC STUDENT. (c) 1993 Rose Dawn Scott. Meditation; Observation; Self-Examination. There are many different ways to mediate or examine oneself, both from an eastern and western point of view. I'll give a few brief thoughts and suggestions here, but first and foremost; each Tantric student should practice the form of meditation that is most comfortable for him/her, whether taken from a didactic process or generated from within. However, I can't stress the importance of regular meditation enough for those who sincerely desire to follow the Tantric path. It will (1) prepare you for further progress; and (2) make possible some of the higher rituals and acts prescribed. For instance, the awakening and ascent of Kundalini is essential for both white (*solo*) and red (*with partner(s)*) Tantrists. Kundalini sometimes is aroused spontaneously during lovemaking, but if one does not have some basic understanding of how to channel this pow erful force, such awakening may be brief, incomplete, or even harmful to the psyche. NEVER, EVER, EVER!!!! (got that) visit a "healer" or "yogi" who promises to awaken the Kundalini for you. While the study of Kundalini Yoga can be quite helpful, a true teacher will simply assist and instruct on how to awaken the Kundalini energy yourself. If is possible to have someone else do it for you; however, I have known several people who have sought this so-called *easy way out* and the results were 100% negative, including energy imbalances, depression, confusion, and fe eling of something having gone *haywire*. As with everything on the Tantric path, the Source is within. Or--if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself! ;: That said, a few thoughts. self-examination is either a form of meditation or a precursor thereto. In its simplest form, self-examination consists of deep reflection, as opposed to logical thinking, about your inner self, your hopes, dreams, desires, your place in the world, etc. Sit quietly, in a place where you aren't likely to be disturbed. Say to yourself: Who am I? What do I want? One technique for self-examination is rather similar to psycho-therapeutic "free-association." Say to yourself, simply, WHO? WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? WHY? After each word, allow any association or thought that comes into your mind to be, to flow. If deeper meanings are there, they will come. By seeing yourself clearly, uncovering your true nature, you will deepen your level of understanding and be able to progress. Another self-examination technique: Should be done nude. Sit in front of a mirror, close your eyes, and try to still your mind. Gradually open your eyes and observe your reflection, imagining it is another person. Who is this person? What is s/he like? If your impression is negative, relax the face and adjust the breath, and see if any inner change is felt. Visualize yourself replacing any negative qualities with positive ones; try to discover the root of any discomfort or anxiety felt while looking at your own image. Gradually relax the face completely, stare into your own eyes for a few seconds, then close them, assimilating the process, allowing the conscious, sub-conscious and un-conscious all to internalize the initial examination of oneself. Observation is a form of self-examination. It is usually practiced after Hatha Yoga, or at times when one becomes *stuck* in an attitude of mental depression, confusion, or inertia. It is a way of emphasizing the body/mind connection. Close your eyes, relax, either in Savasana (*corpse pose--lying, relaxed*) or seated comfortable. Open yourself to intuitive processes, casting aside intellectual processes for the moment. Feel, via this intuitive attitude, everything in your body and your mind. Observe how difficult or easy it is for you to slow the mind; relax the body. Feel your skin, its warmth/coolness/tingling; feel your muscles, their tension/fatigue/release, their strength/weakness. Feel the energy flow as you relax the body, how the body's reactions change. Feel the mind's restlessness/quietude; the emotions' ebb/flow. Feel your heart beat. Feel your pulse. Listen. Assimilate. It has been suggested that one deep a journal of observation, that one practice relaxed observation for at least ten minutes daily. Your journal will serve as a useful tool, pointing out your physical/mental/emotional strengths and weaknesses. It will also serve as a record of your progress, as you use your insight to conquer the weaknesses and emphasize the strengths. It will enable yo to realize consciously, in everyday life, mental restlessness and negative thoughts, physical tension and weakness, and to replace them immediately with positive transmutations. Rather than *uproot* negativity, become an alchemist of your own body/mind, and *transform* the negativity to mirror-image positives. Continue, and grow. MEDITATION. First, one very simple didactic meditation exercise from the Mahanivrana Tantra: "The worshipper should engage in meditation, gradually concentrating his mind on each part of the body of Siva and/or Sakthi, from the f eet to the head, one after another. He can thus acquire such an intense state of concentration that during his undisturbed meditation, Siva/Sakthi shall appear in an indivisable, concrete form. In this way the meditation of the deity in its formal aspect will gradually become profound and steady." -- Principles of Tantras. In modern times, even traditional western health practitioners recognize the benefits of regular meditation, at least on the mental health and stress-reduction level. Says psychologist Robert Ornstein, a professor at New York University, "Meditation is a technique for turning down conscious thought so that more subtle sources of information can be perceived." Traditionally, all forms of Eastern meditation have involved either Yantra (form) or Mantra (sound), or both. Yantra, similar to mandala, is a physical image which usually has one or more deeper meanings, and serves as a very useful object of focus. Mandalas may be created oneself, purchased, or even, provided the level of concentrat ion is great enough, *seen* within the mind. Choose a Yantra with personal meaning, such as the Kali Yantra, Hexagram, statue or painting of a personal deity, etc. Candle flames or the smoke from incense can also be good focusing points. However, external objects, while valuable, should not be used exclusively. Repetition of a mantra traditionally takes three steps: first the mantra should be repeated aloud for some time; then audibly but very softly; finally within the mind only. For a Tantric student, AU M MANI PADME HUM is a good starting point--utilizing the primordial AUM, the power-seed HUM, and Mani--jewel/male organ, Padme--lotus, female organ. This mantra has been translated as "The jewel is in the lotus," signifying sexual union and spiritual union at once. English-language words or phrases are perfectly acceptable, as are those in other languages which have specific religious or spiritual meaning to the individual. Chanting the name/names of o ne's Isvara, or personal deity, are excellent mantras. As has been stated previously: "The body is a Yantra; the breath its Mantra." Many of the Prana techniques are meditative, and when sufficient progress has been made, meditation on the sound of one's own breath to the exclusion of all else makes for excellent control and continuing progress. No matter which meditative techniques one utilizes, there are five *universal basics* which beginners should keep in mind: (1) Privacy. Make sure you won't be disturbed, eliminate as many outer distractions as possible. (2) Focused attention, including yantra/mantra meditation. (3) Passive attitude. In other words, let it come, don't aggressively grab for it. It won't work that way. (4) Comfort: I recommend meditation be performed in the nude; alternately, wear loose clothing of natural fabrics. While the Lotus position is my favorite meditative posture, if this posture causes discomfort, sit cross-legged or lie on your back, eyes closed. Physical discomfort is bound to distract a neophyte; and (5) Regular pr actice!! This fifth, of course, is most important. Make meditation a daily ritual, practice so regularly that it becomes ingrained, habitual. Your rewards will be ample. Irregular meditation, while it may occasionally result in flashes of insight, will most likely be at best limiting; or even useless. The two basic types common to eastern and western philosophies are (1) those which focus the mind, and (2) those which strive to empty the mind. Often, the first type must be mastered first in order to lead to the second. However, it is not necessary to practice both types and some may find the ability, through natural psychic development or prior experience, to empty the mind without first focusing it. Dr. Lawrence LeShan is a psychotherapist who has studied meditation intensively, becoming intrigued after reading of Carl Jung's exploration of the unconscious utilizing eastern techniques. LeShan claims that there are four paths to meditation. He describes the first two as "western," the last two as "eastern" methods: (1) The Intellect--using self-hypnosis to access different levels of awareness; (2) The Emotions--concentrating on 'feelings' such as love, brotherhood, courage, etc. (3) The Body--immersing oneself completely with a physical art, such as Hatha Yoga, T'ai Chi, or various martial arts; and (4) Action. The path of action involved applying the 'principles of meditation' to performing a task. Examples would be Japanese tea ceremonies, gardening and cultivating herbs/plants, flower arranging, or Archery such as taught by Zen masters. The path of action may also be interpreted as *staying in the now;* performing everyday, mundane activities with concentration and awareness rather than by rote. Mastery of any form of meditation may take months or years; however regular practice on a daily basis will probably show positive results almost immediately--and mastery is not necessary for spiritual progress or active Tantric practice. If courage and honesty are brought to bear, it doesn't really matter what form your meditation takes, it will bear fruit, enabling you to overcome barriers to growth. Meditation is the most direct path to the experience of non-duality and mystic awareness. Practice diligently, and great things will come to you. Knowing others leads to wisdom; Knowing the Self leads to Enlightenment Mastering others requires force; Mastering the Self calls for true strength. --Lao-Tzu, in Tao Te Ching. AUM NAMA SIVAYA.