Song to the Ishvara

OM! Oh lord of all, to which all things are the effect. The ruler of all that is, has been and will ever be. The keeper of the steady thought and sustainer of all. To which the sun bows, to which the moon bows. To which the stars sing praises. To which the clouds carry, from which the rains fall. Blessed above all. Keeper of the steady thought. To that I sing praises. To that I feel bliss. Oh Lord to which the breath of life is granted. Out of which all winds blow. The keeper of light. The dweller of darkness. To the one who knows no direction. To the one who from which comes all direction. May you be known in all those directions. Out of which came from you! May ignorance be taken from the eyes of the world. May the light of your steady thought illuminate the hearts of this world. In your steady thought, grant us the path to illumination. Grant us access to your chambers. If our hearts and thoughts are right. If not, pull us in your direction.

OM! Slowly, slowly we make progress toward union with you. Slowly, slowly we come to know you. Guide us in the right path. Show us the answers to our questions. remove the stumbling blocks from our path. Remove our hands from our eyes. Let us know your infinite glory.

OM! Let us speak your divine name. May it be imprinted upon our minds. May it be imprinted upon our hearts! Let fear not overcome us. Let us not know any other path. Let us see the truth among the lies. Grant us the vision to see things as they really are. Reality hides within you and only you. Make our days moderately bright. Our nights moderately dark. Illuminate the inside and the outside in equal measure. Let us not be hot or cold. But let us dwell always in you. Oh holder of the steady thought. Allow us to shine your light into this world. Let us follow your example always. Do not allow us to fall victim to the false. Let us forever know out place in the light of truth. Let us not know too much this way or that way. But let us find balance and harmony. Within and without all things, let us find your balance and harmony. To the one who dwells in all things I sent my praises. Let me keep a constant and steady watch to you. May my mind not falter. May my body be strong. May my eyes and heart know you. May my mouths and my heart know you. May my smell and hearing know you in my heart. May I return to you. To your everlasting abode. Let me know my place among men. Let me know myself as I am. I am not this, I am all things. I am not this world, I am all worlds. I am not this body, I am all bodies. I am not this life. I am certainly all lives. Praise be to that!

Holding yourself back

Today’s card: Eight of Swords

For the chariot card, I mentioned that the energy was all about not being afraid to move forward, well this card is all about confronting that fear. The first thing that comes to mind is a quote by the Butthole Surfers: “It is better to regret something you did, than something you didn’t do.” Basically, if you think of things the right way, it is always better to take action and move while you are learning and progressing, rather than standing in one place and retarding your growth. Movement through life is key, otherwise you are wasting your here on this earth.

In the past I have been guilty many times of not moving; I was scared to put myself out there. I always thought of it through the analogy of floating down a river:

I am going down the river in a raft and I can hear around the river bend what sounds like a waterfall. I am afraid to go any farther, and out of fear I grab onto a branch on the side of the river and hold on. The current is moving fast and it takes a lot of effort to hold on and not get swept away by the current. Other people are floating by, and some of them I yell out to, warning them of the danger of going down the river. There are some who are also scared and they join me in holding onto a branch or whatever they can get a hold of on the side of the river. I am able to hold on for a very ling time, but eventually I start to grow tired so I have to let go. After I do, the river takes me around the dreaded bend and I come to find out there was no waterfall but simply a small rapids that I easily navigate. Farther down the river I discover that the water and surrounding landscape is calm and serene. There was more to fear about just sitting there, more danger holding on then there was in just letting go.

It does not seem like it when you are holding on, but it is harder to hold on and resist the current, to stay in one place, than it is to just face the fear and go with the flow. When you get stuck in once place, whether it is voluntary or by circumstances seemingly beyond your control, it can make you feel overwhelmed and unsure about yourself and your abilities. This, in turn will affect everything that you do. It makes everything feel like a chore, a burden to escape from. This is because all of your energy is being spent just trying to hold on. Once you let go, there is no need to feel that way anymore because all of your energy becomes available to you once again. The burden of holding on and fighting the current lifts from you and you are able to act without feeling like there is something constantly holding you back.

Events start to unfold and present opportunities to you. Using the power of discernment we are able to figure out the right path down the river. You are able to do the work to navigate the river of life without the burden of holding yourself back. Once you are moving all things become possible for you. There are many ways to hold on: Drugs, drinking, dead end jobs, through supposed friends, lovers who are not right but to which you cling. There are many ways to hold on, but the catalyst for all inaction is always the same: FEAR. Put the fear away and stop holding yourself back! Quickly you will discover that the river current is your friend and not an enemy.

Concentration

Here we are again with the beloved chariot! Out of all the card, I think that The Chariot is the most expressive of this year so far. For me, it has been all about control and balance. About not getting caught up in moments and about movement through the power of will.

Will-power is the force created by conquering the impulse of desire. As with all things that can be conquered, this too will put up a fight. Any time you push against something, it’s natural tendency is to push back. But the more force you are able to apply through will power and determination, the more you are able to control and the more you are able to move.

The Chariot represents the conglomeration of all the forces that are available to us, brought under control and used as one would use an instrument to play music. The stronger and more powerful the rider of the chariot, the stronger the chariot itself. The weaker the rider, the more dangerous the chariot. Keeping control of the body, the mind, and the resulting sensory world is the key to successfully navigating this life. This control is achieved through the practice of intense concentration.

This intense concentration is known as meditation, similar to the word mediation. The power that comes from this meditation is the tool that builds the chariot and that is discrimination. Discrimination is the ability to tell the right from the wrong. This produced duality apparent, and is not the reality but simply a tool for correct action to be done. Correct action (dharma) is the reason the world exists. Nothing more. For reality is one, but appears to be dial in order, or as a result of, motion. “In order” is dharma, “as a result of” is karma.

Through the realization of one the other vanishes. Eventually they both disappear. The chariot of our bodies is the action temple. Tools created over millions of years on this planet in order that intelligence and consciousness can peek into this world. That is a great secret. We are ll the bodies of the lord manifesting through our instruments the music of bliss. Everything else is an illusion.

By intense concentration this all came into being. Remember? For you are the concentrator of all of this! Know this and gain control over your creation. Bring light, love and happiness into this world. May we all come closer to the realization of the ultimate truth… That all is one and we are all the same One viewed from different angles. Do not forget this. Keep my mind steady on this, and everything will flow as it is supposed to. Bliss.

Mythologies

It is amazing to me the similarities that I have seen between different religions. These similarities also span over the course of 5,000 years. For me, there is no way that there was not some connection between these groups of people who possessed and created these religious myths and stories over the centuries.

Today, for my tarot card, I pulled The Tower. As I was meditation on the meaning of the card the story of the tower of Babel came to mind. This is a common connection to make when using the Ryder Waite deck because of the actual image of a tower on the card and, of course, the name. On earlier sets, the number 14 card shows a tree being hit by lightning. That seems to make more sense to me based on the true meaning of the card and I can understand where the connection would come from as seeing lightening was, and still is, a very memorable and frightening occurrence that most all humans have had.

In connection with the tower of Babel story, I started to think about the fact that there are so many of these myths from all different cultures but many of them have the same topics, the same mythology only written with different symbols. Although, to the ordinary interpretation the stories may seem vastly different the reality is that the stories are so similar that it cannot be coincidental.

What occurred to me was that the tower of Babel myth was attempting to explain the ‘scattering’ of the peoples across the earth and the resulting language difference that resulted. Language is just like myth in that it clothes thoughts and ideas using symbolism in order to facilitate the communication of that idea. So, according to this interpretation, the languages or ‘tongues’ mentioned in the story could be construed as the myths and stories themselves. That would turn the tower of Babel story into one that describes the movement of symbols throughout the myths. With one untied mythology, man was too powerful and, so to speak: “knew too much”. So it was made apparent to the people that they where all saying different things, even though they where actually saying the same thing. This is a form of Maya used to make this happen. The people became ignorant of what the other was saying and saw difference where there was none.

As a side note, this manifestation of apparent difference, illusion, Maya is the exact thing that the government is using in this age to control the masses. All of this naming of groups creates definitive and definable positions which can be used to produce action among the population. One should always be on the lookout for this trickery. I wrote a little about this in yesterdays post.

Now what all of this says about the actual tarot for my day, I have a feeling there is little of use here. But as far as thinking broadly, it really makes for some interesting meditation. Today I was also reading some stories out of the Bhagavata Purana and there where so many stories and myths that I can see paralleled in other religions. Especially Christianity, which is the religion of my parents and of which I was raised. All in all Christianity is a wonderful religion; it is the religion of love and peace on this earth and for that it is one of the most noble. However, in my day to day run in’s with people, I have found it to be a religion mostly hijacked by personal interests and social moires. It has also been highly used in the political sphere which makes the surface appear tarnished to me. There are many people that are pure God lovers and righteous people and Jesus is a very important prophet of God.

No matter what you believe. No matter what religion you serve. Even if you support no religions whatsoever. May we all keep in mind that the differences are only apparent and if you want to see the truth look within yourself. You will find that all the things that you think are external are actually internal, you will also discover that there is no difference. Everything is united and the same, it is only through the trick of Maya, the ignorance that we have placed upon ourselves and have the power to remove, that makes us think that we are different. Do not fall for the trick, know that love is the only thing that exists because we are all in divine union all the time. All we have to do is realize it.

The Golden Rule

This morning I was feeling a little scatter brained. I think it started when, first thing when I woke up, I got on Google news from my phone. I don’t know why I did it, I just thought that maybe there was something interesting that had happened last night or something that I would find if I browsed the headlines. Of course the only thing anyone can talk about is Trump and his policies. The man has been in office for less than two weeks and he is already getting more attention then the Republicans ever gave to Obama. So this is what started my day off, and it really put me in a little bit of a ‘bad’ mood.

I don’t know if you could call it a bad mood per say. Maybe more of a; got my mind running and thinking about this topic. When I was younger, I used to get wrapped up in politics and would make a lot out of the races and elections. I thought it was a good idea to ponder the policies and argue the topics. But as I grew older I started to see that it is all a ruse, a trick. All of this doesn’t matter, it is all just there to control people and ‘make’ them do things.

Some of this control comes from the top; from the federal or (to a much lesser extent) the state government. There is a lot that comes from big corporations which have interests. No one in their right mind should be thinking that these entities are not acting in their own best interest. There are people however, who fall for this propaganda and will act in accordance with the masses. The thought of the masses prevail in this trickery. And because they are reacting to something that they were told, they are acting in the best interest of the entity who told them such and such thing was right or wrong. The masses think that they are acting in their own interest, but they are being manipulated into acting in the interest of the larger entity when the case suits the entities for the masses to act.

This whole thing is very apparent to me and it is hard for me to imagine now, falling for this type of trick. However, I do think back to when I was young, and there are A LOT of young people who are protesting and ‘re-acting’ to these new stories and policies, and I think about how I fell for the same exact thing myself and thought nothing of it. There is really something to be said about experience and discernment that shows they are very powerful but also illusive things to obtain. It is all about the perspective that you hold which gives you a view of what you think it reality. All in all it is just the perspective and not the objective truth because there really is no such thing as the objective truth. So the things that you are often fighting for or against are not really real at all. Herein is the secret of perception.

My morning was drenched in the thought of all this from the moment I set my eyes on the burden of the news headlines. “Protesters at JFK Airport” – All these news headlines, stories and pictures that are there to grab your attention and make you have a reaction. It is like the little child making fun of the other child because he or she wants to get a reaction out of the kid. It is the same thing with the news and with politics and all of those temporal things. On the schoolyard, if you don’t give the bully a reaction then the bully becomes board with you (or even afraid of you; why is this person so different from the rest?) and will end up moving to the next victim and leave you in peace. This is the right way to respond to all of this, no response.

I have no view on this topic one way or another and for good reason; you only think that you know about the topic but that knowledge is not real, it comes from someone else telling you that such and such is true. How many of the people marching in the streets so quickly have even read the law. None! They have been told that this is bad from an early age and they are defending their beliefs. But the beliefs are not really theirs! They are a set of thoughts that have been planted in their heads. Ask yourself this: Why, if I support gay rights, am I considered ‘left’ on the political spectrum? There is really no such thing as left and right. The reality is that everyone had a unique view and it will never fall completely right or completely left. That is ridiculous. The whole idea of left and right is ridiculous. They are thoughts that have been put into your heads by the government so they can control the masses easier.

The real trick here, the ultimate mission is the government making you certain that if it was not for them, bad things would happen. The goal is to make you think that you ‘need’ the government. Once they have you locked in, they will control you and use you for their own ends. At any time of their choosing, they can activate the right or the left by sending out certain decrees or signing certain policies. But all of this action is not true action, it is a reaction to the activation of the masses. If everyone got along with each other, they might start to figure out that the government is just a burden and suppose it is not needed. No, the only logical thing is to acknowledge that the government has its own priorities first. They make bad things happen and then want more money to fix the bad things. That money goes into more self interest. It is always the case.

My view, my perspective is that we do not need government at all. At any level because of this self interest that is evident. The only person who can, in reality, control you is yourself. Everything else is a trick. Once you realize that you are your own master, that is the only time that you can love others as you love yourself. Do unto others as you would have done to you… The golden rule.

The Universal Mother

It is written that the greatest form that the almighty Brahman can take in your mind is that of the Great Mother. If you have the love for the lord equal to that of your ideal mother, than you will have the greatest relationship that one can have with the Lord in the dualistic view.

Vivekananda says: “The Shaktas worship the Universal Energy as Mother; it is the sweetest name they know. The mother is the highest ideal of womanhood in India. When God is worshiped as Mother, the Hindus call such worship the “right-hand” way; and it leads to spirituality but never to material prosperity.”

The above quote is remarkable in that it shines light on some very important aspects of God worship. In our minds there are and have always been a mother and a father. In most cases, the father is representational of the harsh and punishing aspect while the mother is the archetype of the loving and giving aspect. By worshiping the universal cause as the ideal Mother, we are moving towards the path of love and connection such as we have with our maternal mother from the viewpoint of a child. This is a great and powerful love, the most powerful of all the loves that are out there (save maybe the creative love force that produces life).

Shinning that love to the universal Mother we are able to view the personal God as a great loving entity. In this way we are entitled, as a child is, to the love of his mother and she will give forth such a love to her child that is unconditional if it is her own. This is the greatest relationship that one can have with the universal from a dualistic standpoint because this is the greatest love that exists in the material world. The love that a mother has for her children has been witnessed to be so mighty that she will give her life. There is nothing that a mother would not do to protect and care for her children and that is a wonderful thing in this world.

The father is the provider. He is all about business and providing for the family and, in his archetypal form, gives to his family through the providing of material security and wealth. To worship God in the fathers form is to bring about those blessings of material wealth, but it also is dealing with fire in that the father is not a loving entity as is the mother. The secret here is that the fathers only real purpose is to create conditions that are acceptable and hospitable to the mother so the mother may incubate life and shine love upon the resulting child.

To worship the universal energy as Mother is truly the greatest form in which we can worship God in form. Let us all try to be as children to God, showing love and appreciation and expecting nothing in return. In that state you can be sure that the Divine Mother will pour great spiritual blessings upon you and this world such as a mother on earth pours love unto her beloved child.

Tapas

Tapas. The purifying fire. This is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. I’ve been trying to see the truth in everything. By seeing the truth, I mean seeing love and light in everything. That is the true reality of everything, it is only that we cannot see it because our perspective is wrong. We are seeing things with the wrong attitude. Flavoring the universal with our perceived individuality. This individuality is what brings the perspective which makes us think that there is something called good and bad. Black and white. Evil and righteous. None of those things exist.

There is nothing such as good without bad. The truth is neither exists apart from the other because they are only relative. A wonderful truth is this; good and evil are always in the exact same amount relative to each other. There is never more evil than good, nor more good than evil. They are always in equal amounts. It is only the perspective that changes. This is a factual statement because evil and good are relative to each other. Is is only their amount relative to the point of perspective that changes, not the amount of good or the amount of evil.

Take a line for instance with two ends. On one end is good and the other is evil. The line itself can be stretched out and the ‘distance’ between the two ends can increase or decrease, but their relative distance will never change. Now, add a point on the line. This dot represents your ‘individual’ viewpoint. The point from which you perceive the external from. This point can be moved up and down the line. More towards the one side or towards the other, but until this point exists, there is neither more good or more evil. Without the individual perspective there is no quantity of good or evil in the world.

This point, the individual perspective is the cause of the perception of good and evil in a situation. How can evil be inflicted on a rock. The rock does not have a perspective and therefore no harm can ever come to it. It is never any different than all the other rocks. So we can see that it is not the world that has good and evil ‘in’ it. We ‘put’ the good and the evil in the world based on our perspective.

If your perspective is too far to one side or the other, then you will perceive the world as either good or evil and everything you experience will be one or the other. If you are viewing things from a happy perspective as many Christians will do, then things will become more and more happy for you. You will find happiness in all things and you will forget about evil all together.

Then there are people who put their perspective too far to the evil side. They are always having problems and can never get anything done. Everything in the world is working against them. They are constantly spitting into the wind so to speak. In the study of the occult, this side is known as the left-hand-path. They are always having to work hard just to get the simplest things done. The universe becomes their adversary (the Hebrew word ha-satan means adversary) and they find life to be dark and cold.

There are those who’s point is in the middle, exactly between the two ends of the line. It is like the Buddhist to take the middle path. To find the balance between the two imaginary sides. With this perspective of balance you find calm peace and tranquil waters. Things are seen not as good or bad, just as being. They see the good man as equal to the evil man for there is no good or evil to them. This middle path seems to be the most perfect and the most powerful and it is. The problem comes when you try to maintain this viewpoint. Without a perfect balance, you end up on one side or the other and the entire perspective falls apart.

You can see where so much emphasis on meditation and control over the senses comes from in religious practice. It is very difficult to maintain this balance, this middle way and it takes great power to obtain its perspective in this world. The universal instinct for balance is so powerful that all life springs from this desire. Reincarnation is nothing but the working out of vibrations to one side or the other. This brings me back to my main topic: Tapas.

Tapas is the burning of karma. Tapas means heat or gestation. From what I can tell it is originally the word used to describe, in the most ancient texts, the act of a mother bird covering her young for warmth. I think the most direct modern parallel would be an electric incubator. Something that keeps another thing warm in order for life to be born. Another good way of explaining the word would be the mothers womb. The heat of the womb that gestates the life of the child.

We are like the child in the womb that is this universe. The entire universe is her to keep us alive through its tapas, its warming fires. The most direct manifestation of this tapas is the heat of the sun. Without the heat of the sun there would be no life on this world. Its heat creates all energy on this planet in all its forms. It is the sun’s tapas, its warming fires which keeps the earth alive. Within each one of us too is a tapas; the tapas of the Atman or the soul.

Within us lies the greatest potential for generating this life giving heat. But in order to get this heat, one must be in perfect balance. So the word tapas has become, overtime to mean the practice of generating this heat, of practicing the actions that lead to balance. Normally these actions are austerities and meditation, but the actual goal of these things, the great secret of these practices is to place the perspective in the perfect middle of the line. The perspective at the heart of all things, seeing the truth in all things as a result.

This is the point where you understand that you ARE all things. That there is nothing outside of yourself because you are all things. These actions are the generator of the fire that warms the gestation inside of us. Tapas are cause of all things everywhere. Tapas births the true self. The Atman.

The ego and the Atman

In the Yoga Sutras (Sadhana Pada) the following is written:

“Egoism is the identification, as it were, of the power of the Seer (Purisha) with that of the instrument of seeing.”

That is a very sophisticated line! There is a lot to be learned in its wisdom. Here I am going to try and talk a little about my views on the ego and the real self (Atman).

To start; What is the ego? The ego is the I as you think yourself to be. In reality there is no “I”. The ego is the part of the mind that says; “I have this. I am that.” According to the ego, the entire universe revolves around I. This is the way that a child or a baby thinks. When they want something they make a noise and the mother comes to help them. They know that if they cry and fuss about something, they will get it. So that is what they do.

Most people are still like children in which they think that their needs are important enough to cause others to make them comfortable, or feed them, or tend to their needs. This is the life of the ego and there are many people who think that they can enjoy life with this outlook.

Unfortunately, the baby is never content. If the mother comes and feeds the hungry child, then a few moment later the baby is crying about something else. There is no end to the babies crying because all of its enjoyments are temporary. They bring the child pleasure for only a few seconds and then there is something else wrong.

The smarter path is to reject the ego. There are religious people in this world who tell everyone to reject the material world, reject the body. The world and all that is around us is not bad, it is here for a purpose and that purpose is love. The real problem is the ego in this world. The ego in this world sees an object that is attractive to it and it says “I WANT THAT”. If it gets the object then it things “THIS IS MINE”. So you can see here that the problems in this world do not come out of the material. They come out of the ego and its endless desires. Only then does the world become a bad place to live.

To bring our thoughts back to the sutra; it says that the ego is the identification of the power of the seer with that of the instrument of the seeing. We have defined what the ego is, but what is this instrument?

The instrument is the mind. It is the physical body. The body is a tool chest that we have been given with many tools inside. The most important tool is the mind. For with the mind we can have discretion and with discretion we can gain enlightenment and freedom from bondage. Humans are the only things on this earth that can gain freedom and that is because of their mind. The human brain is the most complicated thing known to man. There is nothing in this universe that we have discovered that is more complicated. The number of possible pathways in the brain are more numerous than the number of atoms in the entire universe!

So the sutra says that the ego is the result of the identification of the perceive with this body, with this material world. Again, it is not the material world that is the issue here, it is the ‘identification’ of this seer with that world. So that brings us to the last part of the equation: What is this seer?

The seer is the soul but not in the sense that some of us may think about it. The soul is the true source of all things. It is called the Atman and is the God that inside of all of us. I will not go too into detail here, but this Atman is the subject of all perception. It is the constant preceptor. It is untouched eternally from all changes. Is is the true self.

Atman is the true self that we are all trying to find. Everyone knows that there is a spark of light inside of them. This light will never be touched and is always pure. It is like a piece of God within all of us. In the same way that the Sun illuminates everything with its rays, so is it with the Atman and perception. The same way that the Sun is untouched by the things it illuminates, so is it with the Atman and its perception. The Sun may shine on good things and on bad things, but it is untouched by those things. So it goes with the Atman.

If the identification lies not with the body but with the Atman, then all of the problems that we think exist melt away. All becomes clear and the truth is revealed. People who have achieved this identification have their entire world-view changed. They become enlightened and no longer fall victim to the trials and tribulations of this world. Beyond that, the yogi should go farther until there is no identification with anything at all. Then the true and complete freedom is achieved!

Thought expansion

When you use your mind, it is like you are touching the universe. The universe is like a lake. The magnitude of your thought creates ripples of various sizes in the lake of the universe. The stronger the concentration, the larger the ripple. These ripples also combine with other ripples and create even bigger ripples. This continues to happen until the ripple is so large that it triggers an event.
Thoughts are like waves. Waves of a similar frequency will combine to create an even larger wave until the wave crests and is resolved back into many little waves. This happens for eternity. This also demonstrates the concept of ‘like attracts like’ or the “Law of Attraction” as it is known in New Age terms. Thoughts that are of a similar nature will combine with other similar thoughts. Likewise, thoughts that are conflicting or un-similar will cancel each other out and not continue to manifest.

There are often times that everyone has known, when you enter a room and can feel the energy inside. If you feel something like that you should know that the thoughts that are in that room are very strong and may be inharmonious with your own. There are other times when you walk into a room and can feel the love and warmth of the people there. Often times people will talk about a person’s “energy”. What they are referring to is the strong thought vibrations that are being generated by that person. These are the thoughts ripples traveling over the surface of the lake. Some people have strong thoughts and others not so much.

The stronger ripples are created by a more concentrated and focused mind. If the mind is scattered it will generate many tiny ripples. If the mind is focused on something it will generate stronger ripples. This displays the power of the mind to affect the physical world. Because the physical world is made up of the same primal energy as thoughts, strong thoughts can build to create events. It is often referred to as synchronicity but they can also be coincidence. The word coincidence when broken down displays just that. Co-inside-ence – Two things existing in the same place at the same time. The thought and the action.

Stronger thoughts generate bigger ripples which turn into waves and crest. Strong thoughts are brought about through focus. The other side of focus is expansion. Contraction of thought and expansion of thought are both very powerful things. Expansion is the other method of creating strong thoughts. Expansion involves thinking of the largest, most abstract thing instead of the single, individual thing. This is the thought form that unites all things together, because everything is part of a larger whole and therefore contains an inherent connection between all things.

These very large, expansive thoughts are more harmonious because their wave is of a lower frequency. They tend to travel untouched by other thoughts. The larger wave passes right over the smaller waves and does not much affect them. Both methods of thought are powerful but the expansive thought takes less energy and is therefore the easier of the paths.

Meditation and looking within

I mentioned in yesterdays essay the importance of looking within yourself. I also alluded to meditation as being a practical way to achieve the turning within. To many, meditation seems like a strange, foreign thing. In the United States, which is predominantly Christian in makeup, mediation is not something that is practiced. In many protestant churches, it may even be frowned upon as devil worship. But there should be nothing mysterious about meditation. In reality, it is as natural as breathing.

Meditation, at its most basic level, is focus. It is the practice of focusing ones mind and gaining control over its waves. By focus, we are able to calm the thoughts which are like waves and create a serene lake within the mind. If you practice it enough and are able to calm the mind then the lake becomes like a mirror, thus reflecting the true reality. It may not be easy to reach a point where the mind is perfectly clear, but it is easy to simply meditate.

Each and every thought that you have is like a quick little mediation. All of the images and words that you think. Each and every one of them is a brief focus of thought. Sometimes you have longer thoughts, like when you are having a conversation with someone, or when you are thinking a lot about a particular thing. For most people this happens without much control on their part. If there is something that affects them they jump to a thought. There are others who can control their thoughts and guide them more easily to their will. By practicing mediation you are able to control all of your thoughts and use them, focus them.

Normally the mind will bounce from thought to thought, going a hundred miles an hour! It will jump from one thought to the next rapidly and this can cause confusion. If the mind is running quickly it cannot be used properly. In order to think clearly the mind must be able to maintain focus on a particular thing. The longer the mind can focus, the stronger the mind becomes. It is like a muscle; the more you work the muscle the stronger it becomes. The same is true for the mind; the more you work on concentration the longer you can concentrate.

Many people think that mediation is about obtaining the absence of thoughts. I’ve known many people who tell me it is hard to meditate because they cannot stop thinking about thinking. The answer to this problem is that they are trying to go too far to quickly. The main goal of meditation should not be the absence of thoughts. The main goal of meditation should be to focus one’s mind on a single thought for as long as possible. It is often helpful to utilize an object like a rose or a lotus.

At first it may be difficult to concentrate the mind for more than a split second. You will start to think about things other than what you are trying to focus on. That is your mind trying to gain control back. As soon as you try to control it, it will start to fight you a little. The more you pull it in one direction, the more it will struggle. Finally, the mind will grow weary of this game and give in. If the mind gives you thoughts let it do so. Instead of fighting them, let them come. After a few moments, bring your focus back to your chosen object. It’s like a game you are playing.

As you practice meditation, you will notice that very quickly you will be able to focus for longer and longer periods of time. This may happen faster than you would initially think. If you get tired of your chosen object our thought, change it. This way your mind will not grow tired and will not struggle so much. It is up to you what you want to meditate on. It makes no difference. The main goal is focus. Through focus your mind will become sharp like a sword. It will easily be able to discern between right and wrong. Between the real and unreal.