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The Sublime Art of Meditation

June 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 157

Sometime in the course of my year-long encounter with the great man, I had been invited by The Bishop to visit with him, at his mansion, for a few days. The events of that day will forever remain imprinted on the tablets of my memory, as they marked my introduction to the art of meditation. He was to give me a practical demonstration in which I learnt the enormous utilitarian value inherent in the application of meditation, not only as a profound spiritual excursion, but also as a great stress-reducing tool.

After we'd exchanged pleasantries for a couple of minutes, he took me by the arm and led me through the doorway from which he had just emerged. We were in a lounge, and I could see a large bedroom through an open door, and a private study through another. Between the bedroom and the study was another door and the Bishop opened this to reveal a small room, about a quarter of the size of the bedroom. The only furniture in this room consisted of two small tables and a couple of accompanying chairs. On each table was a clean sheet of paper and a pen. The room was very cool and I could see two vents in the roof from which air-conditioned air came in soundlessly, presumably from a central unit. The walls were completely covered by some sort of leather padding interspersed at regularly intervals, both vertically and horizontally, by large buttons. The room had an arresting ambience, principally because everything in it, including the tables, chairs, walls, roof, and even the marble floor, were all of a brilliant and pristine white color. Seeing my look of appreciation, he murmured audibly, "White is the eternal color of purity, wouldn't you say?"

I nodded in agreement.

We sat down on the two chairs, adjacent to each other.

"This is my thinking room." The Bishop explained.

"A room of this nature ought to indispensable to any man who would aim for extraordinary feats, to which he can retire twice a day for contemplation and meditation. I retire here twice a day to gain access to my higher self, and to gain a fresh perspective on the issues of life. As you can see, the room is completely sound proof, and even the air-conditioned air comes in soundlessly from a central system. The paper and pen are kept in anticipation of sudden and unexpected inspiration, for inspiration can be very fleeting indeed."

The room was eerily quiet, and although the soundlessness could be aptly illustrated with the phrase 'as silent as a grave yard,' the silence here was more profound than that of a grave yard. He looked at me and asked, "Have you ever heard the sound of silence?"

What was the man talking about? How could silence have a sound which described its very own nature?

I nodded in the negative.

"Listen very carefully. You will soon hear it."

I sat very still, listening. Naturally, I could hear no sound. After a couple of minutes however, the realization hit me. The silence in which I found myself immersed was so profound, and so total, that the very experience of it was almost deafening, and certainly, almost frightening. I looked over at him and nodded in wise comprehension.

"That is the sound of silence," he said simply. "Many years ago, there lived a man called Pythagoras. He was a great mathematician. He authored, you might recall, the famous Pythagorean Theorem. He was, however, also a great philosopher. He once said, and I quote, 'learn to be silent. Let your quiet mind listen and absorb.' Indeed, silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves, as Carlyle, another great thinker said."

"Power lies at the heart of tranquility. Are you aware that at the center of the great typhoons of Asia lies a very calm core? Well, this is where the power of those winds really lie, and as surely as power lies at the center of a cyclone, so does power lie in that silent core of your being where your mind and soul meet Your Creator."

"Initially, the experience of silence can be quite unsettling. Your internal dialogue will tend towards even more turbulence, and you will feel an intense need to talk. However, as time passes, your inner dialogue will begin to shut down."

"Also, in our lives, silence and calm connote relative peace and stability, and anytime we go through turbulence, we usually crave a return to the crisis-free, tranquil times. Son, welcome to the rarefied world of meditation."

Meditation was a word I'd been familiar with for years. However, like most people, I had never fully comprehended its real meaning and essence.

"Sir, what does it really mean to meditate?"

"Meditation has been a spiritual practice known to man from time immemorial. It involves intense concentration on a word, prayer, or phrase, to the exclusion of all other thoughts. In a way, meditation is very much a cerebral process, because it is the art of thinking about not thinking. It allows the mind to experience more and more abstract levels of the thinking process, and ultimately, when you have mastered it, to transcend to another and more abstract level of awareness, what I choose to call spiritual consciousness. As a physician, you will appreciate my more mundane reference to the effects of meditation on one's physiology. Scientific studies have proven that the consistent practice of meditation has beneficial effects such as: blood pressure is lowered, basal metabolic rate goes down, and stress is alleviated. Meditation is also known to counteract states of extreme anxiety and other psychosomatic disorders, and because during meditation, there is increased brain wave coherence, there is a marked improvement in attention span, creativity, learning ability and memory function. Meditation is a spiritual discipline you will have to work on for the rest of your life, since it is not a flash-in-the- pan type of activity. Each time you meditate, you become a calmer person, since your internal dialogue and turbulence shuts down through your absolute focus on just a prayer, or inspirational phrase or word, and because of this calming effect, the effects of meditation last well into one's daily activity, and soon, after a few years, your activity tends to become saturated and influenced by the serenity, tranquility, graciousness and regality that you carry over from your sessions of meditation."

"Each person will have to determine what suits him best for a meditation, a practice which needn't necessarily be a complicated process, and whose insinuation into your daily spiritual routine ought to be equally simple. My own routine should serve as a guideline for you. I have found that the best times for me to practice quietness are those times when the rest of the world is still asleep, or about to go to sleep. Consistently, for the past twenty years, I have woken up at four a.m. to meditate for thirty minutes. I also meditate at thirty minutes before midnight, for half an hour, before retiring to bed, except of course, for those times when I am unavoidably compelled to effect an alteration in this schedule. Usually, during the day, I would have decided on the theme or subject, if you will, of my meditation. It might be a new teaching, or it might simply be a desire to consolidate on the inculcation of a new, wholesome habit. My first meditation for the day is at four a.m. when I awaken. I call this my meditation for manifestation, because it is in this meditation that I engage in the creative visualization of what I want manifested in my life."

I interrupted the great man.

"Sir, I can imagine how powerful such visualization will be in meditation, since, as you stated earlier, it is during meditation that the subconscious mind is at its most receptive to information."

The Bishop beamed at me, obviously quite pleased at my astute grasp of the subject. "That is a precise observation, and it becomes even more valid when you realize that subconscious activity, which is at its peak during meditation, is especially receptive to images and mental pictures."

"Put in other words, sir, the favorite language of the subconscious is the visual!" I interjected with enthusiasm.

"I couldn't put it more succinctly!" He replied gleefully.

"At eleven thirty p.m., I do another meditation. The day having ended, usually on an auspicious note, I focus mainly on expressing gratitude for all that has manifested during the day. I call it my meditation for gratitude.

"Of course, sometimes during the day, I escape to this room just to experience silence and to rejuvenate my soul. Also, anytime I have a major decision to make, I retire here, sometimes for hours on end, to empty my mind."

The Bishop and I now lapsed into a lengthy silence which lasted for about half an hour. For me, the tranquility was so profound that I fear I must confess with some shame that I fell blissfully asleep, and only came awake at the sound of a discreet cough from my mentor.

"Now, let us go into the practical aspects of meditation."

I adjusted myself to sit more comfortably, in imitation of him.

"Remember that meditation is simply the act of being quiet with yourself and shutting down the constant, mindless monologue that fills the inner space of your being."

His voice dropped almost to a whisper as he tutored me. "Sit comfortably, placing your hands on your thighs near your knees, with eyes closed. Take long, deep breaths and exhale. Become consciously aware of your rhythmic pattern of breathing and the filling of your lungs with air. As you exhale, consciously feel your muscles relax with each exhalation. Deep muscular relaxation is the prelude to relaxing your mind. As your muscles relax, you will continue to say your word or prayer so as to keep your mind from wandering. The mind is like an untamed animal, so you must continue to gently, but firmly bring it back to the present moment anytime it threatens to wander. Your basic nature abhors discipline of any type, and it is at this time that you'll remember that you have to take the car for repairs tomorrow, or you have to visit your troublesome mother - in-law. Don't let such distractions bother you too much. Anytime your mind wanders, gently, but firmly bring it back, repeating your prayer or phrase, over and over. With practice, you will soon become proficient at this elementary form of discipline. As your body becomes more and more relaxed, you will feel yourself sinking into a profound state of relaxation, both in body and in mind. You will start to experience an uncommon sense of bliss and peace. Blot out all conceptual thought and fix your mind on your prayer or phrase. When you are sufficiently relaxed, you may no longer need to repeat your prayer or phrase, and you can start praying, if you wish. If it's a meditation for manifestation, while saying your prayer, add the mental picture of what you want manifested in your life. If on the other hand, this was your manifestation for gratitude, you would simply be thankful for all that has manifested in your life. You would mentally picture all that you have received and express your gratitude over and over. Now, I shall stop speaking. We shall spend the next half-hour in a meditation for manifestation, and another half-hour in one for gratitude."

I joined the Bishop in what was to turn out one of the most deeply satisfying and soul- enriching exercises I'd ever undertaken in my entire life. I was to adopt this discipline with uncommon affinity and passion, and it remains with me to this day. It was during that day's session with The Bishop that a still, small voice instructed me to write a book titled The Sound of Silence. I was to follow through on this directive a few years later.

Readers are invited to look forward to the release of the Author's new book, " The Bishop's Testament," in which he talks in more detail about meditation and its benefits. Companies that are in the business of producing meditation-enhancing tools, especially binaural beats and other audio tools, are invited to advertise their products on his website. The Author is also available to write more materials on meditation. He can be contacted through his e-mail: stresseducentre@yahoo.com

Source: EzineArticles
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