File Name: meditation and its practice .zip
The popularity of meditation , particularly mindfulness meditation, has exploded in recent years.
By Swami Adiswarananda. The complete sourcebook for exploring Hinduism's two most time-honored traditions of meditation. Meditation is a subject of universal interest, practiced by seekers of all traditions on the quest for serenity, peace, and blessedness.
Among the many traditions of meditation in Hinduism, Yoga and Vedanta have passed the test of time, proving as vital today as they were throughout the ages in helping seekers overcome the maladies of life and attain the greatest spiritual fulfillment. Defining key concepts in clear terms, this complete guidebook covers every aspect of this ancient spiritual practice, including:.
Drawing on both classic and contemporary sources, this comprehensive sourcebook outlines the scientific, psychological, and spiritual elements of Yoga and Vedanta meditation, the results of which lead not to the seeker's dreams and visions but to the transformation of his or her character.
Meditation is a subject of universal interest. It is practiced by spiritual seekers of all traditions, in some form or another, for serenity, peace, and blessedness.
The time-honored teachings of meditation, as embodied in the systems of Yoga and Vedanta, serve as a source of inspiration to seekers all over the world. Among the many traditions of meditation in Hinduism, the traditions of Yoga and Vedanta are generally regarded as the two mainstream teachings.
While both Yoga and Vedanta strive for the same goal, the two systems differ in their approach to that goal. The present book is a study of the subject of meditation and its practices following the methods and teachings of these two systems.
There are four universal principles of Yoga and Vedanta: divinity of the individual soul, unity of existence, oneness of the Ultimate Reality, and harmony of religions.
Divinity of the soul is the unshakable spiritual basis of freedom and self-fulfillment. The unity of existence is the foundation of all ethical virtues. But Yoga and Vedanta remind us that the true self of a person is the self of all beings. While the Ultimate Reality is one, the names, forms, and symbols describing It are various. They are frail attempts of the human mind to name the nameless and to attribute form to that which is formless. Oneness of the Ultimate Reality teaches us to remain loyal to our own ideal, but to show positive respect to the ideals of others.
All religions are fundamentally the same. Unity in diversity is the law of life and so it is in matters of religion. Different seekers following different paths are all trying to reach the same goal. The methods of meditation in Yoga and Vedanta do not cater to emotionalism or any form of sentimentalism.
They are precise, scientific, and psychological. Following these methods of meditation, many have attained direct perception of truth and the fulfillment of life. These traditions, methods, and teachings of Yoga and Vedanta have passed the test of time, and they are as alive today as they were in the past. In support of the presentations in the book, extensive citations have been made from orthodox texts. Teachings on the subject of meditation that remain scattered over many texts have been brought together in this volume for the convenience of spiritual seekers.
The explanations given with the texts are based on the orthodox interpretations of Yoga and Vedanta. The book is the result of painstaking research of several years. Many have worked hard to make this publication possible. I will feel greatly rewarded if the book is of help to spiritual seekers in the practice of meditation. Life in this world is not what it appears to be. It is plagued by pairs of opposites, such as pain and pleasure, birth and death, and hope and disappointment.
It is subject to six changes: birth, subsistence, growth, maturity, decline, and death. Dangers and difficulties pursue us everywhere. Uncertainties at every step of life create anxiety, fear, and hopelessness.
As we grow older our optimism turns into pessimism. Youthful dreams of happiness and fulfillment rarely come true. It is said that a human individual is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed. Asked by a king about the meaning of life, a sage once replied, A man is born, he suffers, and he dies. More than twenty-five hundred years ago Buddha said that if all the tears that had flowed from human eyes since the beginning of creation were gathered together, they would exceed the waters of the ocean.
Responses to the problem of suffering have been various. Believers in a millennium live with the hope that someday a prophet or an Incarnation of God will be born and usher in a golden age of peace and happiness.
There are others who try to cope with the problems of life. Dangers and difficulties, uncertainties and changes, they say, are inevitable and nothing can be done about them; and so we must learn to live with them. Transcendentalists try to withdraw from life and seek solace and serenity on the spiritual plane. So-called pragmatists maintain that this life is the only life we have, and so we must enjoy it to the full. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Progressivists believe that through the advancement of science and technology someday all evils and ills will be eliminated, and then there will be only good.
Hardened materialists choose to fight the ills of life solely by material means. People of faith consider life inherently corrupt and sinful and are of the opinion that any attempt to improve it is futile. They bear with life and practice virtues, hoping for compensation hereafter. But none of the above solutions really helps us to face and overcome the problems of life.
The hopes of the believers in a golden age end in disappointment. The golden age never comes. Coping with the problems of life is easier said than done. There is a limit to coping, and beyond that limit life becomes unbearable. The transcendentalists want to escape the problems of life by withdrawing into silence and solitude. But we must not forget that the world follows us wherever we go. The so-called pragmatists also become disappointed because enjoyments only temporarily excite the senses, and such excitement is followed by sorrow.
Progressivists believe in progress toward good and hope to eliminate evil altogether. But as we make progress toward good, evil also increases in the same proportion; we cannot increase the one without increasing the other.
The efforts of the materialists to overcome the problems of life through material means are never successful. All the ills of life are not physical. Material solutions are useless against old age, fear, anxiety, and death.
For the people of faith, the rewards of the hereafter, whatever they may be, cannot take away the suffering of life here on earth. There can be no heavenly solutions to our earthly problems. Yoga and Vedanta ask us to face the problems of life through Knowledge of Reality. The ills of life are not created by God, or by the stars, or by luck, but by our own inability to live in the light of Reality. Good and evil move together; one cannot be separated from the other.
There is no absolute definition of good or evil. What is good for one person may be bad for another. The world we live in is in our own mind.
The Vedic seers tell us that the causes of suffering are five, and they are: ignorance that makes us out of touch with Ultimate Reality; ego that creates the world of dreams and desires; attachment to things and beings of that dream world; aversion toward things and beings we do not like; and clinging to life and not moving forward. Reality, according to these seers, has two faces: Ultimate or Absolute Reality that is real for all time and is unchanging, and relative reality that is real for two years, two hundred years, or two thousand years.
Relative reality, when separated from the Absolute, becomes destructive, and the relative world becomes fraught with pain, sorrow, and suffering. The Absolute Reality is the reality of one all-pervading Self dwelling as the inmost Self of all beings, as the witness consciousness of the changing phenomena of life.
The universe is the dynamic manifestation of the Absolute Reality within the bounds of time, space, and causation. All existence is one. Each individual is like a leaf on a tree. Leaves come and go, but the tree continues to exist. This Absolute Reality is our true identity, the Consciousness of all consciousness, the Truth of all truths. Forgetfulness of this Reality creates spiritual blindness and eventually spiritual bankruptcy, the root cause of all the sufferings and maladies of life.
Physical and mental sufferings are only the symptoms of this deep-rooted spiritual malady. The only way to overcome the maladies of life is to establish contact with the Ultimate Reality, and the only way to make contact with It is through meditation.
Meditation leads to direct perception of the Ultimate. Vedanta maintains that direct perception of the Ultimate Reality is the soul of spiritual quest.
This perception is more than unquestioning faith, intellectual understanding, or emotional thrill. Unquestioning faith lacks the support of either reason or experience, and so cannot silence doubt. Intellectual understanding based solely on reason cannot withstand the stresses of unpredictable circumstances.
Emotion supplies the spiritual seeker with feeling or passion but can make him wander into dark alleys or up dead ends. To protect the seeker from possible self-deception, Vedanta lays down three criteria of Truth: testimony of scripture that serves as a working hypothesis; positive reasoning that seeks to separate the truly essential from the nonessential; and personal experience.
In order to free the mind from the pitfalls of unquestioning faith, rationalization, and emotionalism, rigorous disciplines of self-mastery are prescribed so that the seeker may be well grounded in his sincerity of purpose, commitment to the goal, and absolute detachment from blind loyalty to his pet concepts, fanciful ideas, and various mental fixations. Direct perception is called darshana, meaning to see. Both reason and faith play vital roles in this regard. One is incomplete without the other.
The ultimate realization of Truth may be intuitive, but the validity of such realization must be judged by reason. Faith insists on acceptance; reason asks for scrutiny.
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Mindfulness is the practice of purposely bringing one's attention in the present moment without judgment,   [note 1]   a skill one develops through meditation or other training. Davidson ,    and Sam Harris. Clinical psychology and psychiatry since the s have developed a number of therapeutic applications based on mindfulness for helping people experiencing a variety of psychological conditions. Clinical studies have documented both physical- and mental-health benefits of mindfulness in different patient categories as well as in healthy adults and children. There is also evidence that suggests engaging in mindfulness meditation may influence physical health. For example, the psychological habit of repeatedly dwelling on stressful thoughts appears to intensify the physiological effects of the stressor as a result of the continual activation of the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis with the potential to lead to physical health related clinical manifestations. However, critics have questioned both the commercialization and the over- marketing of mindfulness for health benefits—as well as emphasizing the need for more randomized controlled studies, for more methodological details in reported studies and for the use of larger sample-sizes.
12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
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Meditation and its practice
Lawrence Edwards; Biofeedback, Meditation, and Mindfulness. Biofeedback 1 August ; 39 2 : 67— Biofeedback has its beginnings in research conducted on yogis and Zen masters decades ago. Research shows the pervasive positive impact that meditative and mindfulness practices have on individuals. Mindfulness-based practices have been taken out of their broader contexts—extracted from deeper systems of yogic and Buddhist disciplines.