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All those who wanted an exhaustive meditation instructable, here it is.
Enjoy.
pic of ramana maharshi from www.awarenessplus.com/ramana

Step 1: What Is Meditation- Historical Aspects

What is meditation
Historical
As much has people feel this is something Indian or Chinese, it is something all of humanity has been
doing since evolution. Indian culture was taught to the natives of my subcontinent by 7 sages
who apparently came down from heaven to help the suffering(this is a folktale).
In addition to teaching cooking, and basic living skills, they taught about God and made that the focus of human life.
Without a goal of this nature a person's perspective is easily fixed on their wants. This translates into people hurting each other to get what they want(whether they need it or not).
So in essence the sages taught them how to fish rather than give them fish, and also told them what to do with every aspect of it(including the waste).
This sounds like a digression, and it isn't.
If you can digest this instructable you'll see.

Anyway, India has always been a factory for saints(some real some fake)
And in its history there was a monk who travelled to China to uplift humanity.
He is known as one of the first bodhisatvas, and he taught the chinese meditation.
What he taught(meditation) was called dhyana(sanskrit for meditation), this was called chyan by the chinese.
He then travelled to Japan and did the same, where dhyana(chyan) was called Jen, which became Zen.
While the name used changes the concept never changed, nor the experience.

Meditation now-a-days goes hand in hand with Yoga.
The word yoga means to 'yoke' the mind.
Yoke(connect) it to what? Its real nature.
One of the best known texts on Yoga is Patanjali's Yoga sutras.
Yoga gives one adjuvants to meditation, that help people experience that 'state of being' easier .more frequently, and more deeply(I will detail all of this)

Step 2: What Is It?

It is our natural state of being. If you consider one thing most important to people, it would be sleep.
During deep sleep people are relaxed, so much so that the body and mind are at peace.
Food,fun, procreative sport etc. while important in their own ways just help people get to this peace.
It can be seen that people who are sleep deprived develop many problems including mental ones.

What is our natural state. It is one of deep peace, and complete awareness at the same time.
Sleep is divided into 4 stages(by alopathic medicine). Stages 3 and 4 are the deepest, and the time that people are really reaping the benefits of sleep. Stage 2 has dreams, and 1 is the stage of preparing to get to sleep(lying down relaxing etc.)

The real twist on all of this comes when I say this.
Mediation is a state of being(not a state of mind, this is different) most comparable to Stage 4 of sleep(complete mental peace, resulting in full relaxation of the body).
Initially people learn to get into that state by sitting still eyes closed etc., as you advance it is possible to do all activity from that depth.
Imagine how much smoother life would be if you could always think clearly(not get tangled up in unwanted emotions), be focused and efficient but not be arrogant. To be able to respond to your loved ones and everyone around in a way they can benefit from and improve, not only creating a sense of harmony but also efficiency(they would feel your advice was tuned just to them, in such a way they would want to improve).
The above detailed only comes after years of practice, so if this sounds worthwhile the time to start is now.
pics from www.sleephealth.com.au

Step 3: The Basics

Having read all this you may be wondering what the value in religion is(seeing how people use it to hurt others).
Religion is the primer for entering meditation.
This may sound discouraging and contradictory but it is true.
Christianity has so many beautiful values, which when practiced correctly will take one to meditation.
The same for Islam, and any other religion.

If you consider any holy book they all describe God as that which has no gender, beyond all limitations.
The Bible's key line is when God tells Moses, 'I am that I am'.
That really sounds weird, but it is accurate.
The statement - I am – gives God an identity/statement of existence(that God does exist).
The next -that I am- is profound, in that it says what God is.
There is no characteristics detailed so one needs to understand that God is all(not only the good, but that which we see as bad, God is all).

The same truth is in the Quaran, the Bhagavad Gita, and most all holy books whose religion has stood the test of time.
You see these practices couldn't survive if they weren't connected to that principal.

Some might be annoyed that I have said God is not only good but evil ,and I hope to amend that next.
If God was only good, then he wouldn't allow bad things to happen (especially to good people).
But bad things happen, then we need an explanation(rather our mind does), so the Devil is invented.
The devil is a concept of most religions except Hinduism.
God apparently has no control over the devil, so people pray for protection from him/her.
Good and bad is a matter of perspective.
Getting burnt on fire is painful, but if a child does so they learn from the pain.
Amazingly some of us do wrong but never quite learn.

If you remember Newton's third law 'Each and every action has an equal and opposite reaction'.
Also remember the Law of conservation of energy 'Energy is neither created nor destroyed' it may change forms but it always is in existence(does this sound a bit like what I said about God)
That taken into consideration here's an example
a serial murderer kills 100 people. Somehow he realizes he was wrong and when in court admits to his crime. He is imprisoned, and undergoes various forms of abuse there, then gets the lethal injection.
What happens to such a person. They really haven't atoned for their crimes, rather they got out the easy way.
Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it just changes forms.
Every human body is powered by a soul.
When the soul leaves, the body dies.
But the potential energy accumulated by the soul still remains.
This forces it to re-enter the world, be it as an ant, worm, dog , elephant etc.
Having 'burnt off' enough of the dross(in those previous births ), the soul is 'light' enough to put into practice the lessons it learned and returns as a human.
Here is where it gets tricky.
No matter how good a person is, throughout their life they are creating this potential energy(called Karma in Hinduism).
There is good and bad karma, but neither of them help us help us have lasting deep peace(meditation).
The only thing they do is put qualifiers on our life, and its direction.
Back to our murderer.
He is reborn in a position where he can 'burn off' the remainder of his bad karma.
This is unfortunately by being put to pain.
Pain varies with individuals.
For some who are deeply caring it could be losing a relation.
For those who seek security through money and possession, they may be given it in abundance then when they are just getting used to it have it all taken from them(lawsuit,divorce,longterm medical illness).
So what prevents him from doing more wrong things to others now that he is reborn as a mother
whose only and dear son is a serial rapist?
We do know when we are right and wrong.
At some point we realize what we are doing, and will regret our wrong actions.
From there we need to make an effort to not repeat them.
This results in introspection, and we see just how easy it is to slip into the same vice.
Then as we go deeper we realize that our mind is the problem.
Due to its hyper-activity it leads to misdirected actions which can make problems that make us slip.
So controlling the mind is key, and this is what meditation is all about.

Step 4: Schools of Thought

Meditation comes to all despite whether they are intellectual or emotional types of people.
How we get there is based on that.
The intellectual will get a taste of this peace, then slowly start trying to find it again, through experiences in this world. They will realize it is 'not this, nor that', and by elimination realize they need to quite their mind and not let it be outgoing(by judging the longterm effects of their actions)
The emotional person realizes they have the same obstacles, but doesn't try to avoid their bad habits.
Rather they make their habits offerings to the God of their heart.
Both paths lead the mind to stillness, and in that quite the individual feels peace.
I've described what happens from there.

So be it Gospel singing, or wearing a robe and being a monk there is no wrong way.
In sanskrit this is called the paths of Jnana(intellect/correct judgement) and Bhakti(devotion)
You can be of any religion to get this.

Back to our murder
He is undergoing is karma, and is in horrible pain. As mother, she can now run around and fight with everyone for no reason because of the pain, or try to find out how to deal with it on her own.
Mediation helps us stay calm so that we don't hurt others and make more karma.

If you detach from this article a bit you'll see this whole karma thing is like a never-ending cycle. Good or bad you will make some karma, and have to burn it off.

So this is where Salvation/Moksha/Nirvana/final peace, comes in.
At some point, after doing meditation we realize we aren't the mind which seeks all this stuff.
Rather we are the peace, from which the mind originates. The longer we stay in that peace the less karma we make, and hence when we burn off more than we make.
When all of a person's karma is gone – presto – salvation.
No more re-birth.
What next. Live in peace, make the world a better place just by being yourself.
pic from www.dl.ket.org/.../paint/auth/piero/saints2.jpg

Step 5: Technique (at Last!!)



What you need- yourself something comfortable to sit on and some free time
What you don't need- incense sticks, tranquilty waterfalls, etc

How to do it
Meditation is all about controlling you mind rather than being controlled by it.
It is difficult to directly approach the mind and tame it, so we start by approaching the nearest manifestation of it- breath.
It can be seen that when we have tremendous concentration we are not breathing as regularly, and when upset breath shallow and rapid.

How to do this.
Begin by becoming aware of your breath.
With each inhalation pay attention to the air entering you right nostril(air will enter both,but focus on the column of air in the right side)
Exhale and pay attention to the column leaving your left nostril.
Inhale and pay attention to air entering the left nostril
Exhale and pay attention to air exiting the right nostril.
Then breath deep and feel the air in both sides rise up to the tip of your nose(like an inverted V ),
and push it all out(feeling both sides).
This is one cycle, you can do up to 100 in a day.

It is a simple game to keep the mind busy(if you loose track on count restart), and off the things it can't change with worry(realistically everything).
As you get better at this you'll be able to identify a space between your thoughts. As that awareness deepens you'll feel a peace when it arises. And soon you should be able to identify yourself as that peace rather than your mind.

Yes it is that simple.
As you get into it, you'll see just how hard it is to just that and not more(leg shaking, looking around, scratch yourself,listen-in on conversations, think about people that bug you).
Perseverance is the key here, nothing else.

I had problems staying awake, so I stopped using things to keep me comfortable.

You may not appreciate the results but those around you will.
It took me 2 yrs of continuous practice to be able to appreciate myself as different from my mind.
From there it I learned to appreciate the peace that is meditation.
Now I have trouble staying awake.
All in all it is fun because I'm working towards something worthwhile.
pic from www.gelisy.com/

Step 6: Effects, and Other Theory

Explanation of effects
As you get better at it, people around will notice the difference.
Medical studies do show asthma, high blood pressure, stress(obviously) getting better.
I'm conducting a study of my own at present.

There are so many advantages I'm not going to bother.
You try this, and see what you get.

More theory
If all the above wasn't enough here is some more.

Chakras-We all know that we have a nervous system which controls our muscles and is a feed us sensations. What western medicine ignores is the pathways for emotional energy.
Ganglions(nerve bundles) in western medicine, have their equivalent in the emotional/psychic nervous system called chakras. Basically they are pools of energy located along the spinal column.
When they are in balance we are at peace, and mediation helps do so.
Artistic talents flourish, intellectual function improves, and some people get visions(I frankly never want to have one[I'd probably walk into a truck and die if I was seeing flashing lights and holy symbols]).

Atman- So I said God is beyond differences, and by meditation we become something akin to it.
Meditators are nor Gods. God isn't identified with mind. It is the creator nor is it the creator(remember God is beyond differences). It is a toy God can make to interact in this world, but just the same drop too. So what makes us different is that we are still identified with mind.
Do we become God when we get salvation? No, there can only be one(yet none)! The human soul (Atman in sanskrit) merges with Parabrahman(God). The outward individuality is maintained, but inside is a powerhouse of tranquility.
pic from charleshamel.com/wordpress/

Step 7: Effects/benefits, and Other Theory

Explanation of effects
As you get better at it, people around will notice the difference.
Medical studies do show asthma, high blood pressure, stress(obviously) getting better.
I'm conducting a study of my own at present.

There are so many advantages I'm not going to bother.
You try this, and see what you get.

More theory
If all the above wasn't enough here is some more.

Chakras-We all know that we have a nervous system which controls our muscles and is a feed us sensations. What western medicine ignores is the pathways for emotional energy.
Ganglions(nerve bundles) in western medicine, have their equivalent in the emotional/psychic nervous system called chakras. Basically they are pools of energy located along the spinal column.
When they are in balance we are at peace, and mediation helps do so.
Artistic talents flourish, intellectual function improves, and some people get visions(I frankly never want to have one, as I'd probably walk into a truck and die if I was seeing flashing lights and holy symbols).

Atman- So I said God is beyond differences, and by meditation we become something akin to it.
Meditators are nor Gods. God isn't identified with mind. It is the creator nor is it the creator(remember God is beyond differences). It is a toy God can make to interact in this world, but just the same drop too. So what makes us different is that we are still identified with mind.
Do we become God when we get salvation? No, there can only be one(yet none)! The human soul (Atman in sanskrit) merges with Parabrahman(God). The outward individuality is maintained, but inside is a powerhouse of tranquility.

Step 8: Extras

Extras-
Bandhas-positions you can sit in that help direct energy flow. Its better to just learn to feel the peace, and then do these under instruction from a master.

Mudras- ways to position you fingers and hands during meditation. The effects are the same as above,
and the advice is the same

Props- an easier meditation that has a prop is using an oil lamp. Sitting in a dark room, with an oil lamp at eye level(neck and back straight) stare at it without blinking. Let your eyes tear its okay(don't tape them open though, maintain open eyes with your alertness). In med school I used a variant of this
by focusing on a black circle for 10 minutes a day.
Otherwise its best to avoid using props, as the mind begins to see them as a crutch. Later it is hard to feel the peace without them(so its better to be free early on).

pic from www2.gol.com

Step 9: Adjuvants

Adjuvants-
Satguru. 'Guru' in sankrit is a juxtaposition of gu(darkness) and ru(destroyer/remover).
Guru roughly becomes teacher.
While anyone that teaches us(including our worst enemies) is our guru, there can only be one Satguru(supreme guru) for us.
This is usually a long search, mistakes will be made and there will be a lot of testing from both parties.
As a real Satguru(someone who has proved themselves,not just called themselves that) is established in that peace, and is effectively one step away from Parabrahman. Doing any practice they prescribe is beneficial in getting to that goal. If they teach a meditation then it will bear fruits more rapidly than just doing the simple one in this instructable.

Yoga. I will not detail this as it is a digression. Parts of what I say would irritate those of your liberal western society. And more importantly I'm not a master of this.

Various teachers- My guru is Mata Amritanandamayi. Look at Amma.org to find our about her.
She has a patented meditation technique that I teach and practice.

Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev- look up his name or Isha yoga

I'm not detailing anymore than these two.

Who is right for you us up to you. Keep in mind this is a person whose advice you should obey to the tooth. Surrender like that is difficult until you realize the guru is more than just another person.


Credits/Sources
I take no credit whatsoever.
Having read scriptures, and having a guru I'm able to write this.
And of course all the cited web sites
Good luck.

pic from amritapuri.org (of my guru Amma)
<p>find similar article at here</p>
The guy in the first picture is sexy... ;p
become a pro at meditation, and people will find you irresistable(of course you'll have to read and digest this instructable for this to make sense)
he looks photoshopped.
<p>he is not, u may check about him. BSK Iyengar</p><p><a href="http://www.bksiyengar.com/" rel="nofollow"><strong>B K S</strong> <strong>Iyengar</strong> - Home</a></p>
thank you for putting this together! i actually feel like i learned how to make my way toward inner peace instead of "visualizing a ball of energy" or "how to listen to music in an arm chair" :p hahaha
Thank you very much! I am just discovering this world of mediating and lucid dreaming and am really interested in it. Very nice Instructable, but aren't Steps 6 and 7 the same?
someone that i know who is very smart, said to me that Meditation is bad, because it makes your mind open, not only to good things though. negative energies can be absorbed through meditation, and that is bad.
Ideally, sitting meditation is not about soaking up this or that energy. The experience of good or bad is just not very relevant - you just sit and get used to being with your mind. Nothing fancy. In Buddhism this is sometimes referred to as 'playfully imitating the Buddha' - you just sit, you and your breath, and you notice the comings and goings of thoughts and emotions. As you do, the mind will calm down a little. A little more each time, and you begin to see that there's more to the mind than thoughts. Just as there's more to the sky than clouds. After meditation, you get up, and things make a little more sense, somehow, or not, but you know your mind a little better. You don't have to be smart to do it (i'm not). You don't have to be a certain religion. You don't have to be old. You just need to be able to sit, and interested in sweeping out the clutter in the attic, to see what the room is like - or to see that it isn't a room. No, it's not bad, not unless truth is bad.
ive come to realise that what i have been told my entire life is pretty sensless. ive always been kept away from meditation, and anthing to do with the occult. ive always been told it was bad, and evil. so i did my own research instead of listening to the people around me who had biased opinions. I have found that all of the pagan things (which include meditation) make alot more sense than the christian religion that i was being taught.
Delightful! Glad to see you working it out for yourself. As a (mostly) buddhist, i was initially impressed by the Buddha's teaching attitude of 'Don't just trust me -go try it out for yourself and see if it works.'. I found that a big improvement over the sort of christianity i was raised with, in which the prevailing attitude was ' The Book is true, because the Book (or God) says the Book is true (and furthermore don't ask so many questions).'. However, don't be too hard on the Christians - there are lots of them, they generally mean well, and there are those among them who CAN - believe it or not - spot a metaphor in a book without being whomped on the hide of the head with it, and who actually can hear the word 'myth' used in describing some of those writings - without screaming. Regrettably this is not universal. Cheers, Z
i know plenty of christians who dont take the bible word for word, and who arent all you will go to hell becasue you dont believe, :P but ive found that christianity in general is kind of, well, full of hypocrisy. And, during my 3 or 4 years of research, i have found that almost all christian practices are basically directly related to pagan practices that were around for thousands of years previous to christianity.<br/><br/>i go to a catholic school and when i told them i prefer the pagan beliefs over the catholic ones, there were alot that freaked out on me, and said that i was gonna kill my babies because im evil. Even my teacher failed to see that i am open to other religions, and i prove it by my going to a catholic school to check out their religion. i dont quite like it but i like the people there for the most part =P<br/><br/>And i love that buddha quote, it is genius ! And true, why take someones word for something, get your own experience. that is an awesome philosophy.<br/>
Keep it up - the world needs as many open-minded, intelligent, kind people as is possible, and it seems that you are working at being one of those. That is the best any of us can ever do. These words of encouragement are from one who stumbles a lot, mostly metaphorically. Peace. P.S. Regarding your listed 'interest'... fascinating subject... please remember - "Always keep your hands attached to the ends of your arms, with all fingers accounted for." 8-)
Thank you for the synopsis. Keep up the good work.
Excellent guide! For a self taught psychonaught this really brings some loose ends into a more focused laser beam of understanding. Thank-you for the time you have put into assembling this!!!
Happily. The joy in having is in sharing, not hoarding or excluding.
the black circle does help, i read i a book that a solid black circle and the buzzing noise of a radio station(no signal) helps you access ur subconcious
I wasn't entirely finished reading this as i posted this comment but what you said about god not being good because of suffering disturbed me so I figured this might explanation might help. Without suffering there cannot be evil (evil being sin which is disobeying god), without evil how can you choose love and to love god. If he created us without suffering we would all be robots who would love the lord without really truly loving him because their would be no choice you see.
what does " – " mean?

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