More about the current state of meditation
The way to do is to be - Lao Tzu
The current state of meditation and spirituality is arriving at a turning point that could soon easily be a gigantic leap.
When meditation came to the west (some would say in the 60’s but it probably started with Swami Vivekananda at the turn of the 20th century at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago) it arrived with many westerners becoming faux-easterners in many respects. From setting up exclusive spiritual communities or ashrams to many joining cults and adopting master-disciple relationships that almost invariably lead to exploitation and corruption.
“Keep your heart clear
And you will
Never be bound.
A single disturbed thought
Creates ten thousand distractions.”
The old models prior-internet or even prior to printing and publishing, were of an intermediary between the seeker and God or the universe whether it be a priest or rabbi or spiritual master or whatever. The church up until a couple of hundred years ago made it illegal for churchgoers to even have a copy of the bible. It was seen as something so sacred that only the clergy should have access.
Most dissemination of information was oral, funnelled through the intermediary who was always a male and most always subject to his own power and for that matter, financial, agenda. As you know all of that has changed or is changing, but there are aspects that remain and the science of meditation continues to suffer.
Currently the most popular forms of meditation are Transcendental Meditation (TM) and Mindfulness Meditation (a form of Buddhism). Many people think of TM as being meditation, which shows how successful they have been in their marketing. Others see TM as a weird cult, with some very expensive courses, celebrity endorsement, exploitation of its members, a huge financial corporate infrastructure and one very limited style of meditation, known as mantra meditation (a mantra is a sound, word or phrase that one simply repeats over and over again).
“I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats.”
― Eckhart Tolle
This style of meditation is extremely effective in helping people to concentrate and so is particularly useful in the west where it is commonly recognised that we are the most stressed that have ever been with the shortest attention span.
Mindfulness meditation is a Buddhist style of meditation that emphasises a detached witnessing of thoughts before they become emotions that negatively affect the meditator. In Mindfulness Meditation we are intimately aware of every thought and emotion but we just witness and treat them with peace and equanimity.
This form of meditation is again extremely effective for bringing peace to the stressed western practitioner and so has been very successful even whilst being a very limited form of meditation. To say that TM or Mindfulness Meditation define what meditation is, would be akin to saying Jesus is defined by the Church. They are the most popular but represent a tiny, tiny portion of what real meditation is.
“To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.” ― Jiddu Krishnamurti
Beginning with styles of meditation there are at least 6 meditation techniques, that include visualisation, affirmations, music, breath, object based meditation, mantra, silent meditation and much more. But the real point is that meditation experiences are the ultimate experience in every human endeavour. So there are as many meditation styles really as there are human endeavours. The best music experience will be a meditation, the best walking will be a meditation, the best surfing, ballet, dancing will be a meditation.
That is to say meditation is very wide and very deep and cannot be defined by just a mantra or just mindfulness. It is the experience of real love, recognisable to most meditators as our most natural state, the state we centre ourselves in beyond the noise of the human body, mind and ego.
“Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness
without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.”
Open Source Meditation widens meditation’s present definition past the narrowness of the costly TM mantra or the peace-focussed mindfulness meditation, to a broader, more all encompassing kaleidescope of inspiration, creativity and spirituality. It recognises the meditation experience again and again in everything from walking along a beach to washing the dishes, from sitting at a red light to riding a wave.
It tells us simply that every time we deepen our awareness past the noise of the human body, mind and ego to the silent flood of love of our centre, we are meditating. This experience is at the heart of our creativity, the core of our intuitive wisdom, the effortless ‘zone’ of our ultimate physical effort and finally the return of our sense of ourselves to our connecting point of love with every other soul.
That is to say, real meditation is the skill of real love in all of its flavours and dimensions. When one is able to recognise the importance of love in our human experience, that it is the source of all happiness, of all connection with each other and every thing, that moments of love are the only time we actually feel as though we are living our lives as they should be and that we fit rather than in discord, than the skill of meditation becomes an absolute prerequisite.
“Yoga is the cessation of the movements of the mind. Then there is abiding
in the Seer's own form.”
― Pata˝jali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
There is no other art, no science, that explores as deeply the dimensions and essences of love as meditation. It is love and yet it is also the singular ability to investigate and experience its practise.
Whilst for many love is elusive, for the skilled meditation practitioner, love is home in every action and every thought.
"Meditation is such a more substantial reality than what we normally take to
- Richard Gere
For the meditator, every moment should be a meditation but not because we are repeating a mantra or being mindful necessarily, but rather because we are passionately and vibrantly loving in all of its forms.
To be more specific, the greatest scientific intuitive leaps have been moments of meditation, the elite athletic experience, the ecstatic musical moment, the effortless artistic beingness and the passion of all creative inspiration all find their home in meditation.
"All of man’s difficulties are caused by his inability to sit, quietly,
in a room by himself."
– Blaise Pascal
We hope you will explore this ancient science, this ageless art and discover for yourself how meditation is at the core of all human experience, and how it is not constrained by any present religion or corporation or other human agenda.