I became interested in meditation a few months ago. For as long as I remember I was very skeptical about it. I didn’t think it worked for anything. But some time ago I decided to give it a try and see what happens. In large part I made that decision because almost every book on the psychology of well-being that I’ve read for class or on my own recommended it (for example Happiness Hypothesis by Heidt or The How of Happiness by Lyubomirsky). Also a surprising number of scientific articles (in psychology) stressed meditation’s positive influences as well. Turns out it does work. At least for me. I find it helps to reduce my stress level not only during or right after the meditation but for the whole day and longer. If you do it every day as usually advised then you’ll notice that your stress threshold is much higher, meaning something really big has to happen to throw you off balance. Also I found that the time right after the mediation is when I am very creative and productive. I tend to resolve issues that were on my mind for a while, I find solutions to problems I had, I make up my mind on subjects I couldn’t decide on for a long time. It really “clears my mind”. As much as tired that expression is it really is the best way to put it. It’s sort of a restart for your “stream of consciousness”. Anyway, I could never find any manual or instruction that was suitable for a beginner like myself. I was looking for something simple and easy. The best I found is the chapter from the book on creative imagination by Roy Eugene Davis. Read it below and see if you like it. It has other ideas from the book intertwined with the meditation aspect but is very concise and useful nevertheless. Also if you can find a meditation group that you can join I would recommend it. I found it very difficult in the beginning to sit still with my eyes closed for more than a couple of minutes at a time. Being in a group helps you concentrate and overcome that initial hurdle. Once you gain confidence you can start on your own.
“Resting at the Seat of Power
The seat of power, creativity and intelligence is pure consciousness. Out of the pure consciousness everything else emerges. Therefore, consciousness is the cause and the support of external manifestation. If a person can learn to consciously rest at the seat of power, creativity and intelligence he can then move onto the field of action with understanding and virtually unlimited potential. The process by which one does this is known as meditation.
When I speak of meditation I do not even suggest, or imply, a mysterious or complicated process. The practice of the methods explained here will not in any way interfere with one’s religious beliefs or philosophical views. We are concerned only with bringing ourselves to the true source within, from which everything else is extended into expression.
During our practice of meditation, which takes but a few minutes a day, we are not actively concerned with projects, goals, personal improvement or any dramatic happening. After we learn to meditate we will find that projects are more easily completed, goals are more easily reached, personal improvement is noted, and some unusual and welcome happenings occur; not during meditation, but afterward as a result of our increased awareness and improved ability to function.
Meditation, when properly practiced, is not subconscious conditioning. It differs from the active process of creative imagination. If one desires to use the technique of creative imagination it should be used after meditation, because then the mind will be clear and powers of concentration greater.
Here is how to practice for greatest benefits. Twice a day make an appointment with yourself and retire to a quite place where you will not be disturbed. This can only be any room at home, an unused office at your place of business, or wherever you decide. Just sit upright in a relaxed posture, with hands on your thighs. Close your eyes and become aware of the internal workings of your body. Withdraw attention from feet, legs, hands and arms; bring the attention and feeling back to spinal column. Do not use suggestion or effort. Just turn within easily and naturally. Withdraw your attention from the senses so you are no longer aware of your immediate environment. It does not matter if you continue to hear noises at a distance, as long as the greater part of your attention is centered within. Then, lift the attention and feeling up through the spinal passageway to the midbrain. Do not visualize or use great effort. Flow the attention inwards. Listen, look, be aware. If you hear a sound, perhaps a high pitched sound, put your attention on it. Do not analyze, picture, or strain. Just flow to the look and be aware. Rest in this relaxed, aware condition for several minutes. Do not force it.
With practice you will be able to enter into a serene, clear state of awareness. You will transcend thought, mental images and feelings. Yet, you will be conscious and at peace withing yourself. This is not a trance condition, for you will be clear and in full possession of your innate abilities. Do not make the mistake, while meditating, of trying to “see things” or receive solutions to problems. Meditation is for the purpose of helping us rest at the seat of power, creativity and intelligence.
After meditation, when we begin to flow our attention outward through the senses, we can retain the clear awareness and function from a more objective and capable point of view. Come out of meditation easily and feel high-frequency energies flowing down from the brain, through the nervous system, into the body. Feel that all systems: circulatory; lymphatic; and glandular, are functioning perfectly. Just assume this to be so. Feel at peace and in harmony with your environment.
Now, if you feel inclined, this is the time to use creative imagination for the positive purposes already decided upon. Many find that it is not required at this time, because they are so aware, and so intuitive and spontaneous, they just seem to do the right things at the right time and all relationships are in perfect harmony. Goal setting, problem solving ans decision making are best gone into at his time, just after meditation. One of the reasons for this is that we are then mentally and emotionally unburdened and can make more rational decisions.
There are other benefits to derived from regular and proper meditation practice. Tension is one of the major enemies of people in an industrial society. Meditation allows deep relaxation and removes tension. The result is better function on the mental, emotional and physical levels and even a clearing away of some psychosomatic illnesses. Through self-understanding, as a result of meditation, we become more honest with ourselves and more realistic in our relationships. We tend to think in terms of essentials and we use tiem and energy more wisely.
Meditators commonly report an increase in their powers of concentration, better memory, more energy and a more optimistic outlook on life. Also, because of greater self-sufficiency mediators do not rely as much on drugs, alcohol, overeating, or neurotic social games.
It is important to meditate on a regular basis. Ten of fifteen minutes twice a day is a useful pattern for the average person. This keeps a person anchored in pure consciousness and helps him retain a balanced outlook. Improved function, and performance, will be the indicators of success in meditation practice. Be alert, at times of great challenge, and avoid using meditation as an occasion to escape from responsibilities. Preoccupation with occult matters is a diversion from the personal responsibility of functioning in this world. Since we are concerned with learning how to function creatively, out or our true center which is consciousness, it is really a practical step to learn to meditate effectively.”
From “How you can use the technique of creative imagination to see your dreams come true” by Roy Eugene Davis.