Article Summary:

What is meditation?

The Spirit Of Meditation

Meditation is like no other kind of study or practice. Meditation is not any set of ideas or activities. It is the exploration into what exists when there is no thought and no movement. Meditation is the practice of acknowledging the vastness within your own self. You can experience directly the source of your inner health and joy.

Normally we understand topics using the mind's thoughts and concepts. We build ideas and then compare these to other's to develop a view of the world. Self-knowledge usually refers to the collection of ideas we hold about ourselves. Any one set of ideas will inevitably be contrary to another set of ideas, and so go on endless discussions and even fights about which ideas are correct and best.

There is a vast amount of literature and philosophy regarding meditation; you could spend lifetimes analyzing and comparing the various paradigms and details. Thousands of schools of meditation exist all over the planet, including Zen, Hindu and Tibetan, each with countless lineages and teachers. For example, a thousand years ago, two religions in Tibet fought furiously for two hundred years over which of them was correct, until they finally realized they were both Buddhists!

Don't get me wrong, I do recommend reading as much as possible of as many schools as you can find! These ideas can help to clarify your thinking, but they also often confuse you as well. Study is needed, but more important is the direct experience gained by actually meditating. Also invaluable is a clear-headed meditation teacher who can guide you through your mind's conceptual mazes.

Information is not the same as the awareness that dawns in you in meditation. Meditation cannot be understood by study alone, since it is not a collection of ideas to learn. Meditation is the intentional practice of seeing beyond your mind's thought forms into the infinite and formless background space behind all your thoughts.

Start by stilling and strengthening your physical energy with exercises such as in Yoga and Tai Chi. Then, sit quietly and observe the natural activity in your mind as it is. Get to know your own thinking. Eventually, you can practice focusing your attention on one thought: A positive thought is usually preferable! With practice, over time, you will naturally begin to notice that behind this level of thinking in the mind there exists a dark and indescribable spaciousness. Your mind will try to label this with a concept as it always does with everything, but just continue to practice noticing whatever thoughts come along and then look past them again, into the space of no thought. Little by little, you will become more accustomed to this experience. It is not at all the same as sleep or dullness since you remain very alert and present, watching what and who exists. Your mind might resist this formlessness with endless chatter. Accept this as natural, and persevere!

Padma is one of Canada's best-known teachers of meditation and yoga. Padma writes and hosts a daily national tv series called Living Yoga with Padma. She has also produced two instructional dvds.

Padma studied meditation in the Himalayas of India for eight years. She mastered Sanskrit texts of philosophy and is authorized to teach meditation and yoga by the director of the International Meditation Institute of India.

Padma?s program perfectly unites ancient eastern wisdom with modern western living. In Canada, she has been educating yoga teachers, doctors and corporate clients in the subtle yogic arts of healing the body and clearing the mind.

Padma was director of the Padma Yoga and Meditation Center in Vancouver, B.C., and currently leads courses and workshops. Padma holds a B.Sc. in Biology from McGill University, Canada.

To each of her classes, Padma brings a rich wisdom of physical, intellectual and spiritual knowledge. She aims to awaken a freshness, freedom and health in all aspects of our lives.

For more information visit: Padma

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