Close your eyes and see nothing else but the darkness formed by your eyelids. Close our eyes and feel nothing but your breathing. Nothing exists but your breath and darkness. There is no sorrow, there is no today, there was never yesterday their will never be tomorrow. Nothing exists. No family, no debt, no money, no work, no worries, no responsibilities, no human beings. Just darkness and breathing.
Meditation is the intention of focusing on not having anything in your mind, clearing it completely and thinking of nothing;
“The state of nothingness”
Meditation is concentrating and focusing all you mind’s consciousness in doing one thing in order to distract you from another. “The meditation of sight” or “Visual meditation” for instance which is under “Focus meditation” is seeing and feeling nothing else other than what your eyes are exposed to or rather what your eyes are seeing.
“Everything is ‘Zen’”
Anything you do be it walking, working or driving with full concentration and having the intention of meditation; you are meditating. Thus there are numerous understanding and ways of how different people see and define what meditation is according to what it means to them leading to the creation of different types of meditation.
Your conscious mind takes in what it sees or feels and turn them into thoughts, they are spontaneous and many have not control over them. Using different types of meditative techniques one could regulate information and have the ability to choose what gets into the mind. The process of doing this is altering the state of consciousness.
“Success is not the result of hard work but the ability to dwell in an altered state of consciousness that brings you tremendous enlightenment is what grants you success.”
Meditation has its origins in religion and religious practices. It can be stated and certified that the first practices of meditation were conducted by the adherents of the world’s oldest spiritualists and appeared in their religions. According to archeologists accounts, one of the first religious rituals and idols to have ever been unearthed and discovered was around 40000 BCE.
That’s more than 42 millennials ago, but according to the adherents of Abrahamic faith who claim the first human to ever stepped foot on earth already had the belief in God in him; brought forth worships and chants that can very well fit in the definition of meditation practiced today, this could mean meditation began since the existence of humans.
There are two major types of meditation of which most meditative acts fall on. Namely;
1. Visual meditation
2. Spiritual meditation
In this first part of the series of meditation, it will focus on the different forms of Visual meditation which I have been taught by my teachers and its physical benefits only. Any meta aspects, spiritual benefits and side effects of meditation such as the appearance of spirits, clairvoyant awareness and the dance of Kundalini would be discussed in the second article concerning Spiritual meditation and all of it’s different forms.
1. Visual meditation
This is known as “Focus meditation” which is best suited for beginner meditators who find it hard calming their minds in concentration and focusing on emptiness. When meditating while closing or opening the eyes but thinking of nothing your mind fails to stay still and wanders off several of times before you could get that concentration you were seeking. It also happens that even after achieving the concentration, the mind may still welcome unwanted thoughts periodically.
That is natural and the process or the battle which takes place in an abstract form in the mind between finding that concentration and constantly losing it is still considered; meditation. While obstructions act as obstacles during emptiness meditation, it is the same obstructions but of a different kind needed in “Visual meditation” to keep you away from unwanted thoughts and only keep you engaged on the ones you want to let in. Such obstructions are what I refer to as “Tools”
When meditating focusing on an object and your breath for instance, such elements are what I referred to the tools that you are using in your meditation to help you concentrate better. One may have more than one tools that could serve as focal points of the meditator in order to keep them away from thoughts. The “Salah” meditation for example which will appear in the second part of this article under Spiritual meditation has more than four tools used as “Prerequisite tools” to help the meditator prepare for the meditation and 6 more tools in the meditation itself.
The forms of meditation under Visual meditation are most commonly approached with opened eyes and an object placed in front of the meditator whereas advanced methods include shutting of the eyes and imagining the texture of the image, the sound of it and the scent made by that object. In the open eye method the object could also be a scenary or site such as the ocean or skies. Here, the meditator does not contemplate or think any further information concerning whatever they’re seeing as in “Thafakur” under Spiritual meditation but they only dwell in seeing the imagery itself without any further thought.
Visual meditation methodology
Start by either lying down, sitting on the ground (sukhasana) or sitting on a chair. Your hands could rest on your knees or thighs. The tip of the tongue could rest on the top part of your mouth but I prefer placing it on the sides creating a slight compression between my chicks and teeth. This sort of positioning will be used in different forms of Visual meditation listed below. You are then to choose what to place in front of you in order for you to look and concentrate on it while deflecting any thoughts which penetrates and diverts your focus. While doing that slowly inhale and exhale focusing on your breath and the object. The object and your breath would be tools used for the meditation.
Achievement of Visual meditation
These meditation are the easiest of them all and it is the mind’s exercise to train you how to remain focused on only what you want to concentrate on. It is usually used as a beginner’s guide that paves way to help you perform better during other advance meditations or acts of worship.
When not thinking of anything your mind becomes clear giving way for new information to be received much easily during storage. It’s like cleaning the memory to allow the access of another memory. Some of the reasons behind a person’s losing focus and slow learning ability when trying to grasp a concept is that their minds are occupied by having too many thoughts that makes it difficult to concentrate on the matters at hand. One will have to clear these thoughts using such kinds of meditation in order for it to be empty so that new information can easily be received.
“Empty your cup”
You will use these types of meditation before embarking on work that needs critical thinking such as solving mathematical calculations; work that needs a creative mindset like creative writing and craftsmanship or before trying physical activities which needs considerable amount of performance. Many meditators have an artistic, creative and enlightened approach to any element they encounter.
This is because such meditation greatly increases concentration, and muscle memory and one’s mental and physical ability to perform since all destructions and limitations including that of fear have been extracted from the mind.
Below are some of the forms of Visual meditation which some includes objects while others relying only on focus.
I. Q.E Meditation
It would be fair for QE meditation to earn its own category rather than it being under Visual meditation but they all deal with focusing your mind into either looking at an object or concentrating on nothing which is all considered to be Focus meditation. Q.E or Quantum entrainment is a system of meditation which combines different forms of meditation while other techniques are inventions existing on their own.
The basics of Q.E aligns itself well with any other type of focus meditation where you start by being in the same meditative position and try to focus all your mind in a rhythmic breathing system where in the end clearing all thoughts. It’s uniqueness appears where instead of beginning with focusing on nothingness the meditator begins with the contemplation of one’s thoughts.
What are the common thoughts that one has? Their work, their worries, their regrets, think about them and visualise them as if you are watching them being presented in a television or a photo album. Such thoughts would deplete and vanish after a while and if they don’t there are two other methods that could be utilized in order to achieve that goal. This is due to Q.E’s belief that before beginning any other meditation one should first be in harmony with conflicting thoughts that would distract them from the meditation they wish to indulge in.
A. Slide and Delete
Close your eyes and have a deep examination of the thoughts which are in your mind, then fix them into their respective slot like a picture frame or a slide show. For example if work, debt and relationships is what causing all the commotion in your mind so create a frame for each and every different problem then silently and calmly allow the scenario to play and see where it ends.
Now slide through the frames while deleting the previous ones until you reach the end of them all which is an empty frame, the empty frame which is at the end of all the frames that were playing is where emptiness exists and where you need to be.
B. Slide and solve
This is similar to Winslow’s Q.E; “Slide and delete” but a creation of my own that after compartmentalizing your different thoughts into frames you actually stay with them solving one after the other creating a perceived happy ending for each one of them. With this it will be safe to conclude that it has similar characteristics to “Manifestation reality meditation” in Spiritual meditation.
For example if debts and unstarted projects is what is occupying your mind creating obstacles, hindering your focus then put both of them in their specific frames then select one of them and play them out the way you want them to go. Select the frame which has debt in it then visualise you solving it by getting enough money to pay it whole. After that tap into the other frame which has the unfinished project, now imagine you working on the project the exact way you want it to go until you complete it successfully. After this you could delete both of them to achieve a clear mind.
Achievement of Q.E meditation
This meditation not only helps one be aware of the thought that lingers in their mind and completely wiping them out in order to focus and prepare a person before going to other advance meditations but it also makes one to feel secure about their worries since it harmonizes them and makes them believe that everything will turn out the way they want it to.
II. Dark vision meditation
Dark Vision meditation is an advance form of meditation since the tools which will be used to make one concentrate on emptying the mind is an abstract element that can’t be touched; darkness or a creation of one’s own actions by closing the eyes. Even though it is advance it is also one of the most common meditation that everyone practices throughout the world.
This is done by producing the visual effect of darkness by either the absence of light or closing of the eyes. The only tool you will be using here is darkness and breath itself and nothing more. Further meditation in other categories include Dark vision but without the restriction of using other tools other than darkness and breath alone.
Dark vision methodology
This meditation in its basic form has 2 tools; darkness and breath. When closing your eyes the light shone in the environment you are in determine what kind of darkness you will be exposed to. For instance when doing so in a pitch black room you will see a pitch black sort of darkness but when doing the same in a room with some lighting or outside with the sun shining then you will be able to see the colour of the darkness brought by closing your eyes mixed with the colour of the light shining at you.
The above shade of colour is most commonly seen when meditating in a bright place with one’s eyes closed. This will mean the practitioner would think of nothing else but what they are seeing plus their breathing. After a while of much relaxation one may not feel their body on their ground but a floating sensation above it. They will also start seeing patterns and not only the colours of the eyes closed. These patterns might be brought about by the veins inside the eyes.
My personal experience with dark vision meditation while in a dark room was after much relaxation; white coloured patterns started appearing and when I opened my eyes, dark dancing shadows mountainous in shape were visible spinning around me. It reminded me of the Disney animation film ‘Dumbo’ in one of the song scenes, ‘Pink elephants in parade” where pyramids later appeared causing a nightmare inside Dumbo’s head. This could mean that he was in his altered state of mind caused by meditation or drugs to enhance his performance for the stage show.
Other advance forms include adding obstructions such as playing a song that you are familiar with or switching on the television while performing this meditation trying your best concentrating in your meditation until you are no longer able to hear the song clearly or make up any of the lyrics coming from it. I do this a lot when I am in a matatu.
Dark vision achievement
Dark vision meditation can be engaged at any time one decides to close their eyes. The darkness offers a natural tool for one to concentrate on while at the same time easing the tension and the muscles around the areas of the eyes brought about by shutting them. Darkness is similar to emptiness, when you allow nothing to access your sense of sight it also allows you to easily keep yourself away from both the physical and material world’s problems causing anxiety and worry or even pain and fear.
It is beneficial to have such release in order to have better mental health and better concentration in whatever task you have intended for yourself to complete. It has nothing to do with spirituality or the discovery of one’s true self even though it may still have similar effect. Martial artists use this meditation before practice or competition to have absolute concentration with the absence of fear or pain for if you can effortlessly able to alter your mind state and regulate the thoughts that are inside, it will also be easy for you to control certain emotions that could cost your performance such as the emotion of fear.
III. Scan vision meditation
Scan vision meditation is the type of meditation I use most often. It can be performed while doing something else such as walking or at times even performing tasks that does not require much thought or calculations. This meditation uses the environment the meditator is in as one of the tools to meditate upon without much further thought about it. It would mean one would not need to stay still at one point or set a certain time in order to do it, they can always use this meditation while walking to the destination they would want to be so as to save time.
Scan vision methodology
Take a walk in an environment that is safe enough for you not to over think about your safety or the next step you are going to take; the objective of all meditation under Vision meditation is to keep away thoughts that would trigger stress or anxiety.
While walking towards your desirable place, try not to let any thoughts in your mind and only focus on what you are seeing and what is in front of you. When you see people for instance you don’t look at their eyes but what is in the middle of their eyes or what is next to them. When you see vehicles you just see it as an object of nothingness not having any meaning or value. Breathe in and out calmly, and take each and every step you walk carefully with balance. Also take a longer period of time to blink for all this allows you to be in a constant state of meditation.
Scan vision achievement
Scan vision meditation uses whatever concrete tools existing in the environment to repel any thoughts from the meditator’s mind. Since the practitioner is moving so does the obstacles keep on changing depending with the location one has reached offering much distractions from thoughts. One of it’s uniqueness is that you can use this meditation while being mobile moving to where you want to be so as upon reaching that place your mind is cleared of all thoughts and ready to work with a focused and sharp mindset.
Scan vision side effects
This meditation technique is mainly used while taking a walk to your destination. You will not be sitting stationary indoors but moving at a certain pace outside on the sidewalks or busy streets. This will mean if the meditator is completely focused and gets the meditation right they might lose their perception of the environment and situational awareness leading to a risky venture of not being concerned of what is going on around them jeopardizing their general safety. That is why when I use this meditation I switch it back and forth with “Situational awareness scan” whereby I do a 180° scanning of the environment by first examining where I’m going to step until where my eyes can reach, then scan my both of my sides then lastly what is above me in each distance covered. Once I feel everything is safe for instance there is no any potholes ahead and no hanging or dangling objects that’s going to fall above me, I switch back to the meditation.
Advanced meditators may hear voices around them but not be able to make out the exact words similar to the humming of bees, thus may not take heed of a warning if it were directed towards them. They may also see people but not be able to make out their bodies or faces. They may see them as black pillars moving about thus may not be able to identify familiar faces passing them without interaction.
IV. Ocean vision 1. meditation
The ocean provides a soothing feeling of calmness to whoever stands still and ponders on it. Its never ending cycle of waves brings forth an endless array of perpetual bliss. The wind surrounding the elements of the sea blows your thoughts away and fills in a sense of being free from all what restricts you from being happy. It does all that naturally without much further thought for its uniqueness lies in its natural self.
The ocean is an element of water which occupies more than half of our bodies, it’s what we have been made of, so meditating using such an element phenomenally fills us with the radiance of purity and it is easier to let go all what occupies our minds. This form of meditation is very popular among meditators who admire the outdoors for it is very common for even the non-meditator to lose themselves while gazing through the sea.
Ocean vision 1. methodology
Place yourself facing the open waters of the ocean either at the beach, the nearby seashores or even in a boat. Stay in a comfortable position preferably sitting down. Have your whole body relaxed and begin focusing on your breath while observing the sea and it’s waves. Focus on it’s colours, the sound it makes, it’s scent and the cool breeze it brings forth caressing your body. You could also determine which direction the tides are being led to. Those are the tools to be focusing on in this meditation.
Ocean vision 1. achievement
The ocean much like the candle is a constant moving object of meditation and has a distinct scent. The movement of its water and the formation of it’s waves emits a flow of sounds providing easy tools to keep all your focus on. The large water mass making up the sea is calming and serene causing you to easily leave your worries making you lose yourself in it. The ocean’s phenomena exists in a pure form offering the meditator an escape from all what was is unnatural and influenced by humane consciousness such as worry, anxiety and depression. When the meditator focuses on the tool of scent during any meditation, their sensing abilities increases greatly and will be able to have a deeper awareness and understanding of different variation of scents. Here by concentrating on how the ocean’s water smells like gives an equal amount of achievement.
V. Candle vision 1. meditation
The first people I’ve seen using a candle as a tool for meditating are martial artists. They would sit in front of it and gaze at it then whenever the fire of the candle flickers they would suddenly punch as fast as they can then stop their punch precisely centimeters away from the fiery tip of the candle. Depending with the speed, the punch would carry with it a gust of wind blowing the candle off. A times they would use a couple of them and arrange them behind each other and do the same blowing all of them away.
They needed a lot of focus and precision to achieve such a feat. The focus aspect of what the martial artists were doing is meditation. The candle is a unique object of meditation since it does not stay still, it naturally flairs and flickers when the wind blows serving as one of the tools that would help you stay focused in emptying your mind and only seeing the candle’s fire.
The colours of the candle might symbolize the mood or what you want to get from this meditation. For example meditating with a white coloured candle makes you achieve emptiness and purity which is going to be explained more in CVM 2 under “Manifestation” in Spiritual meditation.
Scented candles offer another tool to concentrate on and this brings in another uniqueness of such a meditation that the meditator will have to focus on not only an object which moves but also one that emits a certain fume. A meditator could use this in Dark vision meditation so that the only thing their eyes are exposed to is the light from the candle surrounded by darkness.
Candle Vision 1 methodology
Look for a plain solid coloured candle one that doesn’t have patterns on it for you would want your full attention on the flame. If you were to choose between which colour is most suitable then it will either be plain white, black or red. Find a candle which is made from a natural substance such as beeswax so that it’s scent doesn’t affect or harm the air you are breathing in, other candles that provides health beneficial scents could also be used.
The tools for this meditation is the visual image of the candle’s flame, it’s scent and your breath. Place a candle a couple of feet in front of you most suitably on the same level with your eyes. One can decide what lighting suits them best by adjusting the environment between complete darkness or having a little bit of light. Some meditators would concentrate on one candle but will also have numerous of others surrounding them.
Sit comfortably and concentrate on nothing else but it’s flame. See it and spot each time it flickers while calmly breathing in and out. After you have got that right now start concentrating on the scent the candle emits.
Candle vision 1. achievement
The dancing flame produced by the candle provides an essential tool to keep you constantly engaged driving away any unwanted thoughts. The candle’s fire triggers one’s ancestral instincts keeping them curious and ever focused since tales of oral literature have been passed by forefathers surrounding the fire. This subconscious curiosity helps you concentrate better in your meditation. The scent of the candle provides another tool to concentrate on making it easy for beginners to get the meditation right because the object moves and emits a scent providing more than one tool. Similarly to Ocean vision 1. meditation, focusing on the object’s scent is very beneficial to the meditator in that it greatly increases the ability of sensing and the awareness of distinguishing different spectrum of scents.