Just what is achtsamkeit lernen? What are the goals? Meditation has so many permutations worldwide; it is difficult to precisely define just what meditation is. Although meditation has been widely researched by science in the past decades, the mechanism by which it works is still unknown. One of the earliest written records of meditation can be found in the Hindu culture, about 1500 BCE. Later, about 400 BCE, Taoism developed in China, and Buddhism in India. Religious meditation practices are found in many major religions, including Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Christianity, Baha’i, Taoism, and Judaism. for the purpose of Webster’s dictionary defines meditate as “to engage in contemplation or reflection; and 2) to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness”.
There may be a variety of purposes, depending on the origin of the selbsthilfe technique. Secular meditation may include ways to bring about a state of relaxation, or mental clarity. Meditation is recommended by many holistic medical practitioners as a method to promote health and treat issues such as anxiety, depression and high blood pressure. In the more ancient traditional meditation practices such as Taoism or Buddhism, the purpose of meditation is to cultivate energy or life force – qi or chi in the traditional Chinese Medicine, or Prana in Ayurveda practices. Ultimately, traditional meditation in the great religions is a way to train the mind and spirit in compassion, love, patience and forgiveness.
In an article in the Huffington Post, answering whether there is such a thing as secular selbsthilfe kurs, that is, a practice apart from religious or spiritual context, the Hindu monastic Swami B.V. Tripurari answered, “In the least, meditation is aimed at ego death, nothing less. Therefore one might argue that employing meditative techniques for something less than this is not meditation at all. And if ego death is objectively desirable, giving rise as it does to compassion and other universally sought qualities, why argue with the success arising out of a religious context? If light forms of religion have proven useful in helping to foster ego death and the deathless mystic experience, what is the need to discard them?”
My personal favorite contemplative exercise in awareness is creative work such as music, poetry, journaling, painting, drawing, photography and artisan crafts. While these activities don’t come under the classification as formal meditation, these activities seem to bring me out of the “busy mind” and into a deeper, more contemplative state of awareness. Walking in nature, dwelling in what I believe is the Cathedral of Creation, is another activity that helps me to clear my mind and open the door for experiencing a more spiritual consciousness.
Another practice that I love, is a “moving meditation” such as Tai Chi. In an article published in the Fall 2003 edition of The Journal of the American Society of Internal Arts, William C. Phillips defines meditation as “the process of conscious, controlled focus of the mind which may take place when the thinking process, both in pictures and in words, have been stopped.” He further explains that “meditation is not a trance state, a sleep state, nor a state of nothingness. Meditators, if successful, are always alert, relaxed, and in control of their minds.” Phillips explains that meditation has two aspects. Yin meditation clears the mind of all thought, holding the mind in a clear and focused state. Yang meditation then focuses the mind; examples include shapes, colors, affirmations, mantras, chakras, and prayers.
Phillips describes the Buddhist tradition of satipatthana, or foundation for mindfulness. The purpose of a satipatthana exercise is to quiet the mind – to get it to stop output – but keep it busy with inputs until it develops a habit of becoming quiet, refraining from all thought during the exercise. When this has been achieved, the mind is ready to begin to meditate. Satipatthana has four https://www.bloombay.eu/: