By Scott Shaw
People commonly enter into the practice of meditation to calm and focus their mind. Most schools of meditation teach methods that cause the mind to let go of thoughts and enter into a space of emptiness. Though this is a great means of removing the Self from the chaotic nature of the modern world, meditation can also be employed to train the mind to lead the Conscious and Unconscious Self to a higher level of personal interaction with this Life-Place.
Each of us is defined by the psychological make-up we were born with. We are also each defined by the life occurrences that happened to us in our youth. Add to this the life experiences that happen to us a adults and we are often left with a scrambled egg mishmash of random thoughts and personality traits that do not lead us towards the greater good.
A personal program in meditation, (or Personal Meditation as I call it), can be used to refine our consciousness to the degree where we emerge as a more whole and a more complete human being no longer dominated by random, uncontrolled thoughts and emotions.
If we look to people who laid the foundations for modern psychology such as Sigmund Freud, a technique that he used to refine his very complex and some would say damaged personality was to speak his thoughts, memories, ideas, and feelings into a tape recorder. He would express his thoughts and emotions in order to refine them and draw conclusions about himself and human consciousness as a whole.
Though this is a fine form of personally orientated psychotherapy, those who are drawn to the spiritual mindset, particularly those drawn to eastern wisdom, may find this technique a bit self-involved -- focusing on the, “Personal I,” instead of the, “Universal I.” That being said, the, “Personal I,” is the basis for our transcendence to the, “Universal I.” Therefore, if we do not have a highly refined and completely understood sense of the, “Personal I,” it will be a hard road to nirvana. To this end, Personal Meditation is an ideal tool.
The question will then be raised, “What is personal meditation?” The answer is, for each of us it will be a little bit different. As we are each unique individuals, with our own set of defining factors: both good and bad. As such, we will each need to define our own start point.
Knowing who we are is not difficult. It is very evident, in fact. And, if we are honest with ourselves, we each know what we need to work on. This is the start point of Personal Meditation.
The first thing you must do to begin your practice of Personal Meditation is to enter into a comfortable positioning. Then, take a few deep breaths and simply watch where your thoughts race to.
In most forms of traditional meditation you sit and try to stop your thoughts. This is not the prescription of Personal Meditation, however. As what you are thinking about, where your mind wanders to, is YOU. This is the YOU that you must define. So, in the early stages of Personal Meditation simply watch your thoughts and very consciously begin to study what you think about. Once you have become comfortable with this process, the next step in Personal Meditation is to begin to observe how each of these thoughts makes you feel.
This is where you start to understand how YOU are YOU and how and why you feel the way you feel and how and why you react to life situations the way you do.
Remember life is lived predominately in your head. Your thoughts and your emotions are what guide you through this existence. Yes, what you think and how you feel may be instigated by occurrences in the outside world, but all of that Life-Stuff is actualized in your own mind.
Once you come to have a firm grasp of your thinking process; leading to an understanding of why you feel the way you feel, it is time to begin to take control of who and what you are. At this stage of Personal Meditation it is time to stop allowing thoughts, feelings, and emotions to dominate and control your actions and reactions. Again, as your mind is the basis of YOU, here is the place and the space that you begin to take control over how you feel, why you feel what you feel, and what is the physical outcome based upon your feelings and emotions.
Therefore, while in the meditative state, knowingly take control over the emotions you are feeling, that are guiding you to behave in a particular manner. From this, you become the true YOU and are not simply dominated by the hands of fate and the actions of other people.
Ultimately, what you want to achieve from Personal Meditation is you knowing you and thereby you consciously controlling you. What emerges is the best YOU that you can be.
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