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Hanshi Kaufman’s Thoughts on Meditation

Meditation is not a mystery and you don’t have to be in a convent to do it, and you don’t need to separate yourself from society and live in a cave, and you don’t need special prayers, etc. You don’t have to be a Hindu, a Yoga, or a Buddhist monk to gain the true benefits of meditation. You don’t have to sit with your legs crossed in an uncomfortable position.

Very simply, meditation is a mode of thinking and only a mode of thinking. It doesn’t matter what anyone else calls it. How you define the aspects of meditation and how you think about it is what separates the religions from each other. Consciousness is what brings about the changes in your life and is accomplished with what certain groups call spiritual mind contemplation, which is the restructuring of your thinking to alleviate old conditions by acknowledging the possibility and the acceptance of new conditions that you believe should be a part of your life.

As a society, we have always thought about things from many different viewpoints. Meditation has been explained to us over and over again largely because of the factions describing it. The definitions have always varied even though they purport to be the same thing. It is not important to choose a “path” unless you want to become a monk. For example, the attitude of Zen Buddhism may be that you are already dead, but have not experienced it because you have a different form of consciousness that tells you that you are alive. You must meditate to get past the condition of conceptual thinking to free yourself from your self. It gets very confusing, especially if you try to intellectually produce the answer you think you are looking for.

We must ascertain the differences relative to any specific condition we find ourselves living with. If we do not think in terms of being alive or being dead, then we can free ourselves of the bondage of duality that confuses our thinking. When we do this, we can bypass the qualities of good and evil, positive and negative, etc. But why bother?

With this in mind we can be safe in the feeling that we are living a perfect life and have it all. It is only when we think that we have this and that, but don’t have the other things that we think we are missing that we become unhappy, and for a large part, vindictive in one form or another.

The difficulties we have to deal with are based on self-imposed conditions that are essentially only simply matters of choice. If we take into consideration the feelings and needs of others when we make a decision, we are selling ourselves short to the full value of the freedom we seek. This is not entirely bad either because we all have relationships that we feel are necessary for us to maintain if we are to live intelligently even though we want to make change.

The Chinese symbols of Yin and Yang, which are not yin and yang but yin/yang or yang/yin show us half of the universe as black and half of the universe as white. This thinking is for the uninitiated. As well, it is not gray either. The universe is not half black and half white. It is black/white, or if you prefer, white/black, and yet is neither of these. Regardless, it is a completeness and is not composed of two different parts. The confusion arises when we try to determine which is correct and which is incorrect. There is no such thing as correct or incorrect in the higher order of intelligence. We are not discussing the moral choices of right or wrong here, but instead we are talking about “right action”—the “right action” that you must take if your life is to be your own and you are to enjoy it.

Meditation enables us to correctly choose directions for ourselves relative to the many that we are involved with. We can do this without having to sacrifice ourselves for the wrong reasons. We have to think clearly about anything if we are to understand what we are thinking about in the first place. Then we can make the changes in our minds slowly and deliberately without applying negative sentiment. Thinking clearly and with true appreciation of the changes we suggest to ourselves can only happen when we know where we want to go and how we would like to get there.

The method of meditation that I personally use is to lie down in a quiet place and listen to some calming music without words and get myself into the proper frame of mind that enables me to alleviate any aggravating conditions that interferes with my thinking process. Sometimes I listen to very intense jazz to bring about a different set of circumstances. I prefer music that does not have words unless the words are specific to my meditation. Music with the words not in line with my thinking can cause deviation from thought patterns, and as well, I don’t listen to seashore sounds or forest sounds unless I am actually there in person. But this is a personal choice and you, of course, make your decisions.

Developing the habit of meditation is not easy, but eventually you will be able to get it done without much difficulty if you set your mind to it. Notice how everything has to do with your own mind?


© SFKaufman 2010


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