Pure Meditation: The Science of Reality

By Bill McLaughlin

Meditation means pure consciousness. Pure means it doesn’t have a purpose. So why should you practice it? Well, you practice if you want to be pure – which is another word for real – the only state of mind by which to live on the higher levels of your potential. It’s a state of mind when you don’t take yourself or the world personal, but from  a neutral or centered perspective. You practice “purity” by keeping your awareness above and distinct from whatever you’re aware of. In other words, you’re keeping all experience – both inner and outer, at a respectable, conscious distance. To separate or detach yourself is to purify and realize yourself.

Like anything new, it’ll take practice to master. What’ll you practice on? Well, you’ll practice on your breathing! Breath-watching has been used by millions of people for thousands of years because it’s one of the most effective anchor objects for minimizing distraction. There are many variations depending on your experience and temperament. Experiment to find which works for you. A relaxed, transcendent feeling of total well-being indicates a particular variation is working. – But be careful not to do it for the feeling – that would be corrupt not pure. The intent is to get real not to get high.

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Anchor Variations Include:

1. Looking at a lighted candle, a spot on the wall, a flower, a mandala, a picture of a special person, etc.;

2. Repeating some mantra, prayer, syllable, affirmation, person’s name, etc.;

3. Concentrating on the movement of your navel;

4. Focusing on sight objects (eyes open or closed), sound objects (music or ambient), or smell objects (incense, aromatherapy);

5. Counting your breaths – variations are listed below.

Posture Variations Include:

1. Sit in a chair with back and neck comfortably straight, feet flat on the floor;

2. Sit with legs crossed in a full or half lotus position;

3. Lie in bed with arms by your side or crossed over your chest;

4. Hands flat together in prayer mode, or hands on knees with thumbs touching index finger, or left hand on lap facing up on top of right hand, with thumb tips touching;

5. Sit straight up with eyes half open, softly focusing on a spot three feet in front of you.

Physical relaxation includes scanning the body to locate and release physical tension:

1. Long and thorough body scan: Tightly scrunch up each muscle or muscle group in turn, hold for a count of five, then release: forehead and eye muscles, face muscles, jaw, shoulders, forearms, hands, chest, abdomen, buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet.

2. Medium scan: Silently tell each muscle to relax in order: face – relax, neck – relax, back – relax, shoulders – relax, arms – relax, hands – relax, etc.

3. Quick scan: Mentally sweep body from head to toe to locate and relax any tension.

“Formal” meditation consists of three main elements – practiced any number of times per day, for periods of ten to fifty minutes:

1. Focus attention between your eyebrows;

2. Detachedly watch your breathing;

3. Passively witness any thought, feeling or sensual activity.

benefits-of-meditation

Now focus attention between your eyebrows while being passively aware of your breathing moving in, then out, in then out. It gets easier with practice. Breathe normally or a little deeper than normal, then just flow along with it as it is. Don’t go ahead or lag behind it; just be simultaneous with it, in unison with it.

Become your breathing. Join it as it comes in, curls around, and goes out; in, around, and out. With each breath, passively feel the sensation of air entering and leaving your nose. Passively notice that the air entering your nose feels slightly cool, and the air leaving feels slightly warm. Especially notice the subtlegap between the in and out breaths.

Listen to the sound of your breathing. The sound of soft air entering your nose, passing the walls of your nose, then down your throat. Also listen detachedly to other sounds inside or outside the room – and think nothing of them.

Notice Distracting Thoughts and Feelings. Whenever you notice your mind has wandered – and it will, gently return attention to your breathing again and again. Each time a random thought arises, notice it has, then return to being detachedly aware of your breathing again and again.

Breathing is just happening. Thoughts, feelings, sights, sounds and smells are just happening. Life is neutrally and impersonally just happening. That’s the definition of pure meditation.

Variations in Breathing-Awareness

1. Count your breaths: count only the in-breaths from one to ten, continuously. If you lose track of the numbers, think nothing of it, and start over again and again.

2. Instead of counting, just repeat the word one with every in- and out-breath cycle.

3. Practice deep breathing: Slowly fill the lungs to maximum capacity, pause a few seconds, then exhale completely.

4. Practice square breathing: Breathe in for a silent count of 4, pause for a count of 4, breath out for a count of 4, pause for a count of 4, etc., for the whole session.

5. Advanced: Don’t count or speak at all; just sit or lie passively still and silent – as if invisible.

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