Enter the Mystery Portal of Awareness, available here to the curious, the novice, the initiated and the adept. Within each of us lies our inner Temple. It is here we observe the mirrors for our growth, transmissions and revelations, purifying the mind to finding our inner peace and stillness.
mindfulness - spiritual - focused - movement - mantra - tantra - transcendental
While mindfulness is being fully present in a moment, allowing our thoughts to seamlessly flow through our minds, awareness allows us to truly understand something by way of our senses. This first stage of meditation is called the "present moment .” The aim of the present moment awareness meditation is to achieve a calm, clear, alert mind. At the same time, the body is profoundly relaxed. We aim to let go of all inner chatter and emotional arousal to become empty. Out of this can arise a state of profound and blissful peace -while it may take a little practice to achieve that "buddha" mind state.
First focus on the most obvious sounds and as your concentration gets sharper, notice more subtle sounds, such as bird calls, the wind and distant traffic. Just allow them to wash over you, letting go of the sounds that have just passed by and being present to the sounds that arise now.
Feel your arms resting on your lap, your seat on the floor. Feel your clothes against your skin. Notice the smells surrounding you. Bring awareness to any pains, muscle tightness, fluttering in your stomach or anxious feelings. Watch how these sensations shift and change, letting go of them and becoming present to those that arise.
Watch your thoughts arise and pass, without getting caught up in them or feeling that you have to act on them. Some thoughts are simply chatter, while others are so compelling that you follow them. With demanding thoughts, observe them, label them and let them go. For example, if you are thinking: ‘I’m upset over that insult,” you might label it “hurt” and let it go, ready for the next thought to arise. It’s like watching clouds passing in the sky and you are progressing towards a “blue sky mind” where storm clouds pass and the mind is clear, calm and alert.
Watch the natural changes in your breathing as you become more relaxed. You might notice that your breath starts shallow and fast, but becomes deeper and more regular as you relax more profoundly.
At its core, spiritual meditation is the mindful practice of connection to something that is greater, vaster, and deeper than the individual self. It may seem paradoxical, but the path to that connection passes through honest self-reflection. While there are many meditation techniques that look to increase spiritual awareness, they all require an attitude of integrity and authenticity when looking at ourselves and how we view the world.
Spiritual meditation makes you realize the eternal truth of all that is, and let go of all that had happened and will happen. The present is where you want to be and find solace in. The need to practice spiritual meditation comes from an innate longing to see and think beyond the chaotic world surrounding you.
Focused meditation involves focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and slowing down the inner dialogue. Unlike classic meditation — where you focus on nothing to quiet your mind — with focused meditation, you still remain in the present, but focus wholly on one thing, typically sensory stimulus like sounds, visual items, tactile sensations, tastes, smells, and even your own breathing — much like mindfulness meditation techniques.
Movement meditation is simply any type of meditation in which we are moving. This includes a wide range of techniques. Any movement can be performed as a meditation, if we apply mindfulness and a slow pace. Movement meditation is ideal when we feel energetic and unable to "sit". In our retreats, participants will alternate between sitting meditation and moving meditation (often walking) in order to give the physical body some exercise, release physical tension, stimulate blood circulation and receive the benefits of walking and being in the Forest.
Most Mantra meditation techniques have two essential components: mindfulness meditation and mantra recitation or chanting. A mantra is a syllable, word, or phrase that is repeated during meditation. Mantras can be spoken, chanted, whispered, or repeated in the mind. While this age-old practice is known to have Buddhist and Hindu roots, forms of “sacred word” recitation exist within a great variety of spiritual traditions, including Judeo-Christian and Shamanic.
In Tantra Meditation, we will be led into the Inner Tantric Yogas in the Sri Vidya tradition. We use visualization, deity, elemental energies, mantra, for the purpose of expanding consciousness and liberating energy.
Transcendental Meditation (TM) refers to a specific form of silent, mantra meditation and less commonly to the organizations that constitute the Transcendental Meditation movement. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi created and introduced the TM technique and TM movement in India in the mid-1950s and to the West in the 1970s.
In TM, you are issued a mantra by a teacher, which is never to be spoken aloud outside of your instruction. The process of meditation is simple — in a seated position with closed eyes, you repeat the mantra in your mind for 20 minutes, twice a day (ideally morning and mid-afternoon).
There is no requirement to concentrate, maintain a certain speed, or achieve any particular state. You repeat the mantra mentally for the period and continue with your day. At times, thoughts will enter your mind, you will become distracted, and you may even forget the mantra. All of this is expected and fine — you return to the mantra and continue without worry or concern.
The technique is truly effortless and usable by anyone, primarily because there is no requirement to concentrate or block out thoughts as compared with other forms of meditation or mindfulness. You will be able to perform the practice, whether you think you can, and regardless if you believe in it or not.
All Channels lead to Source. May you discover what works best for you.
Examples of a few meditation lineages and practices that we will cover and practice: Sharene Shamana Ma will offer Dharana practices from the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, as well as moving meditations.
Please be sure to get DOORWAYS TO THE INFINITE on Audible by Sally Kempton, where she tells the story of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra and shares several VBT meditation practices.
An optional suggested audible was SHAKTI MEDITATIONS by Sally Kempton as well.
References: Brahmavamso, A. (1998). The Basic Method of Meditation. The Buddhist Society of Western Australia