Meditation is based on simple attention. Our attention can be caught by all the usual demands of daily life; by thoughts and feelings, doubts and anxieties, our ideas about ourselves and how we often prefer things to be other than they are. Occasionally we may become aware of another aspect of ourself which is stable and unmoving; that which hasn’t changed throughout our life. It is an aspect of being which is in everyone; it is always peaceful and always the same. Mental and emotional activity pulls us away from this stable foundation, making us feel separate, without peace and harmony.
Stability, peace and harmony are in fact natural to us, but are usually overlooked or missed. Meditation restores them through a simple technique whereby the attention is drawn to a place of inner stillness. At the subtler levels of meditation, the attention rests in stillness, untroubled by the normal activities of mind. One experiences a sense of ease, clarity and relaxation which is carried into everyday life, producing a feeling of greater space with less rush and less pressure.
What type of meditation is practised?
Meditation is both universal and very old. In various forms it has been practised for thousands of years. This mantra-based method to meditation originates in a centuries-old tradition that arose in India and was adapted to be given to people in the West at the end of the 1950s. It is suitable for people of any age or background. In the early 1960s contact was made with one of the custodians of the tradition of meditation, the Shankaracharya of northern India. It is from him and his predecessors that the method of meditation comes, together with guidance on its practice. The technique is very simple. It is practised for two brief periods a day sitting on a chair in your own home or other quiet place.
How do I start?
As a philosophy student in the Wessex School of Philosophy, arrangements can be made for you to be introduced to the meditation during the course of any of the School terms and you can ask your tutor for more details. During the 4th term of the Philosophy course all students are offered the chance to take up the practice of meditation in the following term. Full details are given to you by your tutor at the time.
See also ‘The Awareness Exercise’ video on YouTube.