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There is a big difference between comtemplation & meditation, but often people get the two confused. I want to clarify that here. In contemplation, one takes an object or principle, and one focuses upon it. Your concentration becomes immersed in the object of contemplation, until you become one with it. Images & trains of ideas & thoughts concerning what you are contemplating, come to your mind, revealing its true nature. Contemplation is a great tool for discovering truth. Mathematicians & theoretical physicists regularly employ contemplation in their researches with great success.
Meditation is very different. In meditation one relaxes the mind. There is no object in meditation. That would be contemplation. Thoughts, images & other sensations may enter your mind, but you will pay no attention to them. The point in meditation is to gain control of your mind, by ignoring all the whirling gears that fly around within it. The meditation technique that I use, is to focus my consciousness upon my consciousness, and to completely disregard the objects of my consciousness. This isn't easy. The mind likes to be in control, so when you try to meditate, the mind will conjure up all manner of mental phenomena to distract you. BUT, if you can learn to merely sit, when you sit; to control your mind in stillness, rather than allowing the mind to lead you around & around, you will discover that the mind can become a most obedient & efficient tool.
Learning how to control your own mind is one of the greatest problems you will ever encounter, BUT that solution is going to be your greatest triumph. Your mind is incredibly powerful. Your thinking processes attract all of the conditions that occur in your life, so mastery in this area should be a KEY priority. Your beliefs about yourself & your capabilities, determine what you can do. All that is required is your WILL, to learn & do the things that you desire, and then exert the actions that will release those things into happening.
It begins with Meditation. Here you learn how to still the mind, so that it will do what you want it to do, rather than what it has already been programed to do. In Meditation you learn to ignore the flow of ideas & sounds & thoughts, while you are busy, merely being there. Focus your consciousness upon your consciousness, rather than upon the objects of your consciousness. In this stillness lies the power to overcome & to create.
A technique I used to use is the Fire Meditation. Do not try this, if you are the least little bit clumsy, or might be disturbed. I had a small caldron into which I would pour isopropol alcohol, and a little bit of Dragon's Blood. I would light the alcohol, & watch the fire, immercing myself into the fire. When the fire went out, my mind would follow it. complete stillness. Another, (much safer), technique, is the Water Meditation. Find a stream with a small waterfall. Two or four inches of waterfall, is plenty. Sit & follow the ripples, & they will wash the tension from your mind. The sound of flowing water, is also known to generate alpha waves in the brain. Although not for everybody, it is also known that solving math problems, will put you in the alpha state.
There is only one source for any consciouness, energy or matter in the universe, and that is the One. Only the One has the power to give or to create. What you might call the Darkness, can only take or destroy. All of these possibilities exist within us as a Microcosm within a Macrocosm. Our choises determine our destiny. The Ancient Wisdom schools employed emblematic symbols to convey esoteric meanings. Contemplation of mandalas & yantras is a means of attuning the mind to the principles of the higher planes. Consider them as doorways, and your contemplation of them a Key, which allows you to enter....
When things get really complicated, then it is time to make them simple. If you are being pulled in many directions at once, then you need to be at your center. Having a strong center of calm is the Key to gaining control over your life. When you are in your center of calm, then all of the craziness of the world falls into perspective. Things that really aren't important, lose their power to command your attention. The center of calm that you will develop from contemplation & meditation, will enable you to concentrate your efforts on the things that do matter, and from this your life will sort itself out towards what it ought to be.
Harboring negative thoughts & feelings within yourself, will throw you out of balance. Holding false concepts about Life, will cloud your vision. People dwell so much upon negative things, that it will take all of the meditation & Spiritual Practices that you can do, to break the habit. Allowing the emotions to rule your life, will lead you to be irrational. Letting your intellect to dominate, will make you rigid. Neither of these is balance. Balance is a state of harmony, that gives you a clear perspective on what is important in Life. I've known or met several people who had attained Enlightenment. All of them radiated Love. The balance of which the Mystics speak has nothing to do with the mundane concepts of good & evil. It is the balance of ones Spiritual Life with ones physical life, and balancing the emotional life with the intellectual life. The balance is the attainment of harmony on all planes of your being.
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The Moving Mandalas
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Contemplation & Meditation
The Santa Monica Mountains 1