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A Simple Meditation Method
Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.)

  PRAYER & MEDITATION
  A Simple Meditation Method
by John Van Auken

Meditation:
An Altered State of Consciousness

We must be clear that meditation is an altered state of consciousness. It is not a method for getting our normal consciousness to feel better. “You don’t have the meditation because ... you want to feel better, but to attune self to the infinite!” We must set our normal, everyday selves aside and allow our deeper, spiritual selves to attune to the Infinite. This is perhaps the most fundamental and yet the most difficult requirement of meditation. But it can be done. The body, mind and soul are interconnected in such a way that certain actions will automatically lead to “the magic silence” and the awakening of our better selves.

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Actions that Lead Inward

We have two nervous systems. One (the Central Nervous System) we use mostly for our outer life -- for acting consciously in the physical. The other (the Autonomic) governs those functions such as breathing and digestion that are taken care of without our conscious participation.

What do these two nervous systems have to do with successful meditation? When we quiet the outer system and do something to stimulate the inner system, we are setting aside our outer selves and actually activating our souls. For example, let’s sit down and stop using our musculo-skeletal systems. Let’s reduce our sense-perception by closing down our five senses -- close our eyes, stop touching, listening, smelling and tasting. This quiets the outer system and the outer self. Now, let’s take hold of some part of the inner system that the soul has charge of and let’s alter it. The most popular one is the breath. The autonomic system, under the control of the subconscious mind and soul, is in charge of and directly connected to the breath. If we start changing the breath, we cause the soul and subconscious mind to become alert to the changes. This is an action that leads from our outer selves to our inner selves, and ultimately to an altered state of consciousness.

Physical Changes

Now we know from the research done in the ‘70s with TM meditators and others, that the body goes through many changes during meditation. As researchers Wallace and Benson discovered, meditation causes measurable physical changes. “There is a reduction in oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide elimination and the rate and volume of respiration; a slight increase in the acidity of the arterial blood; a marked decrease in the blood-lactate level; a slowing of the heartbeat; a considerable increase in skin resistance; and an electroencephalogram pattern of intensification of slow alpha waves with occasional theta-wave activity” (Wallace & Benson, 1973, p. 266).

Reading 5752-3 expands on the wonderful changes: “Meditate ... in the inner secrets of the consciousness, and the cells in the body become aware of the awakening of the life....” The cells of the body become aware? According to the readings, every cell in the body has consciousness, and that consciousness may be raised or lowered. The reading goes on, “In the mind, the cells of the mind become aware of the life in the spirit.” The cells of the mind, life in the spirit? Interesting concepts, aren’t they? “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must do so in spirit....” Then, if raising the consciousness leads to awareness of “life in the spirit,” it leads to life with God -- the Great Spirit. The wonderful thing about this whole process is that we activate it by entering into the magic silence.

The Magic Silence

For those of you who are just beginning with meditation or who have always had trouble meditating, let me spend a moment to describe this very simple yet effective way to meditate. Then, as you progress with it, you can move on to Kundalini Meditation. The Magic Silence method is a simple yet powerful way for anyone to get into meditation -- especially beginners and those who have difficulty meditating.

Using a combination of an affirmation and a mantra, coordinated with our breathing, we can enter into the magic silence. Let’s use a modification of a line from Psalm 46, “Be still and know God.” In order to fully succeed with this affirmation/mantra, not only do we need the power of the words, we must also take hold of the breath and create a breathing pattern that arouses the soul. It works like this: “Be STILL” [inhale slowly while feeling the word “still” and then exhale slowly] “and "Know GOD” [inhale slowly while feeling the word “God” and then exhale slowly]. Once you begin to "feel" the reality of these word "Still" and "God", let the breath go on automatic and abide in the feeling. If anything distracts you or feel you want to go deeper into the words, then repeat the deep inhalation and exhalation while saying the phrases. Keep the breath relaxed yet under your control.

If you are in the “stillness” or the “Godness” between the phrases, remain in it as long as your consciousness holds there, breathing gently and evenly. If your consciousness wanders, then bring it back by saying (in your mind) one of the phrases and re-engaging the deep inhalation and exhalation cycle.

The silent periods while feeling the power of essence of these words and their meaning are the more important parts of this practice. The phrases gather and direct the consciousness, and the spaces of silence are golden, or as the readings say, “magical.” So, as long as you are silent and still, stay there; don’t feel a need to move on to the next phrase or to continue repeating the phrases. Abide in the powerful stillnes and godliness.

This method of combining an affirmation/mantra with breathing will bring even the weakest meditator into a deep stillness and a heightened sense of Godness.

To move deeper, add three “OM’s” on the end of the last phrase: “Be STILL [feel and breathe], and know GOD [feel and breathe], OOOMMMM [feel and breathe] OOOMMMM [feel and breathe] OOOMMMM [feel and breathe]. This can be out loud in the beginning and then silently in your mind as you go deeper. When chanting the OM incantation aloud, remember that true chanting is an inner sounding, not an outer singing. (You can hear what this inner resonating sounds like on my audiotape “Tips on Meditation.”) Keep the sound resonating within the cavities of your body. Beginning with the abdominal cavity, rising to the pulmonary cavity and then on into the cranial cavity, let the sound carry you deeper.

I’ve taught this method to people who have never meditated before, had them in a deep silence for twenty minutes, and watched them coming out of it with that wonderful glaze in their eyes that results from an altered state. Their outer self is moved, yet uncertain as to exactly what has happened. But they know they have just meditated well. I’ve also had people who had tried meditation for years with little success come out of one of these sessions with the biggest smiles on their faces -- victory at last!

Keys to This Method

There are three keys to this method. First, the power of the words “still” and “God,” and their effect on us. Second, the connection between the breath and the soul -- allowing us to arouse our souls by taking hold of the breathing pattern. Third, the spaces of silence between the words while breathing. These spaces grow longer and longer as one practices. Eventually, an hour’s meditation is easy (and recommended in the readings). According to the readings, and many other sources, the silence is in itself transforming. One need not “do” or “hear” anything when in meditation. Abide in the silence and it works its magic.

Now I would like us to look at another area of the total meditation picture. I would not recommend going on to this next practice (kundalini meditation) until you have practiced the Magic Silence method with much success, and feel you are ready to go deeper. As with medicine so it is with meditation: one person’s poison may be another’s cure, and activities that may be harmful at one stage in life may be quite helpful at another. You have to judge what is best for you now, and continue to evaluate your readiness as you progress.

It may appear contradictory to say that silence is in itself transforming and then to describe another form of meditation in which inner activities are used to effect greater transformation, but such is the case with the Cayce readings, and other sources. The explanation for this is that the manifold nature of full enlightenment and transformation is such that contradiction and paradox are elements of any method. After all, we are dealing with celestial beings in terrestrial forms, spirits in flesh, gods who are also human, eternal beings in temporary manifestations. Paradox and contradiction are bound to be a part of any process that attempts to resolve or integrate these.

Furthermore, as we progress with our development, we naturally become more able to handle complexity and intricacy. We become more aware of and participate in the many aspects of the Godhead, the Universal Consciousness, with all its diversity.

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