October 6, 2013 | Posted in Concepts in Anthroposophic Medicine, Men's Health, Mind / Mood, Women's Health

Meditation is a simple method for experiencing inner peace. Simple, does not imply easy. It is simple in that it can be done anywhere, anytime. It requires no equipment, no stuff–– just inner discipline.

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Meditation has been practiced the world over for thousands of years. According to the teachings of Insight (Vipassana) style of meditation, it is said that just through the practice of sitting meditation, the universe will make itself known and will reveal all its secrets. One can meditate for the benefit one receives from it. In other views, meditation is a way to become “ …a more effective servant of world progress, a more effective helper of mankind and of the spiritual world. Compassion and love toward humanity must be the basic motivation for meditation.”*

Whatever the motivation for meditation, Rudolf Steiner has advised creating a sound foundation: “When you undertake a single step forward in the knowledge of spiritual realities, take at the same time three steps forward in the development of your character toward the good.”**

Today we consume fast food and fast thought. Google draws conclusions for us. Txt mssgs r bref. We have pre-made thoughts brought to us by media; we have short attention spans, and often do not have an opportunity – or time — to follow through a sequence of carefully considered thoughts developed out of ourselves. We are told computers do it better. In today’s world, we do not use our thinking capacity fully; we are told to disrespect it.  Meditation offers an opportunity to give focused attention to our thinking ability, to discipline it, and to treasure this magnificent human capacity.

There are many styles of meditation; all basically utilize an object for focus of attention. That “object” may be internal such as one’s heart or breath, or the recitation of a phrase or a religious chant; or the object maybe external, like the light of a burning candle or an inspiring image of a teacher or great spiritual being. The object upon which one’s attention is focused functions to settle down the ever-busy, vigilant, and distracting mind. With the mind engaged in observation of an object, deeper qualities of consciousness, that is the depth within every human being, can begin to make itself known.

In a stress-filled world clamoring to preoccupy attention with distractions and entertainment, meditation offers a deeply personal way to calm emotions, order internal chaos, and re-center the self toward peace and inner sturdiness. It is available for everyone, and the benefits are enormous. Long-time practitioners of meditation often come to experience meditation as just as essential to their well-being as food and water.

There are many fine audio guides for meditation on the Internet. In the beginning, meditating with a guide or a group can make for a deeper, more satisfying meditation. Choose carefully the human and physical environment in which you meditate. The following tips may be useful for the beginner:

1. Sit on a pillow or in a chair with back erect so that spine is upright. Lying down is not recommended as it makes overcoming the lower (unconscious) forces much more difficult, in addition to the challenge of staying awake.  Avoid electronic background sounds.
2. Establish a regular daily time for meditation. Even if it is for five minutes, a rhythmic time will make the practice easier.
3. Consider this time of meditation, not so much a task, but as an opportunity to receive. By connection to one’s heart and breath one is in conscious connection to the benevolent in-streaming of the cosmos (via the breath) and with the pulse of the earth.

4.  Be in charge of your meditation time; the point is to become active, not to passively follow for example a hypnotic suggestion.
5. Just keep doing it––the rewards will be amazing.

The Six Basic Exercises were devised by Rudolf Steiner to school the inner human being’s thinking, feeling, and willing. Being able to focus thinking is the foundation, and five minutes daily for one month thinking about a simple man-made object (such as a paperclip) is a first step. From there, one develops the inner muscle of will (committing to a simple act at a certain time each day), and of feeling (equanimity, positivity, and openness to new things). It is not easy to do these simple acts, and often we stumble.  But making the effort is more important than being successful.  Thus strengthened, we experience life with steadiness and perspective, and a more complete humanity.

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*Ernst Katz
** KOHW RS

KOHW

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