"Did you ever feel like an alien who somehow became stranded on a planet called Earth where nothing seemed to make any sense?" A quote from "Ming The Merciless"
Recovering from civilization can be brutal but neccessary if we are to become truly free from it's influence. Kick the civilization habit here!
The basic goal of meditation is to achieve a state of consciousness and self awareness that will enable us to see reality clearlyenough to identify areas that need our attention and invest the necessary resources to address those areas of need. Ultimatelythe goal is to be free of all need, and find peace within ourselves.
There are many different meditation techniques, but they all have the same target objective, whether they call it higher consciousness or mind-full-ness, the difference is only in how to get there. But almost all strategies are based on the ability to focus. Some focus on breathing, some on energy centers of the body, some on objects, but it's the act of focusing that is the vehicle that can get us where we need to be.
Sounds simple, but isn't. Just try to maintain your focus 100% on anything for more than five minutes without letting your mind wander. This is about slowly detaching ourselves from all the external and internal influences that clamor for our attention every second of every day of our lives in order to reach a state of calm peacefulness. When we achieve this calm clear state of consciousness through meditation it has the potential for revealing many things that we may have been unaware of.
You may be surprised to know, that this constant state of chaos itself provides us with many dubious benefits. All that chaotic activity allows us to maintain the illusion that we are busy and accomplishing something. It allows us to avoid finding ourselves in a mindset that can see the actual truth about ourselves among other things, which is not the most popular Human activity.
It takes desire, commitment, determination and practice to achieve and maintain this state of consciousness for any length of time. So why would we do it? Today's society creates many reasons for going through this learning curve. Stress, anxiety, anger, depression and all the other symptoms of the inability to cope with overwhelming realities. And to many people, today's world is overwhelming for many reasons, one of which is, the incorrect perception of reality.
This is not the place to go into the many manifestations of our dysfunctionality, for now it might be enough just to get some relief from the pressures of ordinary life. So with that, let's explore just one meditation technique. This one is called the Vipassana technique and we chose it because it does not associate itself with any religious faith. This technique is dedicated to achieving the art of living by mastering the mind and this is done through the activity of constantly developing our awareness.
It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between awareness and consciousness, however, awareness implies a form of perception whereas consciousness implies a possible ability to evaluate and make decisions regarding that which is perceived through our awareness capabilities.
The usual object of focus used by the Vipassana technique is our respiration or breathing. This strategy has the added advantage of keeping us in the here and now. This idea seems a little foolish at first perhaps, but you will soon discover the act of breathing in ways you never dreamed of. This is not achieved instantaneously, it takes time and practice, but once you get this under your belt you can go to the next step, which is purifying the mind.
This step entails placing our awareness on what the mind is producing. We simply begin to notice what thoughts are being generated and how they manifest themselves in physical form. It is well known that all thoughts have a collateral physical response. Our goal here is to identify and become aware of this connection. We want to feel the physical consequences of our thoughts.
If we think of this mind / matter connection as a system that may represent a number of unique thought/responses associated with a particular event or experience in our lives, including those negative events and experiences that have never been completely dealt with and so continue to affect our lives, interfering with our desire to achieve harmony, then in the light of this perception, the more aware of the dynamics of each connection we become, the less power it will have over us. In other words, when we watch our thoughts and calmly begin to recognize the physical sensations associated with those thoughts, we are then able to dismantle those thought / feeling systems until they completely disappear. In the Vipassana world this is known as purifying the mind and is the process of clearing out all the obstacles to seeing reality as it actually is.
Not all techniques work for all people, you can check out a variety of techniques here.
This is all about the art of living through self awareness. Becoming aware of the mind / matter connection allows us to see things as they really are, which is what the word Vipassana stands for. To see all things clearly is to be free at last of the tyranny of our own minds. When we finely master and purify our minds we can then begin to see reality as it really is.