July 2, 1999

Overcome disturbances in prayer and meditation

When you pray or meditate, you walk the path into your inner self. When you are on the road in prayer or meditation you will encounter all kinds of disturbances. What kind of disturbances you meet depends on a few factors:

1. Your own memories and your own past life.

2. The environment in that you meditate or pray.

3. The focus of your concentration and the spiritual forces that may try to stop you from reaching your goals.

All disturbances come to you in the form of energies that distract you from your focus. To overcome these disturbances you also need energy. Depending on how strong the distractions are, you need more energy. This may turn your prayer or meditation into an exhausting spiritual fight. When you get more experience with prayer or meditation you will gradually get stronger and learn to win these energy fights.

Exercise 1 – Pray and Meditate about an Episode of your Past Life (30 min)

What you want to reach with this meditation is that you receive a new view on this episode. Think of this period of your life and ask the question what is the meaning of it. When you do this for some time, you will notice that all kinds of memories come back. Together with these memories, thoughts and feelings will come up in you. In meditation and prayer you don’t just want to have thoughts and feelings, but you want to go beyond that to deeper levels of yourself.

At this stage of your prayer or meditation you may be tempted to dive into these thoughts and feelings. The result of doing that will be that you don’t really progress to a higher level. Therefore, don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by these thoughts and feelings, but just notice them as something passing by on your road of meditation.

Go back to the question you asked about the meaning of this episode of your life. Keep asking this question and answers will come. Depending on how complex and meaningful this life period is for you, it may take longer time before you receive meaningful answers. You may have to pray or meditate about this question for many hours or even days and weeks until you are finished.

When you receive answer to your question you will notice a clear difference between these answers and the thoughts and feelings which also came up. Such answers will strike you as a revelation or an inspiration and will give you new insight in yourself.

Exercise 2 – Pray about the Purpose of Life (30 min)

Pray or meditate about the purpose of life. Just like it happened in the former exercise, you will see that your mind will try to wander away from the subject of meditation. Do not go into these thoughts and feelings, but place them in a kind of mental notebook and turn back to the question of your meditation. It is not the purpose of prayer and meditation that you think or get overwhelmed by feelings. However, the thoughts and feelings you get are meaningful because they tell you something about yourself and about possible external disturbances of your meditation. Therefore, you objectify these thoughts and emotions by placing them in your mental notebook. In that way you don’t anymore forget them but they will also not disturb your prayer or meditation.

Repeat this meditation as often as needed until you have receive new insights in the purpose of life.

Meditation or prayer about the meaning of life is meaningful enough to repeat this throughout your life. In this way you will get deeper and deeper insights.

July 1, 1999

Concentration in prayer and meditation

What is meditation and what is prayer?

Both are practices of concentration. They are methods of disciplining the mind to be concentrated on your inner world. This state of being is in some contrast to the normal life of most people in which their mind and body are occupied by external activities.

The key ability that you have to acquire for both meditation and prayer is concentration. You can of course also be concentrated on something external, for example a task you do with your body.

Concentration in prayer and meditation differs from concentration on external activities mainly in the focus or direction. In meditation and prayer your concentration is directed inwardly and with external activities your concentration is directed outwardly.

Eventually we must learn more about the differences between prayer and meditation. For now it suffices to say that prayer is concentration on God and meditation is concentration on a great variety of aspects of your own inner being.

Exercise 1 – Meditation on Light (20 min)

Sit in a quiet and relaxed position. You may sit on the ground with your knees bent as in a lotus position, or you may sit on a chair. Imagine that your head is filled with a sphere of light. Try to keep this image of light in your head for 20 minutes. When you do this, your mind may attempt to wander away to all kind of thoughts. Imagine that the light in your head dissolves all these other thoughts until eventually there is only light in your head.

Exercise 2 – Concentrate on Your Breathing (20 min)

Sit in a relaxed position and observe your own breathing. Do not change your breathing in any way, but only study how you breathe. There are many meditation methods based on breathing, but the most important in all of them is to learn to concentrate on your breathing while letting your breath flow naturally.

Exercise 3 – Concentrate on God (20 min)

Try to concentrate on God without thinking anything in particular. When you do this, certain feelings or thoughts may come up in you. For example, questions may arise if God really exists or where God is. You may also get feelings frustration or anger. Let these thoughts and feelings pass by during this meditation as if they don’t belong to you. Do not pay attention to them until your meditation is finished. After you completed the meditation you can take time to think about the content of such thoughts and feelings.

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