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.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments:

Post a Comment