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The World of Meditation: Introduction

Ann Therriault Transcribed by Ann Therriault on 05/01/2024.


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001 Meditation as a divine idea

The following program is the first of a series of six lessons entitled “The World of Meditation” presented by Martha Giudici.

Welcome to the world of meditation. A world we will explore together. A fascinating world as varied as the people who inhabit our world. During our times together, we will look for the likenesses that appear in the world of meditation. We will explore the likenesses rather than differences. Charles Fillmore, co-founder of the Unity Movement, emphasized that it was more important to find points of agreement between people rather than concentrating on differences. When we begin with this idea of meditation, we find that the idea appears among all cultures and among all people throughout our earth. Because it appears so consistently throughout our world, we would say it was what we refer to in Unity as a Divine Idea.

A Divine Idea being an idea that has infinite possibilities of expression in our world. It is not to be confused with a thought we may have about something. It is an idea which has its origin in God Mind and is drawn upon by man in his thinking processes to form his world.

002 The Divine Idea of union with God

The idea of meditation is the Divine Idea of Oneness, for meditation’s essential purpose is union, union or oneness with God, with the power that is greater than us all, whatever we name it. That Power does not care what we call it, God, the reality of being, Brahma, the ground of being, the universal real or whatever. This idea of union with the One Power is the real purpose of meditation. During our time together, we will find how the people of the world are meditating in a desire to become one with this Power greater than us all.

003 The root of the word meditation

As we look at the word ‘meditation,’ we should realize that it comes from the word meditari, which is akin and has the same root as mederi or medical, which means to heal. From this we can see that meditation contains the essential idea of healing our wholeness. The act of becoming whole in mind and body and expressing wholeness in our affairs. It is this aspect of becoming a whole person mentally and physically that has drawn so many people into the process of meditation.

004 Change from the without to the within

This wholeness is achieved by returning to a oneness or union with God, the universal reality, ground being, through the process of changing the direction of our thinking from the without to the within.

For a very long time, man has been so outer directed, so involved with the world that he has come to believe that all things come from the without and that he should only respond to things that occur in the outward side of life. He believes that they are the real. He has lost sight of the true source. The true reality which lies within himself in the world where he meditates and becomes one with Spirit.

In the world of meditation, we will examine the various ways that we may reach this oneness. So that all may find the way best suited to them.

005 The process of meditation

As we go inward to find the center, become one with God, we may draw upon that center to expand our consciousness and to bring that which is needed forth into our world. This is the process then of meditation. Relaxing the mind and body. The going within in thought. Finding our center and achieving a sense of oneness. And bringing that sense of oneness into the outer. As we come again into the outer, we find we have gained an awareness that exceeds that which we have known before, and we become aware of things around us that we have not experienced before. They have always been there. We have not seen them, because we have been so busy responding to outer stimuli that we do not take time to become aware of them.

006 Reconditioning the thinking

As we approach the meditative process, we will see that we need to take a look at our prior conditioning. How we have been thinking and responding to life. Where we are in consciousness. Then, begin a process in meditation of reconditioning, which is to stop the normal flow of thinking, begin to concentrate and go within to our own center, so that we may move to the without again and use that which we have attained.

The next step is to free ourself, so that we may flow without conditioning. In the beginning of the meditative process, it is necessary to learn some conditioning. Even in Zen Buddhism, which emphasizes spontaneity where they do not have such a thing as Zen meditation, they have sittings. They too have a conditioning which allows them to learn to sit. We too have to learn a type of conditioning which then allows us to be free to let things flow.

007 Guided meditation

When we think of meditation, we can probably fit it into two primary ways of meditating: guided and non-guided. The most familiar form to many is the guided meditation in which the leader speaks positive uplifting words, or in tones sound, and the meditator speaks the word, or in tones the sound, or flows with the word in quiet repose, letting the mind flow to that inner place, to the Source, God.

Another type of guided meditation, which we may be familiar with, is the one where the individual reads uplifting thoughts or words such as those found in the Daily Word. The meditator reads the thoughts and lets their mind flow free with those words and in this flowing one frees the mind to move to their center and beyond.

As we meditate more and more, we find that it is a natural action of the mind to flow to the center of being when it is not outer directed. The mind returns to the center from which it came when it flows free. When we think of guided meditation, we associate it with the power of the spoken word or the written word. Any time we are using the spoken word, we are using sound with power. We will become more familiar with a new word ‘mantra’ that is spelled M-A-N-T-R-A, or sometimes mantrum, M-A-N-T-R-U-M, which means sound with power in Sanskrit.

We use the word affirmation in Unity, which to us means sound with power. For surely, we are using power when we are speaking our affirmative words. In guided meditation, we are then using affirmations, mantra, or sounds with power. The power of the spoken word.

008 Non-guided meditation

The other type of general meditative process is the non-guided meditation. The non-guided meditation lets the individual flow with ideas, or in a free flow of thought, to reach new levels of consciousness.

In the guided form of meditation, after relaxing, the meditator lets the mind center on the image of a word or idea and then lets the mind flow free, allowing it to reveal thought as it will in contemplation. This contemplation is a state where the mind receives new input about the word or idea. In this state the mind is allowed free flowing so that it may reveal without any sense of direction.

The other type of non guided meditation is when the mind flows free. Without thought or idea being introduced at the start. After relaxing the mind, the meditator then lets his thought flow free and allows all thought, ideas, impressions, color, sounds, and whatever emerges flow free without interruption. Not concerned about what is flowing but observing the flow and letting it carry the mind to the silent place within, at the center of being, the secret place of the Most-High.

009 Symbols of meditation

In non-guided types of meditation, we use symbols often. They are the word, the idea, the picture, or the rays. They are a starting point for directing the mind. We call the symbols mandala, M-A-N-D-A-L-A, or magic circle. It is not truly a circle but is what we, in Unity, refer to as a Divine Idea. A Divine Idea is an idea with infinite possibilities of expression. We will be discussing this on a later tape. When we flow with a Divine Idea or mandala, the mind reveals from sources deep within us new input, perhaps input that we have never experienced before in life.

010 Prayer and meditation distinguished

The whole world meditates from the formal prayer of the Catholic and Protestants, which varies with every denomination, to the disciplines of the Yogas and Hindus, which are as varied as those of the Catholics and Protestants, we find that all people everywhere are meditating.

We call meditation that form of praying which is non guided. We generally refer to guided meditation as prayer. But since all have the same purpose of achieving oneness with God, they are essentially the same. Prayer is the activity of aligning the mind with the mind of God, and meditation is the way of bringing that mind into oneness with God. Therefore, we would say that prayer and meditation are the same.

011 Meditation across various cultures and religions

As we look at other areas of the meditating world, we find each meditating in his own way. The Buddhists, the Buddhist priests, ministers, Kahunas, rabbis, witch doctors, medicine men, shaman, guides, and even the biofeedback technicians, all have entered into the world of meditation. The processes that they use in that meditation is different. The words are different. The sounds, of course, are very different. But they all have one goal, that idea of oneness with God. But once again, the name of the goal or the terms used to describe the goal are quite different. We would call the goal the Silence, and yet we have also named the process that achieves the Silence, the silence. Others call the goal: Christ consciousness, cosmic consciousness, ground of being, enlightenment, samadhi, satori, the real self, the universal reality, God. Or, among Easterners, the word for God, Allaha.

012 Common steps of meditation

Everyone who meditates uses some essential steps in preparing for the meditative process. They may vary in their out picturing, but they are the same in essential thought. The first step is relaxation. Then concentration. Then meditation. Realization. And finally, thanksgiving.

During our exploration of the world of meditation, we will be using various forms of relaxation. We will be using breathing exercises, imagery exercises, and a relaxation for meditation exercise.

For our times using concentration, and this is quite different from hard concentration, it is the idea of narrowing the mind, we can use sound with power, affirmative words, mantras, or we can use mental imagery, or pictured imagery in the form of mandala. During our meditation time, when we let the mind flow free, we will let it flow free on different ideas, symbols, color, or spoken words, as in the drill in the silence. We will even take a time to sing our affirmative thoughts. The breathing exercises will show us where the power centers are within us, and we will have an opportunity to sound words such as the Om and other words which are sound with power.

The next step is realization, or oneness in the quiet, the Silence. This is the time of oneness with the Lord of our being, the Spirit within us. At one time, I wanted to know how I could tell that I had reached the Silence, and my prayer teacher told me that when there was just you and God and the mosquitoes, you had made a start. And we all know how quiet we have to be to hear a mosquito. When there is just you and God, you have then become quiet. But when there is only God, you have entered the silence.

After every meditative experience, there is a time of affirmation or acceptance of that which has occurred in the Silence. So, we take time at the close of each experience to give thanks for that which has come to us in renewal, in healing, in guidance, and new awareness from within the world of meditation.

013 Non-resistance to thought

In our times of meditating, we need to listen for a moment to some guidance. In all meditation, we should not be straining. We should do things which are easy and natural. We need to let thought come. Let feelings come. Do not be anxious or concerned about anything that comes in your meditation, or how quickly you are meditating. If imagery comes, do not repress it; observe and release it. If you have a hard time concentrating, don’t strain, don’t criticize yourself, but woo your wandering thoughts.

014 Length of time to meditate

You should be spending about 20 min each day in meditation. It is a good thing to begin your day with a short meditation or longer if you have time, and then, taking time later on in the day, when you are free to spend time in the quiet. Do not spend time in meditation close to eating times, after eating, because it interferes with your meditation. The digestive processes seem to interfere with your meditations. There is much to be gained and much to be learned in the world of meditation.

Be prepared now for a journey into a world that may be entirely new, but a world that is creative and fruitful in many ways.

015 1 – Prepare for meditation

Now, let us prepare for our experience in meditation. As you listen to the words, let your mind flow with the words, following the directions easily. Speak the words within the quiet of your own mind rather than out loud.

First of all, in all meditation, it is best to find a comfortable place to sit. Find a comfortable position in a chair. The spine should be erect, but not stiff. Place both of your feet flat on the floor. It is best not to cross your legs for, if you cross your legs, you cut off some of the flow of energy within you and you will find after a time that you become comfortable.

Now as to the hands, this is a matter of preference for everyone is different. Each finds that his hands fall in a position that is most comfortable for him. For instance, there are those who like to sit with their hands in an upturned position. So, that it feels as though they are in a state of receptivity. However, there are those who like to sit with their hands turned down on their knees. This way they feel a free flow of energy within them. Others place their hands on the arm of the chair. Others like to sit with the left hand in the right hand and the thumbs touching so that there is a flow of energy completely around the body. Whatever is your preference, do that. Whatever feels the most comfortable for you is the way that you should be doing it.

Now close your eyes. For it is easier to concentrate while you have quieted the mind, and this is more easily done by closing the eyes. Later, after you have become a practiced meditator, you can have your eyes open or your eyes closed, and it will make no difference.

016 2 – Breathe and relax

Now that you are seated in your chair, with your spine erect but not stiff, and your feet on the floor, and your hands in the most comfortable position, with your eyes closed, take a deep breath. A deep, deep breath. And then, let it out slowly, feeling all tension flowing out with your breath, and resume normal breathing. Let your breathing go in and out very naturally, very slowly. Become aware of your breathing and feel very relaxed with your breathing.

Now, take another deep breath and with this breath relax even more as you exhale. Let all tension, all care, flow out and away from you, then resume normal breathing as you continue relaxing your whole body. We will begin this relaxation exercise by concentrating on the feet.

017 3 – Relaxation exercise – Relax and be at peace

Right now, center your attention on your feet. And speak to your feet words of relaxation and peace. Tell your feet to relax and to be at peace. Relax and be at peace. And feel your feet relaxing and becoming very peaceful. And then, feel them dissolving as if into nothingness, and loose them and let them go.

And now, move your attention to your legs, and speak words every relaxation and peace to your legs. To your thighs, to your calves, to your knees, to your ankles, tell them to relax and to be at peace. Relax and be at peace. And feel your legs relaxing and becoming very peaceful. And then, very gently, release them and let them go.

Then move your attention to your torso, to your upper and your lower abdomen, to your spinal column, to your rib cage, to your pelvic area, and to all of the organs within your torso, and tell them to relax and to be at peace. Relax and be at peace. And feel your whole torso and every organ therein relaxing and becoming very peaceful. And then ever so gently, release your torso and let it go.

Then move your attention to your shoulders, to your arms, and to your hands. And tell your shoulders, arms, and hands to relax and to be at peace. Relax and be at peace. And feel every tension, every care, every sense of perhaps being uptight, rolling off of your shoulders and away from you. Relax and be at peace. And feel your shoulders, arms and hands relaxing and becoming very peaceful, and then gently release them and let them go.

And now move your attention to your throat, to your neck, to your head, to your eyes, to your ears, to your nose, and to your mouth, your tongue, your jaw, your skin, your hair, and tell them all to relax and be at peace. And feel your head relaxing and becoming very peaceful. And then ever so gently, release it and let it go.

018 4 – Revisiting the body

And then very quietly move back down within your body temple. And if there is any part that is not relaxed, that is not peaceful, then say to it, relax and be at peace for this is our time of quiet communion. So lovingly and gently, tell it to relax and be at peace and feel it responding to your words of relaxation and of peace. And then ever so gently, release it and let it go.

As you use this size in relaxing your body, you may find necessary sometimes to go back to the feet. To relax them and let them go. To go to the legs and tell them to relax and be at peace. To the torso and tell it once again to relax and to be at peace. To the shoulders, arms and hands and tell it to relax and be at peace. To the head to the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, tongue, jaw, skin and hair, and tell them all to relax and be at peace. Each time that you do this, you will become more relaxed and more peaceful.

019 5 – Turn to the thoughts – Peace be still

When you achieve this state of relaxation and peace, then turn to the thoughts of your mind and tell them: peace, be still. Peace be still. And feel them responding to your word of peace. And feel them becoming quiet and still. And now let yourself very quietly set in this state of relaxation and peace. Letting your mind flow free. Letting your mind flow easily and quietly to its center. Let your body relax. Let your mind flow free in the Silence, in the Silence.

You may want to spend a longer time in this silent period. You may do this according to your need or desire. You may also want to offer up anything that has been disturbing you and release it lovingly during this time. Or it is a time when you can let the mind contemplate an idea and flow freely with it. This is a time of creative quiet, a time of renewal and rest, but also a time of receiving. So let the mind act freely. Let your thoughts flow freely.

020 6 – Draw the mind up behind the eyes

Then when you are ready to return to the conscious awareness of the world around you, we follow the following steps.

Begin to draw your mind back up behind your eyes.

And then, slowly but surely, begin to let light come to your eyes as you very gently begin to open your eyelids without focusing your eyes.

Begin to open your eyelids very gently very slowly without focusing the eyes.

Let light come until your eyes are open but not focused. At your own rate, until your eyes are open and very slowly and gently begin to focus on the world around you.

021 7 – Focus and thanksgiving

It is important that you come slowly out of your meditation and not open your eyes rapidly. For then the meditative process stays with you that much longer.

Now, we do find that saying thanks is important in accepting that which has occurred in your time of quiet. So very gently and very quietly, within the depths of your being, say thank you Father, and bring your meditation to a close.