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Featured The meaning and importance of meditation

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by adrian009, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I’ve often heard from adherents of the Dharmic Faiths that their faith is more mystical than their Abrahamic cousins. Meditation is seen in many traditions as being an important path to attaining deeper mystical experiences. Are the insights gained deeper and more profound? Is that really true? What does meditation mean to you and where does it belong in your worldview? Are adherents of the Dharmic Faiths really more mystical and contemplative?
     
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  2. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    This isn't true. Judaism has many mystical elements if you want them. The Chassidic movement is an example of this. Christianity has many mystical traditions also, mostly within the Orthodox and Catholic spheres, and which were especially prominent in the Gothic Age, as well as seem making a comeback now. Islam has mystical traditions that most folks seem aware of, too. These just aren't emphasised since at the forefront of everyone's mind the media puts violence, enmity between the faiths, and what they may see as misogyny, homophobia etc., since these stories sell. The Reformation also did a really good job at smearing Catholicism so now many, many people don't have the first clue about its more spiritual/mystical aspects, or that Orthodoxy even exists.

    Jewish meditation - Wikipedia.


    Jewish Meditation
     
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  3. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    I'm not sure mystical is the right word for the meditation I practice which is zazen; just sitting. Such objectless meditation probably defines Soto Zen more than anything else.
     
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  4. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Even if this were true, and I'm not sure it is, I see no particular value in having mystical experiences.
     
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  5. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    I used to practice zazen years ago. Just sitting, breathe, at a white blank wall. Then I went to doing it in nature. I'm going back to it but wouldn't call it zazen now.

    @adrian009 sometimes I get a "clarity" feeling like I understand. Similar to when I jog, hike, or just watch the waters without time or watch etc. Mystic? You know of course I wasn't raised in mystic language. But I wonder is the esoteric language needed to share the same experience as religious (same as in we aren't aliens rather than actual experience congruent to our religions or moral lives)
     
    #5 Unveiled Artist, Sep 16, 2020
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  6. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    In discussions about meditation, I've found it useful to say what you think meditation is. Often people are 'discussing' two different things. If I have a road map of New York, and you have a road map of Paris, what is the point of discussing which restaurant we should meet at?
     
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  7. chinu

    chinu Passenger

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    Friend, as far as I believe, renounce of ego is the first step to meditation which further doesn't allow me to answer any of your question above, thank you. :)
     
  8. halbhh

    halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things".

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    Meditation has been very central in my life, once I understood from my good friend that helped me learn TM (Transcendental Meditation, the particular variety from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi) that the way I would stare into the sky was itself a mediation technique (native american I think she said). I've since learned that there are a great many ways people meditate, often without any having learned their technique, except by trial and error perhaps.

    Does meditation bring one closer to God?
    (or the 'Tao', etc. -- closer to the ineffable)

    Definitely.

    It helps a lot. Here's how: our inner self tends to get partly disassociated by just ordinary modern life, so that most people lose part of themselves.

    People tend to get caught up in the million activities of the world, and lose touch with their soul.

    Meditation helps put one back in touch. Integrates.

    Brings you to yourself.

    If done well.

    And then, in touch with your self (soul), one is then closer to God, more able to seek Him I think. (though God requires also a true seeking with all of the heart)
     
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  9. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    Fwiw, many years ago the topic was discussed informally in Synagogue before Shabbat services.

    It was a short conversation, but, I was told that it was not uncommon for Hasidic Rabbis to meditate on the greatness of G-d for an hour before morning prayers.

    Here's a source to back it up from Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, (of Blessed memory).

    SOLITUDE: TALMUDIC MYSTICS

    When asked how they meditated, it matched some of the Daoist techniques of quieting the mind, allowing thoughts to bubble up and float away.
     
    #9 dybmh, Sep 16, 2020
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  10. Howard Is

    Howard Is Lucky Mud

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    So much depends on what you call meditation, as has already been pointed out.

    In general though, meditation cultivates a deeper knowledge of one’s own mind, as opposed to knowledge about ‘spiritual stuff’.

    I don’t indulge in any speculation about ‘spiritual stuff’, in fact that is anathema to meditation.

    Meditation has two parts, shamatha and vipassana.
    Shamatha is tranquility. There are many practices, many methods, for developing tranquility, or calm abiding, or stillness.
    Vipassa translates literally as insight. The process of stilling the mind also exposes the habitual tendencies of the mind, and the meditator experiences insights about those tendencies.

    The Tibetan word for Buddha is sangye. It is a combination of two Tibetan words meaning ‘abandonment’ and ‘cultivation’.

    Through developing insight into the nature of mind, and examining our habitual tendencies, we can use discrimination to guide the process of abandoning harmful behaviours and cultivating helpful behaviours.
     
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  11. Vee

    Vee Well-Known Member
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    Everyone tells me meditation is great, and I believe them, I really do, but can't get around to do it. Either my head goes all over the place or I start falling asleep :(
    One day I'll do it right and I'm sure it will be great for me.
     
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  12. Eyes to See

    Eyes to See Active Member

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    The Bible does teach that one needs to meditate on what they read in God's word. There is a reason why not everyone understands what it says, even when some teachings are very clear and easy to comprehend. For example the Bible teaches that the soul ceases to exist at death, and that death is a sleep-like state, and that there is a future resurrection. But many people, even if you read them a scripture stating that will not understand or believe.

    I recently on this board was conversing with someone and quoted various different scriptures that all said the same thing, that the ones called to heavenly life are sleeping in death awaiting the return and manifestation of Jesus Christ to be raised from the dead to heavenly life. The person told me that my interpretation of the scriptures was wrong, even though I wasn't interpreting anything. Just quoting scripture word for word.

    The Bible also warns against spiritistic practices. When one clears their mind in rittualistic meditation they leave it open for attack from the unseen, wicked spirit forces.

    I will share with you a few scriptures on the subject.

    The man of God who reads in an undertone the word of God day and night and pays attention to its word will be happy by doing it:

    Happy is the man who does not walk according to the advice of the wicked
    And does not stand on the path of sinners
    And does not sit in the seat of scoffers.
    But his delight is in the law of Jehovah,

    And he reads His law in an undertone day and night.
    -Psalm 1:1, 2.

    Therefore, I appeal to you by the compassions of God, brothers, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason.
    -Romans 12:1.

    In Romans a Christian is told to use his "power of reason." That is ones mental facilities, the ability to think, to ponder, to reason on things and come to correct conclusions. So the abuse of substances that would remove ones ability to think properly, or rituals where one gives up his power of reason would be against the Bible and in fact quite dangerous. For then they leave their minds "swept clean" and open to anything. Jesus stated it this way (talking of unclean wicked spirits that have been expelled from a man):

    "Then it says, ‘I will go back to my house from which I moved,’ and on arriving, it finds the house unoccupied but swept clean and adorned. Then it goes and takes along with it seven different spirits more wicked than itself, and after getting inside, they dwell there; and the final circumstances of that man become worse than the first. That is how it will be also with this wicked generation.
    -Matthew 12:44, 45.

    The house is the man, his mind. It is unoccupied, so the man even after Jesus having expelled the demons from him does not fill his mind with wholesome spiritual truths from God's word and ponders and absorbs himself in it, leaves his mind empty, much like the mystical spirititisc teaching from the east about emptying ones mind in meditation to be filled with spirits. Who fills that void? Yes, unclean wicked spirit forces.

    One more scripture that comes to mind is the admonition Paul gives to Timothy about meditation on God's word:

    Ponder over these things; be absorbed in them, so that your advancement may be plainly seen by all people.
    -1 Timothy 4:15.

    Some Bible translations use the word "meditate" for ponder, the KJV does, if you check the quoted verse on the KJV provided on this board you will see that.

    So the meditation on God's word, with his holy spirit, would be deep contemplation on it. This is how God's word is revealed to a person. By his first of all praying for holy spirit, then reading God's word, then asking for understanding, and meditating, that is pondering, being absorbed in it. God's holy spirit knows the requests of the person seeking knowledge, and God gives wisdom freely to those asking him of it, and he will open their minds wide to the wonderful glorious teachings of truth and light!

    I would like to go briefly to the type of meditation of many in the world, and who adhere to sprititistic practices, many from the east, where they do just the opposite of filling their minds with wholesome truths from the Bible. Rather they are taught to clear their minds and leave them void so that it may be filled with spirits from outside.

    This teaching is found in and stems from Hinduism. The practice of Yoga involves this spiritistic practice. A master of Yoga is known as a Guru. And there are cases of gurus who receives supernatural abilities, possesses, visions, etc. But notice what the father of Yoga states about such. His name was Patanjali, and in his work Yoga Sutra he says that these powers and abilities come from wicked spirits, he called them evil celestial beings. The swami there is "warned against striving for such sorcerous powers and stressed the need for totally avoiding them." -Tantrism, Benjamin Walker, 1985, page 132.

    The Katha Upanishad (1:2:23) teaches that truth cannot be known through scripture, only mystic experiences alone. The Hindu swami Sivandada, quite in contrast to the Bible's admonition to use one's "power of reason" says "Intellect is a hindrance. That which separates you from God is mind."-The World of Gurus, page 77.

    Hindu mystics practice Yogic meditation so they can dull their intellect and experience trances, feelings of ecstasy. Those who attain such a state ares said to have achieved moksha.

    By doing such meditation and emptying the mind and deadening ones senses one can see and hear strange things. Some such meditation combined with fasting, drug-taking, isolation, and torturelike activities that deprive the mind and cause hallucinations can be attend by 'mystical' events of the kundalini type.

    Some Yogis claim to achieve oneness with the spirit world by such practices of meditation. Here is an interesting observation from R. C. Zaehner in his book Mysticism Sacred and Profane:

    This emptiness is dangerous for this is a ‘house swept and garnished,’ and though it is possible that God may enter in if the furniture is fair, it is equally likely that the proverbial seven devils will rush in if . . . there is no furniture at all.

    Gurus even warn new disciples that Yoga can expose its adherents to demonic influence. If the true God were behind such spiritistic practices there would be no need for such warnings would there?
     
    #12 Eyes to See, Sep 16, 2020
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  13. stvdv

    stvdv Well-Known Member

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    Dharmic Faith is not exclusive. Who follows Dharma does not judge others for choosing a different Path, nor does it think in terms of one is better than another
     
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  14. stvdv

    stvdv Well-Known Member

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    There are 3 ways:
    Concentration (Focus your attention on 1 thing; e.g. repeat the Name of your Deva)
    Contemplation (Add Love/Feeling to the Concentration)
    Meditation (Slowly the thoughts diminish; mind is a bundle of thoughts)

    Mystical experiences start when mind stops
     
    #14 stvdv, Sep 16, 2020
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  15. stvdv

    stvdv Well-Known Member

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    All can meditate. No need to be even religious.
    The deeper the meditation ("no thought" state) the more profound it is

    At least the Hindu Scriptures describe it in detail. I don't see much of this in the Bible. Also not in the Koran. But maybe they have other books also.

    Meditation gives freedom. This does not work well when the goal is to control the people, as Christianity used to do in the past
    So, even if there were books about meditation, I think they were not too eager to share those. Evangelizing and meditation don't fit well together
     
    #15 stvdv, Sep 16, 2020
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  16. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    Others have mentioned Judaism and Christianity. I'll add Islamic sufism. And there are forms of meditation that atheists can and do practice.

    To answer the second question first, it's a central piece of my worldview. My goal is to make a sense of the Divine my constant companion. I have a LONG way to go, but for me that goal is a challenge that will last the rest of my life and beyond.

    There are many many different kinds of meditation. Often many people think of it as limited to only one or a few forms.

    For example, even a cat staring at a mouse and preparing to strike can be thought of as meditating on the mouse. People can focus on something so intensely that it is meditation on whatever the focus is.

    Forms of impersonal meditation can include focusing on witnessing oneself and watching the mind work. Meditation can be what sufis call zikr and Hindus call mantra.

    For those with figures such as Jesus and Rama, meditation can involve focusing on the divine qualities of such a figure. If someone loves a divine figure, love itself naturally leads to meditation on that figure.

    Even reading can be a form of meditation depending on what one reads and how it's read.
     
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  17. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    A long while ago, I followed a Guru. There seems to be many different flavors of meditation. At that time, meditation, the meditation we were taught was proof of God. During meditation, one could see/hear God. This, whatever it was, was a very peaceful experience.

    I haven't really practiced in a while, however a few weeks ago I was very depressed about life. So this meditation experience, being in the presence of God, like I said was very peaceful. It separates you from the tensions and pressures of the world. You can center yourself, balance your nature then go back to facing the world/life with greater resiliency.

    Zen is similar but a bit more difficult or at least takes a lot more practice. To quite your mind in a constant battle but those moments you achieve this, it is also a peaceful experience. So finding peace within yourself is to me the biggest benefit.
     
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  18. halbhh

    halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things".

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    Falling asleep is quite normal in meditation if one is tired enough/behind on sleep enough. TM mediators pointed out to me that I needed enough sleep first, before I could really get to the best meditation.
     
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  19. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    Don't sweat it. It never worked for me and it might never work for you. For some folks, like me(!), the opposite works best: rocking, dancing, whirling etc. all produce a much better feeling than inner peace, or understanding, contemplation and whatnot; instead, I much more appreciate and prefer the euphoria that comes with swinging or whirling oneself into an ecstasy. Afterwards you feel satisfied and relieved, in my experience, and that clears one's head just as much.
     
    #19 Rival, Sep 16, 2020
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  20. halbhh

    halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things".

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    :) Free Dancing works great, I can say -- though it's a different effect it's quite a good one. And the times I did the Sufi style whirling that worked just as well too. Dancing works easier, quicker, but it's also just different in effect. Both apples and oranges are quite delicious.
     
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