Meditation Q & A
Meditation is a method of self-cultivation, the process of exploring and training heart and mind. This process increases self-awareness and broadens the mind. A heart that is influenced by self-cultivation becomes clearer and more enduring; feelings of tranquility become more common. The body grows stronger, healthier and more relaxed.
There is a common and mistaken belief that practicing sitting meditation alone is the sum total of self-cultivation. Practitioners with this point of view behave as they always have when not practicing their sitting meditation. If an individual is a true self-cultivator, they are aware that even if not seated in lotus position, they are still capable of meditative thought. Everyday activities such as eating and working may be conducted with mindfulness. To be mindful while doing the mundane is to be the essence of self-cultivation.
Most people are very mistaken in their concept of “the body.” They believe that their bodies are flesh, and flesh alone, erroneously dividing their concepts of “self” into two categories: flesh and spirit. Due to this misunderstanding, many only know to nourish the body by means of food and drink; they do not know to nourish the spirit, and thereby suffer innumerable physical maladies.
There is a growing awareness that bodily illness is born of psychological maladies, for the spirit is the body’s master. We are mortal, thus we may not avoid unhealthy tendencies, such as greed, anger, ignorance. Those tendencies create all of our illnesses and pain. Treatments that affect only the symptoms heal once, while the root of the problem remains fixed and unaltered.
Scientific research suggests that when people are in states of psychological wellness, their bodies produce beneficial hormones, enzymes and compounds. They may lower blood pressure and excite neurons to work at their optimum. Contrarily, depression, anxiety, and sadness work throw the body’s internal functions into disorder and result in sickness.
Self-cultivating can ground a tumultuous mind, fostering a clearer and more joyful internal state. When the mind is at ease, the body’s energy (qi) flows smoothly. When the qi flows smoothly, the blood does as well. Not only are illnesses dispelled and the body strengthened, but perspective is also encouraged by this state. Clearer perspective eliminates misconceptions born of pure subjectivity. Mental focus is also enhanced. This leads to the development of new wisdom and finally the realization of each individual’s unlimited potential for health, success and wonder.
Anyone can practice self-cultivation because the innate wisdom that lies within each and every person is the same, though it manifests differently. Some people who regard themselves as highly educated are limited by the knowledge that they have acquired through academic study. They are unable to discern that their inner growth and natural progress are being stunted by the limits and structures that they have placed on their thinking. Meditation provides a different sort of education, an experiential one. The irrelevant is set aside, giving room for the real and personal experiencing of life’s truths.
The simple truth is that life is a process of development—change is the only constant, after all. Health, happiness and any other state are essentially transient phenomena. In ancient China, it was believed that “humans have but a short while to enjoy both misfortune and joy.” While the average individual may be dissatisfied with numerous issues in their lives, even someone blessed with a remarkably happy disposition will encounter the occasional down. Self-cultivation is a tool that can be developed, and used in challenging situations. It permits a calm that allows wisdom to be the main and active element in problem resolution.
To put it simply, one’s “life” and one’s “fate” can be viewed as two separate entities:
• Life comprises your preexisting consciousness; it is humankind’s sixth sense.
• Fate changes with space and time. It is also latent within your consciousness.
The Meditation of Purity can purify your sixth sense and guide you to the right path, the path of the tranquil Middle Way, thus naturally changing your life for the better.
Fate is something influenced by good and bad karma. Meditation can help to purify our bad karma, thus allowing our good karma to bring forth positive change in our lives. In short, yes, meditation has the potential to help you overcome your difficulties.
The meditation techniques taught at Bodhi Meditation are those compiled by Meditation Master JinBodhi during his many decades of self-discipline and trial. They represent the refinement of his traditional instruction, with the following enhancements:
Bodhi Meditation methods are easily acquired, irrespective of age or gender. Their accessibility is not fettered by differences in cultural, economic, religious, or linguistic background. With a willing mind, practical proficiency with the techniques develops in very little time.
(2) Result Oriented
Practitioners of Bodhi Meditation learn to access and make use of the natural world’s energies to improve their physical and mental well-being. Externally, the body is strengthened, while internally, psychological and spiritual development occurs.
(3) Making Life Meaningful
A course based on Bodhi methodology is a course in the methodology of good living—our students learn about cultivating and enlightening the heart-mind. This process leads to the accumulation of merit, or positive karma.
The practice of Bodhi Meditation benefits both the body and the mind.
A. Physical benefits include:
(1) Notable improvements in physical condition and general appearance, including weight control
(2) The clearing of mental distractions and impurities.
(3) The occurrence of a state in which, without intending to do so, a practitioner finds themselves unable or willing to eat, yet relaxed and full of energy. It is known as “spontaneous fasting,” a phenomenon of natural, healthy and automatic physical-spiritual readjustment
B. Psychological/Spiritual Benefits include:
(1) Increased patience and willpower
(2) Increased mental agility and task proficiency
(3) An improved ability to remain calm and emotionally grounded
(4) A broader, more open heart, increased initiative and enthusiasm, plus a greater pleasure in helping others
Meditation is a process of connecting with nature and thereby regaining a “natural” balance—it is not a harmful process.
During meditation, people do experience a variety of different physical sensations, ranging from shivers to feeling very hot. These phenomena occur differently for everyone because no two people share the exact same physical or psychological constitution. Nonetheless, these phenomena are both harmless and unavoidable. Some people gain great benefit from their meditation practice without ever experiencing any of the above—this is also normal. There is nothing mysterious in the occurrences noted here, as they have no reality. Meditators should neither fixate on them, nor allow them to hinder their self-cultivation initiatives.
Due to how easy it is to learn and practice Bodhi Meditation, the majority of practitioners see obvious results after as little as two weeks. Results differ for everyone, as no two people have identical physical-psychological constitutions. Focus on your practice and you are certain to benefit greatly.
If you wish for the best results as quickly as possible, participate in one of our Bodhi Meditation and Retreats, so as to solidly establish the most positive and powerful grounding of the principles. By the same token, you ought to practice the Meditation of Greater Illumination and the Meditation of Purity at least once a day. If you do so, you are more likely to maximize benefit.
Best results are normally attained if students attend a Bodhi Meditation Retreat program. Not only will the foundation of learning be the strongest possible, but the speed of physical improvement will be the greatest as well. However, for students who may not participate in a retreat, excellent results may also be had if there is dedication to learning the techniques correctly.
Bodhi Meditation has prepared a number of audio-visual materials for students unable to attend class. To purchase materials, please contact your local center. Students may also seek guidance from teachers via post, phone, or e-mail (please see the contact information under the “About Us” heading).
Students can practice any time of day or night. It is best to wait thirty minutes after eating.
No matter when you practice, it is always best to continue for as long as you can, so long as it is enjoyable. Be sure to practice everything in its correct sequence, aiming for half an hour of practice, and then adding a little to that half hour each time (according to your ability). If you practice every day, you will definitely benefit.
Meditation is a wonderful way to get rested! What’s more, it invigorates and dispels fatigue more efficiently than sleep. We recommend that anyone who works exceptionally long hours put aside an hour of their normal sleep time for meditation. It will increase both the amount of energy that you have each day, as well as your work-related problem solving skills.
The lotus position is not directly related to meditation, per se. However, body and mind are best cultivated as one—that is the goal of self-cultivation. If you have never sat in the lotus position, then you are not likely to know how much your body and mind affect one another, nor whether you have really linked them in your awareness.
Meditating in the lotus position is an excellent way to enhance your will-power. If you are able to pass through the periods of discomfort, soreness and numbness that may result, then you are more likely to be able to meet the challenges and difficulties of your day without losing energy or focus. The lotus position ought not be overlooked—it is a useful tool. Once the position has been adopted a few times, it gets easier and easier to assume.
When people begin to study meditation, they often experience a variety of pains and discomforts—including the sensation that time is passing very (VERY) slowly. It is important to quiet your heart and mind, because practice is a matter of overcoming your own self-imposed limitations. When you persevere and continue working through those challenging moments, you are likely to access a state of being utterly at peace and joyful. These sensations are not truly describable in words, and must be experienced to be truly understood. The most important attribute associated with this positive state is the manner in which everyday life is beneficially affected.
During meditation, body temperature usually rises, and the practitioner may perspire lightly. This is due to increased blood flow within the body. During meditation, the tongue rests against the palate, and after an extended period of time, saliva will begin to gather in the mouth because accumulated energy stimulates the salivary glands. One can simply swallow it slowly at intervals.
The most important aspect of self-cultivation is the pursuit of a balanced heart-mind. It is more important to do that than to become a vegetarian. If you are able to be happy, healthy and calm, then that is enough, regardless of what foods you consume.
Nonetheless, cattle, sheep and horses are normally gentle animals. They also benefit the human world in a variety of ways. Eating them is a form of unnecessary violence on our part. Being more aware of what we eat, avoiding the consumption of anything that has suffered to become our food, is a process that can encourage awareness and kindness.
Everyone has the right to freedom of belief; it is our beliefs that guide us through life after all. We warmly welcome people from all religious backgrounds. We wish for the everlasting peace and health of every being—potentially divisive issues have no precedence.
Moreover, the quality of thought attained during meditation surpasses that of everyday life, and also therefore transcends everyday human philosophical, scientific, and religious understanding. For that reason, it is possible for people with many different world views to appreciate each other differently during or after meditation.
(1) Pick out some loose fitting, comfortable clothing; remove watches, jewelry, glasses and headgear; make sure that your feet are comfortable (be barefooted or in comfortable shoes). Make sure that your joints are not exposed to cold air.
(2) Select a clean, peaceful spot where you are not likely to be disturbed (protected from the wind if you are outside). If there are windows, open them, and allow the fresh air to enter.
(3) Sitting meditation can be done seated on a chair or bed. Wherever you sit, the surface ought to be reasonably flat. If on the floor, lay down a blanket or a cushion, which may help you meditate longer.
(4) If you are, or become, highly emotional (overly sad, excited or angry), don’t force yourself to meditate. Once you have calmed down, simply start again.
(5) Being overly hungry or full can negatively affect your meditation.
(6) Women who are pregnant or have just given birth can meditate as usual, so long as they are aware of themselves and their health.
(7) Remind yourself at the beginning of each meditation session:
(a) to remain calm if there is either a sudden noise or disturbance;
(b) not to be startled or scared. Maintain a relaxed and peaceful state.
(8) During thunder and lightning storms, or periods of very bad weather, it is not advisable to meditate, nor do we encourage outdoor meditation when it is very foggy or misty early in the morning.
(9) When you have completed your meditation, it is crucial that you perform finishing motions (rubbing your hands together, rubbing your face, and massaging or running your hands over yourself from head to toe). Also, after meditating, wait a while before using cold water to wash hands or face.
(10) Self-cultivation has the potential to completely re-order the body’s internal functions. For that reason, it is important not to concentrate on one’s illnesses during meditation. Focusing on an issue can create or reinforce it. Some novice meditators find that while they are meditating, a number of physical discomforts pop up (e.g., back pain). However, after a few days of continued meditation, it is normal for the soreness to disappear.