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Can you give me some tips to improve my meditation?
Question: I am writing to ask for some assistance with my meditation. Last year I felt I was in my meditative groove, but feel now that I have lost it. I just wanted to know if there were any tips or suggestions you could make to assist me. I try for about 10-15 minutes, but rarely does my mind get still and quiet. The experience you described in one of your emails is what I am hoping meditation would bring me: bliss and joy. I do experience a great deal of peace in my life, but I know it can be enhanced through meditation. Always in Love.
Answer: Meditation as a practice is a time of quiet, a dispassionate and detached watching of thoughts, and a sinking below the clouds of thought to the Light below, deep within. During the practice it is important to be gentle with yourself, and if your attention still seems to hop on the train of the stream of thoughts, simply notice this and hop off the train. Initially, when the mind is undisciplined, it is important to realize that every effort or attempt to simply watch the train go by is helpful. Begin to notice that the train of thoughts is always about the past or the future. These thoughts come from the belief in linear time, and the clouds of time are the clouds which seem to obscure the Eternal Present. The "practice" itself involves the belief in time (i.e. practice periods and intervals), yet the goal is always to sink beneath the clouds of illusion.
You may find it helpful to use a few words to begin your meditations and help you concentrate on your goal. In the beginning words can be helpful reminders of what it is that is you desire, of the purpose you hold for the practice period. Desire is the key, and when there's resistance to the Silence this is always just an indication that the mind is not in a state of readiness. It is important not to force anything, or there will be a feeling of resentment or coercion. The Guide within knows the way, so be open to any ideas that come to mind in a joyful way. Initially I was Guided to use music and meditation tapes the Spirit brought into my experience. These meditation aids were always resources I was drawn to, and they helped reduce the resistance and increase the readiness. I suggest being open to these kind of resources, and being open to let the Spirit make some resources through you.
I think it is most important to be clear on the purpose for which time is used each day, aside from meditation periods. The best use of time is to be attentive and to question beliefs and underlying assumptions, for unconscious beliefs determine what is perceived. If you actively cultivate the questioning of belief, you open your mind rapidly to insight. Time well spent during the day, on purpose, is a kind of meditation, and this prepares you for your meditation periods of sinking within to the Stillness. As you practice and practice, meditation becomes synonymous with attentiveness, with being attuned to the Spirit within, and becomes continuous. As the mind is trained in being attentive to the Spirit, the Perspective through which you view the world becomes more consistently peaceful. Insight shows that there is no world apart from thought, and eventually that there is nothing "outside" of mind.
What initially seems like a practice becomes unified in awareness. Just doing the workbook lessons of ACIM is a very direct instruction in clearing away the resistance to natural meditation. Just be sure to try to not make any exceptions to the daily lesson in your application.
Blessings in this Joyous adventure.