What Is Meditation?
Meditation is the conscious, deliberate, direct, personal experience of infinity, eternity and perfection.
That is, meditation is the experience of:
Meditation has five distinct stages.
[The blue square represents the self,
the golden circle represents the heart.]
- Concentration, called dharana in Hinduism, is the ultimate state of observation. In Heart Rhythm Meditation (HRM) this results in heart-focused attention in which I realize, "My heart is within me."
- Contemplation, called dhyana in Hinduism, creates a shift in identity. In HRM, my identity shifts so that "I am in my heart," and so I become heart-centered.
- Meditation, called samadhi in Hinduism, is the experience of Unity Consciousness. When this state can be maintained, it is called Enlightenment. The individual heart and self is absorbed into the Universal Heart and Being.
- Proceeding further, the One Being contemplates its individual manifestation. The individual experiences this as being a channel, or an instrument, of the Universal Heart. The individual self emerges from meditation as subordinate to the Universal Self.
- The Microcosm of the Macrocosm can say, "I am a part of All and All is a part of me." This is called "Illumination." Here, unity consciousness is integrated with an individual consciousness, called the "squaring of the circle" in metaphysics. One becomes a representative of the Universal Heart, with one's personal will aligned with the divine Will.
History of Meditation
The earliest references we have to meditation are from the priests, called Heirophants, of early Egypt. The Egyptians explored the meaning of death, and the mystery of the afterlife was the focus of their spirituality. They developed a method of meditation that gave an experience very close to death.
From Egypt, meditation evolved further in India, where the Avatars Rama, Krishna and Shiva developed the method of Samadhi, which was documented by Patanjali, the founder of Yoga. In Samadhi meditation one experiences a timeless, impersonal, non-local transcendence.
Gautama Buddha took the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali further, reaching the ultimate transcendent experience "beyond time and non-time, beyond space and non-space, and beyond person and non-person." Buddha described the objective of human development as "rolling the wheel of becoming backwards," to reach a state of being before one became differentiated from the Source.
Buddha's motivation was to find a solution to the suffering of the world. He realized that human suffering comes from human desire, so by transcending desire, one could transcend pain. The aim of spiritual work at that time was liberation from human limitation through transcendence. The Hindu Avatars were men who became God-like, and Buddha was the tathagata, the "one who has gone beyond.
A different approach was taken by the Abrahamic line, which demonstrated that the divine Being was actively involved in human life. The prophets of Israel negotiated with the "Lord of the Universe" for protection and guidance, in exchange for their devotion and obedience.
"The Great Turn" occurred with the message of Jesus Christ, which redefined the spiritual objective of humanity. Following on the message of Isaiah, Jesus made it clear that every person has a specific and unique contribution and purpose to fulfill in life. Therefor, the work is not to deconstruct the self, but to develop and integrate the body, mind, emotions and ego. Without an ego one cannot take responsibility, and human beings are charged with a joint responsibility for creation as co-creators.
After The Great Turn, meditation has become an exploration of life, not death. Through meditation, one is able to discover the hidden, inner potentials that allow one to live life more fully. Whereas the old forms of meditation gave relief by transcending life, the new meditation forms are a rehearsal for living life as an expression of one's ideals. The old forms deprecated the body, mind, emotions and ego, but the new forms honor all aspects of the human being, which together form a microcosm of the macrocosm.
Meditating on the heart was described as early as 600 AD, when it was attributed to the apostles of Christ. It is undoubtedly much older, as the sensations of breathing and heartbeat are fundamental to everyone and must have been noticed by the earliest people. Meditating on the heart has been updated at IAMheart to remove religious references in this universal method and to incorporate the science of breathing and coherence.
How Meditation Is Done
Meditation is done by applying the Six Basic Powers that are available to everyone, always, in all circumstances.
- One begins a meditation session with an intention. The same action with different intentions can have different results.
- Conscious breathing is always a characteristic of meditation, to open the door between the conscious and unconscious mind.
- Posture is an important consideration because posture affects the flow of energy internally.
- Energy goes where attention is placed, so where attention is placed within the body or without, is consequential.
- Internal energy centers can be externally stimulated, by sound, for example, or pressure. Consciousness rides on energy.
- Invocation is calling upon a being, human or conceptual, living or not. The expansion of consciousness is not something that is done individually; it is a collective process.
Meditation on the Heart
Heart Rhythm Meditation uses the Six Basic Powers as follows:
- Our intention is to be a part of all things, and to experience all things within ourselves. There is nothing that is deprecated; the self includes all levels of reality.
- Our breathing is deep and full, and slow, in rhythm with the heartbeat.
- Our posture is pharaoh-like, sitting with straight back and feet on the floor.
- Our attention is on our physical heart, the gateway to the emotional heart and the center of the aura and magnetic field.
- We enhance the feeling of our heartbeat by placing a hand over the heart, and stimulate our heart by vocalizing a low tone that vibrates the heart.
- In meditation, we invoke the illuminated beings with hearts of light and love, as we know of them.
For the basic steps of Heart Rhythm Meditation, see Meditation for Beginners.