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QUESTION ABOUT THE FEELING OF SINKING IN MEDITATION:

I have recently begun to meditate regulary and can understand the priciples, however I have found that at some point during my meditation I feel what can be described as a sinking feeling into myself, and I find that my body begins to shake, and I feel myself almost resisting the movement. Have you or any of your pupils ever experienced anything like this? My best explanation is that I am not ready to let go? Can you provide any guidance.

ANSWER:

This feeling of sinking into oneself in meditation is not uncommon. It occurs rather frequently in my classes, and is, in fact, one of the goals of meditation. There are a couple of factors involved.

One is that you are letting go of alot tension and sinking into a state of deep relaxation, and in a very real sense, sinking into the depths of your consciousness.

Another factor is that as you let go of thought, you are allowing a greater amount of spiritual energy to move upward through the spinal canal, from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. As the energy moves upward, it can feel as though you are falling or sinking downward. This movement of spiritual energy is also producing the shaking you described. There is no cause for concern, as the shaking is part of a positive release... a clearing of limiting energies.

The important thing to remember is that it is perfectly safe and natural. It may take a little time to become familiar with this letting go, and the ensuing deep states of relaxation and consciousness. But when you begin to realize how absolutely enjoyable it is in that deep silence, it will become quite easy to let go into it.

QUESTION ON INCREASING CLARITY, CONCENTRATION, AND RETENTION:

I am curious about meditation. I am currently in college, and the courses I am taking are mentally challenging. I wonder if there is a form of meditation where I can increase my potential to retain when I'm reviewing my notes.

ANSWER:

I suggest you try the Inner Light Meditation described in the Core Meditation Section. It is especially effective for fueling the brain very quickly and easily, and increased brain fuel enhances mental clarity, concentration, and retention ability. You can practice this meditation for 10 -15 minutes daily, at a designated time... or you may want to do it just before studying, during a study break, or before an exam.

QUESTION ABOUT ANXIETY:

I've been trying for about two years now to practice relaxation/stress reduction. In short, I have what doctors like to call "generalized anxiety, or GAD." I've tried visual imaging, PMRs, stress counselors, and even a hypnotist many years ago, but nothing seems to work. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

I don't pretend to know the specific underlying influences that have contributed to your anxiety. However, I've discovered through my work, certain core issues that are generally at the root of anxiety. These are almost always unconscious to a certain degree.

The first is a sense of dis-connectedness from one's Spiritual Source. The second is the belief that we live in a universe that is not friendly, reliable and supportive, but rather capricious and un-supportive. The third is an underlying sense of unworthiness.

These - alone or in concert - give rise to a deep feeling that life is very tenuous and threatening. As mentioned, they often work from a very unconscious level.

I can't offer an instant fix, but I can say that regular meditation practice restores our sense of connectedness with the Spiritual Source, and helps us gradually resolve our limiting core issues. I suggest you try the two core meditations at the Online Meditation Center - The Inner Light Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation - and see which one resonates with you.

Also, the guided meditation tape, "River of Tranquility," available in the Meditation Tape Room, was created to serve a number of purposes... among them, stress reduction, and instilling a deep trust in the unconditional support of the universe and our connectedness with Life.

QUESTION ABOUT DEVELOPING SPIRITUAL GIFTS:

I am 15 years old, I am from Guatemala. I am trying to develop all the abilities that God gave us since we came to the earth. I think your website is excellent. I would really like to know more about meditation. I am having a little trouble finding guidance, cause here in my country I havenīt found someone who can teach all that we can do with our spirit. I would really appreciate it if you could give me some help with this.

ANSWER:

I'm happy to hear you are exploring meditation. If more people began meditating at your age, the world would be a better place. The most important thing about meditation is simply doing it regularly. As you practice it with regularity, the gifts of your Spirit begin to unfold naturally.

These gifts are unique to each person, but in general they include such things as: various types of intuitive gifts; healing abilities; creative gifts; deep insight and wisdom; great love and compassion; the ability to lead and inspire others...

I suggest you continue with whatever meditation method your are using, if you find it is easy, enjoyable, and you feel inwardly peaceful while meditating. If you have not found a method that works for you, I suggest you try one or both of the Core Meditations described at the Online Meditation Center... The Inner Light Meditation or the Mindfulness Meditation. These are methods that can, in time, take you to the deepest states of consciousness, and help you unfold the gifts you are seeking.

QUESTION ABOUT THE HIGHEST STATES OF MEDITATION:

How will I know when I've reached the full meditation state? What will it feel like?

ANSWER:

I'll preface the answer to your question, by explaining that it is best to approach each meditation without any particular expectation, and without concern for reaching a specific goal. Every meditation is a valuable part of a larger process of spiritual unfoldment.

With that said, there are many possible experiences of the full meditative state... all quite enjoyable. One, is the experience of deep silence... pure awareness. This is the experience of "being," rather than doing.... your serene Inner Spirit is not overshadowed by any thought or activity.

Another is the experience of Spiritual Light... one may be filled with this elevating Light... or be immersed in the Light.... or one may experience the bliss of being the Light.

Another is the experience of total union with the Divine Consciousness and with all Life.... loosing one's limited self in the ecstacy of the unbounded ocean of Spirit.

Still another is the the fullness of Divine Love... in which the heart overflows with spiritual joy and the love of God.

These are a few of the possibilities, and they can overlap and blend with one another in varying degrees. These experiences generally occur not through our own efforts, but are triggered by a higher power, which most have referred to as "grace." These experiences are tastes of the ultimate enlightened state toward which we are heading. The more regular we are with meditation, the more likely we are to have such experiences. It can be helpful to request a bit of grace in your meditation, but beyond that, it's best to go about your practice, and enjoy whatever occurs.

QUESTION ABOUT THE INABILITY TO SEE IN MEDITATION:

I have been trying meditation for a while, and I do not feel successful because I don't "see" anything when I close my eyes. Literally, I don't think I possess the ability to visualize. This is something that has haunted me for a long time because I am supposed to be a creative person, yet this very basic skill of imagination is beyond me. Are some people not able to connect with a more spiritual realm? With as much as I want to believe, could this not be within my grasp? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

Your question about visualization comes up frequently in my classes, as there are many people who do not see things in their meditation. There are 3 major modes of perception... seeing, hearing, and sensing. Most people have a natural tendency toward one of these.

Visualizing is a rather misleading term, as true visualization really does not require seeing. Many who don't see things describe their experience of higher realms as a sort of sensing/feeling/knowing. Others are able to tune into higher planes through hearing. When you get into the deeper levels of consciousness, the senses tend to overlap somewhat.

These higher worlds are available to you. The key is attention and intention.... gently directing your attention to higher realms, and putting forth the subtle intention to be there. I suggest you let go of the need to see clearly, then try accessing the higher realms with whatever mode of perception is most natural to you. With continued practice, you will become more comfortable in these worlds of light.

QUESTION ABOUT MANTRA MEDITATION:

Do you have a tape on learning mantra meditation using the "OM." I started using that mantra but I need more guidance. The trouble is, my exhale is so long that the mantra becomes this long, really long word and I don't know if that's right. Maybe I'm trying to hard and taking a huge inhale. Oh life's problems! It certainly feels good, but I need to find out if I'm doing it right. That mantra seems to fit me though. Anyway, let me know what you think and if you have a mantra teaching CD

ANSWER:

I do have a combination CD and instruction booklet of my beginning meditation class available, which includes a meditation using that particular mantra. (see Meditation CD Room) If you are enjoying your meditation, and don't feel that you are straining, then you're doing all right. But if it does feel as though you are working too hard, then let your breathing, and the entire process, become a bit more natural. Relaxed effort works best in meditation.

QUESTION ABOUT ACCEPTING WHAT OCCURS IN MEDITATION:

Sometimes I feel school and life in general can be very stressful, and I've always been interested in meditation as a way to relax and become happier. I was reading your instructions for meditation and noticed that you said that the point is to accept whatever occurs in meditation... but if school work is the only thing on my mind, how is this going to help me?

ANSWER:

Are you are using a specific meditation technique... one in which there is a primary "object of focus," such as breath, an image, etc.? If you are using a method such as this, and putting forth a relaxed effort, then thoughts - no matter what their content - become a run-off of tension and stress.

Relaxed effort means easily focussing on the primary object, and when your mind drifts off, gently bringing it back, no matter how many times this occurs. There will be times when you spontaneously shift into a deeper, quieter state... but if you have begun your technique, even the thought-filled meditations will be having the effect of relieving stress. In most cases, people say they feel more relaxed after meditation, even if it seemed as though nothing happened and they were just thinking.

QUESTION ABOUT THE HISTORY OF MEDITATION:

Can you tell me more about the history of meditation?

ANSWER:

There isn't much recorded history on the earliest forms of meditation, but it has been around since ancient times. The roots of meditation are in simply communing with Spirit, and signs of this type of activity can be found in some form in almost all ancient cultures.

More structured methods evolved in numerous cultures over thousands of years. For example, in India there are meditation techniques handed down to us from various scriptures called "tantras," that go way back. There are techniques from the Malini Vijaya Tantra that go back 5000 years... and from the Vigyan Bhairava and Sochanda Tantra that are around 4000 years old.

These then, were around for a couple thousand years before Gautama the Buddha appeared on the scene in India, around 500 B.C. However, he was one of history's major proponents of meditation. In the 2000 years that proceeded the Buddha, his teachings, which included meditation, were spread throughout Asia... into Burma, Ceylon, and Thailand; up into Tibet; to China and then Japan.

In India, one of the words for meditation was "Dhyan." In China this became "Cha'an." And in Japan the word became "Zen." Over the last century, Buddhist and other eastern meditation practices have found there way to North America, although the Quakers had already been practicing a form of meditation in this country for over a century. This is a very brief history of only one branch of the universal practice of meditation.

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