Body-centered Meditation

Meditation is and attribute and in a way a consequence of the Buddhism philosophy. It is a relatively new idea to western culture, but the idea isbeing more and more accepted.

Basics of Body-Centered Mediation andGuided Imagery

Meditation is and attribute and in a way a consequence of the Buddhism philosophy. It is a relatively new idea to western culture, but the idea is being more and more accepted. The reason of it’s growing popularity is stresses of modern day living as well as the growing population of people concerned with preserving and expanding their spiritual potential.

As said Albert Einstein,

“If the possibility of the spiritual development of all individuals is to be secured, a second kind of outward freedom is necessary, which may be characterized as inward freedom. This inward freedom is an infrequent gift of nature and a worthy object for the individual.”

Thus, if the inborn inward freedom is so seldom and so valuable, it is then comprehensible why people are now turning to meditation as a tool to attain this freedom. Yoga’s tradition states that concentration onsubtle internal body sensation makes it possible to control body’s functions up to a degree considered unthinkable in Western scientific paradigm, like heart beat or the very consciousness.

The recent therapeutic success of Guided Imagery corroborated the concept of accessibility (though not effortless) of the body functions for voluntary control by the mind.

We intend to describe the exercise on the body centering using basics of the meditation technique. We will list some terms and conditions concerning meditation given by two classical meditation schools.

In the Buddhist tradition, there are five principal kinds of meditation:

1. Metta-bhavana or meditation on Love, in which the monk thinks of all beings and longs for their happiness

2. Karuna-bhavana or meditation on Pity, in which the mediating person is to think of all things in distress and sorrow for their sorrows

3. Mudita-bhavana or meditation on Joy is concentration on rejoicing in the others joy

4. Asubha-bhavana or meditation on Impurity is the way of thinking about the physical world and the physical body as substrates of corruption, disease and sorrow, endlessly repeating in the chain of rebirths

5. Upekka-bhavana or meditation on Serenity is a fixation on indifference to what men hold for good and bad, with utter calmness and serenity of mind

The Yoga system require as a prerequisite for meditation several steps of self-purification and self-perfection:

1. Yama or vows to abstain from harming living things, deceit, stealing, unchastity and acquisitiveness
2. Nijyama or observance: the rules of cleanliness, calm, mortification, study and prayer
3. Asanas as a mode of body discipline and control
4. Pranayama or breathing control and self-limitation
5. Pratayahara or withdrawal of the senses from the physical world
6. Dharana or concentration of the mind on a single idea until it is closed to anything else
7. Dhyana or meditation, which is described in this context as a preparatory stage to the complete trance in which the mind is no longer aware of the outer world
8. Samadhi, the trance. During this stage, it is believed, the mind enters into the Ultimate reality

You can see that meditation is serving to the mighty idea and is being served in its own turn by a complete and all-embracing life-style. However, there are modern applications that sound very close to the idea of healing power of increased body-awareness. I mean the Guided Imagery.

In this technique, a healer leads a patient into the body encouraging concentration on its internal state and efforts to improve the inner condition. Imagery it is because it uses metaphorical language, which can be quite far away from realistic knowledge about the body’s machinery and functioning.

It is also guided, because it is not easy to fulfil, partly due to our overall decreased body awareness. In accordance with one of the recent academic concepts of self-diagnostic system of the body, signals from deficient internal organs are supposed to be brought to the self-diagnostic center of the brain within the common stream of bodily signals (touch, pain, muscle sensation, bone tension, etc.).
In civilized human beings this stream is lacking its natural flux, resulting in insufficient delivery of information. Directing the thought flow inside the body perhaps is one of the ways to compensate this lacking. We use guided imagery permanently in the Body-mind Workout exercises, but it is the most expressed in the body-centered meditation.

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