Meditation and the Mind

The mind provides the basis for thought and ego - the sense of "I". Working in conjunction with and through the brain and nervous system, thought is distributed throughout the body and generated into the atmosphere. But there is a more encompassing point of view in which thought is like the bubble in the foam that is on the sea shore, and mind is like the sea, of which the foam is a part.

If we identify with one bubble of foam, our conscious active mind is less than the foam or the sea. As a person's mind expands, so too does his or her point of view. It grows to include more of the greater mind, or sea, looking from that "position" as compared to the bubble; which is tossed upon each wave and affected by the outer forces such as wind, rain, dissolution, or someone stepping upon it.

So too with the mind: if one experiences or becomes aware of their own mind as greater than limited to one's body; his point of view will expand to include more; and he too will not be crushed or affected so much by the daily events that impinge upon the smaller "I".

If then a person were also to become aware that the greater has many levels or strata within it; that rivers flow through it; that if affects all it comes into contact with; and that all the bubbles and foam are part of it; then he too could become as great as what he can perceive. The mind would expand to include more and the effect of the mind would both be understood and be able to be used. This, then, is the focus and effect of meditation upon the mind. It provides a way to increase or expand it to become aware more of itself and to learn to function, or act, on more levels or strata.

Meditation practices can provide the tools to use for both this expansion and corresponding increase in awareness. There are many practices which can be applied to gain a little more sense of one area or attribute of the mind. Some are easy and straightforward. Some are more oblique and build upon others; while some are very subtle and develop with use. In all of these, we may consider that the state of awareness that develops through meditation presages that as may become our regular awareness. In other words, meditation provides the stepping stone or ladder to increase our awareness and further our mind. The experience of our mind in the highest state of meditation eventually becomes the base of our normal consciousness.

Try an experiment. Consider that you are your fingertip. Put your attention at the very tip or your little finger and try to make yourself look from that point of view. Assume for a moment that you are nothing more than that tiny tip. If you were to cover the fingertip with a cloth, you and your whole world would go black. Now, slowly increase what you assume that you are. Become the hand, then the arm, etc., until you become your whole body. Now make the next step. Become more than your body. Expand. Breathe through your body. Feel the breath flow into it on the inhale and out of it on the exhale. Identify with the breath. Become more than your body. Feel yourself reach out and flow out on the exhale until you are larger than your body. Feel yourself return and flow in and become more solid in your body. But do not identify with your body. Identify with your breath.

Now make the next step. Feel the part of you that is your mind getting larger with each breath. Feel it growing on the out-breath and contracting on the in-breath. Feel it become more aware of the levels or strata within the sea. And as you do, become aware of the tones, colors, shape, substance, feeling, solidity of the sea and the level you are in. Identify with the mind that is boundless - larger than even you. Let yourself go further out into the sea and deeper into it. Become it. Breathe it. Feel it. Experience.

Now consider something else. That is how you are different now from when you were a small child. Are you not still "you"? What happened to the mind of the child? Where is it? Has it gone and left? Has it grown and developed? If you let go of it to grow to what you are now, then you also get a sense of what more you grow into with the meditative mind.

We are going back now to the practices presented in the first article, quot;An Introduction to Meditationquot;. But now we have a broader perspective in which to place them. Using that, we will again practice breathing, counting breaths, and experiencing breath. The quietness of thought allows us to move from the bubbles, to the foam, to the sea.

Previous practices: 1. Counting breath. Count 1 on the in-breath and 2 on the out-breath. 2. Feeling breath. Feel it "in" and "out" with your breathing. 3. Experience breath. Experience it penetrating and flowing through your body.

New practices: 1. Visualize a wide cool blue expanse of water. Let your mind become it. 2. See a deep silver reflecting pool. Enter into it. Become it. 3. Breathe love until it only exists. Let it fill your mind as it does your heart. Breathe them together as one.

Part 1: An Introduction to Meditation ... Part 2: Meditation and health
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