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Advanced Meditation Exercises

Advanced Meditation Exercises

The meditation exercises described in this section are advanced. They will challenge you to:

  • Delve into your inner being and see yourself in a different light;
  • Examine yourself in relationship with the Universe;
  • Recognize the interdependence of everything in this Universe including yourself; and
  • Aid in your self-transformation and the discovery of your purpose and meaning in life.

“Who am I?” — Past and Present

  • Meditate upon a photo of yourself as a child in a sitting position.
  • Begin by breathing slowly and deeply for 20 breaths, while maintaining a half-smile.
  • Then concentrate on the photo for 15 minutes: pay attention to the body, mind, feelings, perceptions, and consciousness of your childhood self.
  • Next, think about your present self — your body, mind, feelings, perceptions, and consciousness at this very moment.
  • Ask yourself “Who am I?” Reflect upon this question with your being for the next 10 minutes.*

    * This is not a mental exercise to come up with the right answer.

“I am part of the Universe” Meditation

  • Sit in a darkened a room or in a peaceful spot of nature.’
  • Breathe slowly and deeply
  • As you think the following, “I will use my finger to point at myself,” point away from your body into the distance.
  • Mentally remove yourself from your bodily form and see it from the outside.
  • Now visualize your bodily self in the universe — moving through the grass, among the trees, and in the river.
  • Recognize that you are a part of the Universe and the Universe is also in you.

“Letting go of successes and failures” Meditation

  • Assume a seated position. Breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Think back upon your most significant life achievements.
  • Examine each of these successes closely and acknowledge two aspects — i) your talent and commitment and ii) the favorable conditions.
  • Recognize that you could have not achieved the success without the convergence of your talent and commitment and the favorable conditions — they are interdependent.
  • Let go of your feelings of superiority and arrogance.
  • Now think back upon your worst failures.
  • Examine each of these failures closely and acknowledge two aspects — i) your talent and commitment and ii) the unfavorable conditions.
  • Recognise that you were not completely accountable for the failures as your talent and commitment were undermined by unfavorable conditions — they are interdependent.
  • Let go of your feelings of defeat and self-condemnation.

“Service” Meditation

Though it is commendable to participate in an endeavor for the wellbeing of the community, it is nonetheless important to do so in the true spirit of service.

The following meditation activity will help you to clear your mind and prepare your heart for your community service work:

  • Assume a seated position. Breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Think about the community service work you are about to embark on.
  • Reflect upon the purpose of the work — Will it genuinely serve the people and improve their lives? If you are doing it to feel good about yourself, you are not doing it out of true service.
  • Reflect upon the means — Will your work processes bring people together in cooperation and harmony? If your work processes are hurtful to human relationships, you are not doing it out of true service.
  • Reflect upon the people — Do you divide the people between those who are helping and those who are being helped? If you are, you are only doing the work for yourself and not out of true service.

 

Source:
Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation (Beacon Press, 1976, ISBN 0-8070-1201-7)