A Note on Meditation

You might notice I use a very “creative” approach to the term meditation. When most people think of meditation, they see Buddhist monks sitting in a monastery somewhere focusing on their breathing. This is but one type of meditation of many:

  • Shamatha Meditation: One focal point is used to clarify oneself of other thoughts. For instance, one’s breathing is a common focal point.
  • Zazen Meditation: This is from the path of Zen, as the name suggests. It takes mental clarity a step further by expecting one to completely clear the mind and outgrow any focal points. You essentially just sit and still your mind.
  • Mantra Meditation: Practitioners chant a word or phrase to help them merge with a concept subliminally (ie. they may chant the word Buddha).
  • Visualization Mediation: This practice involves picturing an image you would like to connect more with.
  • Meditating Towards a Theme: This is a more specific type of the Visualization Mediation from the modern druidic path, where you hold your concentration totally and completely on one idea to understand it further. It might be a story from mythology, a concept from old lore or, for our purposes, you could use it to impartially focus on an issue in your life that needs resolving.

Traditionally, the first four practices are used to break through the illusion of the self and achieve enlightenment. However, that is not my purpose. I’m ok with my sense of self. I use these as vehicles to connect with the natural world in order to bring about self-improvement. As such, I pull from these five techniques and combine them at times. I mostly use visualization techniques to connect with the natural world, so some exercises may just use visualization, but some use a combination of two or more meditation types.

I find combining techniques to be effective for getting the most from the natural world; you visualize the elements or use physical points from them as a focal point, all while clearing the mind to focus on them exclusively. In other exercises, you may hold an element-related thought in your mind and play with it. From there, once completely focused on an element or concept, you can work to manifest the traits associated with that element in yourself.

Here is a sample to get you started.