Mind Tools: Part 1, Part 2

MIND TOOLS - PART 3

by Walter Last


PRAYER AND MEDITATION

Basically, in prayer you ask for guidance, give thanks or offer yourself for service, while in meditation you listen for the answer. Eventually, both methods may be combined in what we may call inner communication.

Prayer

Prayer is a means of making our requirements known to a higher guidance. This may be a request for help for ourselves or for others, it may be a request for advice, we may express our gratitude and we may offer ourselves as vehicles for greater service to mankind. You may continue to address your prayer in the accustomed way or however it feels best. When you pray to God, Jesus or a Saint, you may assume that your prayer is passed on by the lower self for consideration to the higher self and from there to any other address as may be required.

When you need help with an important problem, formulate your request in a short, precise form and preferably write it down. Then enlist the help of the lower self to pass on your prayer to the higher self. This may be done through devotion, invocation, chanting or in any way which produces an emotional uplifting, a warm emotional tide coming from your heart or solar plexus. This creates a 'carrier wave' that may now be modulated by clearly and precisely stating your request. Best say it aloud, in the same way as it is written down, and with the same words on successive days.

In addition, create a mental picture or impression of the desired result. It is important that such prayers are performed with a deep inner conviction that the request will be granted. When you feel that you are in close contact with your higher self and readily receive guidance, you may proceed in a less formal way and communicate with your higher self in which ever way it feels appropriate.

The most effective prayer is a thanksgiving for the granted request, knowing that it has already started to manifest on the spiritual level and will in due time appear in your reality. Here a summary of the requirements for a successful prayer:

1.      Contemplate and formulate your message.

2.      Relax or enter a meditative state.

3.      Create an emotional outpouring.

4.      Say your message in simple words, preferably aloud.

5.      Include thanksgiving for what you are about to receive.

6.      Have complete faith that the prayer is successful.

7.      Repeat your prayer on successive days.

 

Meditation

During meditation you still your mind and raise your awareness towards your guiding consciousness. Christian saints used to call meditation 'silent prayer'. In meditation, you remain in-a heightened state of consciousness without thinking. During meditation, we should be wide-awake. Therefore, if we feel somewhat tired, our meditation can be improved by raising our energies beforehand with a few minutes of deep breathing and whole-body shaking. Then proceed with a relaxation exercise and preferably an invocation or devotional service in which you state the goal of your meditation in a prayer or affirmation.

Assume a position in which you are comfortable for an extended period. Preferably keep the spine straight. You may sit erect, with both feet on the ground, in a chair with a straight back or sit cross-legged in a lotus or semi-lotus position. For many it may be more comfortable to sit on the heels with a cushion under the feet. You may also lie flat on the back if you are able to remain wide-awake in this position.

An easy method is to start with 8 - 2 breathing and then gradually let the breath move on its own. Focus your full attention on the breath, feel how it smoothly and rhythmically flows in and out. Do not try to regulate or guide the breath, just follow it mentally and feel it. When thoughts arise let them drift past without paying any attention to them. The same with outside noise; just ignore it. At other times you may concentrate on your heart area and feel it becoming warm and filled with love and compassion. Alternatively, focus at the middle of your forehead, feel it as a center of happiness or even bliss. If the eyes are closed, it helps if you turn them up and inwards as if looking at the forehead center.

Hold these sensations as long as you can. If possible, unite the sensations of the forehead and brain focus with the heart feelings and expand it throughout the body. In the following, a 'Healing and Love Meditation' is described in detail. Do not be disappointed if you cannot feel the warmth and love radiation the very first time, just keep on practicing. Meditate for thirty minutes or longer, the longer the better. Preferably make meditation a regular habit at the same time and in the same location each day.

Healing and Love Meditation

Sit or lie relaxed but with a straight spine. Take some slow, full breaths; mentally follow each breath as it continues to flow quietly in and out on its own. Feel how your body gradually becomes immersed in a cozy warmth - you may imagine being in a warm bath. Then concentrate on the idea that with each inhalation vital energy or prana begins to fill the body. Direct this energy into your abdomen and feel it becoming very warm.

After this, you direct the pleasant feeling energy stream to those areas of the body that are especially in need of healing. Finally, you concentrate on the middle of the chest where you create a feeling of intense love and compassion. You may initiate this feeling by remembering an actual situation or person that invoked such feelings in you previously. After a while you forget the actual memory and feel love and compassion in an abstract way. Now imagine that you radiate these feelings, like being a sun, just radiating love and compassion instead of light and warmth. You radiate these to all your body areas in need of healing as well as to the outside, filling the room, the house and finally all the world.

Realize that you are not the originator of this powerful energy flow, but just a channel through which it emerges from higher dimensions and being transformed by you to the human qualities of love and compassion. At other times you may radiate joy and happiness instead. Hold on to the impression of being immersed in an ocean of beneficial healing energy and feel an afterglow of the love and compassion experienced for the rest of the day. If an unpleasant condition develops during the day, try to recall mentally the ocean of warm contentment enjoyed during meditation.

Centering

During our daytime activities, especially on important occasions, it is beneficial to focus our feeling awareness on an inner energy center. We may feel this as a deep inner peace, as love or compassion, depending on our focus and the requirements of the occasion. This allows us to gather our energies and gives us poise and serenity. This is called 'centering' - moving through life in a meditative state. There are various methods of centering. The Japanese, for instance, prefer to center in the 'Hara', the store of vital energies behind the navel. This helps to conduct our daily activities in a more focused and powerful way.

On the other hand, if we prefer to interact in our relationships and daily live with love and compassion, then we use the feeling awareness on the heart chakra as the preferred method of centering. Focusing on the forehead chakra may be more appropriate during times of intense mental activity, such as during discussions and in meetings. If we aim to act from our level of spiritual consciousness and like to feel connected with and guided by our higher self, then we may center on the crown chakra. Finally, with some practice, we may be able to fuse our awareness of all of these chakras and remain centered within this integrated feeling awareness.

When we are centered, we are not only mentally and emotionally poised and balanced, but at the same time alert and intuitive. In this way we can remain in touch with our spiritual guidance continuously during our waking activities. When we are active while being centered, both sides of our brain work in a balanced way and this is reflected in the balance of our whole personality. It is much easier to remain centered during manual activity than while thinking, reading or writing, but gradually we may also learn to remain centered during mental tasks. Eventually we may be able to remain indefinitely in a semi-meditative state by focusing part of our awareness on our inner center while another part deals with our external problems.

INNER COMMUNICATION

In order to receive direct guidance from your higher self, you may combine relaxation, visualization, prayer and meditation. Start with a relaxation method that gives you the feeling of drifting lower and lower as to the bottom of a lake or the sea. You may also imagine sinking down a long, black tunnel towards the core of your being. The further you sink or drift or swim downwards, the more you leave the noise and activity of the outer world behind. Regard any remaining noise as ripples at the surface of the lake or sea while you remain at the bottom in complete peace and stillness.

Instead of going down, you may mentally create a special room that you enter only when you want to meet your higher guidance, either by telepathic communication or by seeing it as a wise and kind guide. Another possibility is mentally walking down a shaded path to a waterfall and meeting your guide there. Whether you see the image of a guide or not, address your guide with reverence and ask to start guiding you on your spiritual path, in health matters and with other problems by directly communicating with you.

Then silently ask a specific question and listen for the answer. You may receive an immediate telepathic reply, such as hearing an inner voice or a thought may just pop into your mind. Alternatively, you may develop a certain feeling in reply to a question rather than getting a mental response and this may then indicate in which direction to proceed.

It is most important that you maintain a blank mind after asking your question; otherwise you may not hear the answer or start thinking of an answer yourself. You may ask several questions and hear answers as in a dialogue. Prepare your questions in advance, before starting the relaxation so that you do not need to think while in meditation.

Focusing

Lie down or sit comfortably and induce a relaxed condition. If you have a pain, a hurt, a disease or any problem somewhere in your body, focus your attention on the affected part. Try to feel into it and ask it what it has to tell you or try to visualize your problem in a simple, symbolical way, then mentally sit back and let the pictures or symbols change of their own accord.

You can do the same thing with an uneasy feeling within you, created by a social, financial or other problem. Contact that uneasy feeling, possibly by feeling it as a pressure somewhere in your body. If you have a multitude of problems, ask yourself which one of these is the worst and try to feel this one first. After listening in to your body and feeling the tension it creates somewhere, a certain impression may form within you as an answer to what it is all about, or you may see a symbol as an answer. Then ask that tension or problem in your body whether this is the right answer and feel what it does. If your answer is correct or partly correct, the problem will shift, the tension or pain may lessen, you may feel relieved.

 If the answer is wrong, the feeling of unease will not change. Try again. This whole process may have to be repeated many times over several days or weeks to come to the bottom of deep-seated emotional problems. For further reading see Focusing by E.T. Gendlin (Everest House).

Sleep or Dream Solutions

Before falling asleep, pray to be shown a solution to your problem overnight or tell your subconscious mind repeatedly in simple words that it will provide an answer to the problem at hand, either in a remembered dream, or as an insight during the following day. Visualize your problem in a simple scene before you drift to sleep. If you are not already in contact with your subconscious mind, this procedure may have to be repeated several times.

Sacrifice and Amends

Sometimes it may not be possible to get to the deep-seated cause of a personal problem. In these cases it is often helpful to make a sacrifice in order to regain the cooperation of our subconscious mind or 'lower self'. The sacrifice must be enough to hurt you to some extent, for example, by selling the best part of your stamp, coin or art collection and using the proceeds for a charitable purpose. Alternatively, give a free service - care for a stranger in need, anything that will satisfy the subconscious.

In addition, make amends with reference to past faulty mental, emotional and dietary habits. Promise improvements and definite actions to your lower as well as to your higher self. However, a broken promise will lead to further health problems. Therefore, be careful and persistent with your promises. In addition, it is important to not resent your sacrifice, but to do it in a cheerful mood.

MOVING WITH THE FLOW

With or without inner communication, we may gradually adopt an attitude towards the events of our daily lives which may be described as 'moving with the flow', referring to the flow of life. This means we 'feel' our way through life instead of battling on when the going gets tough. According to our spiritual philosophy, our higher self guides us in a certain direction. When we follow this direction, life will run more smoothly, events fall into place, we meet the people we need, we find information that helps us along and we obtain the necessary resources to continue on our way.

f we go too far in a wrong direction, however, things will become tough, we make mistakes, lose out, do not obtain what we want or need, and so forth. Therefore, when we adopt the basic attitude of moving with the flow and we run into difficulties, we realize that we may need to change direction. While we remain true to our spiritual goals and ideals, with the goals of daily life and especially in the way we intend to achieve them, we try to be very flexible. Rigidity in daily life easily leads to pain and disappointment.

 We may compare our stream of life to a newly formed watercourse that seeks its way down a gentle mountain slope. Sometimes it winds its way steadily downhill, while at other times it encounters a barrier, a hollow or depression in the ground. Then it has to wait patiently for a while until the hollow is filled up. It may probe in various directions until finally, quite naturally and without a problem, it finds the overflow, the lowest point in the wall of resistance, and happily it continues on its downhill way.

This, then, shows us how we can follow our course of life in an easy-going, pleasurable way without undue stress or hardship. When we encounter a resistance, we probe and wait patiently until we find a natural opening. All we need is flexibility, patience and faith. Faith that we are being guided, that we meet the resistance for a purpose and that we will learn and grow by overcoming it or finding a way around it. Faith, that all will be well and that an interesting and pleasant future awaits us.

Ask for Help

If sometimes problems seem to mount and you feel pulled down by it all, relax and ask your Guidance for help. State your situation. Admit that you do not know what to do or that there is apparently nothing that you can do. If appropriate, acknowledge that you made a mistake and got yourself into trouble because of a thoughtless or selfish action. Finally, ask your Guidance to take over your problems and provide a solution that is fair to all concerned. Then, whenever you notice your mind straying towards a worrying thought, affirm silently that now your Guidance has taken over and is providing an equitable solution.

Exploring Possibilities

Sometimes you have to make a choice between several possibilities without a clear preference for any one of these. Like water when it meets a resistance in its flow, so you may probe in various directions, exploring the different possibilities with your mind while at the same time closely observing your feelings. Let us assume you have several options for your future course of life. All of them have some advantages and disadvantages and you do not know what to do. Even doing nothing or changing nothing may have undesirable consequences that need to be evaluated.

Start by vividly imagining that you follow one specific course of action and visualize or in other ways mentally explore the various possibilities arising from this option. At the same time, closely observe how you feel inside about it. Afterwards you explore the second choice and then a third choice in the same way. Usually one of these mind-plays will feel better than others and this is the one to adopt. Whenever problems seem to mount and you start to worry, become aware of your spiritual philosophy and ideals and ask yourself: "Does it really matter?" Remain centered and all your problems will soon melt away in the warmth of your radiating love and a deeply felt inner peace.