What is Meditation
Meditation is an ancient method devised thousands of years ago by people who realised that the self we think we are is a false self and responsible for the illusion we have become trapped in. These people realised that in order to pierce the veil of illusion which they called maya it would be necessary for us to still the false self and make it quiet for long enough so that we can experience the true self.
The false self is nowadays called the ego. Everything we see in this world we see through the ego and it is the ego that gives meaning to everything we see and experience in this world. The real meaning lies hidden beneath the meaning the ego has written over everything and that is the illusion or maya they referred to.
In order to experience the real self they came up with the idea to focus the ego so that it is eventually concentrated on only one thought or activity. Once this is achieved it would then be relatively easy to drop that one thought or activity and be in the world free from the ego and its interpretations. The state would be a state of no thought.
Dropping The Ego
In order to achieve this state they practised, in many cases, for years. The ego, however, does not relinquish its power over us so easily and it places distractions before us as we get closer to the state of no thought. Many people abandon the practice as a result of the temptations presented to them. The distractions or temptations I refer to range from an increase in mental activity and a focus on worries or questions to a discovery of special psychic powers. Faithfully adhering to the practice of meditation in which the ego is completely dropped, results in discovering the true self or Higher Self.
The High C
The term Higher Self or High C was coined by Phyllis Krystal who wrote a number of books about the subject two of which are:
Because we are conditioned from birth to believe in the illusion created by the ego few question what everyone believes to be reality. In Cutting of the Ties that Bind Phyllis Krystal describes how to connect to the High C and undo the conditioning that holds us captive that keeps us spell bound by our beliefs.
How to Meditate
You can meditate anywhere, any time sitting on the floor or in a chair. As long as you are comfortable all that is required to meditate is that you fix your mind on something for a period of time and with practice spend longer and longer periods with the mind concentrated in this way. Should stray thoughts enter your awareness simply acknowledge them and let them pass the way you would acknowledge a bird that comes into view and flies away. Thoughts are like trains that pull into the station of your mind. You can remain in the station or board the train of thought. The choice is and always has been yours.
The thing you choose to focus your mind on can be anything that registers through any one or combination of the five senses. You could focus on the face of a picture symbolising God or the face of your mother or father. You could focus on a sound perhaps the sound of a clock in the room. There is no reason why you could not focus on a body sensation like the rise and fall of your tummy or chest as you breathe or even a taste. You could of course combine a picture with a sound or a body sensation with a sound as I do. I focus my mind on the sensation of the air entering and leaving through the tip of my nose and as I breathe in I hear myself saying the word in and as I breathe out I hear myself saying the word out. You could try various combinations until you find the one that just feels right for you. The point here is to observe rather than control. So if you are observing the breath then you do not interfere with it in any way. That was what I found hard in the beginning because my mind tended to change the rhythm of my breathing when I focussed on it. With perseverance your ego relinquishes control and you just are!
Falling asleep or finding yourself on a thought train are both distractions and with practice you will learn to avoid these. Remember the aim of meditation is the dropping of ego so that judgement and analytical activity is suspended. The first stage of mediation is really self hypnosis and the frequency of the brain waves in this state of mind is predominantly alpha which is about 10 Hz. As you progressively quiet the mental activity the frequency of the brain waves decreases and you achieve deeper levels of meditation.
I would simply warn against having any expectation of the experience as expectation is a function of the ego and as such will set you up for self sabotage. I would warn against distraction especially the ones that make you feel that you have special psychic abilities. Simply relax, focus the mind on one thought until that thought is dropped. That is the essence and end of meditation.
Secondary Benefits of Meditating
By meditating regularly you will find yourself feeling more centred, happier, healthier and with your mind uncluttered you will feel more purposeful and confident. You will undoubtedly experience many benefits, physically, emotionally and spiritually but these are more a consequence of the practice rather than the goal but sometimes that is enough for many people and that is fine too.