Thursday, August 1, 2013

Guest Blog: Edward Viljoen on The Power of Meditation - An Ancient Technique to Access your Inner Power

What is meditation?

The term meditation is as broad in definition as the term ‘art’ is. Both include a wide range of practices, styles and purposes. For instance, art can be engaged in for therapeutic reasons, or for fun and recreation, or for many other reasons. Art has different disciplines, each with its distinct schools of thought, media and tools. Accomplished artists in one discipline, may not exhibit skillfulness in another, and may not even understand the methods of a different media.

In the same way, meditation is different things to different people. There are certain meditative practices that work better for me, practices I respond to and understand better. By “practice” I mean the daily method I use to meditate. If I were a water-color artist, I might say water-color was my preferred medium and I might not care to waste my time chiseling away at a marble block to reveal a hidden statue therein. As a water colorist, when I spoke about my art and the benefits, goals and methods of its practice, I would be talking in a language that other water colorists understood. Although there would be crossover points universal to all artists, I would have found my niche, my way and my art. I may have even dabbled with other forms of art in the journey to discover what fits best, or I might have been one of those duck-to-water artists that pick it up and simply know how to do it.

A Practice the Works for You

Similarly, when I talk about meditation, I’m talking about my best practice and I tend, sometimes, to talk as if it is the only way. I know this isn't the case, and I think what is coming through is my enthusiasm for what I have developed in my understanding of what meditation can be for me. I did dabble with all kinds of practices and a little of everything I encountered along the way has lingered in what has become my practice today. I have developed a multi-faceted approach in which three distinct tools form the meditative practice I use, and that I teach to others:
  • Mindfulness practices: in which we become absorbed in a purposefully chosen activity
  • Sitting practices: in which we reduce the use of mental and physical resources as much as possible by sitting still and silently
  • Creative practices: in which we use some device such as journaling, observing, or focusing on an inspirational passage
Finding a practice that worked for me at first seemed like a battle with an unruly mind.   Every time I sat, I lost the battle.  That is, until I learned to stop fighting.  So, I didn't try to tame my mind, instead I made friends with it.  By that I mean I dropped my mental fight with what I discovered inside.

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