How Meditation Was Invented

How Meditation Was Invented

people floating in the dead sea

First published in Cygnus Review Spring 2019. This is an excerpt from the book ‘Meditation Masterclass’ to be published later this year.

Having taught meditation for decades, I want to reassure people that meditation is a natural human behaviour. All you need is an instinct be quiet and calm.  

So why are there all these competing meditation traditions and schools? Here are three short stories that illustrate how meditation might have been invented.

The Householder Who Invented Meditation

A woman lived in a village in a house full of children and relatives. One day she felt an instinct to get away from the noise and activity. She walked until she found a quiet spot under a tree by a stream.

She closed her eyes. She felt the tree against her back and the soft grass and earth beneath her. The breeze touched her cheeks. The sound of the stream was soothing.

After a few minutes she felt some anxiety and accompanying thoughts about her family and neighbours. She felt impatient and an urge to go home. But she stayed sitting quietly.

She sighed, noticed tension in her chest and began to breathe more softly.

She stayed sitting quietly, just patiently waiting, letting her body and feelings become more easy. This felt good.

She returned the next day. And the next. And the next.

She was meditating. Her mind and her feelings were calm. Her psyche was able to contemplate, enquire and explore.

 

 

The Worker Who Invented Meditation

A man worked in the city and was stressed and anxious. His doctor prescribed a sedative, which he took for several weeks but disliked its side effects.

Following an instinct he stopped taking the medication and on his way to and from work he began to stop regularly to calm himself – sometimes on a park bench, sometimes in a church or library.

Pausing and sitting quietly soothed him.

This pausing to self-soothe became a daily behaviour.

After a few months something else began to happen when he sat quietly. A part of his mind started to enquire: Who is this inside me who is choosing to calm myself? What is this part of me watching and guiding all this? Wow! Here is another part of my consciousness. It feels good and interesting. I want to sit longer and explore all this.

He was meditating.

The Warrior Who Invented Meditation

There is a soldier who was weary of fighting. One day, off duty, she felt a rising anger within her and recognised that she needed to calm down.

She followed her instincts and found a space where she could not be observed. She then practised some of her martial arts moves – strikes, punches and kicks – at the same time vigorously expelling air from her lungs with grunting breaths.

After thirty minutes of this extreme activity and catharsis, she could still feel some of her internal fury. Her next instinct was to sit still.

Disciplined and self-managing, she sat quietly for a while. Her mind scanned the circumstances of her life, contemplating her ethics and her behaviour.

Her anger subsided. She was in a space of watchful good-humoured equanimity.

She began to repeat the behaviour daily.

She had become a meditator.

A Meditation Contest

Imagine if the Householder, the Worker and the Warrior each attracted followers who copied their meditation behaviour. We now have three different meditation schools and there is the possibility of conflict.

My teachers says you must meditate in nature.

No only in a sacred space!

No!  Do these movements and chant!

Breathe like this.

Don’t do anything. Just be!

Today in our global village we can see so many meditation schools, such as yoga, chanting, Vipassana, mantra, prayer, mindfulness, guided journeys, healing and more. Newbies and teachers often think that their way is the only or the best way instead of honouring and exploring the different traditions.

Universal State

Wonderfully, although there are all these different approaches there is also, I assert, a universal state, which all meditators experience. This state is profound:

  • We are at ease.
  • We are conscious, awake and watchful.
  • We patiently witness and experience everything with care and compassion.
  • We feel connected to the beautiful mystery of all existence.

No wonder there is a natural human instinct to meditate. It is good for us and all those around us.

The above passage was then incorporated into my Meditation Masterclass

 

 

Cock and Bull

COCK AND BULL

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The Male Journey: Innocence, Urgency, Acceptance

A MEN ONLY DAY LED BY NICK CLEMENTS
with William Bloom and Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz

Saturday 8 July 10:00 – 4:00  – London
Larches House, 1 Rectory Lane, Edgware HA8 7LF
Five minutes from Edgware Station on the Northern Line

We are creating a safe space for a gathering of men of all ages and orientations. We warmly invite you to join us, to listen, inspire and  explore. The day will be full of opportunities to play, be serious, share and encounter.

The theme will be our gender’s tendency towards exaggeration in our stories and descriptions. This may be seen as unhelpful (especially by women), but in these exaggerations there is also value, entertainment and hope. These dreams, fantasies and embellishments point towards new possibilities. The storyteller, stands confident and centre stage. The stories are not all ‘cock and bull’.

This day together will give us a chance to explore being a man, respecting our diversity and masculinity — aware too of insecurity and the importance of supporting each other in our confusion. We wish to honour men, lads and boys, the importance of these present times and the vital roles we all need to play.

The theme for the day is the telling of stories. What is your present story? Who are you? How do other people see you? How can we bridge the gap between the two?How can you tell your story and create legacy? Also we are being sold a very apocalyptic story for the future of mankind and the planet. We urgently need to counter this with wild, beautiful, enchanting stories of the future.

The workshop will be led by Nick Clements, and he will be assisted by William Bloom  and Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz.

Nick Clements is one if the leading lights in the mens’ movement in the UK. He has been creating workshops and rites of passage for boys and men since the early 1980’s. He recently completed a trilogy of books on modern masculinity and rites. www.nick-clements.com

William Bloom is an educator, group facilitator and author specialising in spirituality and health. His many books include ‘The Endorphin Effect’ and ‘The Power of Modern Spirituality’. As a young man he was an honorary member of the the Hells Angels. www.williambloom.com

Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz is the “Man Whisperer” (Newsweek) who helps men  meet personal goals, at work and in their personal relationships. Through one-on-one consultations and men’s groups, in London and worldwide. “Consultant, coach, and guru of all things men” (Daily Express) Kenny can help you get unstuck and bring your best self to meet all of life’s challenges.

Kenny is unique in using his powers as a “Man Whisperer” to help men get what they want in life. “I take men from ‘Am I?’ to ‘I am.'” (www.kennydcruz.com/how-to-be-free/)

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