In the Daoist, Buddhist, and Hindu Traditions
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Meditation is the inward focus of attention in a state of mind where ego-related concerns and critical evaluations are suspended in favor of perceiving a deeper,subtler, and possibly divine flow of consciousness. A method of communicating with hidden layers of the mind, it allows the subconscious to surface in memories, images, and thoughts while also influencing it with quietude,openness, and specific suggestions. It has an overall beneficial and often healing effect and has made major inroads in Western society, both in spiritual and healing contexts. Doctors increasingly recommend it for stress relief, pain management, and the alleviation of psycho-somatic conditions.
While meditation with its general emphasis on mental focus and attention to breathing usually benefits the practitioner, its various forms are not created equal.Part of age-old mystical traditions, they have grown from vastly different historical and cultural environments, so that each has its own vision of the body-mind, espouses a unique goal, and accesses the subconscious through a different mode. These modes may be visual, auditory, or kinesthetic, matching the three major perception systems of the body, or work with conscious reorganization, abdominal strengthening, or connective tissues.
Based on extensive cultural studies and long years of practice, this book explores meditation from the perspective of access to the subconscious and, in a distinct chapter on each form, outlines its physiology, world view, and traditional practice, then describes its medical adaptations and modern settings. In each case, it presents examples from the Buddhist, Daoist, and Hindu traditions, providing a comprehensive and analytical overview of the different modes and their concrete actualizations.
Forms and Effects of Meditation
The Foundation: Breathing and Concentration
Sound Immersion: Chanting and Mantra
Insight: Vipassana and Observation
Immediacy: Oblivion and Zen
Visualization: Highest Clarity and Tantra
Body Awareness: Yoga and Daoyin
Body Energetics: Inner Alchemy and Kundalini