What kind of meditation?

Jan 2011
112
Detroit, MI USA
I know that the baha'i faith doesn't ascribe to any particular kind of meditation but as I read these words of abdu'l-baha I wonder what type(s) of meditation can achieve what he says.

"It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.
You cannot apply the name ‘man’ to any being void of this faculty of meditation; without it he would be a mere animal, lower than the beasts.
Through the faculty of meditation man attains to eternal life; through it he receives the breath of the Holy Spirit—the bestowal of the Spirit is given in reflection and meditation.
The spirit of man is itself informed and strengthened during meditation; through it affairs of which man knew nothing are unfolded before his view. Through it he receives Divine inspiration, through it he receives heavenly food.
Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves. To illustrate this, think of man as endowed with two kinds of sight; when the power of insight is being used the outward power of vision does not see.
This faculty of meditation frees man from the animal nature, discerns the reality of things, puts man in touch with God."

This is profound and fascinating, like I said what type of meditation(s) can achieve what abdu'l-baha said?
 
Sep 2018
88
usa
i would think any type that would not be harmful whether physically or mentally, to anyone or anything, including yourself.
 

Jcc

Mar 2013
579
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
I recently listened to a talk by Hooper Dunbar on prayer and meditation. In his humorous but insightful way, he said that prayer is like talking to God, we give praise, and ask for help. With meditation we open up and listen for an answer. Prayer without meditation is like you call a loved one on the phone talk for a while then hang up without waiting to hear anything back, which would be rude and not helpful. Taking time to meditate is really essential.

Buddhist meditation practice requires that you clear your mind, and learn to suppress the worldly thoughts and concerns. This is often done by focusing on your breathing, a physical process internal to yourself. There is usually no expectation that you will receive any particular inspiration as a result, but learning to not be affected by the constant assault of external stimuli is necessary to effectively pray and meditate.

But Baha’u’llah teaches us that we need also need to immerse ourselves in the Writings, engage in service to others, and spread the Teachings, and live a life that is fully engaged with society in the effort to make the world better. All of this, plus prayer and meditation will attract confirmations and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
 
Feb 2019
227
Chicago
I know that the baha'i faith doesn't ascribe to any particular kind of meditation but as I read these words of abdu'l-baha I wonder what type(s) of meditation can achieve what he says.

"It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.
You cannot apply the name ‘man’ to any being void of this faculty of meditation; without it he would be a mere animal, lower than the beasts.
Through the faculty of meditation man attains to eternal life; through it he receives the breath of the Holy Spirit—the bestowal of the Spirit is given in reflection and meditation.
The spirit of man is itself informed and strengthened during meditation; through it affairs of which man knew nothing are unfolded before his view. Through it he receives Divine inspiration, through it he receives heavenly food.
Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves. To illustrate this, think of man as endowed with two kinds of sight; when the power of insight is being used the outward power of vision does not see.
This faculty of meditation frees man from the animal nature, discerns the reality of things, puts man in touch with God."

This is profound and fascinating, like I said what type of meditation(s) can achieve what abdu'l-baha said?
It is interesting that while Abdul Baha places such importance on meditation, he did not teach any form of meditation or the way to meditate. I think it is because people of his place and time were not ready for it. Meditation can be defined as single pointed concentration on God and it takes time to develop it because the senses are constanly feeding the mind with sensory perceptions which keep the mind in a state of flux, preventing the concentration on God. There are many techniques of meditation found in the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism which are scientific, non-sectarian and universal. Many Westerners from a Christian and Jewish background follow the meditation techniques taught by Hindu saints like Paramahansa Yogananda, Jaggi Vasudev, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Mata Amritanandamayi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar or Buddhist monks like the Dalai Lama.

The fastest and the most effective form of meditation is one which works directly on the life force that connects the senses to the mind. When you consciously withdraw the life force from the senses, they become inactive which calms the mind and that helps in concentration on God. It is not impossible to withdraw the life force from the senses. In fact we do it daily when we sleep which is why the senses become inactive in sleep but in sleep the withdrawal of life force from the senses happens unconsciously. If we learn to do it consciously, then the mind can focus on God.

Meditation is not incompatible with service to mankind. In fact, those who meditate can serve mankind better as evident from the lives of great souls like Mahatma Gandhi - leader of India's freedom movement - who used to observe complete silence one day a week as a form of silent meditation and contemplation on God. Mahatma Gandhi inspired Martin Luther King so much that the latter said when he goes to any country, he is a tourist but when he goes to India, he becomes a pilgrim. He spent time in India studying Mahatma Gandhi's peaceful methods of resistance and carried them to America for use in the Civil Rights movement. What we are on the outside is because of what we are inside. By meditation we can contact God and draw directly from the source of all good qualities and powers and that helps us serve others in the best possible way. Service without meditation tends to be mechanical and is mostly devoid of the spiritual power that flows from God contact experienced in meditation. Study of scriptures and religious writings can lead to intellectual understanding or externally induced practice of certain teachings but it hardly purifies the heart or strengthens the mind - the two most important qualities required for true spiritual progress. But meditation can purify the heart, develop intellect and make the mind stronger which enable a person to realize spiritual truths found in the scriptures and make them his own and become a living example of the spiritual truths as opposed to simply reading books and parroting stuff given by others which serves no purpose other than make a display of one's memory power. When we transform ourselves from the inside, we change the world for the better. Additionally, those who come in contact with us may be inspired to change as well as evident from the life of Mahatma Gandhi.
 
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Mar 2013
522
_
Hi everybody

"“Science is the first emanation from God toward man. All created things embody the potentiality of material perfection, but the power of intellectual investigation and scientific acquisition is a higher virtue specialized to man alone. Other beings and organisms are deprived of this potentiality and attainment.” -Abdu' Baha , Promulgation of World Peace


I think meditation is actually a way that we as Baha'i, a small religion by numbers, comparatively, with the other world religions, can bring about some good. There are various meditation methods that abound, of course. With the benefit of science it should be possible to develop a good non-religious modern meditation method. It may be that one such as Vipassana already fits the bill, but regardless, I think it might benefit some LSA' to offer meditation programs, not as part of a worship service but more as a service to their communities. This is something we can learn and do and does not require any kind of expense outlay, and would be of tremendous serious to our neighbors and to us. I have no idea how that could get underway, though
 
Aug 2019
77
Berlin
„The Greatest Name should be found upon the lips in the first awaking moment of early dawn. It should be fed upon by constant use in daily invocation, in trouble, under opposition, and should be the last word breathed when the head rests upon the pillow at night. It is the name of comfort, protection, happiness, illumination, love and unity… The use of the Greatest Name and dependence upon it, cause the soul to strip itself of the husks of mortality and to step forth freed, reborn, and new creature…“ - `Abdu‘l Bahá

There are some spiritual schools in the Eastern and Western world that practice this kind of mantra meditation of the holy/greatest name. You can chant Allah-u-abha as Abdul-Baha pointed out in this little quotation.
 
Aug 2014
1,397
Blue Planet
In my view, the best meditation is to meditate on who we really are. Thus we have this saying, "know thyself perchance you may know thy God." and during the course of meditating on who we really are (are we these pains and feelings we experience in our lives, etc) we encounter parts of Baha'i scripture and prayers that trigger deeper thought in us, like "the clouds of His limitless grace have overshadowed you.". that is one example of a sentence we should really try to imagine in our minds and for more deepening, we should take this image with us, as far as we can, in every minute of our daily lives. There are references to "the protecting rock" (somehow similar as in Christianity) and the "atmosphere of grandeur". I have found thinking about these concepts and trying to imagine and carry them with me very very useful for my spiritual growth.
 
Feb 2019
227
Chicago
In my view, the best meditation is to meditate on who we really are. Thus we have this saying, "know thyself perchance you may know thy God." and during the course of meditating on who we really are (are we these pains and feelings we experience in our lives, etc) we encounter parts of Baha'i scripture and prayers that trigger deeper thought in us, like "the clouds of His limitless grace have overshadowed you.". that is one example of a sentence we should really try to imagine in our minds and for more deepening, we should take this image with us, as far as we can, in every minute of our daily lives. There are references to "the protecting rock" (somehow similar as in Christianity) and the "atmosphere of grandeur". I have found thinking about these concepts and trying to imagine and carry them with me very very useful for my spiritual growth.
Good for you. Who are we really? Ever changing bodies and minds or the unchanging immortal soul? What is our true nature? Everyone would like to be happy all the time but no one seems to have reached that state? Why is it that people want to be happy but end up in unhappy situations? What it is about us that wants us to be happy and what is it that lands us in unhappiness?
 
Aug 2014
1,397
Blue Planet
Good for you. Who are we really? Ever changing bodies and minds or the unchanging immortal soul? What is our true nature? Everyone would like to be happy all the time but no one seems to have reached that state? Why is it that people want to be happy but end up in unhappy situations? What it is about us that wants us to be happy and what is it that lands us in unhappiness?
Dear Venu,
I am not sure if you just asked those questions as a kind of meditation topic for everyone, or are they really questions. But, I'd like to participate in answering them, because this topic of meditations, the real self, detachment, awakening, etc is my favorite topic.

So, who are we really? yes, we are our souls, and not just the kind of soul that when we die continues to live. We are the etheric soul; that very refined substance that has the likeness of the Manifestation, in a much smaller scale. In that real self of ours, there is the answer for all our problems. I am not saying it based on books or other stuff. These are only my experiences, so excuse me if they are not good or clear enough.
no one seems to have reached the state of being always happy? well, this world is essentially mixed with difficulties. we cannot always be happy if our concentration is on our physical bodies or even the lower spirit. But, in the higher realm, in our etheric bodies, we are neither sad nor happy. There is balance and peace like a flat enjoyable life.
why do people want to be happy and end up being unhappy? that is a nice question with a one word answer; because they "want".
our logical self, the lower self, wants us to be happy, because it has a system of comparison in itself. it thinks happiness is good and sadness is bad. it thinks black is bad, white is good. Now, if we look at things that way, they really start to harm us. Then the sadness would really start to suck life out of us. But, if we look at all things from the detached point of view of the etheric soul, nothing is good or bad. things just exist. let them exist, and float lightly among all of them. We'd prefer to have happy dreams, but we also sometimes get nightmares. Nevertheless, they are still only dreams.