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Alan Schneider


              Meditation is the psychological royal road to relaxation, health, self awareness, and Higher Consciousness. This single area of activity, when practiced with regularity for even a few minutes a day, will eventually correct virtually every imbalance in  ones personal state. This is achieved by establishing a sensory disconnect with the frequently self defeating daily mental and literal routines practiced in our lives, while simultaneously turning attention inward toward the hidden conscious states that determine the awareness of every human mind, and of the Universal Mind which creates all knowing and being as well...

            The most frequently used posture for meditating is the cross legged Lotus position seen in many Eastern religious systems, This is a very effective physical position, but the full application, in which the legs are interlocked at the ankles with both feet facing upward, can be very difficult to attain, particularly for beginning students. The half Lotus, in which only one leg is interlocked with the respective foot directed upward, is also effective, as is the traditional non-interlocked cross legged "Indian" style seated position. In fact, the most important condition of the Lotus Posture is the requirement that the spine be held straight and erect. If this cannot be done for several minutes, then another position which will permit sufficient detachment to focus on the meditation technique used should be chosen. This can include sitting upright in a chair, or even lying on the floor.

            Find a quiet, secure location. Attain your posture of choice, and close your eyes. Allow the body to become as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Note and release any residual areas of tension or distraction which may persist in your awareness, and begin to focus attention on your breathing. Do not attempt to modify your breathing in any sense other than to permit the most natural, complete inhalation and exhalation attainable. Simply continue to note the action of the breath in your awareness. As any additional thoughts or distractions occur within or around you, note and release these as they come to your attention. Continue this practice as relaxation and the meditative state deepens. This may allow the occurrence of internal mental visions and experiences. Again, simply note these experiences and release them. Continue this technique for several minutes, until you naturally begin to return to external sensory awareness, and open your eyes.

            After regaining external awareness, take a few minutes to refocus in the senses, and then resume your customary activities. That is the sum and substance of the technique! The attainment of the meditative state becomes a matter of great ease with practice. However, if the full resumption of competent personal functioning following meditation ever becomes questionable for any reason the practice should be discontinued immediately. But dysfunction related to basic breath meditation is rare, and I invite you to try this technique at your earliest convenience. Aware breathing is effective not only in meditative practice, but in the support of any conceptual goal orientation for the successful outcome of any activity. Breathing and breath control are critical features of every school of self development, from the most introspective practices of Yoga and Zen, to the extremely disciplined forms seen in the martial arts studio, and constitute keys to successful living!

CR2006/Alan Schneider

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