Melting Into Meditation:
Tips and secrets for success
By John Jaish Lamb
The author, a meditation consultant, has used daily meditation for more than 50 years. He was Chairman of the British Meditation Society for 25 years. He studied under the guidance of, and was a close colleague of, Gururaj Ananda Yogi from 1977 until Gururaj’s demise in 1988.
John has written / compiled several other books in the Mind Bathing Series, including: Discover Your Subtle Self ; Guarantee to Make The Law of Attraction Work; Gems of the Heart and Quantum Aspects of Self Realisation.
The contents of this publication are the author’s opinion, guided by the teaching expounded by the author’s mentor, Gururaj Ananda Yogi (1932–1988).
Neither the publisher nor the author offer professional advice to the individual reader. None of the ideas, practices and suggestions in this book are intended as a substitute for medical advice, which should be sought from health care professionals, i.e. suitably qualified physicians. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion in this book. All content shall be treated as opinion.
Copyright © 2012 John Lamb
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.
The right of John Lamb to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
First published in the United Kingdom in 2012 by Subeam Publications
This book is written against a backdrop of my 50 years practising meditation and teaching it for 12 years. My main purpose is to help aspiring meditators to quickly get beyond the frustration of insufficient focus or not achieving what they want to achieve from meditation. Of course, it may contain tips for experienced meditators too. Like any other common interest, we all pick up a host of little snippets by referring to others who work in the same field.
The book can also be used as a review of the ‘big picture’ of the meaning of life, in short form. If that is what’s required, read chapters 1 and 4 first.
Chapter 1 highlights basic fundamentals often overlooked by new meditators and sometimes by experienced people too. Frequently, these fundamentals are omitted in the teaching process, particularly by teachers who lack depth of experience. But, in my view, these mechanics cannot be overlooked if one is to achieve a successful outcome. The principles referred to apply to all forms of yoga.
Chapter 2 covers basic techniques, and its content, in my view, is more than sufficient to cover one’s meditation needs. Chapter 3 refers to the melting aspect of meditation in that it contains the tips and secrets I’ve come across, working with those who have a track record of continual success in actually doing the practices. I’ve gone into detail, which anyone can follow, about allowing meditation to work for you
In the final chapter I attempt to simplify the subject of expanding the consciousness because the taboo on this subject in some quarters is quite unnecessary. I don’t think many folk realise what expanding the consciousness really means. Lack of knowledge or misplaced fear, about what our consciousness really is, seems to complicate an incredibly simple component of nature that’s happening to us all the time.
If you find yourself totally closed to any ideas you encounter in chapter 1, I’m inclined to think you might be better off leaving meditation out of your life until you decide you would like to open your mind to new possibilities. That’s not to say that meditation cannot be used solely as a relaxation technique because it can. It’s just that if you can’t accept, or don’t agree with, the basic truths underlying all yogic practices, the massive potential benefits could be missed almost entirely.
Yoga means union. All forms of yoga are based on the union of your physical self with your spiritual self.
What does this actually mean? In this book, use of the expression ‘yoga’ does not refer (except occasionally) to hatha yoga which is the correct term for yogic physical exercises.
Yoga encompasses everything beyond the human mind. Our whole life is based on yoga because we can’t even move an eyelid without the immeasurable subtle energy within us providing the impetus for movement. So, when we talk of union with our subtle (spiritual) energy we mean locating the subtle energy and bringing it to the foreground. Everyone is trying to do this, whether they are aware of it or not.
The practical advantage of bringing our inherent subtle energy to the fore can include one or more, perhaps most, of the following benefits:
• overcome fear and reduce the effects of stress
• become less fragmented – concentrate more effectively
- reduce high blood pressure and / or betterment of health all round
- ability to deal with everyday challenges without complication
- better intuition and creativity
- improved relationships
- a more contented life and confident personality
- diminish anxiety and /or loneliness
- being guided away from danger or towards advantageous circumstances
- improve longevity potential
- acquiring material stuff or personal qualities by manipulating the Law of Attraction,
- recognise the entire self as opposed to your (comparatively) incapable physical self
Until very recently, reference to the spiritual self was mostly looked upon as a bit quirky by those who don’t take an interest in such matters. But recent scientific experiments and calculations have lifted the cloud of scepticism on what has, for millennia, been looked upon as a strictly unscientific subject.
Physicists have recently proved that what we perceive, of ourselves and everything around us, in solid form, is only 26% of what we really are. The other 74% is energy that is definitely present but it’s invisible, not operating in light and therefore referred to as dark energy or shadow energy.
We can now be certain of (approximately) eleven dimensions in our makeup but most of us still focus exclusively on the three dimensions we latch on to with our senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. We are not bothering to exploit a fantastic inherent power, which can be accessed in an instant if we know how.
What is more, the fourth dimension of our being has been experimentally verified this very year, so these extra dimensions are not just postulations and calculations; they’re real fact, absolute truth. A gargantuan step forward in understanding our presence on Earth has just taken place.
The Higgs boson validation, announced in July 2012, confirms that matter is formed from particles finer than matter itself. There are trillions of bosons around and within every cell of solid matter, even though we can’t identify them visually or with measuring instruments.
Hurrah. The mystics were correct after all! We no longer have to live in confusion, going blindly along with myths like that of an unseen almighty controller who, working in illogical ways, created all we see around us (and consequently needed our consummate respect).
Mankind has been terribly confused during past millennia by thinking that other dimensions or, possibly, controlling entities were ‘out there’ somewhere; something else. But recent discoveries enable us to accept that all existence is here and now. This means that time is of the mind. Several world renowned scientists have proposed this as a hypothesis previously. Now it is experimentally authenticated.
You could usefully refer to my book Discover Your Subtle Self for a better understanding of the dimensions within us and the practical ways, in daily life, to enhance our acceptance of our whole self.
What we experience, as we proceed in yoga, is the human practicality of relating to both timelessness and non-separateness. These are the qualities, as we on Earth would interpret, of the ‘higher dimensions’ within us. Timelessness is experienced as being in the present moment, without desires or worries and without relating to the past or the future. Non-separateness means a feeling of connection with everything in existence. Everyone has experiences of timelessness and non-separateness, even faintly, when they practice yoga. Qualitative experience of timelessness and non-separateness brings about contentment and satisfaction in life that most people seek. This happens because these are experiences of our actual self; our whole self as opposed to our egoic mind.
How does all this affect meditation? When we are not succeeding with meditation, or we find limited benefits, we are resisting our true nature, which is the timeless and non-separate. Unconsciously, our minds challenge our unseen states of being, i.e. states not identifiable by the senses.
The mind is therefore our own enemy. As useful as it may be in practical matters or in remembering all manner of facts, the mind exists because of the ego and the ego is not real. The mind says, “I am a human being and I am at the centre of life. Everything else is related to me and how I feel.” But a paradox emerges here. We want the yogas to help us become calm and more satisfied, which is feasible, while the mind is continuously trying to justify its own existence.
The mind can only justify itself by relating to the senses. The ego invents time and it invents separateness. So when we try to go beyond the senses, to awaken and imbibe our finer subtler self by using yoga, we often encounter a bit of a battle.
I have good news. This massive paradox can be overcome. The way in which you approach meditation can solve this dilemma, together with developing the art of letting go of the mind for short periods. I will explore this in some detail. The mind (ego) resists letting go because, during every moment of your life, it tries to cling on to projections of the future. But there definitely is a solution.
Any form of yoga needs to be taken on earnestly. I’m not saying you need to change your ways or change your lifestyle. The emphasis is on focussing, for it to work effectively. The practice of meditation itself will enable you become more focussed in almost any task but you do need to be determination. The determination required is not concentration during the practice of meditation. It’s persisting with yourself, to insist that you take a complete holiday from mind stuff on a frequent basis. Meditation will do it but you have to allow your subtle energy (silent inner dimensions) in.
You will need to keep in mind that meditation is not really a process at all. A process usually does require concentration. Meditation most definitely does not. It requires attention. What we gain is the ability to hold our attention on anything using almost no effort at all. Hence, benefits in daily life accrue. Meditation is allowing a state of awareness of your subtle self to prevail.
Meditation is not a pill. It is not a panacea. It is a practical tool which helps invaluably in accepting what is real and what is false (around here). Of course repetitive meditation brings calm into your life and can be used as a very effective relaxant at the end of a busy day, et al, but it is the acceptance of truth that solves life, solves all your problems and lifts away the cloud of suffering. Truth is now fully established and not, as before, some shaky belief. Humankind is waking up to this substantiality and it holds an awesome future for those who bother to embrace and exploit it.
It’s not difficult to face the truth. It’s virtually a game – maybe viewed as a dare, with lots of rewards for taking part. It may ruffle your feathers a little at first glance but, the more you face truth, like me you’ll probably become fascinated with what you discover as non-truth. Non-truth includes all that’s going on around you, more or less everything said or discussed by your fellow humans and all that mankind strives for. That’s quite a statement, isn’t it? I’ll explain more as we go along.
Facing yourself, which means contemplating the truth your personal traits and your conjured up thoughts, could be a bit more challenging at first. However, when you gather pace, this will become part of your daily life without interrupting your normal flow of events. Take on more and more truth and what initially may seem a little burdensome will turn into an exciting adventure. I can guarantee, from personal experience, that what awaits the resolute meditator is ultimate bliss and a glorious life, elevated in all aspects, including the list above, compared to a life of continual problems combined with a lack of knowledge about what we really are and why we are here.
To give you a taster (the next three paragraphs), you are not Jack or Jane, or whatever name is ascribed to you. You do not have a life. You are life. You are all aspects of life – but at the moment you’re buried in the preoccupation of the 26% of yourself that looks like solid matter. There is no such thing as solid matter. This is proven science.
You are responsible for your evolution. You got yourself to where you are now but, because of your preoccupation with the very small part of yourself your senses perceive, you can’t quite understand how you did it.
Everything is revealed – re-cognised – when we get in touch with our 100% self. This is the basis of all yoga. You’ve been reaching outside yourself for answers and solutions while, without interruption, everything you want has always been within your reachable consciousness; closer to you than your eyelids are to your eyes.
This book isn’t about instruction in any particular meditation – it’s about how to apply the meditation method of your choice. However, I’ll mention what has helped me in terms of techniques. You can choose for yourself from a vast range of methods publicised in the world today. You’ll probably try a few and settle on what feels right. It won’t take long. You’ll guide yourself to what you need, quite naturally. You may even change as the years go by, as your meditations get more and more refined.
Meditation enables the mind to subdue thought. If you expect it to dispense with thought you’ll be disappointed. Thoughts will always appear. Correct meditation enables you to deal with thoughts in such a way that they do not disturb you.
Don’t be put off because I’ve told you thoughts will always be part of your mediations. You’re commencing a fascinating journey. It’s a journey enabling you to surmount thought so that you can stop being a slave to it. Thought causes all suffering. So, when you conquer it, by observing it rather than pandering to it, your life enters a satisfying conciliate phase.
I advise readers to do their own research about which variation to use, if what I refer to is considered not enough. Browsing the internet and referring to one or two books and /or a local teacher will be all that’s necessary to establish which methods you are most interested in and what suits you the most.
I recommend a book by Eric Hutchinson entitled Teach Yourself to Meditate. It’s quite sufficient unless you want to go deeply into a monastic type of life. There are other books and instructions. If you learn by personal instruction, which is very advisable, you won’t need to look up any method or variation because you’ll be provided with all you need by your teacher. If you’re happy thereafter, fine. If you then have a wish to explore a variety of methods, that’s fine too.
Meditation goes back in history for millennia. It’s not a new fad. It has behind it the wisdom of great Masters and Sages who were highly evolved human beings and who knew truth.
If you are going to try a method that has been established recently by a person or organization who’s designed wonderful literature and a convincing Internet website etc., ask yourself if the meditation method has any real lineage. From my own investigation of a few modern methods, I conclude the only change you’re going to see by studying ‘Dr. so-and-so’s method developed over 35 years’ (and such like) – with all the marketing jargon attached – is you’re going to be parted from your hard earned cash.
It is no more difficult to do proper meditation than it is to play with modern money making hybrids.
You need to be instructed how to deal with thought, so do watch out for the advertising of phrases such as:
“Mind development” –j this is the opposite of what you need;
“Experience deep states only usually available to monks” – not appropriate for beginners; not needed to turn your life around.
Moreover, you may encounter invalid commands, especially within written instruction, such as:
“Focus on calming the thoughts” – how can you if you haven’t been instructed? Infusing calm vibration is the key and not thoughts of calming the thoughts. Calming vibration is generated from the finer dimensions of yourself but many methods don’t tell you why or how to infuse them properly. Calm thoughts will be an outcome of meditation, not the mechanics of it;
“Breathe away all your thoughts” – a command not possible to implement without chi infusion instruction;
“Imagine you are bathing in tranquillity” – you can’t; that’s why you want to meditate – if such statements are made without precise instruction as to how to reach tranquility, the method has questionable value;
“Concentrate” – this is the opposite exact of what you need to do. Good meditation helps you concentrate in your normal waking state, thereby making daily life more efficient and less worrisome. But concentrating during your meditation is going against the natural flow rather than going with it. ‘Holding fast’ is what occurs in meditation, once you have a little experience, but it is achieved without effort and not by concentration;
Clear your mind (1st instruction) – impossible, that’s why we’re doing this.
Types of meditation
Meditation should always be approached in a relaxed manner. If you are not relaxed when you sit down to meditate, a relaxation technique is appropriate, especially the first few times you meditate because relaxing may not come naturally to you. Use a relaxation technique before you meditate until you feel you don’t need one. Use one forever if you want.
One popular relaxation technique is lying flat on the floor in the ‘savasana’ position. Your arms will be slightly away from your sides with your palms facing upwards. Each part of the body is tensed for a few seconds and then let go of. Cover the feet, legs, buttocks, torso, arms, neck and forehead. When everything feels relaxed, make sure there is no tension in your jaw. Feel your body as a heavy dead weight against the floor.
Breath awareness is one of the most basic types of meditation, which most people try at some time or another. You can meditate solely with breath awareness and not use any other technique, if you so choose. It is adequate. You don’t have to explore any other techniques if you don’t wish to.
Turn your attention to your breathing. This should be your regular shallow breathing, not deep breathing, so you are putting in no effort, but just watching your ordinary breathing. Vaguely give your attention to, say, the air moving in and out of your nostrils, or your chest or stomach slowly, rising and falling.
When you find yourself thinking a thought, rather than and just being aware of your breathing, slowly let the thoughts go and return to the breath awareness. Do this with as little effort as possible. Do not suddenly banish a thought, but let it dissipate slowly. Sometimes thoughts will persist to the point of disturbing your tranquillity altogether. I will examine this thoroughly in the next chapter.
Do the first few meditations in the savasana position. Afterwards, sit comfortably in an upright chair with your hands gently clasped and your feet on the ground. Take the weight of your head i.e. don’t rest your head on anything, unless of course you are physically discomforted or incapable.
If you want to explore more advanced sitting positions, then by all means do so. The same applies to all silent meditation techniques.
A mantra is a sound or word thought of as a sound, which mostly has no meaning. This is useful because turning one’s attention to something with no meaning assists us in getting away from thoughts. However, sometimes mantras do have a meaning and this can also be helpful when one is bringing contemplation into the meditation, particularly when the meditation is being used for self strengthening and or unconditioning.
Let’s take a meaningless mantra, for instance aa-ree-laam. Notice this word has three syllables. They should be repeated as one word or sound and not broken down with pauses, so in this case, this would be aareelaam. For mantras ending in m, the m should be held onto for a few seconds as an m-m-m-m-m sound and ending with a slightly upward tone i.e. higher note.
When first using a new mantra it can be said aloud, and then gradually softer and softer until it disappears and is becomes only a thought.
The sound is therefore imagined. It should be imagined in a vague, lazy, effortless manner, repeated about once every 10 seconds (vary this as you prefer). It should be allowed to become quieter and quieter and disappear into the distance after, say, about a minute or so, so that you end up with this imaginary sound hardly perceptible at all. Sometimes it will change into something else, such as a shape or colour or some form of light or darkness, maybe even feeling like a breeze or something natural in nature. Whether this happens or not, what ever is perceived should be allowed to move away into the distance as far as possible so it is hardly perceptible – but your attention is still with it. This is the way to get to total peace and tranquillity.
I will deal with ways to deal with thoughts that interrupt you, in the next chapter.
You might wish to try a mantra with a meaning. This is likely to be an affirmation which I will deal with shortly.
Let’s take, for instance, the well-known Tibetan mantra Om mani pad me hum. Sometimes this mantra is used without meaning, purely for the sound and vibration emitted. But, if you do look it up, you will find it means something like: Om is the original sound of creation (manifestation); mani means the wheel of life (a Buddhist symbol); pad and me mean fortitude and determination and hum means story, possibly your personal story, possibly the story of life in general., In a meaningful context it could be used as a mantra of acceptance and non-attachment. [By the way it’s pronounced om manee pay may hum].
As I have mentioned, there are a countless number of mantras. The mantra ‘One’ can be effective if it is used under instruction. I would not advise using such a mantra without an experienced adviser on hand. The mantra ‘one’ is sometimes used in, for instance, Zen meditation. Such mantras can be very effective in their right place
The mantra ‘Om’ should not be used by beginners, despite a lot of seemingly knowledgeable instructors advising people to use this sound. ‘Om’ represents the absolute source of all. If you were ready to merge into that high state of being you would probably not be living a life on Earth. ‘Om’ it is too strong a mantra for beginners.
I don’t advise words like Love and Peace be used. They might have 2 out of 10 effectiveness but they do represent something. Therefore they would not necessarily get you beyond the workings of the mind effectively. Also, any such word could possibly be associated (remotely, I admit) with something negative to you deep in your non-recallable consciousness, which goes back beyond this little lifetime.
I could go on for pages about mantras. However, my intention here is not to write such a thesis but to offer advice on correct meditation. I advise finding a Gururaj Ananda teaching organization or individual if you can. I spent a lot of time with them and know the teaching to be excellent, on a one-to-one basis, with a personally prescribed mantra if you want it. I mentioned Eric Hutchinson’s book, in chapter 1, for other ideas.
The two practices explained above are the most commonly used meditations. The others described below are ones I have personally found indispensable, amongst the plethora of alternative or additional meditation techniques that can be undertaken to build a personal package of techniques. Each person can explore and decide what their package should consist of.
I use all the following techniques except the ‘guided’ option. I took decades to establish my own package by means of much trial and exploration. I hope some of the following practices will be helpful to readers in that they may help reduce the effort required in searching.
I use mantra or Tratak seven to ten times per week, deep breathing on most days, contemplation once or twice per week and the others, listed below, occasionally.
Breath, in yogic terms, is known as prana. Deep breathing is known as pranayama. Pranayama can be used as a meditation on its own if so desired. It can also be used as an emergency calming technique.
As mentioned previously deep breathing is not the type of breathing to do in the breath awareness meditation technique. However, pranayama can be used as a precursor to meditation and as a finalé after meditation, prior to returning to normal daily activity.
It has been said, in metaphoric terms, that meditation cleans the windows and pranayama, after meditation, clears away the smears. I think it’s good to do it, both before and after a sitting meditation.
In a meditative state, prana represents the essence of everything, the source, the subtle energy on which everything depends. Ingesting prana is equivalent to heightening one’s subtle self, i.e. unfolding one’s pure consciousness. During pranayama, it’s best to imagine the air being the pure essence of your wholeness of being; pure energy.
As a basic pranayama practice, you can just sit, in the normal meditation position/stance, and do it for, say, 3 to 5 min. Or you can do a predetermined number of rounds or counts.
Fundamentally important is the way you breathe. Breathing in should be from the stomach first, to fill the stomach area, and then the lungs, filling them with air to the fullest extent possible. And then, the most important part of all, the out-breath.
Exhalation should be done gently, letting the air out slowly and, most importantly of all, push out intensely at the end of the breath using the stomach; tightening the stomach a little to finish, in order to get out all the last bits of breath. This is vital because stale air is normally retained in the lungs on the out-breath in everyday breathing, even when fast breathing after exercise. So, concentrating on the end of the out-breath dispenses with all stale air and your system ingests all fresh air.
As an emergency calming technique, several rounds of pranayama are suitable at any time of the day you wish. This could be while you’re waiting for an appointment when you are a bit nervous or meeting somebody new, or any other number of situations you can imagine when nervousness comes to the fore. It’s best if you can sit with your eyes closed to do it but that’s not absolutely essential. You could be standing, even walking or driving, obviously with your eyes wide open, and not losing concentration on your everyday activity, while you take part in a round or two of pranayama, maybe more. At the very least, it will refresh your system with fresh air and dispense with stale air.
There are many different counts to pranayama. For instance breathing in to the count of 10, hold to the count of 10 and exhale to the count 10. There should always be a holding interlude between the in breath and the out breath. Another example is in 5, hold 10, out5. Holding the breath helps self-control. The more calm you become in the holding interlude, the better pranayama will work for you. One count I have used a lot is 2:8:4, which is supposed to be the ratio at which the universal cycle operates. Supposedly, this aligns you with the pulse of the universe. It’s possible to double this count, and I have known advanced meditators to quadruple it.
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