Some Challenges and Solutions
You may well be in the middle of a meditation when other thoughts come in. What do you do with these thoughts? Pretend that the thought has come in say through the left ear and then let it go out through the right ear. Or pretend that you capture that thought and put it in a pilot-less aircraft flying overhead - the thought goes. If the thought comes in again then take this action again. If the thought keeps on coming in then write down the thought and tell yourself that you will take action later, then go back to meditation. If it happens again, then tell yourself that you have taken the action of writing it down and you will handle it later, then let the thought go again - out your right ear. It generally won't come back. Remember also that some of these thoughts may well prove to be very useful reminders.
Baroque music at 60 beats to the minute can be useful music to help to meditate (I have two hours of the baroque masters available on my web site - all at exactly 60 beats). Other music to meditate to can be my CD Peaceful Place #1 - Instrumental. The heart beat tends to get in time with the music, which in turn helps to keep you in the meditation state of Theta.
A few words about sleep. For active meditation, you need to be awake, so if you have a tendency to drift off to sleep, then do two things: one is to meditate when you are not tired, and the second thing is to get into a more uncomfortable position. With some people who have gone to sleep both lying down and sitting down, I have suggested to stand safely, with their back in the corner of the room. When you are using meditation to go to sleep, this is an obvious exception.
If you drift off and find yourself say at a beach on a tropical island while you're meditating, then just tell yourself to come back to your Peaceful Place and continue to focus on your breath or chanting. You have remained in Theta. All that's happened is that your thoughts have wandered. You get better and better at focusing in meditation as you practise daily meditation.
Two Analogies Explaining My Beliefs
To write a little about moving towards spiritual meditation I need to explain a couple of personal beliefs which are a little na-na-nu-nu!
When observing a patient connected to an electro-encephalograph, the read-out of the brainwaves (energy) are on a monitor screen. Invariably, say on a TV show, the flat line will appear and it shows "Brain Dead". What do we call that energy when it has left the body? There are many answers aren't there - here are some: Energy, the Light, the Force, Prana, God, Spirit, Chi, Soul, spark of God .... and there are more. Isn't our English language inadequate - same thing, but many different words. Now I'm sure you have heard of near death experiences! In these instances when the body has no energy in it - brain dead - the energy suddenly re-appears. Whatever was outside the body is now inside the body. What's that called? Logic would say that it's called the same - energy, the Light, the Force, God, Spirit, Soul, spark of God. My personal choice is to say the energy is a spark of God. So, if I use these words " spark of God", you know if you prefer to, then substitute whatever the right word is for you. The thought of God being within and without is very comfortable for me. I believe that God is within each one of us.
The second analogy is about a sun ray shining in England, for example, is connected to the sun ray shining in Australia, back through the body of the Sun.
To me, in the same sort of way, we are all inter-connected, because the God in you is connected through the body of God to the God in me. This also helps to explain unconditional love - when I love you I am loving that component of you which is the same as in me, that is, the God in you, which is joined to the God in me. Hence, I am loving me more and for me, it explains why "I can't? love another unless I love myself." You can see how this avoids the personality - I may choose to like or dislike the personality, but I always love the God in another. I can also choose to love at a distance.
So I believe that God (Energy) is everywhere, including within, and that we are all joined through God.
Another Personal Belief
I believe that the "Light" - the Highest Light - when called upon for the Highest Good of All Concerned - is something physical which can fill and surround and protect you. God's Light. You can send this Light to others for healing, love, protection and many other things, always saying "For the Highest Good of All Concerned." (For a more complete explanation, read my book "Switch On to Your Inner Strength", pages 210 to 215).
You will find in every one of my active meditation CDs I call on the Light (within the body of the words that are used for guided imagery) without any explanation at all and in the Peaceful Place CD#5 - Meditation I suggest that you chant the words Love, or Peace, or Om, or Hu and then interchange that chanting with focussing on your breath. This meditation is a very deep meditation and I believe it to be a good move towards spiritual meditation.
The following ideas have come from my spiritual teacher, John Roger of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness .
The passive process of meditation is one of emptying the mind and could be equated to "Waiting for Spirit" or "Waiting for God".
The process of prayer is also a meditation. Deep focused thought that can be equated to "Talking to God or Spirit".
The process of contemplative meditation can be equated to "Thinking about Spirit" or "Thinking about God".
The process of Active Meditation when one is doing the chanting of God's names can be equated to "Going to Spirit" or "Going to God".
A Word on Spiritual Exercise
The following suggestions have been taken from the book Fulfilling Your Spiritual Promise Volume 2 by John-Roger for doing spiritual exercises. Sit in a comfortable chair, upright if possible and do not use music. Call yourself forward to the Light for the highest good and ask for spiritual protection. Chant Hu or Ani Hu silently (Hu is Sanskrit and is an ancient name for God, and Ani adds the quality of empathy.) You can focus your attention in the centre of your head directly back from your forehead. After chanting for 5 minutes or so then stop and listen within - you are listening for the Sound Current. If you lose focus start chanting again - then listen again - and so on .....
So what the latter process does is to awaken one to the Soul within you, the God within you, and Soul is that dynamic, forceful, unit of Energy. Soul is an extension of God or Spirit. To go within and ask for direction from your Higher Self, that part of you connected to Soul, which knows your purpose this lifetime, can be a very useful process.
So, remember that meditation produces enormous life benefits. Every meditation you do releases stress - the first component of anxiousness and worry. If you're in an office and are "snowed under", daily meditation will help to set priorities and see solutions more clearly.
All the best
Thank you for a very informative seminar on meditation. I've been to meditation workshops before but never quite got the knack of it. You have really brought all the threads together for me. With the practice and the clarity of your explanations I know that I am getting somewhere with your method. Not enough words can say - Thank you so much. CB Queensland.
May I tell you what happens when I meditate. My mind is completely still.A warm energy fills every cell of my body and my heart expands. The most beautiful feeling of real love fills my whole Being. Yes I am part of life with all the wisdom, strength and courage I need for whatever will be presented this day. That is the most wonderful gift I can receive in life..... and the ability to do it is always there. Just connect with it and be conscious of it. My whole Being fills with gratitude. MD Queensland
Having recently participated in my second CHI seminar, I am reminded once again of the usefulness of its meditative and reflective methods for identifying one's priorities and setting goals. The strategies presented for reinforcing and supporting one's intentions to achieve these goals are practical and easily adopted. The processes used are respectful and empowering, and there is a balance between shared and independent learning and reflection. Attending for the second time after seven years, the CHI seminar provided the opportunity to more deeply explore life priorities, and once again I came away with effective meditative techniques and an enhanced sense of clarity and vision for the future.Dr S. Patton, Tasmania.
I've been meaning to write for ages to say thank you for your course. I did the seminar a while ago with the aim of learning to relax and find more joy in life. It certainly has helped me, but I'm finding it is a slow process to change my thinking to be more positive, accepting, spontaneous, confident ... there are so many aspects of my life that I want to improve. Also there is the practical side of fitting the meditation into my daily routine. Sometimes I just use the CDs to help me fall asleep at night - not an active meditation then! Probably my most useful meditations were just before I started teaching a University Course recently. I prepared the whole course outline as I meditated. I felt so relaxed and confident, knowing that I had developed a good plan for the 14 weeks. Many of the students told me they enjoyed my course too. Now I'm preparing a high school dinner dance. Some aspects of the night's program have been worrying me. This morning on the train I meditated and came up with some new ideas for getting the program sorted out. Meditation is so good for clear thinking. I heard you talking about forgiving being helpful for the forgiver. Thanks for sharing that idea on TV. Best Wishes. DH Sydney