Introduction to meditation
Meditation is a useful exercise that has many different purposes and applications for wellness and mental health. The type of meditation that this site is concerned with is meditation that leads to Supramundane Insight – knowledge things we learn in meditation that lead to permanent increases in well-being and satisfaction in life. Supramundane insight leads to less suffering- and suffering has an end. In order to gain supramundane insight, we must train the mind to have certain qualities – qualities of awakening. These 7 mental qualities must be balanced for a meditator to discover the nature of self.
Discovering things about how this sense of self is constructed in our experience, allows us to see our identity attachments for what they are, and as we develop a positive self-image based in a higher power, we actively abandon qualities of mind which arise that do not lead to knowledge and wisdom. The practice of deity yoga is a way to connect to the aspirational archetype in an active way, that engages our imagination and directly builds this positive self-image and in the process we see how the self-image is constructed, by constructing it actively.
This is a practice that is very powerful and can lead to great identity attachments being dropped and replaced with positive self-image constructions. We can actively develop this positive self-image and learn a lot about intention and how the mind manifests reality in the process. We see how visualization and intention are related and we can learn all about the nature of self just by pretending to take on enlightened qualities, with the wholesome intention of developing those qualities within ourselves. This practice requires a bit more faith for things not yet uncovered.
For someone who has no experience whatsoever in meditation, I would direct them to the simple practice of mindfulness of breathing, and start very simply by implementing a daily 5 minute meditation where you only try to sit down for 5 minutes and not move or look at the clock. Then during those 5 minutes, you mentally imagine a mantra, e.g, Bu-Do and you make it in synch with the breathing pattern. When you lose the breath, Bu-Do is your handle back into mindfulness. Once you go one breath remembering Bu and Do, then you were mindful in that time. And you just learn how to be with the breathing and paying attention to the fact of breathing.