In this quote, Mark Twain talks about the mind's ability to cause a person to suffer. Some would say thoughts in the mind are the only source of our human suffering. It is not the event that causes suffering – it is our thoughts about the event. Fortunately, there is a way to detach from our thoughts and be able to observe them from a distance, and with that distance our suffering becomes less. That way is called meditation.
Some believe meditation leads to the ability to control the mind and its thinking process. Actually that is not possible. Meditation does allow for the meditator to separate from the thoughts and with this distance then assess the thoughts and decide to attach to the thought or not. It is as if each thought is an amusement park ride and meditation gives the opportunity to choose to ride the ride or not
Meditation has been described as sitting on a bluff over a river watching boats go by. The boats come into view and go out of view and we watch them go by. In this analogy the boats represent various thoughts generated by the mind. In meditation the practice is one of letting the thoughts come and go. Meditation is a mental practice and as we practice we become more able to be detached from our thoughts and their offer of suffering. The key is practice. It is important not to judge or grade our practice. It is enough that we do the practice regularly/daily. Just sitting to meditate at all is all that is important. With practice, the desired outcome will inevitably come, so all we need to do is undertake the practice.
Meditation is not only a mental practice it is a spiritual practice as well. As we create space between ourselves and our thoughts, there is more space for us to have an experience of God. Meditation is clearly a foundation of spiritual practice around the world. The bible tells us in Psalm 46:10 to “be still and know that I am God” – clearly an invitation to meditation. Other passages suggest going to a quiet place (the closet) and shutting the door – again a clear reference to the practice of meditation.
Clear to me then is the fact that the single most important practice a person can undertake is meditation. On this page I will offer teachings to help you with that endeavor.
A general misconception about meditation is that meditation is a process which quiets the mind. It is not possible to quiet the mind. Meditation is a practice to sharpen the ability to focus the mind. The meditator develops the ability to select a focal point for the mind and focus on it, thereby taking focus away from the incessant thought production of the mind. Thus, the mind may seem quieter, although it actually is not. Hopefully with this understanding, the beginning meditator will not judge themselves as a poor meditator because their mind has not become quiet. A “good” meditation occurs then anytime meditation is practiced.
Select an appropriate place to practice. Practicing in the same place daily will enhance the process. Should be in a comfortable sitting posture in a place that is free of distraction.
Select a focus point. For many this is the breath. Called breath awareness, the meditator becomes aware of their breathing, noticing now I am breathing in and now I am breathing out. You may become aware of the sensation of breath in the nostrils. No attempt to control the breathing is needed. Some focus on an object, could be a candle flame or even a spot on the wall. Could be a repetitive sound, recording of rainfall etc. Any focus point is fine.
Focus is maintained for the desired time, beginning with approximately 5 minutes once a day and working up to 20 minutes twice a day or more. During meditation the mind will wander. This happens to even the most experienced meditators. When you notice that your mind has wandered bring it back to the focal point without engaging in any self-criticism. Continue the process of focusing and re-focusing the mind for the desired time. Yes, it is that simple!
Below are excerpts from Joel S. Goldsmith's recordings, books or writings. They appear daily at www.iwso.org, together with corroborating scripture and inspired comments by Al Denninger [Resources], to take into meditation and live with throughout your day.
“Hundreds of books have been written on this subject, but those that have been written out of the depths of experience all agree that the presence of God can only be realized when the senses are stilled, when we have settled down into an atmosphere of expectancy, of hope, and of faith. In this state of relaxation and peace, we wait. That is all we can do, just wait. We cannot bring God to us for God is already here, in this inner stillness, in this quietness and confidence.” — Joel S. Goldsmith
Psalms 46:10 — 10 Be still, and know that I am God
Isaiah 30:15 — 15 For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength:
“Rest now with Me…Make no effort to seek or understand...Just rest and wait in Peace and in God's Promise. For where the Spirit is Felt unconditionally Within, there is Liberty.” — Al Denninger
“We, who are practicing the Presence, are of the few who know what ultimately will save the world. It is above all things the acknowledgment that no man on earth is our father: There is one universal Father within us, and united with Him, we are united with every spiritual child of God throughout the world. Our love for God constitutes our love for the people of the world. We no longer hate; we no longer fear. We need not punish; we need not seek vengeance: We need only withdraw into ourselves and contemplate our oneness with God and with one another.” — Joel S. Goldsmith
Romans 15:5-7 — 5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
Matthew 6:10 — 10 Thy kingdom [is] come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
“I Am standing with you…Stand with Me and let us be a Lamp unto the world.” — Al Denninger
“We have been trained to pray with our thinking mind as if God could be reached through thought. God can never be reached with or through thought. No one can ever reach God with the mind; no one can ever reach God with conscious thinking: God can only be reached through a receptive state of consciousness. We never know when God will speak to us, but of this we may be assured: If we live in meditation, giving sufficient periods to maintaining our contact with the Presence, we shall be under God's government, and at any moment that there is a necessity or a need, God will speak to us.” — Joel S. Goldsmith
Matthew 6:31-33 — 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (you shall be included in the Kingdom).
“Our Sufficiency [all we need to do God's Work] is Ever-present. Practice the Presence with Me now, in secrecy and silence, and let the noise of this-world dissolve...God's government [Divine Principal] includes us and is never out of touch.
Listen Up! [Upwards] — Al Denninger