What skills are you trying to develop as a meditator, and how would you measure your meditation practice as successful or not? In the article below I outline five fundamental skills that need to be developed equally in my opinion in order to make our meditation practice successful and qualified.
Although it is only my opinion, these five skills are those that I have observed are common to virtually all forms of meditation school, and hence they can act as a kind of template for building our own meditation practice making it as balanced and rounded as possible.
This weeks’ article is kind of the companion version to last weeks on theFive Stages of Meditation Practice . Whereas the five stages focuses on the general development of a meditation practice from beginners to advanced, the five skills outlined below are generally developed together in tandem with each other as one progresses through different levels of meditation practice.
Skill 1: Stilling and focusing the mind
This is perhaps both the first and the last of meditation skills; learning to still the thinking mind and moving into a space of inner stillness. From this stillness we can then move into a state of focused activity in meditation. Stilling the mind forms the basis of any subsequent meditation practice and gives us access to temporary peace of mind whenever we wish to find it in our daily life.
Skill 2: Developing ones creative imagination skills
This means developing the ability to consciously and deliberately create and visualize meaningful images so that we can see, feel, smell hear and taste them within our inner vision.
It also means sensitizing our inner vision to any spontaneous images, thoughts and information’s that may start to pop into our mind during meditation that have some form of meaning. This second aspect of developing our creative imagination means learning to distinguish between random, meaningless distractions and images that have meaning and value.
Skill 3: Healing and regeneration
This is the skill of being able to connect to that which is wounded, damaged and in need of healing within ourself and help it to become well.
Skill 4: Directing energy
This is the skill of learning to be sensitive to the subtle energy in our own body and within our environment. By becoming sensitive in this way we can gradually learn to consciously direct this energy in ways that is beneficial to ourself and others.
Skill 5: Mediation
This skill means developing the capacity to connect to ‘higher’ or ‘deeper’ energies within our consciousness and learn how to mediate that deeper positive, creative energy into the outer world through our own body-mind.
Actually, we are all mediating some form of energy into the world all the time (positive or negative according to our mood, emotional state, use of words etc…). Meditation gives us the capacity to start mediating energy in a conscious way from the inner world into the outer world by learning to embody certain primal energies, for example love, creativity, wisdom and so on…
All of these five skills start by being developed formally in our sitting meditation practice, but over time they increasingly become a part of our everyday awareness. As we go about daily life we
- Remain in touch with a sense of stillness even when active
- Make conscious, positive use of creative images
- Act to heal and regenerate that which is damaged within ourself and others
- Direct subtle energy appropriately and mediate positive energy into the world through our conscious daily activity with others
© Toby Ouvry 2014, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com