Common Meditation

I've taken you through a couple of meditation styles already, these ones are used by many people throughout the Jedi Community. Just because 'everyone else' does it though does not mean that they are necessarily the correct meditations for you. We are all different and will respond differently to various styles of meditation. I'm sure I've said this before, but I'll say it again, experiment! Don't be afraid to try something new, it might be just the right method for you to make a strong and sure connection with the Force. You also need to remember to persist long enough with each new method to be certain that it is or is not for you, and perhaps revisit some techniques at a later time, you may respond better to them with more experience up your sleeve.

Today I'm going to give you some overviews of different meditation styles. My information has been sourced primarily from a single book 'Meditation, the complete guide' by Patricia Monaghan and Eleanor G. Viereck. I spent quite a bit of time going through various bookshops and this book is very informative on many different styles. It is available on Amazon if you are interested (I found it at Borders).


Shamanism
You are probably wondering why this is here. We have a number of Shamans amongst the Jedi community, but Shamanistic style of meditations includes trance dancing, drumming, ecstatic postures and shamanic journeying. Two of the most important techniques for inducing an altered state of consciousness are drumming and dancing. Rhythm and repetition are the key factors in both and these connect us to our deepest animal instincts, which 'take over' while the spirit 'journeys' to other realms.

Many would consider that the induction of ecstatic states might be considered inappropriate for a Jedi, who is meant to remain calm and collected at all times. Personally, I believe that if it appeals to you, it is worth exploring. It can be particularly apt for you if you belong to a religious or ethnic group with a tradition of trance dancing or drumming that you can explore, and later incorporate into your Jedi path. I leave the choice on whether to explore this option up to you, as you will need to source training offline to do this properly and safely.

Yoga
Yoga is more than a 1 hr class run at some ungodly hour of the morning by an instructor that can bend in 9 totally impossible directions. It is as much a way of life, done properly, as the Jedi path or Buddhism. Yoga is, in many ways, a moving meditation like Tai Chi or sport. The key is intention and attitude, as with so many things. The movements and postures themselves encourage stillness of the mind, concentration on the breath (pranayama) and develop flexibility of the body. It is important, however, that you take classes with a qualified instructor, DON'T just try to learn it from a video as you will almost inevitably get the postures wrong and they just don't work as well if you do. Yoga is definitely in keeping with the Jedi path. I've begun learning it myself.

Buddhism
You should be familiar with Buddhist meditations by now. Most of the meditations that you will see on the websites and in the lectures I have supplied you are based on Buddhist meditation models. We won't go any further into this at present.

Taoism
Tai Chi and Qi Gong are both Taoist methods of meditation. Taoism is focused on the concept of balance and as a reflection of this both of these methods have healing, meditation, and martial aspects. I have had experience with Tai Chi and Qi Gong and I personally enjoy Tai Chi, once the movements have been mastered and no longer require conscious direction you will find that you slip into communion with the Force very quickly, this would hold for Yoga and some of the other modalities I am going to introduce shortly. Once again, try to find a qualified instructor rather than learning from a book or tape.

Islam
The main reference to Islam in this book is in regards to Sufism. Some types of Sufism are referred to as dervishes; you may have heard that term. I have one Sufi breathing exercise that I will include as part of you Exercise so that you can experience this if you wish. Otherwise it is probably best for you to do your own research on this area; I'm not even going to pretend to know anything about it! If you can enlighten me, please, do so.

There are also Western paths of meditation, many of which should be familiar to you.

Contemplative Prayer
Prayer has long been a significant part of worship. It is not intended to be used simply as a method of relaxation or healing, but rather as a practice that opens the heart and mind to the will and grace of God.

Generally, there are four types of prayer. Adoration acknowledges the vastness and incomprehensible greatness of divinity. Thanksgiving offers gratitude for the world and for the benefits we receive from it. Contrition is an apology for transgressions and an effort to bring the self into unity with divine will; and finally petition asks for the needs of the individual to be met.

If you are deeply religious in conjunction with walking the Jedi path, you may find this type of meditation attractive. Many of us believe that the Force is another name for God, yet still feel slightly uneasy that God will not understand our choice to walk a less well-trodden path. If you feel like this, then undertaking the prayer practices of your religion will help you bring you into unity with both the Force and with God.

Candle Meditation
This is an old form of inducing a trance via the mechanism of sight. The focusing of the vision is also the focus of the meditation; we all know the soothing sight of looking into a gentle open flame. This method is also popular with neo-pagan groups and you may have some familiarity with it already if you have been involved with such groups.

Creative Meditations
Virtually all arts, including most crafts, can become meditation. Creative acts, like other meditations, produce certain physiological changes in the creator. Any activity that demands focus and that involves some degree of repetitive activity can induce the meditative state. Some examples of this are sketching from nature, needlework (I'll personally attest to that one!), or poetry.

Active Meditations
Sport can be a meditation. Yes, you can get off your butt and meditate too. I'm sure you are familiar with the term 'in the Zone'. The Zone referred to is the intense focus of the meditative mind. Gardening, walking, including specialized walking such as labyrinth walking are all meditations.

So as you see, there are many, many opportunities for you to reach the meditative state. Establishing a deep connection to the Force is not restricted to those times you have in peace and quiet, and to yourself. If you are an active person who can't sit down, go for a walk in nature, or play some sport for example. It is up to you to find the right method for you.