Meditation is a state of consciousness which is just as natural to us as the waking, dream and deep sleep states with which we are all familiar. Just as there is no Buddhist dream state or Hindu deep sleep state or Christian waking state, there is no religion or tradition that can claim the state of meditation as their own. Thus everyone, regardless of religious affiliations, can practice and benefit from meditation and view the spiritual dimensions of this state from their own preferred tradition. Dr. Edwards has personally taught meditation to people of every faith, as well as priests, nuns, ministers, rabbis, Muslims, Native American elders, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics and atheists. Everyone can benefit from meditation and view the experiences from their own perspective.
No single tradition or path can claim to be the sole effective means for entering the state of meditation. Dr. Edwards, the founder and director of the Anam Cara Meditation Foundation, has taught meditation to thousands of individuals using practices from diverse traditions and disciplines including yogic, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Sufi, shamanic, scientific/clinical, biofeedback, neurofeedback, pranayama, mindfulness, and more. When taught skillfully many techniques can work to guide a person into accessing states of deep relaxation and meditation. People are drawn to different traditions and practices and it is best to find a school of thought or type of technique that you will really want to pursue through years of practice. This isn’t to say that all practices lead to the same level or depth of meditative awareness or can take one equally far along the meditative journey, but many techniques will do for the initial stages of learning to ease the mind, deeply relax the body, and begin dissolving the bondage we suffer from conditioned patterns of thinking/feeling/acting and identification with a false sense of self.
People meditate for a variety of reasons, for improving health, enhancing performance, increasing creativity, reducing stress, for religious or spiritual pursuits and the quest for wisdom and freedom from suffering. All of these can be accomplished if you meditate daily. The basic practice of meditation is deceptively simple: you sit, focus your attention and watch what happens. Of course we need to know what’s the best way to sit, what do we focus on and what is there to watch? (Below you’ll find detailed written meditation instructions that answer these questions, as well as free downloadable audio recordings of guided meditations to go along with the written instructions.)
Meditation traditions vary in their answers to these questions. Some traditions focus on devotion, some on knowledge, others on mantra and yet others on mindfulness or watchfulness. It’s fine to explore different techniques and philosophies to begin with. Eventually choose one that suits you best and practice it regularly. There’s an old saying, “it’s better to dig one well a hundred feet deep than 10 wells 10 feet deep.” Choose a meditation method and stay with it until you’ve tapped into the source of what you’re seeking deep within. Lawrence said, “I practiced meditation for many, many years simply using the mantra and instructions that one of my meditation masters, Swami Muktananda, gave me. That mantra is Om Namah Shivaya, an ancient, extraordinarily powerful Sanskrit mantra that means, ‘I honor the Divine Within,’ within everything and everyone, including yourself. The power of mantra goes far beyond the meaning of the words, as you will discover through your regular practice of it. The mantra is a throb, a pulse of the Infinite – become absorbed in it and it will take you to the very Source of mind and mantra.”
Click HERE for written meditation instructions by Lawrence Edwards, PhD
Click HERE for free MP3 guided deep relaxation by Lawrence Edwards, PhD
Click HERE for free MP3 guided mantra meditation using Om Namah Shivaya by Lawrence Edwards, PhD
(for MP3 downloads: right click on the link, save target as…)
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As your meditation practice develops you will learn more and more about yourself and about this highest of human endeavors. If you want to read about the practice of meditation, the inner realms you can explore, the psychology of meditation and yoga, and the transformative process that unfolds through the practice of meditation you might want to read The Soul’s Journey: Guidance From The Divine Within available from Barnes&Noble.com, Amazon.com, or a local bookseller. You can read reviews and learn more about it at thesoulsjourney.com. You may also find the book and audio program Awakening Kundalini: The Path To Radical Freedom will help to deepen your experience of meditation and expand your understanding of how the power of meditation can totally transform your life. Two other books I highly recommend are by John Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living and Wherever You Go There You Are. Also Lama Surya Das’ Awakening the Buddha Within and other works are excellent.
For information on programs, courses and retreats please visit our Events page.
Meditation Sessions (open to every one):
Thursdays at 7:15pm, Anam Cara Meditation Foundation, 2 Byram Brook Place, Ste 2, Armonk, NY 10504.
Suggested donation: $20
May every meditation be a revelation
and every moment a meditation!
Lawrence Edwards, PhD, LMHC, BCN
At Anam Cara satsangs we’ve been chanting a beautiful prayer from the Vedic tradition that my teacher, Swami Muktananda, had chanted every day in his ashrams and centers around the world. This Universal Prayer invokes the highest and most selfless wish for the relief of suffering, the showering of blessings, and freedom for everyone. The transliterated text from Sanskrit and the translation are as follows: (click here for an MP3 of the Universal Prayer to hear how it is sung by Kalidas. It is a free download). This version is adapted from the SYDA Foundation book, The Nectar of Chanting, p. 63.
sajjanah shaantim aapnuyaat,
Shanto muchyeta bandhebhyo
muktas chaanyaan vimochayet.
May the wicked become good. May the good obtain peace.
May the peaceful be freed from bonds. May the freed set others free.
Svasti prajabhyah paripalayantaam
nyaayena maargena mahim mahishaah,
Gobraahmanebhyah shubham astu nityam
lokaah samastaah sukino bhavantu.
Blessings on the subjects of those who are ruling, and may these great lords rule the earth in a just manner. May good always be the lot of cows and religious leaders, Brahmins. May all people be happy.
Kaale varshatu parjanyah
Deshoyam kshobha rahito
braahmanaah shantu nirbhayaah.
May it rain at the right time. May the earth have storehouses full of grain. May this country be free of disturbances. May the religious (Brahmins and all others) be free of persecution.
Sarve bhavantu sukhinah
sarve santu niraamayaah,
Sarve bhadraani pashyantu
maa kashchid duhkha bhaag bhavet.
May all be happy. May all be wealthy. May all see only auspicious sights. May no one have a share in sorrow.
Sarvas taratu durgaani
sarvo bhadraani pashyatu,
Sarvah kaamaan avaapnotu
sarvah sarvatra nandatu.
May everyone surmount their difficulties. May everyone see only auspicious sights. May everyone have their desires fulfilled. May everyone everywhere be glad.
Svasti maatra uta pitre no astu
svasti gobhyo jagate purushebhyaah,
Vishvam subhuutam suvidatram no astu
jyogeva drishyema suuryam.
Om shantih shantih shantih
May blessings fall on our mother and father; blessings on the cows, the fields and the workers. May everything of ours flourish and be an aid to knowledge. And long may we see the sun.
Om Peace Peace Peace
May all our practices truly benefit everyone,
And may all beings, everywhere, become completely free of suffering.
With love to all,