Meditation

Technique is like a toy given to a child. When the child grows up, the toy is discarded. In the meantime technique is necessary in order to develop patience and to refrain from dreaming about the "spiritual experience." One's whole practice should be based on the relationship between you and nowness.

You do not have to push yourself into the practice of meditation but just let be. If you practice in this way, a feeling of space and ventilation automatically comes, the expression of the Buddha-nature or basic intelligence that is working its way through confusion.

Chogyam Trungpa - Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

 

There are many ways to explain meditation, what it is, what it does, how it works. Meditation, it is said, is a way to evoke the relaxation response. Meditation, others say, is a way to train and strengthen awareness; a method for centering and focusing the self; a way to halt constant verbal thinking and relax the bodymind; a technique for calming the central nervous system; a way to relive stress, bolster self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and alleviate depression.

All of those are true enough; meditation has been clinically demonstrated to do all of those things. But I would like to emphasize that meditation itself is, and always has been a spiritual practice. Meditation, whether Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, or Muslim, was invented as a way for the soul to venture inward, there ultimately to find a supreme identity with Godhead. "The Kingdom of Heaven is within" - and meditation, from the very beginning, has been the royal road to that Kingdom. Whatever else it does, and it does many beneficial things, meditation is first and foremost a search for the God within.

... Meditation is spiritual; prayer is religious. That is, petitionary prayer, in which I ask God to give me a new car, help with my promotion, etc., is religious; it simply wishes to bolster the little ego in its wants and desires. Meditation, on the other hand, seeks to go beyond the ego altogether, it asks nothing from God, real or imagined, but rather offers itself up as a sacrifice toward a greater awareness.

Meditation, then, is not so much a part of this or that particular religion, but rather part of the universal spiritual culture of all human kind - an effort to bring awareness to bear on all aspects of life. It is, in other words, part of what has been called the perennial philosophy.

Ken Wilber - Grace and Grit