Introduction to Advanced Meditations
The Advanced Meditations held at Lifeflow provide a way of training yourself to be able to understand, access and accept all of the varied aspects of the human mind. By accepting that our minds have many different shades we can learn how to use them skilfully and appropriately. We can also recognise and understand all the different states of mind we experience, instead of being driven by them unconsciously.
It’s interesting to see how the Buddha stated that everything we say, see, experience and do is determined by our states of mind. Here’s the original quotation: “All experience is directed by mind, led by mind, made by mind.”
What this is saying is that our life is shaped by our mind. That is, the mental habits – the thoughts, emotions, stories and decisions – we have built up over our lives shape our states of mind which in turn shape how we see ourselves, other people and the world. These then determine how we respond to the people and events in our lives.
What these advanced meditations give are very effective tools for getting to know, and for practising, healthy states of mind. It’s always important to keep in mind that we can’t change old habits, but we can build new ones. And this is exactly what these meditations are designed to do – where it really matters, at the source where habits are created.
You can learn a whole range of states of mind, including ones you would never think to identify with. The two main tools are mantra and visualisation – things you can constantly repeat. And this is exactly how you build a habit – through constant repetition. You can repeat a mantra anywhere, anytime, keeping it going in your mind. And it actually helps that the words are not in English, because then they bypass your thinking mind entirely and, through the associations built into them during the meditation, keep recreating the feeling of each particular state of mind.
These visualisations work at a deep instinctual level. The meditations open up all your senses through colour, symbols, sound, taste, touch and smell. They provide a way of connecting with peaceful states of mind such as kindness, compassion, clarity, love and bliss, as well as direct and forceful ones such as compassionate anger, cutting through appearances, connecting with the instinctual wisdom of your gut energies and the ecstasy of youthful passion.
Coming originally from the rich Tibetan tradition, Lifeflow has kept the original names and mantras, so that if ever you would like to follow up where they have come from, you can. We have adapted them by linking the feelings associated with each visualisation to Australian natural environments that we are familiar with.
Once you have experienced the meditation, then, through practice, you can learn to deliberately recall and use the state of mind skilfully as you need it in your daily life. The meditation is experienced in the ceremony in a concentrated state, but you will find that using the mantra and image will quickly evoke the state of mind and feeling that you have practiced. You will then find that by using the mantra you can evoke this state of mind more and more at will, whenever you want to and whenever you need to.
Lifeflow holds two Advanced Meditations each year on Sunday mornings. These sessions are open to our members and are held at the Tara Hills Retreat Centre. They are advertised in member email updates well before the event. Details will include the name of the meditation and the emotion that it is evoking. Time is given after the formal part of the ceremony for members to sit quietly with the feeling from the meditation in order to begin familiarising themselves with the practice.