I am sure you're asking yourself why on Earth a Witch would need to know meditation?
Well, to answer that, first lets talk about what meditation really is..
Read any book on the subject and you will get a lot of different answers to that question.
However for our purposes let's put it simply.
Meditation is the art of directing your mind and body
to interact with each other in a calm, controlled manner.
Most important, the mastery of the mind.
If you master that, the body will follow suit, to a point.
( more on that later )
In this day and age of early death by stress related illnesses,
this art is seeing the largest resurgence in known history.
But other than for her own peace of mind, why does a Witch need to know it?
A good practice of Witchcraft requires a great deal of mind control
and knowledge of the self, to be good at the Craft.
For the simple reason,
one cannot handle the amount of sheer raw force
that a Witch is able to summon,
with a mind in turmoil.
To Ground and Center as it's commonly said means,
among other things, to center the mind and body as one.
The thoughts are focused, the Chakras of the body are aligned and in harmony.
Then one is ready to handle the power vortex summoned
and send it out with a clear Will.
Ok that's all well and good ...... but how to go about this?
Find a Guru and study at his/her feet for the next twenty years?
Well, you could , but I don't think most of us have the time for that.
So, how to handle the matter in a more modern day fashion?
By very simple means really, using something we all do anyway, worry.
Worry is the act of intently concentrating on something,
something upsetting in this case,
in a very, very focused manner.
Often to the exclusion of all else.
Well, this is just what you do when you meditate,
only you're not trying to "think"
You clear the mind with the same intensity that you use
when you are worrying yourself to a frazzle over something.
You clear the mind of the clutter and if you do
true, clear, relevant thoughts will emerge
that have always been there,
but the everyday mind is too busy to hear them
But how does one empty of common thought something as busy as the human mind?
Every novice mediator runs into this wall
of the stubborn minds refusal to stop thinking random thoughts
And this is the point, when they can't make it stop doing this,
that most people give up.
And the fact they are trying to "make" it stop
is the very reason it does not.
Let me say that again,
by trying to stop random thoughts from entering your head
trying to "make" them go away
is the very reason they hang around and you cant seem to concentrate.
The very attention you pay to these random thoughts that pop up,
makes certain that they will be first and foremost in the mind.
Nature hates a vacuum and will find ways to fill it.
Your paying any attention to them, assures that vacuum is filled.
So to meditate
one must give the ever present mind something else to do
as it CANNOT do nothing.
Let me say it again,
it CANNOT do nothing
It's an impossibility.
Why clear the mind of everyday thoughts and ideas anyway?
Because one thought leads to another and yet another etc. etc.
This is analyzing, not meditation
This is how the mind works, period
However this negates the benefit you might get
which is the ability to focus the mind on what YOU want
rather than letting it lead you.
There is no time in your life
that your brain it is not engaged in such analytic action
so it's difficult to overcome, as it is what it is designed to do
So ? What to give the ever hungry for input item residing in your skull?
Something simple, something that evokes nothing
but your practice of meditation tends to work best
For me it's a repetitive sound,
for some it's focusing on the act of breathing.
For others it's thinking of a color,
but always something that does not create the cascade of one thought leads to another and another.
You will notice I didn't mention anything you have to see.
There is good reason for this, the eyes are just as hungry for input as the mind.
If open, they tend to dart about looking for something else to focus on
rather than a rock, candle flame or whatever it is your trying to use as a focal point
This can be done and it works well,
but for a novice it's not recommended,
it's very hard to command the eyes not to look at anything else,
which I am sure you know, if you have ever tried to focus on any object,
your eyes wander off after a very few moments.
But if you want to try,
often something like this, very complex, but without meaning is used.
This one's called a mandala
Which gives the busy eye something to focus on
that has no meaning the mind can latch on to
While giving it something to wander it's gaze around on.
This is very individual as to what works, but it must be something upon which you can focus all your mind.
Now what to do with the random everyday thoughts that pop up anyway?
And believe me they will !
Yes, you heard right, nothing at all.
pay them no heed .. don't try to do anything with them.
Like a puppy at your feet begging for attention, if you give it none it will get up and walk away.
The random thoughts will do the same
if you pay them no mind as they come up and they will get lost
if you don't focus the mind on them.
Now does this come easy?
In a word, NO.
Meditation takes practice and time to learn,
how much depends on you.
And as you might have guessed the thing to learn is
how to ignore the puppy of random thought at your mental feet
demanding that you pay attention to it.
Right along with the stimulus of the body..
That's the second hurdle.
Getting the body to stop demanding your attention too.
Once you have some mind control
the next thing that interrupts you is the body.
You will find yourself with the sudden need to scratch something,
or a leg or hand goes to sleep,
or the feel of the breeze on the hairs of your arm suddenly becomes a real bother.
The body, like the mind is surrounded at all times by input
and is always reacting to it's environment, inside and out.
Once you shut the mind off the body tends to become hyper aware to compensate.
The human animal is geared to reacting to stimuli..period.
Ever hear of an sensory deprivation tank?
All feeling is shut off, the body has no point of reference, the eyes nothing to see, the ears nothing to hear.
And almost to a person, anyone who does this trip reports delusions of the mind while they where in there
Sounds where there are none, sights where there is nothing to see etc.
Again the vacuum effect where nature will fill the void with something.
Only in this case the body has taken a hike from imput
and the mind is trying fill the gap by creating feelings that are not there,
for the sake of the senses.
So how to avoid the trap of the bodies demand?
And the answer is the same, as for the very hungry mind and it's random thoughts.
Pay it no mind
One way is to seat yourself in a comfortable, easy to maintain position, but not lying down,
you will go to sleep and you don't want that.
And other than pain, ignore the body's demand that you change something.
Sounds simple right?
Even in sleep we move all the time.
( There ARE meditations you do while in motion, but that's a whole other ball game.)
This takes practice and finding a position that works for you.
For me it's in my easy chair in a semi reclined position with my feet up.
Not laid back as that would invoke sleep.
but for each person this is different.
You have to work with it till you find that posture that best suits you.
Because you cannot cut the body OUT of the equation anymore than the mind
as each will produce detractions for others lack.
So you have to accept them, yet pay no heed to their distractions.
So you see its not just a matter of plop yourself down into a lotus position and chant mantras,
although this tried and true method works very well.
There are as many ways to meditate as there are people,
as everybody approaches the matter in a different way.
To sum up,
a mind diverted to something simple and a relaxed body creates a meditative state,
which is the most calming thing one can do.
One is in control,
and this feeling of control can be summoned up on demand
to use in any situation where such is called for.
be it rite and ritual..
Or getting your composure back at the check out stand or handling rush hour traffic
without blowing your cool or your radiator :)
The important thing is not to give up on it..
it will happen...with time and practice you can do this..
.and you will live longer and better for it.
And will be able to do rite and ritual
in the most focused fashion imaginable :)
Pagan and Proud