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Meditation clarification; what it is, and an introduction to Hua Tou.

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posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 05:58 AM
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It isn't stopping thought, stopping is honestly a misnomer there is a gap between thoughts, the goal if there is one with the practice is to spread that gap between thoughts out. If this mind training interests you... simply start with the number 1 and keep repeating it, as soon as the mind wonders go to number 2 and keep repeating it, if it wanders gently pull it back and go to the next number up to 10, then back to 1. Eventually, you'll be able to stay on number 1 for a very long time.... if you do not want to use numbers, pick several of your favorite mantras, or use the cakra bija seed sounds, or saints, disciples, sports teams it doesn't matter... the result is the same. The side effect? You develop a better understanding or reaction time as the world unfolds around you or complete awareness of the present moment or one pointedness. It will cure children of ADHD as well and benefit all children in general. You also gain the ability to act to what best fits the situation that arises based on your experience,understanding and introspection, so be gentle with yourself when training the mind! Rarely do we just know something we must learn and practice... you can't just beat a dog into the perfect dog, you can only kick it so much that it bites you out of self preservation, you have a nervous breakdown, you can only shake the soda so much before the cork blows off.... your mind is filled with experience, the problem is, it is so busy labeling and fantasizing about the future, and the woulda and shoulda, grasping whatever it wants or is distracted by... we often miss the chance to best apply our experience and knowledge when we or someone else needs it or fully experience the world around us because of this untamed, uncivilized mind. The mind is a distraction and suffers needlessly filled with stress when untamed and uncivilized, it is a wild animal running around doing and going where ever it likes. A poorly directed mind can harm you more than your worst enemy ever could,and it is unhealthy.

It's also is not blissing out on some form of nothingness void of thought, it is a sharpening of the mind and it's mental faculties, making it more efficient and able to spring into action with all your previous experience intuitively as soon as it is needed, it is all at your disposal in a beneficial manner to yourself and others... as long as one is alive they build karma. It is impossible to be alive and avoid cause and effect, so you can see how this knowing can be of service and save a lot of needless trouble and suffering... it basically keeps reducing your karmic foot print as experience of the practice grows, if that makes for a clearer metaphor... yes bliss can happen, but it is not the goal it is a reward for the work you have put into training the mind honestly, so don't let it delude you. When the mind is refined with practice the gap between thoughts grow and grow... I suppose the word stop kinda fits, but that's a translation issue thoughts are linked like a chain, the less disciplined the tighter together those links are... it's a wonder anyone can focus on anything at all with an untrained mind, so imagine the ability to focus on whatever you place your mind on with zero mental or bodily distraction for as long as you like, the only interruption is other people that demand your attention. The ear becomes deaf unless you place your mind there, the stomach is always full if your focus never touches the belly.

If you noticed, I said when you place your mind where you want... this is called a well directed mind, and a mediation practice... pulling your mind back to a focus or center is learning to do exactly that, that's all that mediation is... you are training yourself to use your mind to its fullest potential with many beneficial side effects that ease the burdens and puts an end to the stress and suffering of life by habitually putting your mind where you want it to be moment to moment. It's like wax on and wax off in the Karate kid, Daniel thought all he was doing was washing cars, and painting fences... he had no idea he was learning Karate, when he learned he was he put more care and focus into his waxing and painting. Hopefully this helps clarify and aid others, if not then it is as useless as a second nose.

How this escapes many? I am unsure, Chan means mind and well if you practice anything enough you are said to have mastery, well it's pretty obvious... mediation is a system of mind mastery. At this point someone may say well it's just mind over matter, a placebo to escape life or something of that nature. No where on this earth or in the universe can you go to escape the mind, so you might as well tame the beast and make it your best friend. You're walking with your mind down the street unleashed, like trying to walk a wild dog... it is trying to chase, attack, piss and hump on everything, led by his desire and senses heedless without training. If you do not train this dog of yours first by putting it on a leash, he will bring you nothing but trouble and suffering. This is the world we live in the world of samsara, the wild dog is the mind. So it is in your best interest to train it if you want to coexist and be in harmony with this dog you cannot escape from yeah?

The practice of Hua Tou:

In Chinese zen known as Chan, before Imperial Japan invaded and set up communism... there was a meditation practice called Hua Tou practiced for many years, sure some may know the name, but the sadly the true practice of it is pretty much lost to the Western world and perhaps even where it originated. There is a wiki entry about it, and sadly it confirms the practice has been blended with Japanese zen practice and it's essence has been lost in translation and the blending. So what's so special about Hua Tou? The Chinese Chan(zen) master that developed the practice, said It can lead a lay follower to understanding and experiencing full enlightenment(the mind untangled or unfettered, unattached to samsara by understanding this arises because of that and that arises because of this((causation)) from experience and introspection) in one lifetime, making it a powerful practice. This was a huge claim to be laying down mind you... and if it didn't work he would have been severely rebuked.

To preserve the goal of the practice in it's original essence, I will present it here.

It is best to think of the Hua Tou as literally head and tail, the iconography used a tiger, but that is of little importance where practice is concerned, except to note that the tiger stripes are the chain of thoughts between the head and the tail. The head more accurately is the start of a thought, the stripes all the thoughts related and the tail the ending of the thought.

So a thought arises as they naturally do... instead of brushing it off or trying to be neutral with neither attachment or aversion, you question it. For example: You're sitting comfortably, the thought arises: "I am hungry" you ask "Who is hungry" is there an automatic response back? Most likely there is with the answer "I am" you ask "Who am I?" your mind replies "I am ____" You ask "Who is____?" Keep this back and forth dialog going... the only thing is to keep asking "Who" you do not have to sit special or anything else to do this, though I would not suggest doing it when driving... sweeping, walking in a park whatever your preference is. Eventually giving your own mind the 3rd degree. You'll get your answer.
edit on 20-8-2013 by BigBrotherDarkness because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 06:21 AM
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You can expand the Hau Tou beyond this to spread the gap between thoughts, and essentially this is the part that is lost, every thought has a beginning, there is a brief moment of perception right before it arises, there is a more distinct moment of when a thought ends and before the next arises... literally grab the tiger by the tail and hang on the last moment of the thought in the space before the next thought arises... and literally let him go if he hollers, when the next thought comes(tiger hollers) let it run it's course then right as it is about to exit grab the tiger tail again. This is the true practice of Hau Tou that widens the gap between thought, where in can learn to rest in true emptiness. Whenever one desires.



posted on Aug, 20 2013 @ 08:39 AM
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I suppose a major reason why the knowledge of self control and mental focus is so rare is because it has been historically steeped heavily in allegory and myth. So the average Westerner is incapable of translating it unless they are well read to begin with. To them it will sound like esoteric mumbo jumbo.

In a lot of ways it increasingly became more esoteric, and less explanatory to the uninformed.
Many individuals or groups sought to use and corrupt the information for their own gains.

No one is perfect or anything, so nothing will ever be 100%.
That's why I like to explore and take all things into consideration.

It may sound surprising but for me the proverbial "Zen Master" as a kid was Carl Sagan and then Michio Kaku later on.

They taught me to remember rule 1 "Question Everything" even my own self. Especially my own self.
To seek answers and to be willing to let go of a belief.

To refuse to accept "Authority" of government or science institutions and to look between the lines and to understand why the government lies and cheats.

They aided and facilitated my curiosity to delve into everything, ancient history and mythology, math, the stars, basic logic and scientific process.
Philosophy, biology, chemistry, physics, everything.

Keep the doors open but guarded.
Meditation is an abstract method of practice, and the same ends can be met by merely working your way through ideas and "going with the flow".

Many routes to the same goal but one must find their own way.
Everything is different, that is why it is all the same.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 02:28 AM
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Speaking about meditation and realization in plain English, without all the pixie dust, rainbows and esoteric language isn't all that popular it appears...
Too easy to understand I suppose makes it hard to see the value of training the mind to habitually think opposite of it's wild untamed state.

Let me make it even worse... In absolute simplicity:

The untamed mind, goes where it wants, thinks what it wants based on experience through the senses, feels what it wants based on snap judgments of good and bad... you do not control it, most times you're just chasing it through the wild and when you need to apply it, try to wrangle it in then when trying to focus it fights that by attaching to distractions, emotions, or whatever else, everything distracts it. This is the everyday mind of Dick and Jane every person living in duality.

The trained mind, goes only where you choose to place it, otherwise it rests calmly abiding in the present as peace and at ease, if you direct it to bliss it will rest in bliss, if you direct it on suffering you feel suffering, you are no longer helpless to where it goes, what it thinks, what it feels, the singular point of focus is so great nothing seems to exist unless you place your mind on it, your ears may hear but not translate, your body may feel but is unaware of sensation, the eyes may see but only if you focus, the mind may think but only on what subject you place it to think. This is the mind of an enlightened individual, that has trained the mind with meditation.

The practices given above in the op sound easy, and they are... easy to practice and dismiss. I suppose if I sprinkled mysterious sounding words, made unbelievable claims more would find the practices worthy of trying, their are easy paths and there are hard paths, there are exciting paths and there are dull paths, clear or cloudy. But no need to sell a path by dressing it up in robes ancient lore and language that takes place in a mythical realm. Practice and clarity of what the path is and isn't that you're practicing are all the tools you need.

100's of books about the breath, 100's more of how to sit... when all one needs to do for those paths is to breathe or sit. Not complicated unless you make it complicated, by attaching to the path, that leads to freedom, the raft that takes you across the river. When putting together puzzles I like glow in the dark ones with castles and dragons, it makes the puzzle more exciting and fun... people do the same thing with their chosen path. If the goal is to finish the path out of suffering then it makes more sense to pick the simplest puzzle, does it not?



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 02:35 AM
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reply to post by muzzleflash
 


Indeed you are always on a path through life, and many teachers that spark enjoyment and exploration of the immediate area along the way... think of the Wizard of OZ Dorothy was just trying to get back home, she was placed early on a path to get there, she was distracted with enjoyment and characters and drama along the way making the path longer... if she made a B-line nose to the yellow bricks, life did not stop after she arrived and went back home, it only just began with clarity and understanding. Sagan etc will still be there at the end of mind training, enlightenment does not cause anything to cease to exist, except the wild mind fueled on by greed, hate and delusion and that's just within ones self.



posted on Aug, 21 2013 @ 07:26 AM
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I copied and pasted your OP into a Word doc for reference. I don't do that often. For some years now I have been struggling to find an explanation of meditation that makes sense to me, and you provided that explanation within this thread.

Thank you. This really does mean a lot to me. I guess I just wanted you to know that.



posted on Aug, 23 2013 @ 06:54 AM
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reply to post by NorEaster
 


I'm glad it spoke to you, it's not a complicated process it's just un-training the mind that has learned to run wild from sensory input. By simply placing it instead of chasing it.



posted on Aug, 24 2013 @ 10:50 PM
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It isn't stopping thought, stopping is honestly a misnomer there is a gap between thoughts, the goal if there is one with the practice is to spread that gap between thoughts out.


The gap that these practices should help increase, is the gap between your thoughts and Yourself. To allow the thoughts to be whatever they are, however frequent or infrequent, to be kept in their place. External to the Self or the I Am.

One way to do this was through meditative practices and yogic practices (with it's countless varieties), to increase the gap between the Self and the Thought. Keeping the I AM thoughts from assuming the identity of the Self, allowed a person to be centered and grounded regardless of circumstances , be it the external world, or thought itself. A person's mind could be a tornado of thoughts, yet abide in stillness and clarity.

Does your practice operate in a similar way?



posted on Aug, 25 2013 @ 03:45 AM
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reply to post by Visitor2012
 


No torrent of thoughts, just stillness unless directed. Nothing moves the mind except for when I consciously place it, even when caught by surprise the body just reacts on instinct. There is a practice that will train the mind to cease labeling and become empty on everything the senses fall on.

Just choose any object, then mentally describe it in every possible way shape or form, for example I have a glass next to me. It's red, made of plastic, it can hold liquids or solids, it can be empty or full, it it used for drinking, it can be dirty or clean, you could trap a bug in it, you could suction cup it to your face, you could melt it, you could throw it, you could break it, you could smell it, feel it taste it, see it, wear it on your head like a hat, try to place a foot and various other body parts inside it, etc etc etc you keep going on and on until there is absolutely nothing left to be said or thought about in regards to the object, the mind will become worn down from thinking, to the point of where it cannot think another single new thing about the object if all options are exhausted, if you note that all objects experienced by sense phenomena are the same way... essentially empty, the mind will stop noting, labeling or paying and heed to an object, gold becomes the same value as a common stone in the drive way, the desire for chasing the material ceases when the meditation hits its profundity or moves from concept to experience and knowing.

I've been down a lot of meditative and mind training paths, some you can practice for many years and still not alter the habits of the mind to run wild, some are much quicker one single meditation... though it may take several hours non stop at it, no matter what level of experience with training the mind, there will be results. The self questioning should be non stop the same as object describing, the object describing is one that can be done with a friend; both simply bat descriptions back and forth, it can lead to some funny moments.

Training the mind or meditation, is just changing its habits from chaos and suffering, to tranquility and peace. From that tranquility and peace, a deep understanding and wisdom grows. There aren't any why's left to the human condition, personally understanding the self is over at that point, and it leads to a deep understanding of others enough, so that you see that the world and most everyone in it, are fighting personal battles of futility, that cause themselves and others pain and suffering needlessly... all are chasing happiness period all of them want to be happy and satisfied and they think it comes from out there somewhere. That it's something to obtain and hold on to, fight, live, die and kill for... all they need to do is lay down the external grasping and chasing from the wild mind. A child gets a toy they think the enjoyment is coming from the toy itself instead of from inside of themselves and the state of mind they have when they experience the object. It's pretty sad but that's thats how the world is, it runs wholly counter to what will seem to be common sense after mind training is finished.

Don't let consciousness chase or be led by the mind, use the consciousness to place it. It really is that simple. Training the consciousness not to chase or judge the mind and its contents, by simply placing it where you want it, then pulling it back to where you want it every time runs off is the goal of practice. With the breath the goal is to keep the mind on the breath, knowing if it a long breath or short breath etc is to keep the mind occupied on task so it doesn't run off, and if it does pull it back.

Same thing with all objects and subjects of meditation, there are various side effects that come from the practice. Compassion is one, honestly you don't need to practice morality etc. compassion, and all of the moral qualities associated automatically come from the practice itself, understanding and wisdom into human nature causes it to naturally arise. But they are not a tether one is bound to like before and tossed around by, emotions will only arise if you choose to place focus on them. It may sound robotic or unfeeling, but if you place your mind on a touching story they will arise as they should arise.

But no torrent of thoughts, you can place your mind on seeing and since things external have nothing to be thought about you simply see, with no internal dialogue of what you are seeing, the same can be done with feeling, simply sit without moving what so ever, eventually a great pain will arise, it may take hours... but do not move that pain will transform into bliss, no matter how painful sitting and not moving becomes, the pain will cease on it's own, things that arise always pass. That practice will allow you to place mind on the body and be unmoved when you place the mind on it.



posted on Aug, 29 2013 @ 01:44 AM
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reply to post by BigBrotherDarkness
 


very well put



posted on Aug, 30 2013 @ 03:30 PM
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reply to post by BigBrotherDarkness
 


Thank you for the shared practice. I have had buddhist monks attempt to make this same point but the language barrier kept it from coming across correctly. Thanks to you I now fully understand the point that was trying to be made, I'm really looking forward to putting this into use! S&F



posted on Aug, 30 2013 @ 03:41 PM
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dissolution of illusion proceeds consummate knowing, attained through acquisition of the key to zero-point resonance, achieved through total loss of cultural and genetic programming.

then the work begins of aligning microcosmic process with macrocosmic process, unison with the movement, a constant struggle of re-assessment and re-establishment, like grasping onto an edge that is constantly falling away--vigilance of the seer.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 02:23 PM
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Lowering entropy the goal really in a nut shell.

Entropy is kind of a physics term, which sort of means chaos, or random. A higher entropy is more chaotic and random, while a lower entropy is more settled and steady(or the randomness get organized you can say).

I have come along way myself in my meditations, even though I find my way a bit more of a free style meditation.

Meaning I didn't follow a particular style or tradition, like yoga, mantras, etc... Chakras where my system for the first part of path. Then I had a big problem for a long time, and then said "F*** the chakras". And just practiced on my breathing, and trying to still my mind, without trying to still it(or force it).

And in all honesty it worked, so I guess being tenacious did work for me in the end.

I still use the chakras system from time to time, and would like to practice the breath of fire more often at times.

I might end up trying this method some time later, seems like it helps with cognitive thought.
edit on 31-8-2013 by Specimen because: (no reason given)
edit on 31-8-2013 by Specimen because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 04:20 AM
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reply to post by QuietSpeech
 


I hope it finds you well.



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 04:21 AM
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reply to post by Qi Maker
 


Thanks for translating it into something enjoyable for the wordsmiths among us.



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 04:44 AM
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reply to post by Specimen
 


Ah and thank you for translating it to the more scientific among us.

All practices eventually lead to the same thing, the cakra have a lot to remember and focus on, when breath is simply breath... it is the vital force that the energy uses to travel and enter the nerve bundles. Simply put just focusing on the breath and pulling the mind back is enough, for the cakras to simultaneously respond as a side effect... any place one wishes to place their mind for that matter is enough for it to occur... whether the meditator is oblivious to it or not. Thinking it only arises from a specific thing... that it is not a natural side effect of a well directed mind, is what leads to all the religious and factional path disputes.

ie. This is better, this is the only way etc. I know it because I experienced it, so you can't tell me different la la la I'm not listening. Funny species aren't we?

When you say breath of fire, I wonder if you may be referring to a Tibetan practice called Tumo, also called "pot bellied breathing" researching that may help you along on your curiosity of that practice. The spine must be straight like a stack of coins breath in through the nose filling the belly out like a pot bellied stove, and exhale through the nose, in deliberate yet comfortable breaths. Respiration in this way causes the retention and build up of heat in the body to where one will not be effected by cold. The same can be achieved by the above sitting through pain(die on the cushion meditation) later all you have to do is place the consciousness on some other stimuli (hopefully the stimuli doesn't stimulate) like something seen in the distance and respirate through the nose only.
edit on 2-9-2013 by BigBrotherDarkness because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:38 PM
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reply to post by BigBrotherDarkness
 


True say, regardless of method or tradition, they do eventually lead to the same road, whether it be called "The Way, Nirvana, etc. I have noticed that when I just mainly focus on my breath and let go of everything else, I find my self more at peace with my body. And I have noticed, that the deeper state I go into, I breath in less, but still feel like I get plenty of oxygen, and it feels amazing at times.

As for words, we can only use so many to describe the feelings, whether it be philosophical, or a sentence saying its some blessing from some higher power cause it felt really good.

The Breath of fire(Kapalabhati) is a Yogi practice, that requires breathing in slowly, expanding the lower belly, and then pushing out the air, and contracting the belly. Another name for the breath of fire is called " The Skull Shining Breath", and that what it feels like when done properly, by burning the lungs free from toxins, and cleaning the brain inside the skull. It does sound similar to what you call "Tumo", since it a belly breathing practice, even though it seems to be entirely different as well.

I will try the "Tumo" out.
edit on 2-9-2013 by Specimen because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 02:34 PM
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love the specific discussions about different meditation practices ! thanks to everyone and the OP for this thread !

meditation is a very flexible practice

it can be used for many things; the ultimate goal is realization

fire breath / tumo / shakti om sound very familiar to one another

this is a way of controlling one's own energy, being able to become more alert, controlling body temperatures, and also being able to move kundalini energy up through your channels to your brain/higher chakras

it is good to be well versed in different styles of meditation, when one becomes a hindrance move to the next if one wishes

breath meditation is very simple and this is what the Buddha taught. Breath meditation allows you to go into access concentration, and from there enter in the jhana meditation. This is where skills in the ethereal/psychic can be developed, and realization can be had by entering the final jhana and beyond.

If realization is your first goal, try looking at vipassana meditation, it is a more active way of going into self inquiry about the nature of phenomena and your own breath/body sensations. It goes into the roots of phenomena and in this way promotes uncovering the nature of reality.

Chakra meditations are very powerful as well, this is more of a purification type of meditation that allows cosmic energies to flow through you more readily. And in this way you can also begin to intimately know your own mind and sensations, their root causes, and how to stabilize run away emotions/feelings/beliefs.

The tiger meditation is also a very good one, much like repeating buddho over and over until the mind becomes sharp in its discernment, in its awareness, and dwells in sunyata/emptiness/true self.



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 06:01 PM
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reply to post by preludefanguy
 


Very nice post; it appears the path has become very clear for you.

Switching up practice develops wisdom of the many paths, in the end they all become clear and you can help point the way if asked. I thought it beneficial to members to point at the path in plain English without all the incense covering jargon, that only someone familiar as an aspirant or initiate would know.

Cakra/chakra, Kama/Karma, and other words of the meditation trade are too specialized and inflexible for someone to grasp easily unless placed in context and clarity. So writing the op without all the jargon was intentional, there is no need to learn new words and concepts when the same thing is already present and known intimately well but in another form, finding the form and presenting it simply as it is creates a much needed bridge in my opinion.

Kama, cakra etc... these where commonly known words where they originated, people on the path in those places knew them well, they were not a foreign concept to be learned and assimilated, using those words although alluring over complicate what should be a quick simple understanding.

If I said my little cabbage, everyone that understands English gets it. If I said my little shu. They would say what the hell is shu? If I said Mon petit shu... forget about comprehending that unless you knew french or were determined enough to find out.



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 06:05 PM
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reply to post by Specimen
 


I believe they are rooted in the same ancient practice; I think the Tibetans, saw the side benefit of body heat generation in the practice, and since they lived in a cold climate took it and developed/adapted it into their own system.






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