Basic Meditation and Preparatory Breathing

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blue lotusWhen most people think of meditation, they think of Yoga or Buddhist meditation techniques and practices.  Meditation was something done in many cultures around the world though.  It was even done in ancient Kemet.

The basics are fairly simple, but the thing most people have trouble with is doing it consistently and calling on various techniques while in the throes of an emotional event.  Like martial arts however, if you keep practicing, it becomes a habit or ingrained into your lifestyle, and eventually it becomes automatic.

There is plenty of information out there on Buddhist and Hindu methods of meditation, and it is very useful.  However, since I am from neither of those traditions, though I am influenced by them, it is better for me to relay the way I was taught.

The basic principle with meditation is that all action begins with thought.  In order to be an effective do-er, one must be an effective thinker.  The dimension of thought is a world or universe in itself, but it is also a doorway to other dimensions and universes.  So its training and development is important.  Learning to control your thoughts is a lifelong quest, and  it is full of traps, stumbling blocks, and hurdles.  I am not presuming to be any sort of expert, and still have my own issues to deal with.  However, I hope to be able to assist others with what I have learned so far.

First, prepare yourself for this adventure.  There isn’t much to do, but it is surprisingly difficult for some.  You must begin from where you are.  You are no longer operating under the constraints of traditional religion, no matter what that religion is.  There is no pretense in meditation.  It’s just you, your mind, and your entourage of attached entities, spirits, deities, or if you’re naturalist, profile of molecular bits and pieces.  You do not need to be “holy” or something to start this.  Holiness or righteousness, or even detachment or ascension is not the goal.  If you like, you can pursue those later if your system requires it, but starting out, you just need to focus on orientation.

I was taught to view this preliminary phase of meditation as if I were beginning a courtship with a telepath I was very much in love with, and who is very much in love with me.  It’s like beginning a romance with yourself.  So a good time to do it, when you’re starting out, is right after daily observance.

Before you do your daily observance, bathe or wash up thoroughly, brush your teeth, and try to look nice, but don’t wear any perfume or makeup.  If it is possible, opt for fragrance free products for awhile.  When you’re done with the meditation, you can apply whatever scents you like, but for the moment, it’s best to keep the air clear except for whatever scent is in the incense, candles, or oils you used for your observances, and your natural body odor.

In west African and diaspora systems, we have a concept called Ori or Chi (not quite the same as the Chinese Chi) or by another name, depending on the language.  It is similar to the ancient Kemetic “Ka”.  This is one of the parts of the higher self that is connected to the Universal Divine, Olodumare, and an Orisha in its own right.  The focus of one’s first meditations is simply to solidify one’s relationship with one’s higher self.  The point of this is to eventually be able to consciously embrace and manage one’s relationship with the Universe at large.

Another reason to do this after your daily observance at first, is that it is dangerous to just open your mind to any and everything willy nilly.  You will need your Gatekeeper close in mind.  Though he/she/xhe is, in fact, everywhere, there is something important about having this concept consciously available.  It will protect you from unwanted intrusions and negative/misplaced/inappropriate energy.  It will also help you face the inevitable unpleasant knowledge you will acquire when you are ready…and this will happen when you are ready, not just when you think you are ready.

One big danger is that even though your thoughts are not, by themselves, actions, they lead to actions as soon as you think them.  A flutter of your eyelid or wrinkling of your scalp or electrical impulse sent to your limbs could indicate your thoughts to beings who are not technically able to read your thoughts directly from your brain and nervous system.  It’s already a known scientific fact that some parasites and other microbes can influence your thoughts and moods.  Imagine what intelligent attachments can do if you lay yourself out there unprotected like a wounded deer in the middle of a wolf pack.

Being very real, it’s a whole other world you’re entering someday, wherein your human arrogance is irrelevant.  The spore is the same as the giant.  So your first steps need to be careful.  Dangers aren’t the only reason though.  The preparation you do and the care you take will enable you to handle encounters with awesome beings who will teach you things.  Nobody can really prove in physical realm terms that these exist anywhere but in our minds, but hey, wouldn’t you love to be able to reach such places in your mind?

So here’s a step by step for beginners:

  1. After your daily observance, call your Gatekeeper(s) specifically for the purpose of beginning meditation.  As them to protect you from harm as you close your eyes.
  2. Sit comfortably, but straighten your back.  Do not strain, but try to keep your spine well aligned, and do not slouch.  If this may be difficult for you, then laying flat may help.
  3. Breathe in and out deeply but naturally.  Do not strain yourself at all, and do not worry about in the nose out the mouth or something.  Just breathe.
  4. Let whatever thoughts are going to happen, happen, and then let them go.  Try not to dwell on anything.  Some thoughts may recur, and some may be fleeting, and it’s all good.  Just let them happen.  At some point, a song may begin to play in your mind.  Enjoy it, and then let it go.  Keep breathing.
  5. When you are able to actually focus on breathing, or the sing-song becomes about breathing, try counting a little.  Inhale, inhale, inhale, and exhale, exhale, exhale, and inhale inhale inhale, and exhale exhale exhale, and so on.  When you start to lose track, don’t jump back to regain it at this phase, just let it go.
  6. Stay like that for awhile.
  7. When it seems like enough, open your eyes, and let the session itself go.
  8. Thank your Gatekeeper(s) for their presence, and light some more incense for them.

After meditation, it is a good idea to take it easy at least for a few minutes.  It takes some scheduling if you are getting ready for work, or have to be somewhere on a schedule.  Make use of timers or incense sticks to keep track.  It’s not helping you if it’s adding the bad kind of stress to your life.

Sometimes, during meditation, your Gatekeeper(s) speak to you.  For some, this can be a very disorienting experience.  Just roll with it though.  They may be teaching you or preparing you for something, so let whatever psychadellic thing that’s going on happen, but if you feel something might break, ask your Gatekeeper to help you down from that.  Sometimes they like us to actually ask.  It teaches humility and mindfulness.

As with all things I post about here, this may work for some and not for others.  Try different things, just remember to go with your Gatekeeper.  Many times instructions take for granted that you are already in an established spiritual system, and don’t include this advice, and some people just don’t find it important.  However, a witch should add their Gatekeeper to any activity that may make one vulnerable.

Meditation Helpers

There are concoctions that are helpful in meditation.  However, these should be used with caution.  It is a bad idea for a beginner to use substances that may take them someplace that they may not be at a point of development that they can control.

Teas that are good for beginners are:

  • chai with the standard chai masala
  • chamomile tea
  • no more than 1/4 gram of blue lotus tea
  • light green tea or matcha
  • passion fruit tea
  • lemon balm tea

Later, you can experiment with stronger stuff, but for now, keep it mild.

Blessings and Ase!

Helpful Links

Zazen, Zen Buddhist Meditation @Sotozen.net – Step by step instructions.

For some, sitting meditations don’t do the job, or don’t do the whole job.  You may wish to try Qi Gong.  Here is a video of a man doing a brief Shaolin Qi Gong morning exercise.

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Sheloya

Sheloya (Sis. Nicole) is a licensed U.L.C. Modesto minister, spiritual counselor, and sorceress.She believes in education and empowerment of individuals with a holistic approach to spirituality.
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