Based upon some of the comments received related to my last post on Meditation, I thought it might be helpful to expand on some of the ideas, thoughts and methodology.
Some thoughts on meditation and its relation to right and left brain development
There are many types of meditation and some work better for certain people than others. For this reason, I urge all to experiment with different approaches until you find one that you are comfortable with. For me meditation starts with concentration which evolves, with practice, into pure contemplation and ultimately Samadhi or awakening. This approach has been practiced for thousands of years in the East, and more recently, the West. At its root lies Raja (Kingly) Yoga which is so beautifully described in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This is the method I have used for the last several decades and will attempt to describe, at least partially below.
Yoga practices or sutras prepare both the concrete and the abstract mind, for the torrent of energy which will flow through the chakras as a result of increasingly intense spiritual practices and focused loving intent. Complimentary practices can enhance this effort and can easily be incorporated into your spiritual regimen. These might include, all sincere loving prayers, mantras, affirmations, communion, acts of service, chants, uplifting music, etc.
Concentration is the ability to bring the minds energy into tight focus around a subject. In so doing, the mind’s constant chatter naturally subsides and we begin to experience the power we have at our disposal, the power of concentrated silence. Daily life and all its noise, temptations, apparent chaos, challenges etc., fragments this power, diluting it down to a faint reflection of its true nature and strength. Concentrated intent brings it back together to be used more effectively and powerfully in our daily and spiritual lives (although I would argue that our daily and spiritual lives are one and the same). This concept fits well with the practice of calling back our stray energy, broadcast out into the universe by an unruly mind and misguided intentions. Only energy stamped with our loving intent should flow out to the world and beyond. This energy so reclaimed is part of our holy Life Force and must not be wasted. It is as easy as demanding its return. When focused through Love it has power beyond words to describe.
Concentration in meditation can revolve around a seed thought, mantra, mandala, scriptural passage, something in nature, etc. One way to strengthen concentration around a seed thought might be to evaluate the object from the perspective of its form exhausting every aspect of the form, then moving on to the quality of the form. Does it quicken your heart, give you an energy surge or perhaps have the opposite effect? Is it joyful, energizing, depressing; whatever quality appears in your mind? The next step is to evaluate its purpose. Take for example, the purpose of a beautiful oak tree. Its purpose is to stand as a symbol of strength, providing wood for building or habitat for all manner of life, above and below the ground. Its majesty and beauty moves us. It holds the soil together against erosion. It stores carbon while providing life giving oxygen for all life. It works closely with Gaia in cleansing the air. Our evaluation of the object can go on and on and the deeper we go the stronger our mind gets. As I have said before, it is like exercising a muscle. The final step is to evaluate the cause behind the object. Identifying the cause is a higher mind function. When, for example, you can see clearly the spirit behind the form you have connected the concrete mind to the higher mind and you are well on your way to integrating and balancing the two such that spirit flows effortlessly from the higher and lower. In physical terms, you are balancing the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere seamlessly into one thousand petaled lotus. Please note, that I am not implying that the left hemisphere is the lower mind and the right is the higher, or vice-versa. I think it would be more accurate to say that the lower mind is the separated mind while the higher mind is the balanced integration of the two hemispheres. Through balance and integration our contact with spirit is infinitely enhanced.
Closely related to this balancing and strengthening process is visualization. Visualization, which is to a great extent a right brain skill set, strengthens our abstract mind. Any practice of visualization helps this process. One might for example, visualize the building of a bird house. This hardly sounds like a spiritual practice but it can be and more accurately should be. Bringing spirit into every aspect of the incarnated world is the objective it seems to me. Take the birdhouse for example. Visualize drawing the plans, determining the dimensions, buying the materials, measuring and sawing, fastening, drilling, sanding, painting and hanging in your garden. Even visualize a mother bird building her nest, laying eggs, feeding and caring for her babies, watching them grow, learning to fly and leave the nest. Then visualize the seasons, their effect on the birdhouse and the following season when another or perhaps the same bird couple come back to the nest. Evaluate the birdhouse from the standpoint of its form, quality, purpose and cause. Analyze your role in the process. Watch the birdhouse slowly lose its luster as nature reclaims her gifts. On and on it can go. The magic is that during the entire process you are using both the higher and lower mind, the right and left brain in balanced coordination. You are learning to see and use creative energy. You are learning to connect the higher and lower seamlessly. You are connecting heaven and earth and tangibly contributing to the ascension of creation.
As mentioned in the previous post, one final practice that I highly recommend is to journal your experiences, insights and revelations. The physical act of writing is a function of the lower mind, while putting your heavenly experiences into words requires the higher mind. By using both together, you are training yourself to bring the higher to the lower, while you teach the lower to reach for the higher. This process takes place via any creative endeavor, poetry, art, music, even creative problem solving in our daily lives.
Hopefully this makes some sense. Just wanted to share. This works for me, but of course there are as many paths to God as there are people.
Wishing you the best,