What is meditation?
Meditation is centering, it is re-establishing the tranquility of the soul, becoming more aware and mindful, through it we turn inward from every distractions of the outer world. Meditation is also remembrance (zikr) or a preparation of remembrance of the Real (Haqq). There is no real and definite definition of meditation, except that it is that which one experience within when one is touched by one's reality and meditation is that process which takes someone there.
As Aaron Hoopes in Zen Yoga writes, "At its core, meditation is about touching the spiritual essence that exists within us all. Experiencing the joy of this essence has been called enlightenment, nirvana, or even rebirth, and reflects a deep understanding within us. The spiritual essence is not something that we create through meditation. It is already there, deep within, behind all the barriers, patiently waiting for us to recognize it. One does not have to be religious or even interested in religion to find value in it. Becoming more aware of your self and realizing your spiritual nature is something that transcends religion. Anyone who has explored meditation knows that it is simply a path that leads to a new, more expansive way of seeing the world around us."
"Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries to your mind. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves"
- Abdul Baha
- Abdul Baha
Many paths leading to the Center of it all
Meditation encompasses a variety of practices that are somewhat different, while holding to the basic principles of consideration and quiet thought to bring about a state of rumination.
There are many ways to meditate. Different faith traditions, and even inside one particular faith tradition we find many different techniques taught by different masters, different illuminated beings, may we be blessed to walk in their footstep.
In Judaism its called Lasuach or Siha, Merkabah (from root R-K-B meaning Chariot of God), in Hinduism its Dhyana, Buddhism adopted the same name which became Chan or Zen in far east, in Christianity this is preserved as contemplative tradition, in Islam this is known as Tafakkur (from root F-K-R meaning seeking), and Muraqaba.
Eastern religious / spiritual paths emphasis quite a great deal on meditation. Hindu path and Buddhist path are filled with wonderful meditation teachings. Through popular notion the typical image that our mind immediately produce by the word "meditation" is where one sits cross legged with closed eyes. Others may ideas of monks in far off lands sitting together in silence when they think about meditation.
Contemporary spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle says it well, "To meditate successfully, the idea that you are doing a meditation can be quite an obstacle. Thats the first thing we can get rid off, all the preconceptions and the expectations that come with that term."
Those who walked successfully in the footsteps of the guiding masters and teachers of humanity, has left their own footprints in the sand of humanity. The mystics of Islam who inherited this truth and are the preserver (through their practices) and carrier (through their transmission to generations forward) provides many various method of meditation. Different Sufi masters received and taught their disciples various methods of meditation based on their need, time and its necessity.
Here is a sharing of one of the most easiest form of meditation that require no special posture, one can do it even while walking, sitting, lying down, commuting in busy transport or sitting inside a busy corporate office. It can be "a meditation in motion" and possible to practice in any circumstances, Inshallah.
This meditation centers around two thing, the Name of God and our own breath. Its a marriage of the Ultimate Transcendence (God) to the most immanence (breath). In this meditation one uses the Personal, unmodifiable Name of the Divine which is Allah. This name is free from any gender or number bias (it has no masculine or feminine qualification, neither it has any plural form). It is one of the most ancient and sacred name by which humanity knew God from time immemorial. The Hebrew and Aramaic language (mother tongue of Christ) used the same word Alaha, derived from the same root (Alef, Lamed and He).
The breath-work meditation is meant to be done silently, with in-breath and out-breath. In the in-breath one says within one's heart (silently), "Aal" and in the out-breath one says again within one's heart "Laah".
One cycle gets complete with one in-breath and one out-breath and the Name: "Allah" is said within. The breathing need not to be controlled, rather one should breath with comfort and ease as it occurs naturally according to one's physiological condition of the time.
Those who have deeper or longer breathing cycle than others can stretch the "A" sound (of "Aal") during the in-breath and similarly A sound (of "Laah") during the out-breath as well. Similarly if someone has shorter breathing cycle or moderate breathing then can also adjust the A sound accordingly.
Those who work with sound and understand the subtle role of sound, understand that the sound "Aa" is the first sound we are inspired to make when we were infants. Thus this sound is one of the most original thats ingrained within our emotional and mental DNA. When pronounced out loud in audible way, the very sound "Allah" produce an immediate tranquil effect on the heart.
This is also affirmed in the True words of God as transmitted in the Quran, "Indeed in the remembrance of Allah, the hearts find rest." Those who participated in traditional sufi zikr, can testify this fact from their own experience.
Before one start practicing this particular breathwork meditation, it is advised to be familiar how Allah is pronounced in case one is not familiar with the sound. I will update with a audio clip at the end of this post later on for practice purpose. Once the sound is understood and pronounced and reproduced by one's voice - one start practicing it silently over the breath.
There is no limit as to how long or how many times one shall practice this. Since its done on breath, there is no need to keep a count or better even to forget the linear time. One is free to practice it as short or as long as one might able to.
Any spiritual practice, any prayer, when we experience the truth of it from our heart, we taste its sweetness and when we taste its sweetness, that is the sign of progress and that sweetness bear witness of our transformation.
May Allah increase our capacity to Remember Him much, blessed is Hu.
4.Through the study of scriptures (and truth conveyed in them) one seeks God;
by meditation one finds Him.
- Saint Padre Pio
This particular breathwork meditation is protected from showiness (riya) and when one does it with every breath, no one sees or knows it except the one who is doing it and God the Most High. Thus it has a wonderful secret quality which often is necessary to protect one's self from the boasting of the ego, from the riya (showiness), from illusion of self-righteousness.
Call on your Lord
with humility and in secret.
- The Quran 7:55
Every thought has a pulling power. And the thought of Divine, the Divine remembrance has the highest pulling power that pulls one towards the original Adamic image, our spotless purity so intermingled with Godliness, with God's attributes - that even angels fall upon their faces to adore that human being who carry the perfumed Name of the Most Beautiful.
Knowledge comes from tafakkur
and from knowledge adoration,
and from adoration love.
- Imam Ahmad al-Haddad
Then leave them to their play and vain wrangling.
- The Quran 6:91
and in your heart of heart, say: Aaaal
and in your heart of heart, say: Laah.
+ Click to download an Audio Clip where the Sound of Allah pronounced at varying speed and intonation. May our journey from the Name to the Named One be granted success.
:: Previous Posts
* Awareness in the Breath | Awareness in the Moment
* Muraqaba | sufi meditation beyond time and space
* Tafakur, Contemplation | Noble Teachings of Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufis
* 40 Lessons on Breath by Murshid Samuel Lewis
* Conscious Breath | Reshad Feild
* Reversing Space | a sufi meditation exercise
* Tamarkoz | sufi meditation beyond concentration
* Christ's Teaching of Divine Remembrance with in Breath and out Breath from Essene Gospel of Peace
* Prophet Muhammad's Meditation
* Salat | The Islamic Prayer and Meditation
* Sufis Contemplation and Meditation: Practice to attain God Consciousness Pin It Now!