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Books?

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by Enuf, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. Enuf

    Enuf Member

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    Does anyone know any half decent books?

    I want to try different types of meditation, not just the one the disks explain :p

    EDIT: I want to actually learn about meditation, not just do it.
     
  2. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    Hi Enuf,

    As far as i have learned, theres only one way of "real" meditation and different approaches on how to get into that state. These are mostly techniques like mantras, concentrating on the breathing and so on, which individually fits best.

    Maybe you mean trance-like states, which some people (including me for a not-so-short-period of time) confuse with meditation. Getting in a trance like state can be target of many desires, as much as you can imagination, but beware that this has nothing to do with what is called meditation.

    Hope this helps a bit,
    Pan
     
  3. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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  4. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    Hi Enuf,

    There are many books on meditation, but each will tend to focus on one or two common techniques.

    I've dug out my old notes from when I first learnt about meditation on a day long course back in January 2004. These are from our handout, written by a chap called Robin Wooldridge, who had spent time travelling and learning about different meditation techniques and taught meditation workshops under the name of "The School of Urban Zen". This school hasn't been in existence for a few years now, and a bit of research shows that Robin now spends his time as a Speech and Voice Coach, so I'm sure he won't mind me sharing his wonderful snippets of information with you and no copyright was cited on the handouts. (if he does mind, then that's fine, he can contact the moderating team and ask for it to be removed)

    These are the what we practiced throughout the day...

    So, these are just some of the techniques that can be used to enter a meditative state, and different ones will suit different people, or they may prefer a completely different technique.

    Now, the point about these are that they are "techniques" to enter meditation. As you can see there is not that much involved in the techniques, so for people to write whole books on them could be a bit over the top (but there are people who do :D)

    Now, what you're really looking for, I'm guessing, is something that gives you a greater understanding of the state of meditation itself. That's a completely different kettle of fish and can take much time and practice to understand.

    One book I can recommend as a starting point in that respect is:

    Being Oneself - The way of meditation
    by F.W. Whiting
    published by The School of Meditation (London)

    Amazon seem to have a few second hand copies (all reasonably priced):

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Being-Oneself-Meditation-F-W-Whiting/dp/0951105604/

    That school actually teaches meditation in the same style as Transcendental Meditation and is still doing so since 1961, so they're a good authority on that aspect of things.

    Hopefully that's helpful to you, but if you have any specific questions about meditation or mindfulness / being present etc. then do feel free to ask and there's a few of us on here who will be able to offer our own knowledge and experience on the matter.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  5. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    Thanks for posting Giles, Zen Walking sounds interesting :)
     
  6. Enuf

    Enuf Member

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    I got one book called ''The art of meditation'' I think it's a really great book!

    it explains most of the ones giles said. It's good, the authour is matthieu ricard
     
  7. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    Funny, got a book from one of my customers yesterday called "Lessons for concentration and meditation" from Swami Sivananda Sarasvati, which is date from 1952 :D
     
  8. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    Who is the Swami that Leon McLaren (now deceased as is the Swami) visited in India and learnt everything to do with living in the present moment and undestanding the true Self (teaching of Advaita). It is a branch of Mr McLaren's "school" that run local teachings each week, and that I attend. ;)

    Small world!

    Hugs

    Giles
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  9. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    Hehe yup its a small world :)

    Do you mean those "classes" or courses? Welcome | Advaita Meditation Center
    Cant find any info about school at the Mclaren foundation website. Chances are small that something like this is available in austria, but who knows? :)

    Edit: Ha, your infos about this "school" motivated me to search again, and i really found something in vienna (hard to find by google!) Sivananda Om Page

    Theres something i dont understand... the yoga lessons there seem to inclue autosuggestion. I dont want to tell myself something positive or negative, i want to drop all these thoughts at all, so anyone a clue why they do autosuggestion?
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  10. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    Well, not sure about those websites without looking a little more deeply into it.

    Rather than me regurgitate a load of information about the "school", I'll just point you at their website which has a brief history...

    History

    (The deceptive thing is that you wouldn't expect a school teaching Advaita to be called the School of Economic Science, but the history briefly touches on the reason for it's origins)

    I attend their local branch, which focuses on giving classes in what they call "practical philosophy" (Midlands School of Philosophy) It's called "practical" because it's not just about sitting down and learning philosophy as you would as University, but you take things step by step each week and put it into practice, then return each week to discuss observations and thoughts about it.

    I think it's referred to as classes rather than a "course" because it is ongoing rather than a fixed length of time. They've organised it into terms like at school, so there's 3 of them each year each about 10 or 11 weeks long, and each term focuses on a particular topic, the first term being "Wisdom" which is sort of an introduction to the teachings and then following on with "Happiness", "Love", "Presence of Mind", "Freedom", "Action" and more.... Each term can build on the previous terms. ;)

    I've had a quick look at the Schools main website, and they do have associate schools in different countries, but I can't see one in Austria I'm afraid. :(

    So, all my existing knowledge comes from a multitude of things, including these practical philosophy classes, buddhist meditation classes, my complementary therapies, meditation, and much research and reading of books (Science, Health, Meditation, Philosophy etc. ... About 150 books so far, with about a dozen of those still to be read). The most important thing is not just the reading of books though, it's more about living it; putting it into practice, and learning from experience. When I first started out on this path, I somehow knew that it wasn't just a case of finding a single teacher or reading a few books and it somehow miraculously curing me of all ills; my own intuition told me that I needed to experience it and be realistic (and not taken in by false marketing or claims ;) ) and that it would take years to get any sort of understanding and, most importantly, that this is for life. :rolleyes:

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  11. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    Thanks Giles, for all the information! Its a great thing that there are such "schools"!

    Your intuition seems to told you right, i always thought its a 1 day thing or so to get rid of (my personality) my "problems". And in fact, it can be a 1min thing... but not for most of us and not for me :)

    I think its great that you can visit such a school! Even if most of us cant, you can share your wisdom in the forum :) :)

    Still confused with the "autosuggestion" thing, gotta ask those guys directly i think.
     
  12. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    What I like about it is that there is no hierarchy as such in the school (apart from obviously an organisational hierarchy to manage things). There is a "head" of the school, but even he is still learning and the teachers who teach us in the classes are still learning as they themselves attend classes. It is really a sharing of knowledge and experience and there's nothing to say that one has to be a member of the school to share the knowledge; in fact they encourage you to share it with people.

    Looking back up this thread, I think I got my Swami's mixed up :eek:

    The school is based on teaching from Swami Shantanand Saraswati, not Sivananda Sarasvati. Ooops.

    However, a couple of books that are recommended by the school, although not exclusively and not entirely to do with meditation although there is some talk of meditation in them are "Good Company" and "The Orange Book" which you should be able to get from The Study Society... The Study Society - Publications or if not, you should be able to get them new or second hand from the internet easily enough.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  13. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    Thanks Giles, ill get those! Sounds great... still makes only sense if you live nearby such a school, otherwise one could think about a "learning holiday" :) :)
     
  14. Bdarly

    Bdarly Member

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    Moving Inward

    I am really enjoying and finding much help through the book, Moving Inward: The Journey to Meditation, by Rolf Sovik, Psy.D.
     
  15. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Member

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    my two cents

    1. Why zebras don't get ulcers - Robert Sapolsky

    2. The emotional brain - Joseph LeDoux

    neither really about meditation, but instead about stress and emotions, two things that are related to meditation, stress being the main reason I began meditating.
     
  16. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    Still waiting for the recommended books from Giles, gonna have to see if my english is good enough to get the meaning of them :) :)

    On the other hand... all these books can only lead us to what we are and what we are not, so isnt self-inquiry the only thing left to do instead of reading books?
     
  17. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    Good question !

    Self-inquiry is all a person can do to come to the realisation of the Self.

    However, books may have something in them, information, a sentence, a smart remark that helps you make that "click".
    It is not a realisation of the mind, but it does help to put the mind to work until the click comes.

    I think I once posted it before, but there even was a Zen student that had that very click while walking along a market and overhearing a conversation between a customer and a butcher:

    "Butcher, give me a piece of your finest meat"
    "All my meat is the finest, there is no meat better or worse than the other. It is all meat "

    Now this probably doesn't make sense to you now, but it did to that Zen-student ;) who became a master after that.

    Mind you, he had been studying, meditating, contemplating, discussing and what not more for years until that moment.
    He needed that work until a single (random) sentence made him realise the truth.

    So, coming to conclusion, read whatever you like or can find, and do self-inquiry besides that, and the moment of self-realisation will come.

    " The un-mind not-thinks no-thoughts about un-business "
    The Buddha
     
  18. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    Thanks Edwin for that clear explanation. I sometimes feel so far away from any self realisation, but that gives me hope :) :)
     
  19. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    I think the point is that we are all self-realized already, but we often can't see it, and cover it up with other things.

    Whether it's a book, or a school, or a philosophy etc., what this actually gives us is a framework of terminology to allow us to understand ourselves and see ourselves for what we really are. Before we have this framework, we can get glimpses of the same Self, but we don't have words to explain it and therefore often dismiss it as something we cannot understand.

    So, there is value in reading things, or being taught by masters, or fellow philosophers etc. and non of these things are wrong, they are just different ways of explaining the same thing and one of these things (or even a combination of bits from the different ones) will resonate with us and allow us to gain the understanding we need.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  20. Bhavya

    Bhavya Member

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    Self-inquiry is a very potent spiritual practice and is one I continue to use, but there are other methods which lead to Self-realisation. The Buddha, as one example of a great and fully realised teacher, taught many methods, because he recognized there are so many different types of people with different tendencies.

    I have often wondered why those who live within and from the Self have such a different way of being in the world. Some are like small boats, able to carry a few across the ocean of samsara while others are like ocean liners with much greater capacities.

    Notwithstanding what Mooji says, I believe that those with greater capacities have achieved these levels through lifetimes of spiritual practice which prepare them for Realization. Reading can teach us a great deal, giving us at least an intellectual understanding of helpful spiritual principles and practices. When we apply what we have learned, our minds get purified, our understanding becomes experiential and we arrive at higher realizations. Of course, being with a spiritual Master is the very best way to learn but not everyone has that opportunity. Reading, however, is a pretty good second best. And then there is Utube! ;)

    Recently I heard Mooji say on utube that although there were moments when things clicked for him, really most of his journey was on slow cook. We just have to hang in there and do all that we are inspired to do - read, meditate, ask for guidance, do retreats, have satsang, practice gratitude, and open our minds and hearts to the higher good. And help others as well of course.

    Oh, OK, I now see your post too Giles - we said some of the same things here ....great minds think alike :p

    I'm so grateful for all that we now have available to us through books and the internet and tecnologies like LF. We have opportunities unheard of 100 years ago. We are experiencing some really positive karmic fruits! Let's make best use of them

    With love - and wishing you all joy
    Bhavya
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2010

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