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Faith and Meditation

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by Salem Temple, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. Salem Temple

    Salem Temple Member

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    Hello, everyone I have not had a chance to meet! I look forward to getting to know each of you in time. Thankyou for the chance. My first question to you who are experienced, is what role does faith play in the meditative experience, if any, and if you can describe that interaction. To my understanding of and definition of faith, it plays a central role in any behavour carried out by humans, including meditation. As human behavour is charactorized by an action in hope to gain, sustain or avoid loss. We dont know that any chosen behavour will lead to the desired goal, yet we act on a hope that it will produce results. So in my context of faith, it is an action based on an uncertain hope for achievement. In meditation that faith is evident in the form of, mantras, sutras, koans and practice. The intended goal of each meditation shows the direction of that faith, and the desired hope that is intended. Some meditate for the physical calming effects, some for "superhuman" abilities, and still others for enlightenment and liberation. Each demands a different level of faith, a different intent, and a different meditation. I could go on about the functioning and advanced application of this, but I would first like to get some feed back from some of you more experienced and informed members before I continue :)
     
  2. Midnight

    Midnight Member

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    To me, faith is the same as belief, and beliefs are just thoughts you've identified yourself with.

    Within meditation, I've come across insights that I know as true for myself. I know this because I never feel a need to try and validate my experience, I just know it.

    "As human behavour is charactorized by an action in hope to gain, sustain or avoid loss."

    Perhaps that is the way the unconsciousness manifests itself in most people, but it is an illusion. There is never anything to gain, or sustain, or lose. Everything you ever needed was within you already. :)
     
  3. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    It is an excellent question !

    The funny thing with meditation is that for some reason, any kind of goal that you might have will be counterproductive towards the meditation process.
    I have stumbled upon that for the first year I was meditating over and over again.
    When I had a beautiful and wonderful meditation session, I immediately thought I had reached a "new level" and expected the next session to be the same.
    And every time the next session was a disappointment, and every session where I still held on to that expectation didn't feel satisfactory.
    And then I let go of the expectation thanks to the advice of some more experienced members here, and that's when the next breakthrough would occur.
    When I least expected it.

    I like and enjoy your philosophical approach very much, but in order to really give my opinion to your question, I would first like to know this:

    What is your goal ?;)
     
  4. Salem Temple

    Salem Temple Member

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    "To me, faith is the same as belief, and beliefs are just thoughts you've identified yourself with."

    I see that alot people define the term "faith" in that context. But my use is more so an action. To meditate one must have the hope for benefit or the behavour wouldnt be conscious to the mind. So faith is the action of making a choice, any choice, based off of insufuciant data.

    "Within meditation, I've come across insights that I know as true for myself. I know this because I never feel a need to try and validate my experience, I just know it."

    This unknown knowning that you discribe is the activity of faith in my term of faith. Your awareness that data is insuficiant allows your faith to take contol over your minds desire to know, thus allowing insight to occur on its own, atleast seemingly so. But that would be getting into my Grand Infinity theory that I would like to cover at another time. For a scientist to test a theory, or for you to type your reply, takes a small level of faith that the intended interaction will produce results. You likely dont often resort to insults and abuse, as your mind understands a belief, but it is faith that you act on such logic, just as it would be for a test pilot who was well aware of the uncertainty of thier actions.

    "As human behavour is charactorized by an action in hope to gain, sustain or avoid loss."

    Perhaps that is the way the unconsciousness manifests itself in most people, but it is an illusion. There is never anything to gain, or sustain, or lose. Everything you ever needed was within you already.

    I agree totally, but again the term I use ties into your point. It is impossible to gain enlightenment, but only seekers find it. Enlightenment occurs when faith is no longer directed by belief. You are right that belief and faith inneract, but to me they are not the same. Belief can blind faith, but it can also free it. For me to download and listen to the meditation cds, I had to have a level of belief that they would be wholesome. But I had to set that belief of a potental good to be able to observe it clearly, and consciously free. The cds effectiveness rests heavely on my faith that its worth surrendering my mind to its suggestions. If it started off with nazi propaganda I dont think most would allow themself to be open to its suggestions. Though I agree that the desire to gain should never dictate action, the hope for gain will never stop to inspire people to discover beauty. Everything in the universe has its place and use. And thus its misuse. I agree most misuse faith, and that to me is "dead faith" or "blind faith"

    Thankyou for your imput and insights, I agree the treasure house is already within us. :)

    -Salem-
     
  5. Salem Temple

    Salem Temple Member

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    My goal is to experience the unfolding of collective conscious. I agree that it is easy for our minds to grasp an intent or goal and not be able to be free and liberated. I was told that is the reason mantras and koans are changed. But fundamentaly each meditation achieves different goals. Most people meditate for the intent of peace of mind, and physical/mental well being. My initial intent was not so much an intent as it was a mode of discovery. I didnt know what mantras and koans where, I just realized that no matter how deep I went into the mind that there was no limit. I set that no limit as my koan and broke though a boundless bounderies, so to speak. Meditation isnt always for enlightenment from what I understand, some times its to implant things, ideas, belief into the mind. Other times its used to achieve states of consciousness that allow extra--sensory perceptions ect. So faith, in those context is very inportant to the meditation at focusing the mind and "just allowing" it to happen. Without that faith, we are left with reason, logic and ultamently instinct to guide our meditation. and that is counter productive. So its in the open faith state that meditation, and deep meditation is allowed to occur. When the mind is released from the certainties of conceptual thinking, and allowed to just be in its statement of faith. Thats when the intended meditation stats to manifest from what I have seen. Please do correct me if I am wrong, or if there is better terms that you use.

    Thankyou for your thoughts on the subject :)
     
  6. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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    Hi there Salem and welcome to the community :)

    Initially I do believe I used to focus on the deep rest and the amazing feelings and sensations :) and probably expected more of the same each time.

    Within a short space of time as I began to notice improvements in my daily life, I just began to trust that meditation was doing exactly what was necessary for me and this was a revelation in itself.

    As benefits have accumulated over time I simply know how important it is for me to take that little time each day to "come home" and refresh mentally, physically, spiritually and be one with human nature and mankind.

    I imagine what I describe as trust is like faith.

    I wish you much peace and joy :) :) :)
     
  7. Salem Temple

    Salem Temple Member

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    Very well put! I agree that trust in the form of action is what I call faith :)

    Thankyou for your kindness and blessings, I wish you many blessings, peace and joy :)
     
  8. Midnight

    Midnight Member

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    Ah interesting. Your definition of faith is definitely unique, in that i've never heard of it defined like that. Sounds sort of like exploration.

    Wish I had more to say, but i'll have to ponder this more.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  9. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Ahhh yes, Faith - the eternal debate... some need proof where others dive in.

    Mmmm, my sense is upon reading your first post is the question for me is in reverse... that is, what role does meditation play in faith? In this sense, meditation is a practice that opens doors that would otherwise remain closed or even hidden. It provides access to senses beyond the five most are familiar with (taste, touch, smell, sight and sound).

    The more meditation is practiced, the more it becomes an automatic physical response (if that makes sense) like breathing, sweating, etc. Perhaps a better anology is riding a bike or playing a musical instrument. Conscious thought to perform the act subsides.

    The issue of faith? Well that is another six billion posts...

    Olmate
     
  10. Salem Temple

    Salem Temple Member

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    Kinda, faith is more so like the actions we make based off of our preceptions, the more we act on that faith, and the less we doubt, the more we open our minds to the possibilities of meditation. If we doubt it will work, it likely wont, but by having faith, we open our minds to that possibility. Thanks for the imput :)
     
  11. Salem Temple

    Salem Temple Member

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    To me meditation is an action of faith in order to work, if we doubt the meditation then it is likely to not work. So what effect on faith does meditation have, I think it helps us to clearify our faith. By taking command of our minds we are more able to take command in the future. Opening our minds to new possibilities and perceptions. In meditation we start to loose faith in unwholesome actions, and start to put our faith into wholesome ones.

    I love your point about music. As we practice it then becomes second nature and the faith we put into an action is alot easer to put into it the more we do it.

    Lets take enlightenment for example, no one can explain what enlightenment is like, its experiential. So when we meditate in hopes to become enlightened we are acting in faith, because we dont know what its like until its experienced first hand. Now after meditation we can make the mistake of assuming it will go that same way everytime, but it takes faith to test that assumption.

    Trust is in concept, what faith is in action. From watching on the outside one can say, that they trust me, but its in the actions that the trust is seen or experienced. You can trust that meditation works, but it takes a step of faith to test that trust. I hope that clearifies my point. Meditation seems to open our faith to the unknown, we dont know what enlightenment is like, yet many set for many years before even getting a taste of it, to me that defines faith.

    Thankyou for your thoughts and imput, we all see the same picture in so many contrasting ways lol

    -Salem-
     
  12. Mitchell1

    Mitchell1 Member

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    I agree with you.
    Faith to me is I know that I know. Truth!
     
  13. olmate

    olmate Member

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    I see the context you describe now. Interesting. Something to ponder further...

    Olmate
     
  14. Salem Temple

    Salem Temple Member

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    Thankyou for your replys, this forum is full of some cool people! :)
     
  15. Ramai

    Ramai Member

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    Meditation just like any other act that we perform it starts with intention. Intention directs Awareness, Awareness changes Vibration. Based on where we are on our evolutionary vibration plane each of us will have a different intent and the results obtained will depend only on our practice.

    Love
    Ramai
     
  16. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    I think you are referring to different forms of meditation techniques here.
    Meditation techniques are methods, actions to take in order to achieve the state of meditation.
    And in my opinion the state of meditation can only be one thing: experiencing the unfolding of collective conciousness like you said.
    If I were to use an analogy I would compare it with different roads leading to the same endpoint.
    Even tho some roads seem to take a different direction, you end up at the universal point from which all originates.
    But to take the first step on a road of choice, one probably needs a certain amount of faith indeed.
    I have to agree with you here. Maybe a different word for faith would be "trust".
    To trust that the road taken is the right one for you. That the teacher you meet is exactly who you need at the time. That ultimately it is impossible to take the wrong road as all roads eminate from the same point where your existance eminates from -> consciousness.
    Consciousness allready is universal, as there is only one consciousness.

    Trusting consciousness is trusting yourself, and everything that is happening to you as being just right for yourself as it comes up and disappears in your Self.

    But maybe I just need to stop drinking :p
     
  17. Salem Temple

    Salem Temple Member

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    That is the hardest part for me to realize, the tusting of self. A lesson I am starting to learn again :p I need some help, and perhaps you are the best people to ask. I will post another topic on it to address the issues that I am facing, it cant hurt lol.

    -Salem-
     
  18. Salem Temple

    Salem Temple Member

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    Alright I am going to continue...

    Faith to me always is an action. One could say its the action of belief or hope. But at any rate, faith is an action. I have also heard it said that faith fills in the gaps that logic simply cant work with. Following the hunch is a great example of a faith action. We build up an idea based around the variables that are known. The better research that is done the better our logic and the less we need to depend on the hunch or faith. But at same time the hunch is vital, and we are dependent on it. For example when rescue workers are looking for trapped people among the broken concrete of a fallen building, the hunch has and will continue to save lives. You know that the building has fallen, and you know that people are in it, but logically you dont have time to set around calculating the possibilities. To many varibles are unknowable, how the building is like under 15 feet of rubble, is just not known till you get down there. Chaos floods the mind, billions of experiences and images that you have never seen and sounds you never normally hear shock the mind. The same is true with war, exploration, etc. Yet some people are able to make it throught and achieve more then thought possible. Granted following a hunch can have its down sides. But with experience and practice the downsides are smoothed out, and balance can be achieved.

    When I started exploring faith, I started with wicca. Not so much in practice, as study. I looked into it until I found out about the book of shadows. Basically what I understand is that the book of shadows is a personal spell book. And as it was discibed to me, your personal spells are the ones that are the strongest anyway.

    So this helped me peal back a layer and look inside the dynamic of faith. A spell is a system of physical events aimed at getting things done though mental and sipirual energy. Energy that is put into making and perfoming the spells ritual.

    This was no surprise to me, as I had been overriding the mind for years in a simular way. For instance when I was 17 I charted the instances when I would loose an object in my room, and when and how I found it. I noticed an interesting phenomena. It seemed that when I actually looked for an object, I would look in all the wrong places and not find it. But when I was looking for another object, I would often come across 10 things I wasnt looking for but had lost.

    So my hypothasis was if I could confuse my mind into believing that I had already found the object, and acted like I was looking for another object, then I would counter act the effect and find what I was really looking for. I went so far as to say out loud that I wasnt looking for a pen, when in fact I was, and I would say out loud that I was looking for a calculator. It worked every time, I always found what I was looking for within 2-5 mins, whereas before it would sometimes take all day.

    So by the time I had read about the spells and the book of shadows, I translated it into what I already knew. The difference is that my ritual didnt involve canddles or other objects, it was words and thoughts. But it was the same basic interaction. The ritual allows, or atleast aids the mind believing that the action will achieve the desired results.

    With this basic understanding I started to try the dynamic in other areas of life. With "acting like I know what I am doing" to get things done I dont know how to do.

    That is when I realized that I wasnt acting like, and some how just doing it right, I was just removing the doubt that was preventing me from doing it before, by doing an activity that convenced my mind that it was possible.

    After realizing this, it seems to me that zen meditation is an action of faith, that is aimed directly at the center of the consciousness from which all consciousness comes from. Instead of pulling information out of that infinite consciousness, the goal is to just experience it. And many teachers seem to encourage one to stay in that experience, bringing its effets into the life of the experiencer. If one stays in the experience for long enough, then at-one-ment is realized, or experienced in a very aware way.

    Whatever mediation we are talking about a level of faith is needed for us to be motivated to practice. Otherwise the results will be very poor, and in fact the more you believe that the LF CDs will work, the better results you will get.
     

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