Today there are two posts on the blog! This second post was inspired when my fiance read Monday’s about different kinds of meditations (also, note in the comments that someone suggested chanting meditation, which is one I didn’t think of). I asked him to speak to you all about his meditation practice…
This is Brad, I am Ambaa’s fiance. She suggested that I write a guest post on my practice so here I am. First, I suppose, you require a little history to understand where I am coming from. Like Ambaa I am white, though I identify as Buddhist. Unlike Ambaa I was raised in a typical American environment excepting that I was raised agnostic. I majored in comparative eastern/western philosophy at Antioch college.
I don’t honestly know why I was intrigued by meditation, but when I was 18 I decided to take a week long meditation course at the International Meditation Center. The International Meditation Center is a Theravada Buddhist organization in the Sayagyi U Ba Khin lineage. I learned anapana, and vipasana meditation and each time I have been back since I have gained a gift of insight. This meditation, however, is not my daily practice.
My practice is self-cultivation, and is integrated into the Chinese (Taoist/Confucian) cosmology. In the Chinese cosmology the world consists of three elements which are mutually transmutable: Chi, Jing, and Shen, In English these translate as energy, substance and spirit. These fundamentals make up everything in the universe from stars to humans. In self cultivation one gathers and refines these energies. It is my interpretation that the purpose of this is to better integrate oneself into the moment, such that ones looses selfish attachments and can act as an instrument. This, however is not a universal belief held by self cultivators.
I practice in several ways. I do standing meditation which focuses on body alignment and free Chi (energy) flow through the body. I do Tai Chi, which can be a moving meditation which moves Chi around the body in addition to being a martial art. I do Chi Gong, which gathers more Chi into the body. My next step is to learn a seated self-cultivation meditation. I practice nearly every day. I do not experience the internal resistance to meditate in the same was as Ambaa, in fact I find my practice enjoyable. I see the benefits of self cultivation as two fold: Ultimately I am refining my essence as I mentioned above. Practically the methods and body alignment are making me a better martial artist.