Retire Mechanical engineer. Student at California State university Channel Island studiyingAbout Me

August 22, 2015

Hollywood's Most Successful Stars Meditate daily

Creative Meditation, the Inward Way

Hollywood's most successful stars meditate daily. Meditation for actors is a must. Actually, in any line of work, meditation must be practiced everyday. To get into meditating is not just to sit, centered and close your eyes. 

Just like any other trade, one has to learn. Meditation is not a solution to intellectual problems. Meditation is a subject we have to be drawn to. If it is practiced in the correct way, all the mysteries of the unknown will be revealed to us.

The following suggestions for meditation are based on the teachings of Lama Anagarika Govinda. According to Govinda: In the knowledge of immortality, the East neglected the mundane life. In the knowledge of the uniqueness and value of the present moment, the West neglected the immortal.

The mystic schools of Tibetean Buddhism, as well as the I Ching (the oldest book of Chinese wisdom), the attempt has been made to connect the vision of the foreground with that of the background, to connect the momentary with the eternal and the uniqueness of every situation with the ever recurring constellation of universal forces.

Only those who, while fully recognizing and understanding his western heritage, penetrate and obsorb the heritage of the east can gain the highest values of both worlds and do justice to them.

East and West are the two halves of our human consciousness, comparable to the two poles of a magnet, which condition and correspond to each other and cannot be separated. Only if man realizes this fact will he become a complete human being.

In order to understand Sunyata in its depest sense, (Sunyata means emptiness). "one must experience sitting at the center of existing and viewing things from this hub of existing," as D. T. Suzuki once expressed it.

In order to get to the hub of existance, into the center of our being, we must reverse the direction of our mental outlook and turn inward. This turning about in the depth of our consciousness is called PARAVRITTI, and is the main purpose of all meditation.

In our current status, we look from within outward, scattering our attention upon the self created objects of our sense awareness and our mental activities. Now, we reverse the direction and go back the way we came, untying the knots by which we have tied ourselves to our present human existence.

The Buddha, according to the Surangama Sutra, explained this process by tying a knot into a silk handkerchief, holding it up and asking Ananda, one of his disciples: "What is this?" Ananda replied: "A silk handkerchief, in which you have tied a knot."

The Buddha, there upon tied a second knot into it, and a third one, and continued doing so until he had tied in this way six knots. And each time he asked Ananda what he saw, and each time Ananda replied in the same way.

There upon the Buddha said: "When I tied the first knot you called it a knot; when I tied the second and third, etc., you still maintained the same answer."

Ananda, not comprehending what the Buddha was driving at, become puzzled and exclaimed: "Whenever you tie a single knot or a hundred knots, they always remain knots, though the handkerchief is made of variously colored silk treads and woven into a single piece."

The Buddha admitted this, but he pointed out that though the piece of silk was one, and all the knots were knots, there was one difference, namely the order in which they had been tied.

To demonsrate this subtle and yet important difference, the Buddha asked how these knots could be untied. And at the same time he started pulling at the knots here and there, in such away that the knots, instead of being loosened, became tighter. Amanda said, "I would first try to find out how the knots were tied."

The Buddha exclaimed: "Right you are Ananda! If you wish to untie a knot, you must first find out how the knot was tied. For he who knows the origin of things, knows also their dissolutions. But let me ask you another question: can all the knots untied at the same time?"

"No, Blessed lord! Since the knots were tied one after another, in a certain order, we cannot untie them unless we follow the reverse order."

The Buddha then explained that the six knots corresponded to the six sense organs, through which our contact with the world is established.

Govinda continues: In a similar way, meditation must begin from the level of our present state of existance, of which our body is the most obvious manifestation. Instead of getting entangled in beliefs and opinions, theories and dogma, spiritual ideas and high-flown hypothesis, we have to untie the knots of our body and mind.

We must relax our tension and stresses and, so to, establish a state of perfect hormony and balance. In order to establish this balance, our body must be centered and effortlessly resting in itself. Only if our body is centered and all its functions are at rest, can our mind become centered so that we can attain a state of concentration, the first pre-requisite of meditation.

Concentration should not mean an intellectual effort toward the solution of a problem, but rather a resting of our mind within its center of gravity, which is revealed and activated by the interest aroused in the subject of contemplation.

"Interest" means to be within, not to look at it merely from without, but to identify ourselves with it. This is possible only if the subject of our meditation inspires us. But, what can we identify ourselves with?

Certainly not with an abstract idea, a mere concept, a moral principle, or a philosophical thesis, but only with an ideal embodied in man and capable of realization by man. It is here that the image of a perfected man, the perfectly enlightened one, the Buddha (or, as we may say, the model of the complete man) comes in.

This is the reason why, at the beginning of the path of meditation, an element of devotion, faith in the higher qualities, (or the divine nature) of man and the dedication of a supreme ideal, are the main forces that carry us along toward final realization.

Those who believe that meditation can be practiced without this faith are indulging in mere intellectual acrobatics; they will never penetrate into the realm of the spirit.

Gavinda believed that devotion removes the main hindrence of meditation, the ego, and opens us toward a greater life, while inspiration draws us toward the realization of our aim. Without establishing a comprehensive and convincing aim of meditational practice, meditation cannot succeed.

It is for this reason that we have first to state our aim and convince ourselves of its value as well as of the possibility of attaining or realizing it. Therefore, we have to create a mental background and a spiritual climate before we can begin with the actual practice of meditation.

Without this background and the power of an inner conviction (or faith), meditation becomes a tedious exercise  to which we have to force ourselves, instead of being drawn to it. Pyshcologically this is of the greatest importance, as it corrosponds to the natural, and therefore spontaneous, behaviour conscious organic life. 
Meditation should not be a task to which we force ourselves 
"with gritted teeth and clenched fists;" it should rather be something that draws us, because it fills us with joy and inspiration. So long as we have to force ourselves, we are not yet ready for meditation.

Instead of meditating, we are violating our true nature. Instead relaxing and letting go, we are holding on to our ego, to our will power. In this way meditation becomes a game of ambition, of personal achievement and aggrandizement. Meditation is like love: a sponteneous experience not something that can be forced or acquired by streneous effort.

According to Martin Buber, "true philosophy" should be replaced by "true meditation." 

I would formulate the quintessence of meditation in the following way, "True meditation is the meditation of a lover. He who practices such meditation, to him the hidden meaning of things is revealed, the law of things that have not yet being revealed to anybody before and which is not like something outside himself, but as if his own innermost spirit, the meaning of all life-time and destiny, of all his painful and exalted thought, were suddenly revealed to him."

Though the consummation of love consists of the becaming one with the object of our love, this presupposes that love cannot exist without an initial object that inspires us to such an extent that we can finally identify ourselves with it.

Similarly, in order to have our heart in meditation, we must be inspired by its aim and even by its initial object, because meditation is not just musing or a state of reverie, but directed concioussness or concious awareness which cannot exist without an object. There cannot be conciousness without content.

To be concious means to be aware of something. People who claim to meditate with an "empty mind" deceive themselves. They may be daydreaming or they may fall a sleep, but that is not meditation. Consciousness is a dynamic force, in constant movement, a continues stream.

One can stop it as little as one can stop a river. If we could stop it, there would be no river, because the nature of river consists in flowing. However, though we cannot stop a river we can control it by diverting its flow in the desired direction. In the same way, though we cannot stop the mind, we can give it direction. That means meditation is directed consciousness.

This holds true even for those who do not choose an immediate subject for their meditation, because they definately changed the direction of their consciousness by turning inward. The result is a momentary or temporal sense of peace, because by turning our consciousness toward itself, we slow down its flow, as a river may be dammed up and form a quiet lake until it overflows and moves on again.

This is what we may call, "letting the mind rest in itself," the first step of meditation, in which the consciousness for the time being is stilled and thus remains in a state of "reflection." In this state the content of our consciousness is mirrored on its surface, so that we can observe them as a spectator.

But this alone is not sufficient, nor can we hold on to this state for long, because, like flowing water that is dammed up and begins to flow over in various directions, so also does our mind, unless it is channelled in a pre-determined direction and begins to move here and there.

By merely observing and meandering of our thoughts and emotions and mental images, we may get a certain insight into the functions of consciousness, but nothing more.

It is here, as well as in the observation of dream-states, that modern psychology stops, after analyzing and interpreting the contents of consciousness thus observed. But interpretation based on an intellectual analysis of mental images and archetypal symbols is as unsatisfactory as describing music in words, or colors to a blind man.

The language of words (on which our intellectual activity is based) and the language of symbols (which combine visible, audible,and emotional features in which our deeper consciousness expresses itself), are two different mediums of expression and conscious awareness.

The one is based on less fixed one-dimentional concept with a two-dimentional logic "either or," the other one is more or less fluid multidimentional images with a corrospondingly multidimentional logic. The realm of vision and the realm of thought may partly overlap, but they are never identical.

Gavinda believes that: The higher dimension contains the lower one, but not vice versa. Meditation, therefore, must go beyond word-thinking, beyond thinking in concepts; it must encompass the whole human being, i.e. not only his intellect, but also his feeling, his vision, his emotional and intuitive capacity.

Those who try to throw away their intellect (they are generally are those who never had one) are just as mistaken as thoose who try to avoid all emotionns (they are generally those who are afraid to face them). Only where heart and mind are united, can genuine intuition spring up.

The language of intuition, however, is that of the symbol, which presents itself as a form of inner vision; because vision replaces the casual, time-conditioned relationship of the different aspect of a multidimentional object or process (which in thought can only be grasped one after another, i.e., as a succession in time) with a simulteneous awareness of all salient aspects of the envisaged symbol, in accordance with the plane on which it is experienced.

Such a symbol is the figure of the Buddha, as the representative of the complete human being, a symbol that is not only visible, but can be experienced in mind and body in the act of meditational and devotional practice, and with which the meditator can identify himself in his innermost being, even though he may still have a long way to go toward his final realization.

When contemplating a Buddha statue, even a man who knows nothing of the Buddha’s teaching will come to the conclusion that this, indeed, is the perfect represantation of the spiritualized man who, without losing the solid ground of reality beneath his feet, accepting and ennobling his corporeality without clinging to it and without being dependent on it, is at peace with himself and with the world. 

What serenity and happiness are mirrored in his face; what equanimity and tranquility in every limb of his body; what profound silence and harmony! A harmony that is contagious and penetrates the beholder! There is no more desire, no more wants, no reslessness, no insecurity, no chasing after external things, no dependence on anything. There is the highest bliss - in one word, completeness.

He who can create and bring to life this image before his mental eye, or, still more, he who can experience it within himself, as the greatest meditation did and still does, in wordless devotion and complete self-surrender: such a one has taken the first step towards inner transformation and liberation, because he has found the attitude from which the knowledge of the Eternal in Man was and is ever born.

This image of the perfected or complete man, which has crystallized out of the milleniums of meditative experince, does not represent an arbitarily isolated moment in the career of the Buddha, but the sum total, the quintessence of his spiritual activity - something that is valid for all times and all human beings, something that is an expression of the true nature of man.

We may not be able to define or to envisage this ultimate nature of man in its fullness and universitality. But, we can imagine and visualize to some extent a human being in whom are embodied all the qualities which lead to the realization of this exalted state. 

And since our striving needs an understandable, tangible, concreate aim which is able to fill us with courage and certanity, there can be nothing more suitable than the figure of the perfect Man as embodied in the spiritual image of the Buddha. 

By transforming our own body into the living symbol of this image, in assuming the bodily posture and attitude of meditation while withdrawing the mind from all outer objects and letting it rest in its own center, we are preparing the way for the experience of final realization.

Bibliography:  Creative Meditation and Multi-dimentional consciousness by LAMA ANAGARIKA GOVINDA. (THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE Wheaton, Ill., U.S.A.  Madras, India/ London, England)
Reference and Notes
The biology of the spirit, Edmond B. Sinnott; (The viking press, Newyork; 1955), p. 64.
Ibid., p. 66
Introduction to Lama Govinda:
Lama Anagarika Govinda was a German who lived from 1898 - 1986. He spent over 20 years of his life as a member of the Kargyutpa Buddhist Order. Lama Govinda first travelled to Sri Lanka and Burma before studying in monasteries and hermitages in Tibet.

During these years he received teachings and inspiration from the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. He held posts in various Indian universities and held exhibitions of his paintings, several of which he had made together with his wife, Li Gotami when still in Tibet.

This webpage is a discussion of quotes from three books by Lama Anagarika Govinda;
The Foundation of Tibetan Mysticism, Red Wheel/Wesier, 1969
Creative Meditation and Multidimensional Consciousness, Mandala Books, 1977
The Way of the White Clouds, A Buddhist Pilgrim in Tibet, 1966