Whilst life is a mystery to us, it is merely the result of complex interleaving of multiple factors – most of them rooted in very deep subconscious decisions we my have made long time ago – so deep in fact that in the end we resort to a worldview of “fate” or hope for divine “mercy” of an external authoritative presence.
You can observe such mysterious changes in personality when you
1.) first consciously change your behaviour as a consequence,
(which can happen hundreds of times back and forth until it manifests in step 2)
2.) and when the decision is final, someone just does something subconsciously without even talking about it anymore.
It can be a relieve of a large burden,
but when accompanied by bitterness can drive one into psychological or physical pathologies.
This is the time when the character is formed.
Changes in character are difficult to accomplish consciously, yet there are ways to entangle the situation we manoeuvred ourselves into,
and the striking similarities between the different teachings from east and west suggest that there are root-principles, which when followed can guide someone out of this mystery of our ignorance.
If you look at an iceberg to see the relationship between the visible consciousness above the water …
As “all roads lead to Rome” there is not only one path to “one truth”, but there are as many truths as we are humans on this planet, so before commenting on yours being the best, please read the entire series first, so that you can comment on the article which describes a way closest to yours.
1.) The principle of reflection, contemplation and meditation
Action is the yang principle of the sun: to simply shine and literally radiate.
Reflection is the yin principle of the moon: to reflect what happened. This is the realm of therapy and a good therapist enables the patient or client to reflect upon themselves to guide the intellectual thoughts deeper into the realm of contemplation.
A hermit was once asked why he would live in solitude,
but instead of answering he took the traveller to a well, through in a stone, and asked him what he would see.
The wanderer replied “I see ripples upon the water“,
and when the waves calmed down he asked him again, so the visitor replied:
“I see a reflection of myself“.
So the hermit told him: “As soon as the waves of the mind calm down, you see yourself.” ( One of the most important Greek aphorisms is: “know thyself“)
Whilst reflection is a passive way, contemplation is a chosen activity to decide willfully to stay with a specific theme of choice with patience for a long time. Both ways serve as a mediator between the consciousness and the subconsciousness and both ways are interwoven because one can not force thoughts but has to attract them in order to reflect upon them.
One hinderance in a good reflection an entire picture is the hinderance in sight, because if you are in a tunnel, all you get is a literal “tunnel-vision”, so the way to see as many perspectives as possible in traffic is to stand in the middle of a crossroad.
“Medi” means “in the middle” in latin. Hence the word “medicine” refers to being healthy when being in ones centre, and “meditation” is the art of centring oneself in order to be able to see as many perspectives as possible and therewith see the world “as it is” and not as we construct it to be out of our ignorance.
This also explains the symbol of the cross, which by no means is only used in Christianity, but also by Rosicrucians for example. Whilst the physical centre is in the belly, in other directions, it is considered the heart, which even in ancient Egypt was called “the second brain”.
Gregg Braden does emphasize a lot on the heart-brain connection, and the loss of it is the root of most external and internal suffering in this world.
Compassion (as was propagated by most religions before they became fossilized) is a good method to reclaim it,
and Buddhists like Thích Nhất Hạnh or the Dalai Lama put a great emphasis on it.
For rational inclined people meditation is the most difficult concept to grasp, and will seem for quite a while as a waste of time, so to beginners it is usually sold as being relaxing or empowering one to become more efficient. Whilst both is true, it does much more, just as serveing as a “time-box” for example, in which one puts all their internal turmoils in order to be able not to be disturbed by them in daily life.
The easiest way to start to meditate is to sit down for a minute and observe the breath, because one can breath consciously as well as subconsciously, so it serves as an intermediator between both worlds.
Meanwhile one can also let the thoughts run out by simply not putting more oil in the flames, so when in meditation thoughts of the next shopping come up, simply don’t follow it up by compiling a grocery-list, but postpone that thought for later and move back to the focus on this moment.
As for the length: If you increase your meditation time (in a spreadsheet for example) by only 1 second more daily, it mounts up to 7-8 minutes in the first month, 5-6 minutes per week in the second month, and as the time increases you will automatically grow into a more regular mediation practice in order not to have to catch up too much until you can do a minute more daily every two months.
To avoid those complicated calculations, you can strive to meditate for as long as you like on the first month, in the second month try to do it weekly, and from the third month on to do go for 2 minutes daily, increasing the time by 1 minute every two months, or by 6 minutes every year.
The easiest time to meditate is before dawn, the second best after dusk and the most difficult one is amongst non-meditators. And to meditate a little daily is more valuable then to do lots only once in a while, because your character is tuned up by it consistently.
Meditation, contemplation and reflection were and are done intuitively in natural cultures and are pushed into marginalisation by our first world agenda to constantly prioritise efficiency in order to maximise profits (which then usually end up to serve merely as a compensations for our lost holistic happiness of being connected with everything).