This is another edition of the meditation series of articles. Last time I spoke about quietening the mind. This time I want to talk about…
Focusing the mind
Meditation can be used as a tool to focus the mind on a specific thing, for example this maybe on a tarot card or a guided meditation.
Guided meditation can be used for all sorts of reasons – some people do it because they have a hard time settling down to meditate on their own, and they really like to have someone guide them. I have listened to the head of the OBOD Phillip Carr-Gomm’s Wild Wisdom meditations. These are a series of meditations focused on the elements.
They are ok, but to be fair I often struggle with any form of guided meditation/journeys. This is because I spend too much time worrying about my reactions to things, that I am going on ahead, that I am generally doing it wrong. Especially when it comes to journeying I tend to be a bit non-linear and I find guided things too prescriptive for me.
As I said, for some people it works really well however – if you struggle with sitting meditation on your own I really do recommend that you give this a go. If you prefer something which is not ‘religious’ I highly recommend Jon Kabat Zinn, in fact I may have to do a post just on him soon.
Tarot (or other)
This is where you use a tarot card (or something else) as the basis for your meditation. When I was a member of the OTO, I would take part in discussions where people said ‘yeah I meditated on that for hours’. I really wasn’t sure what this meant (and didn’t want to ask for fear of looking stupid). But I eventually figured out that it meant think about!
One of the exercises that we did and I liked a lot, was to focus on a tarot and its relationship to the Kabbalah (not the Madonna one) and to spend time in meditation thinking about it and trying to keep a step back and see what came to mind, without you guiding your thoughts. I realise that this paragraph could sound all very woo-woo and hippy-dippy if you are not Pagan, but there you go.
If you want to do this exercise, but don’t understand about the Kabbalah (don’t worry about it for a start, but if you do want to understand it this is by far the best book on the subject in my opinion Understanding Alistair Crowley’s Thoth deck even if you do not use a Thoth deck) then there is another way to do this exercise.
Get a tarot deck that you have an affinity with (my personal preference for this is the Thoth deck, but only because it is so detailed and beautiful), and spend some time studying a card, what your associations with the card are – if you want to you can look up its meaning, what is on the card, the imagery, symbols etc. Then put the card down and settle into a meditation posture. Let your mind go over everything you thought about the card, try to picture it in as much detail as you can.
Then let go of consciously thinking about it. Try to let your mind wander, but stay on topic, but remember that your mind may go off topic, but actually it is relevant. When you come out of your meditation try to write down everything that you thought of.
It might sound easy – allowing your mind to wander around a card, but it is actually really very difficult. I have to say though that it is one of the most rewarding Pagan practices I do – I find that some really weird stuff comes to me, quite symbolic that needs decoding and other things which are very clear and need to be actioned straight away.
So there you go – another two forms of meditation, quite different to the first one, but I hope you find it useful.