Share your meditation journey:

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Share your meditation journey:

Post  Matt_Stampe on Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:39 pm

I guess it is safe to say my oldest sister was a big influence on the direction I took. I remember her having the book Integral Hatha Yoga from Swami Satchdananda back in High school. I tried some of the yogas and read about how they were good for health and a precursor to assist in sitting meditation. I had remembered seeing images of the buddha sitting in meditation and was always curious. The almanac in our bathroom growing up has a section on world religions and some of the ideas of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Taoism were appealing.

Hatha Yoga: In college I worked at a Vegetarian restaurant in Richmond called Grace Place. The baker, Ed Clapp was a certified instructor under Swami Satchidananda. I learned the basic level 1 set from Ed, in which he taught at the restaurant on closed days. The positive of the experience was increased flexibility and the good feeling that comes from exercise. The downside was that there was not enough sitting meditation, however the pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) was effective. more info on Swami Satchidananda at http://www.yogaville.org/

Zen meditation: I came across Zen meditation through reading Buddhist philosophy books. The Aquarian Books store (local New Age) store had a Sunday evening meditation group. I went probably only about 10 times in a 4 year period, but the results of practice were very powerful. It involved taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and then 20 minutes of quiet sitting, 10 minutes of Zen walking, another 20 minutes of sitting, followed by a Sutra reading. http://www.ekojirichmond.org/ekoji-buddhist-groups/richmond-zen-group.html

My sister told me there was a guy teaching martial arts in the park. It happened to be Tai Chi. This was my first real formal martial art other than trying a Judo and a Karate class at the local recreation center once. Wilson Pitts (also a Neijia teacher) taught Taoist Qigong. He taught me a sitting meditation called 6 healing sounds. Taoist 6 healing sounds was very good for bringing awareness into the internal organs and assist in dispelling toxins and stagnant qi. http://www.sacredpeaks.net

In 1992 I took a philosophy class on Eastern and Western meditation traditions. Virginia Commonwealth University professor, Dr. Jonathan Shear was also a registered teacher of TM (Transcendental meditation of Mahayogi Mehesh) . I was fascinated with the idea of a meditation technique using a simple mantra that gave you experience of deep rest. Basically the technique is like self-hypnosis where you go into a dreamless sleep state in 15-20 minutes and come out feeling well rested and mind clear. This is a good and simple also practical technique, however it is quite expensive to learn. On the good side, it is non-religous other than the respect you pay for the teacher at time you are given personal mantra. TM with Philosophy professor Dr. John Shear- (Also Guang Ping (under Kou Yin Lien) and Wu style Taiji teacher) http://www.has.vcu.edu/soc/rdr/group.profiles/Hindu/TranscendentalMeditation.html

Another master who was in the Richmond area was Sifu Park Bok Nam. His Pa-Kua fighting system had very deep non-religious system of sitting meditation that using simple counting for concentration, and lung clearing exercises as a preparation to longer qigong sitting practice. His system consisted of dan tien attention to naturally allow qi to circulate the "microcosmic orbit". This circulation of Qi energy was to help further and later martial qigongs and martial arts. This is one I highly recommend for my martial arts friends. Park Bok Nam http://www.pa-kua.com

Tibetan Meditation: A friend of mine named Anthony Curtis introduced me into Tibetan Buddhism. this was to improve on my knowledge and understanding that Zen did not encompass. The introduced me to several books on Mahayana and tantric yogas (non-sexual tantra), mantrayana, and Vajrayana schools of Tibetan Buddhism. I met Geshe Jampel Thardo was assigned by the Dalai Lama to teach the Gelugpa (New) school of Buddhism at UVA. This is a very long method of practice which involves a lot of prostrations, chants, and mantra. There is a lot of prayers and ritual methods involved, but after a long time of reciting them you feel different. I would not recommend this type of meditation for the average person. It takes time and dedication and better to be a monk as you have to take vows with this type of meditations. http://jts.avenue.org/teacher.htm

Dzogchen: Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche was brought to the U.S. by Anthony Curtis. He was a former Bon monk. Bon (Old school) is the original school of Tibetan Buddhism before Buddhism came to Tibet. It is often called Shamanistic Buddhism since they belief in Tonpa Shenrab, a Buddha before the famous Buddha Shakyamuni. These practices are called Dzogchen and are a combination of hinyana, mahayana, and vajrayana buddhism. They involve some intensive meditative practices. they are very powerful breathing exercises that require close attention with the teacher (Guru) and usually involve a considerable amount of retreat time. This is often not the best for westerners, but only very serious practitioners. The retreats can be very expensive, but life altering in a positive way. https://www.ligmincha.org/

Kundalini yoga was introduced to me by a former art student. We went on a weekend retreat to see Rama singh, a student of Yogi Bhajan I believe, but I could be mistaken. This is another very intensive physical movements with breathing which forcefully makes prana or Chi rush into the channels. I believe in the right environment this could be good for you. For me it is to forceful and made me have way to much energy. I am not sure I recommend this, it is more of a way of life for those types of yogis. I understand that this might cause issues if not practiced correctly. These types of retreats can be quite expensive. http://www.yogibhajan.com/

I saw a poster about Sahaja yoga and found it to be a gentle and more mental form of kundalini yoga. I do have an issue with the organization as the kundalini method kept changing from non-religious to intensively religious. I settled with the earlier form I learned, and I do like the massage practice that is part of it. I do share this practice on my website and it is taught for free. I think that it is great because I do share the philosophy that you can't charge money for what is already inside you. It is just many of the followers are very dogmatic towards other practices. : http://www.sahajayoga.org/

Vipassana meditation is the common meditation practice I have done with my wife. She is Thai and they practice simple Theravadan sitting meditation that is same as Zen sitting is for me.- http://www.watthaidc.org/watdc_2552/aboutus.html

Bikram Yoga is something I will do on occasion. It is hatha yoga in a hot room that is very extreme and challenging. What I do like is the sweating and yoga as repairing and helping old injuries and removing toxins from body and skin. However if you get really hot, the instructors often want you to stay in the room. It is cost effective and very good, however you can over sweat and over do it if you are not careful: http://www.bikramyoga.com/

So now-a-days my meditation practice might look like this. Morning before work is qigong based training. I normally use TM meditation on break time in my 9-5 day job. I can get Sahaja yoga in while waiting for bikram yoga to start. When my wife and I meditate, I can get my Zen/Vipassana meditation in. On my own I might practice Dzogchen once in a while. 6 healing sounds is good to practice when stressed or sick.

Matt Stampe
Nationally Certified Massage Therapist
http://www.combatsportsmassage.com
"Energy is the substance behind matter and form" Dr. Randolph Stone- Polarity Therapy


Last edited by Matt_Stampe on Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:17 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : edit spelling and teacher names, add teacher Park)

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Re: Share your meditation journey:

Post  AthenaW on Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:13 pm

The funny thing is that I spent about 20 years doing various meditational and related practices before I started martial arts! Now if someone had shown me internal martial arts years back...

Since I started martial arts, my now favorite associated meditations involve circle walking while doing various meditations, then after the circle walking is complete to sit down in the center of my "circle" and meditate. I happen upon some pretty neat insights this way. Of course there is also the qigong meditations, but I'm not quite as motivated towards those as they are similar to what I have done for years, and I have to admit the new and interesting is more appealing at this particular point in time Wink.

I have also noticed that Zhan Zhuang can be very similar to the seated asana meditations.
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