Meditations are even more numerous than people who do them. On this page I will go over what they are supposed to do and how to spot a good one.
First - here is a list of things that a meditation should train.
3. Energy/body control
4. Mental relaxation
5. Breath control
You may have noticed that energy and body are together. This is because the energy is from your body and they go together. You can't use one without affecting the other.
Meditation is a state of mind that will expand the mind with the purpose of enlightenment. You may notice that styles that talk of tournaments and fighting only have that one meditation where you "calm the mind". It does almost nothing but they advertised meditation and ,hey, who is going to know anything- right?
Anyway, the posture that you will meditate will usually depend on your style and if you are not being taught any kung fu then sitting and laying down are popular. Kung Fu has those also but they are for people who are beginners. For others, the horse stance is usually the first posture (sometimes only posture) that you will meditate in. And all of them have the same basic pattern, much like yoga.
Posture is first with a straight spine being important. If, in any posture, you can relaxe your spine without pitching forward or back then your spine is straight. This is actually very difficult since very few people can feel the difference between stress and relaxation without pain feedback, hence train first then meditate. The next is breath. Sometimes the breathing is taught first or even with the posture, this doesn't matter as the posture must be correct before the breathing will be correct. Anyway, the point is that some of the muscles that hold you upright also aid breathing. The breathing, by the way, is where the abdomin moves and not the ribcage. When breathing you will FOCUS on the breathing The deeper the inhale - without strain - the better the posture. After this has gone on for a while you will feel something that feels like a ball. It will be inside your intestines. It doesnn't matter what is actually there since it is sensitivity and focus that are important.
The posture shows focus and sensitivity on balance and joints. The breathing shows the focus and sensitivity for the torso systems. In the beginning your attention lead your focus - posture. Then your focus lead your sensitivity - breathing. then your sensitivity lead your focus - that little ball. This little ball is your dan tien or "OCEAN OF CHI". You can add your own drum roll on the quotes. This is the stage that is considered most inmportant since all energy used in you body must start, end, and pass through the dan tien while being used.From this point you move on to other dan tiens, meridians, pressure points, whatever your style feels is most important. It is felt that for enlightenment, meditation is a necessity. Chi Kungs, for example, don't need meditation to work. Martial Kungs don't need meditation (relaxation, sensitivity) although focus is required. And Medical/Health Kungs don't even need focus. The most advanced Meditations and Chi Kungs do everything and are sometimes hard to tell apart.
Almost any book about anything Martial, Magic, Yoga, or even hippy will contain meditations and they all work. Some are just faster or easier than others.
In a Martial Arts school there should be at least one. The instructor should know what it does, the stages(if any), and why they have it. If not then the techniques/style should also be called into question.
A short document which may help with building meditation skills.Meditation at it's most basic.
Copyright Sphoenix Associates
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This page was last updated on July 11, 1998.