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Article: Three Powerful Meditation Methods You May Never Have Heard Of


by Rev. Sue Annabrooke Jones


CLINICALLY STANDARDIZED MEDITATION (CSM)‡

Clinically Standardized Meditation (CSM) was developed by Dr. Patricia Carrington, a recognized authority on stress-related disorders. Central to its practice is the mantra, a word or phrase which, when repeated in meditation, brings the individual into a state of inner peace and higher consciousness.

CSM is based loosely on the popular Transcendental Meditation (TM), with several important differences, the main one being that it has no particular spiritual focus. CSM requires no special postures or difficult mental techniques, and the individual may choose which mantras to use from various resonant sounds drawn from the Hebrew, English or Sanskrit languages. The meditator may also make up his or her own mantra, if s/he so wishes, by following a few simple rules.

Easy to learn and suitable for a broad audience, CSM is practiced widely within the medical community, in professional organizations, and by individuals from all walks of life. It has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety and to foster well-being.

‡Another form of meditation exists with the same initials: Center of Stillness Meditation, a method derived from the Hermetic tradition.


ISHTA DAIVA MEDITATION

Ishta daiva (or ishta deva) means meditation on one's chosen deity.

The term ishta daiva, and its practice, comes to us from the yoga branch of Indian philosophy. But ishta daiva is more universal than that: to one degree or another, it is practiced informally by people worldwide, people of all different faiths.

It is not uncommon for a person to find oneself drawn to a particular deity, one existing inside or outside one's birth religion. In such cases, the person intuitively adopts that deity as one's own, then, following one's inclinations, prays to that deity, looks to it for guidance, cultivates a special intimate connection with it through concentration, or creates some kind ritual involving it.

The goal of meditating on one's chosen deity is to create a powerful state of union with the Divine.


LAMRIM MEDITATION

Lamrim and the Kadampa Buddhist Tradition

Lamrim (or lam rim) is a form of meditation found within the Kadampa Buddhist tradition, which exists within the Mahayana ("great vehicle") school of Buddhism. Kadampa was founded by the Indian Buddhist master Atisha (982-1054 A.D.), and his followers were known as "Kadampas." The tradition later migrated to Tibet, where it was promoted by Je Tsongkhapa and his followers, who were known as "the New Kadampas."

Teachers within this tradition are well known for their high standards of scholarship, and there exists an unbroken lineage of teachers from Atisha up to those of the present day. Kadampa Buddhism was introduced to the West in 1977 by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. This author, teacher and founder of the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) is the primary exponent of Kadampa in the world today.

Lamrim Meditation

Lamrim is a graduated path to enlightenment comprised of 21 meditations. These meditations, which are said to contain all the essential teachings of Buddha, form the backbone of Kadampa Buddhism. The practice of lamrim can be classified as a type of object meditation, which means meditation upon an object, tangible or intangible. In this case, one meditates on 21 conceptual objects.

The goals of lamrim, as with other forms of Buddhist meditation, are to obtain peace, happiness, enlightenment, and freedom from suffering.

The Kadampa tradition holds that a person can experience some benefits of this meditation method by practicing on one's own, but that progress is best made under the guidance of a qualified meditation teacher. Kadampa Buddhist meditation centers all over the world offer this instruction.

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Is CSM, Kadampa, or Lamrim meditation for you? Find out which meditation methods have your name on them by checking out the Meditation Match Readings I offer.