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Administrator Emerita
Meditation is an ancient spiritual practice, which in contemporary society is taught as a mind-body technique for relaxation and quieting the mind.

Learning to meditate is a personal journey. Achieving a successful state of meditation takes practice and perseverance. There is no right and no wrong way to do it – and different methods work for different people. It is purely trial and error. I believe that in learning to meditate, one is not discovering a new skill, but remembering a natural state of mind that is always there and always has been.

The English word meditation comes from the Latin meditatio, which “originally indicated every type of physical or intellectual exercise, then later evolved into the more specific meaning ‘contemplation.’”

From The Etymology Dictionary
Meditation c.1225, "discourse on a subject," from L. meditationem (nom. meditatio), from meditatus, pp. of meditari "to meditate, to think over, consider," from PIE base *med- "to measure, limit, consider, advise" (cf. Gk. medesthai "think about," mederi "to heal," medicus "physician," Skt. midiur "I judge, estimate," Welsh meddwl "mind, thinking," Meaning "act of meditating, continuous calm thought upon some subject" is from 1390.

The earliest record of meditation techniques is found in Hindu scriptures written 5,000 years ago. With the advent of Buddha, meditation began to spread across the entire Asian continent. Each culture adapted meditation into their own religious and spiritual practices, resulting in wide variations in styles and traditions.

A Timeline from Time Magazine:

Meditation is described in ancient Hindu texts of Vedic Tradition 2000-3000 B.C. It has been part of this religion ever since.

588 B.C. Buddha - Prince Siddhartha Guatama achieved enlightenment after sitting under a banyan tree. The result would be Buddhism in all its many forms.

2nd Century A.D. - a group of early Christian monks known as the Desert Fathers retreated from world to live in simplicity. They used meditation to get closer to God. For more than 1000 years afterward, meditation would be ab increasingly important part of Christian practice.

Circa 1000 A.D. - Kabbalistic (Jewish ) Meditation was practiced to commune with God.

1000 A.D. Muslim Meditation - At the same time that some Jews were embracing mysticism, certain Muslims were doing the same. The Muslim sect known as Sufis incorporated meditation into their worship.

Early 1500s Martin Luther - In response to the Reformation he inspired, the Roman Catholic church suppressed the influence of monks who taught meditation.

1550 St. Theresa - this Spanish Carmelite nun championed meditation and other mystical practices, in a last gasp of Christian meditation for centuries to come.

1957 Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - promoting his own brand of meditation began a resurgence of meditation in the Western world that still flourishes today.

The Sufis of Islam believe that the practice of meditation in their religion began with Mohammed. Thousands of years after meditation was widespread in Asia, it became known in the Western world. Meditative practices, in one form or another, appear in almost all of the world's religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Jainism and Aboriginal religions.

In the 1960's meditation became popular in North America and has continued to gain momentum ever since. In the late 1960's/early 1970's scientists began exploring the physical and mental benefits of meditation. The first articles on the health benefits of meditation appeared in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology in 1970. As a result, meditation became the first widely accepted form of alternative (or holistic) medicine in the West, and is now used routinely to promote healing, health and well-being. As we all know -- healing through meditation also encompasses past life recall.

From The Encyclopedia of Medicine

Meditation techniques originally were intended to develop spiritual understanding, awareness, and direct experience of ultimate reality. The many different religious traditions in the world have given rise to a rich variety of meditative practices. These include the contemplative practices of Christian religious orders, the Buddhist practice of sitting meditation, and the whirling movements of the Sufi dervishes. Although meditation is an important spiritual practice in many religious and spiritual traditions, it can be practiced by anyone regardless of their religious or cultural background to relieve stress and pain.

Generally speaking, there are two main types of meditation. These types are concentration meditation and mindfulness meditation. Concentration meditation practices involve focusing attention on a single object. Objects of meditation can include the breath, an inner or external image, a movement pattern (as in tai chi or yoga), or a sound, word, or phrase that is repeated silently (mantra). The purpose of concentrative practices is to learn to focus one's attention or develop concentration. When thoughts or emotions arise, the meditator gently directs the mind back to the original object of concentration.

Mindfulness meditation practices involve becoming aware of the entire field of attention. The meditator is instructed to be aware of all thoughts, feelings, perceptions or sensations as they arise in each moment. Mindfulness meditation practices are enhanced by the meditator's ability to focus and quiet the mind. Many meditation practices are a blend of these two forms."


Administrator Emerita
Throughout history, many different forms of meditation have evolved -- and with them various teachings and the preference of different positions. The most traditional forms of meditation focus on a sitting position; usually involving the person sitting with a cross-legged posture. The Lotus Position is perhaps the most popular of these positions.

The Seven Points of Vairocana has been personally recommended by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and features seven specific points:

• The legs crossed in the Lotus Position. The bodhisattva position may also be used.

• The eyes should remain open in order to affirm the world

• The back is to be kept straight as an arrow

• The shoulders should remain even and relaxed

• The gaze should be fixed at a medium level; neither too low so that one becomes sleepy or too high so that one becomes distracted and restless.

• The mouth should remain slightly open

• The tongue should reach the roof of the mouth.

While meditation may have begun in the East, today it has come full circle and is now practiced by people around the world.


Administrator Emerita

Concentrative/Focused -- Meditative techniques that direct the mind to a single focus, such as on the breath or a mantra. Directing the thoughts in a specific way. Example: focusing on a spiritual principle such as gratitude and then directing all of the thoughts toward gratitude.

  • Visualization -- is an example of a focused meditation—creating specific and desirable mental pictures of oneself with a specific positive outcome. Visualization - generates a mental image, from simple crosses or a single square of color to complex symbols such as the elaborate mandalas of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Mantra meditation -- is the use of sound vibrations to facilitate deep relaxation. It involves the repetitions of words or phrases that are chanted out loud or internally as objects of concentration.I t seems that the original intention of mantra meditation was to keep repeating a sound that would divert the mind and so facilitate transcendence of thought. Mantra meditation predates Buddhism, probably by hundreds of years. The origins of mantras go back at least to the Vedic tradition that preceded the Buddha, where mantras were used as incantations to influence, or even to control, the gods.
  • Affirmations -- are another example of focused meditation. When doing an inner affirmation, the self-talk includes the use of “I am”, is stated in the affirmative, using the present tense. Affirmations are the “support language” of a focused meditation and a great supplement to visualization.

Mindfulness Meditation -- an outgrowth of a Buddhist tradition called vipassana, which focuses on the present moment. The meditator focuses his or her attention on all processes passing through the mind. It is often spoken of as the heart of Buddhist meditation - a method for paying attention in your life to purpose, the present moment, and non-judgment. There is a focus on body awareness, (especially breathing); observing your thoughts; observing the environment. Being fully present in the moment to what is -- simply observing and moving on. Becoming aware of your thoughts gives you power to direct, to focus and to choose them consciously.

Guided Meditation -- Facilitator guides the student on a specific journey with a specific purpose, such as a journey to a peaceful place, past life or guidance regarding a specific issue, such as overcoming a particular addiction.

Transcendental Meditation -- A very simple, natural, effortless practice of meditation which is practiced for 20 minutes twice a day. Eliminates stress and opens the awareness to the infinite reservoir of energy, creativity and intelligence that lies deep within each one of us.

Prayerful Meditation -- Awakens your consciousness so you can be open to Higher Purpose, knowing the divine plan and purpose for your life, and seeing your next relevant step in carrying it out. Enables you to receive clear guidance from your Higher Power. Taps into inner guidance and gives you the ability you to form clear thoughts of what actions to take.

Movement Meditation -- Heightens awareness of the sensations of movement, such as in walking, yoga or tai chi.

Loving-kindness Meditation -- cultivates a positive mood or beneficent outlook through the contemplation of such feelings as compassion for all people.

Transformative Meditation -- seeks solace or the solution to specific problems by turning negative emotions into positive energies.

Mandala Meditation (Yantra) -- a mandala is a universal symbol, and a yantra is a cosmically inspired geometric design. By spending time gazing upon them we are drawn within to greater realizations of esoteric qualities - beauty, truth, peace, joy.

Kundalini Meditation -- Kundalini - energy that sustains efforts of our free will; aroused for use by holding positive attitudes; used when loving thoughts take form as caring actions. The free-flowing energy sustaining and maintaining every cell and self in creation; the Self in creation.

Meditation arouses kundalini, because when we sit still our automatic bodily functions find a minimal rhythm, and our mind is energized more fully to dwell on loving thoughts. Loving thoughts, in turn, generate even more energy.

An important point is that positive attitudes and their subsequent positive thoughts naturally draw in an increase of kundalini which provides joyful energy for caring actions. Kundalini develops our capacity to love by giving us more energy for caring actions.

(cited from various sources)


Administrator Emerita
Does anyone practice any of these forms of meditation? If so, how have they helped you in past life recall?

Does anyone have a different method to share?


Senior Registered

Hello Ailish

This is a wonderful summary. I have always thought of meditation as a process similar to Memory. We are simply recalling different parts of our awareness according to the relevance of a moment in time. Karma is the memory of past experience Dharma is the recall we have of talents and service.

Yours Truly

John R.


A Recycled Soul
Thanks for an interesting and informative trio of posts Aili, they offer a lot of food for thought. Folks might find my history with meditation a bit of an adventure, so here goes. I started having dreams I eventually realized were past life related when I was just over a year old, but also was creating stories before I was two-and-a-half. Not only did I create stories, but as soon as I could hold a pencil in my hand, I started printing them. At first I’d daydream trying to imagine stories, but at about five years of age I began going up to our attic and would sit by the window wondering.

I started by out closing my eyes and simply relaxing in hopes of seeing ideas for my stories. While this worked sometimes, I still was doing most of the imagining, and the stories were not that as good as I wanted. So I began laying very still and letting whatever thoughts came my way run their course. Obviously I didn’t know what I was doing was meditating. I then started having some of the imagines from my dreams as I was laying there awake, just trying to catch ideas. When I tried writing about those dream images, I simply wasn’t able to because I was too young to really understand them.

After a few months, those dream images stopped, and then I started having entire story ideas pop into my head, not just an idea or a plot. That was when I started writing every day, both short stories, but also some of my first crude poems. And while what I wrote was mostly childish, some were much more advanced than what a five or six year old would write. One of those stories ended up being the first writing of mine to be published, just a few weeks after I had begun second grade, in a scholastic magazine. What always astonished me is that I’ve never had problems with word usage, grammar, or punctuation.

Most of what I have written over the past fifty-five years I've gotten through mediation, or more to the point, Instant Knowledge, where I simply start writing or typing and the words pour forth. I would estimate virtually all of my poetry and at least 90% of my stories and articles come from my Instant Knowledge. I was amazed when I first heard about mediation in high school, since I realized I had been doing it for nearly ten years already. So when I learned about the concept of reincarnation, I had no doubt at all that it was for real.



Senior Registered
Ailish said:
Does anyone practice any of these forms of meditation? If so, how have they helped you in past life recall?
Does anyone have a different method to share?
I have used prayerful meditation,lovingkindness meditation and transformative meditation. All of which have helped me alot.

I also found body meditation very important. I started with focusing on my breath. At that time I had a heart condition called mitral valve prolapse but had no idea at that time why it was I had problems with air hunger[ physically feeling of suffocating from lack of oxygen} I needed something to take my mind off of my health problems and doing the meditation on my breathing gave me some time of affirmation that I was alright.

I then started to meditate on other parts of my body. I suffer from fibromyalgia and had alot of tense muscles. Through relaxing and meditating on different parts of my body I was able to focus on past lives where these parts of my body had been affected through trauma.. either direct trauma to the specific body part or through tieing in the tension in that muscle to the tension that I was feeling at the time that something bothered me in my past life.

I would tie this in with body/mind meditation where you watch your thoughts and see if your body tenses up with any patterns . So for example if I notice I tense up when I notice that people are watching how I do a certain action in my body it shows me I am having feelings of guilt about something and am fearful of how I might react in anger towards the situation.

For example I noticed when I was around men I would tense up in my hands/arms. THrough meditating I came to realise I was afraid of doing something bad with my hands. This tied in with a life where I did kill a sexually abusive father through strangling them. By doing affirmative meditation I got more confident that that was in my past and I no longer had to fear snapping and killing again.



Senior Registered
I find that when I try to use typical meditation techniques it doesn't work for me. I tend to meditate the best when I'm not "trying". ;)




Senior Registered
This is a wonderful thread. For me, and I think everyone is a little different, I use different methods (which in many ways combine several of the general types you have mentioned. It also depends upon what I am seeking. Usually just for calm, spiritual guidance and a better understanding on what is important in my life, I use a prayerful form of meditation using Rosary beads. After that, when I feel ready to explore past life memories, I then begin what I guess would be called a focused form of mediation.

In truth, what I would say is that I have basically taken various different methods and combined them into something that is a mixture, but which seems to work for me.


Ever Confused
I recently completed my first Vipassana course and it was incredibly helpful with my personal meditation practice and spiritual practice, which previously were almost non-existent. About a month before I did my Vipassana I asked other Old Students about their experience. Many people did have detailed memory recall, past life memories and childhood memories which they had not previously remembered, etc. I was hopeful that I too would experience something similar during my retreat, but I did not. I did have some really vivid dreams during this time, but as of now I do not remember them, and couldn't say whether or not they were related to past lives.

Despite not achieving the results I originally hoped to from Vipassana, I did reach a deep state of calm and centeredness by the end of the ten days and fell in love with the style of dharma teachings that were given, as well as the technique itself.

Vipassana itself is conducive to introspection and I do not doubt that it is possible to have a random past life recall during meditations, or perhaps even during breaks or sleep times.

I would love to hear stories of people's experiences with multiple-day silent meditations and how this environment affected their ability to recall past lives.

Marc Ross

Senior Registered
Memories of meditative-like states in a PL??

If many possible PLmemories are evoked during meditation, then how come too few memories of meditative-like states in a PL?

For example, meditation usually takes place lying-down facing the ceiling. Hence, why too few memories of meditative-states with images of ceiling-styles of the past e.g, ceiling tiles, vintage light-fixtures?



New Member
I am taking the classes of the yoga and meditation training. Both of these are good techniques for the physical and mental relaxation. These exercises plays an important role to deal with the stress, depression, and anxiety.