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From Conduct of the Good

First study the best, reliable texts, and maybe then practice a little at ease.

The following consists of main points, abridged sayings and a few others topics from the Brahma Purana's 113th chapter, "Conduct of the Good". It is taught that meditation is helped by fit conduct.


Hear the rules of good conduct, by pursuing which a man attains happiness here and hereafter. (5 means Brahma Purana, Chap. 113, v. 5 = Brahma Purana 113:5)

Maintain good conduct with great concentration. (9-10, abr.)

Make endeavour, householder, in achieving the three-fold aim of life [i.e. Dharma, Artha and Kama. They are, very briefly said: righteousness, wealth, and sensual enjoyments. The fourth life-goal, Moksha (freedom), rises above them]. (9-19)

With one-fourth of one's wealth the self-possessed man shall achieve the other-worldly welfare. With half of his wealth he shall sustain himself as well as perform [one's obligatory] rites. With the remaining one-fourth one shall increase one's original capital. Brahmins, if one pursues thus, one's wealth becomes fruitful. (11-12)

There is no welfare here or hereafter to one who is devoid of good conduct. (Brahma Purana Part 3, Chap. 113:6)

The wealth that is conducive to virtue is intrinsically virtuous. That which does not afflict the soul is virtue. (13-16, abr.)

Virtue and good conduct should always be maintained. Virtue is the symbol of good conduct. (8)

Avoid evil utterances, falsehoods and harsh words [and] eschew ignoble scriptures, evil arguments and service of ignoble persons. (19)

An intelligent man shall not stand on . . . burning coal . . . in a ground. (25)

One should never disregard fires, cows and the sun. (36, abr.)

A clever man shall never be arrogant, proud and harsh. One shall not laugh at or find fault with a fool, a mad fellow, a person in distress, ugly persons, persons with deficient limbs or poor people. (45-46, abr.)

Avoid meat if it is licked by a dog. (55 abr.)

One shall not grind one's teeth. (70)

While sleeping, meditating or taking food, one shall eschew the self-study of the Vedas. (70)

Eschew inflicting pain on animals. (74)

Never listen to rude persons who speak a lot. (78)

Do not make slanderous remarks about and do not laugh at truthful persons, preceptor, chaste women, and God. (80-84 abr)

A learned man shall stay among his fellow travellers of very good conduct. (108)

[It pays] to stay where the earth yields plenty of vegetables. (108, mod.)

The following can be eaten: hare, tortoise, alligator, porcupine and the fish with darts (?) (111)

If one eats meat, one is not defiled if it is taken as a medicine. (112, partial)

The following are pure: the perfect knowledge and the two breasts of a woman. (120-220, abr.)

A plot of land becomes pure when herds of cows pass over it. (123, abr)

An intelligent man shall never remain in gardens and other places at wrong times. (139)

One shall never fail to perform the daily duty of observing rituals [except for] occasions when they need not be performed. (140-47, partial)

One should earn and amass wealth righteously. (163)

If a householder practises the foregoing conduct of life thus, he attains virtue, wealth and love. It is splendid for him here and hereafter. It is conducive to longevity and affluence. It increases intellect. It dispels sins. It is meritorious. It bestows glory, health and nourishment. . . . It increases splendour and strength. It is a means of attainment of heaven. It should always be practised . . . by Brahmins, Ksatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras. [i.e. the four castes, which is to say, "it is for all"] (163-67)

This secret should not be imparted to a foolish person or a prattler of unsound arguments. (168-70, abr)


All-round Meditation ☼

Meditation trains the mind to focus and be relaxed. Both are useful. Many different methods use different "things" to focus on. Some are described in books, and thus available to the general public. In Tibetan books edited by W. Y. Evans-Wentz there are some methods to look into, for example.

As a fruit of successful contemplation (dhyana, Zen, meditation), you may improve your presence of mind and derive other benefits, research on some of the methods shows. As for methods, some deal with sounds in various ways, others with the breath, others direct the gaze, and a convenient posture or more is into much of it, eventually. Many methods combine from among these elements in a repertoire, and then there are subtleties (finer aspects) to learn too, for those who press on. It may be hard work. While a little meditation may assist you, too much of it may crowd out other activities, take much time, and so on. If you do no replenish your resources in a nice and balanced all-round lifestyle, there is a need to think twice about something, a need to consider the ends and means in a life, that is.

In wanting to improve your focus and not get tense, try to find the best methods and stick to them - adhering to that "too much of a good thing is a bad thing", and also that "too much of a bad thing is not a good thing" -

If you want to learn a mantra technique, first study the scientific research of it, the ancient texts of it, and compare with practitioners if you meet any. You may train yourself to see and think better for yourself, taking care not to overreach yourself and practice within bounds.

This series (collection) or articles is not to replace medical diagnosis, attention and treatment in the case of prolonged diseases. If in doubt, consult your doctor (MD).

1. Calm down at your ease

Sit in a comfortable posture while you keep the spine erect without tensing the back or other parts of the body.

Preliminary: Breathe in slowly from the belly, measuredly, counting to three or five. Now breathe out slowly to the same count. Repeat five to ten times. This is to calm down, and that could be all you need too.

Let the breath flow by itself. Just watch it very neutrally mentally without directing it. Maybe this will do. It is a breathing technique. ◊

2. Close your eyes and calm down still

We do not have to make much of finer points and facets of the art of meditation as meditation beginner. Just close our eyes or keep them half-closed and see if it helps the calming down.

3. Sit and relax

Rest may slow down the breath. Many are stressed. A stressed person needs to relax more often, for one thing.

A little training helps in keeping your mind focused. Also, when you become aware that your mind has drifted, simply readjust to mental, very neutral watching (here it is of the flow of the breath) as described.

Sit for two-three minutes after the session, tuning in to calm and harmony as best you can. That could help too.

Be attentive in your life conditions. To learn to observe calmly and detachedly is a boon that can be cultivated well. (7)

A quite regular schedule is usually fit. Depending on the technique and how much you put into it, you may have many sittings, for example two longer ones and a brief one before going to sleep at night. It is up to you. Detailed instructions are to be found elsewhere. (10)


Watch a while and calm down in a congenital setting if there is one. There you may close your eyes and let the breath flow of its own accord as you keep a steady focus on it. The training is to keep a steady focus and drop disturbing ideas as a part of the deepening process.


Pyramid Thinking

Figure 1. Three levels of inside and outside.

In Fig. 1 there is a pyramid that is divided into three levels (1, 2, and 3). The rocket inside it is the result of getting more aware - also "getting inwards" in the mind - by focused awareness - that is, by deep meditation (Zen), also called contemplation. The three levels inside your awareness (the rocket) are from top of the figure: (A) physical aspects of yourself, (B) feelings or emotions, and (C) thoughts, thinking.

Still inside the pyramid and around the rocket are the same three layers. These parts stand for things you are at present unaware of - at least in theory. There are aspects of how the triune body-mind-soul works that some have not (yet) plumbed, for example feminine sides of men, and masculine sides of women. As with the aware parts (inside the rocket), the levels are conveniently seen as of three layers only - physical, emotional and mental.

Around the pyramid of yourself is the surroundings. Exchanges between what is inside you and around you, takes places through the senses and mind - and on many levels too.

Figure 1 serves to point out some things. For example: The beginner can accomplish the whole thing alone, but it may be very rare. Most beginners can do much on level 1, and that level is fit for self-help and easy instructions. If the instructions are good, they lead to good meditations, and at times experiences that are not welcome. Some with latent disorders may flare up in meditation, so to speak.

Let us -

Let us suppose the central part of the figure, "the rocket", is what you can manage yourself rather unaided, but preferably with a mentor (a teacher and so on) even at this stage.

Let us also suggest that the surrounding parts in the pyramid are things you should get help with by professionals.

Let us say level B and C require years of training for some.

Let us also say that now and then when you go further (bore deeper inside) than the familiar, something unexpected might appear, and then you might profit from wise instruction more than ever.

The simple figure is designed as a memento: The deeper you go (plumb), the greater the need for clarity and sanity inside. And the wider you go on a level, the more you could benefit from study and added instructions fit for the sort and range of experiences that present themselves.

The point is, you have to know how to deal with some recurrent and typical problems for beginners if you want to profit the most from your effort. Wise efforts and care could save you a lot of time and trouble.

To bore inside on the levels suggested, and integrate the good insights and handy wisdom you come up with in your living, is a life-long challenge that should be pleasant and work for good somehow.

Three Help Levels

Let us take a look at "three levels of help" too, with the help of Figure 1. As a pure beginner (level A) you need substantial facts about contemplation first, to try out the techniques you get or buy with much freedom. The need for firm counsel and precise instructions or regulations is definitely present here.

If you go on and get better rapport (contact) with your feelings (level B) - many suppress much and do not heed a lot of recurrent dreams right - the instructions may vary, and become more "flimsy", less substantial. From bodily aspects - how to sit, how to think the mantra, and so on, you learn to manage feelings too. And since the emotional life is rich and of many layers in itself (repressed emotions are there too), the "circle widens" - there is more to deal with if something goes wrong, and possible corrections may take more time.

On the third level (level C) the challenges to tackle gets even more subtle and flimsy, and on this level the help given depends on good diagnosis from your teacher, if you have any. The circle of possible troubles has widened again, and to the degree you deviate from the exact methods to prosper from (near the central axis), the more to tackle, presumably.

Thus, to meditate well, learn a method that combines the best parts of three levels and try to keep centred while you do the meditation techniques. It is required that you tackle getting inward (the top of the pyramid). The inward-turning "click" is called pratyahara in Sanskrit.


Not All Are Sound

Meditation can be used for many ends. Some use its techniques to explore deeper, inner sides of their minds. Other do it for the benefits in daily living, such as more relaxation. Others might want to do it, aided or unaided, but should refrain to go forth unaided for health reasons. We go into many sides of it.

Figure 2. Wellness estimates.

Fig. 2 is a rough way of presenting the lay of the land in a nutshell. The people is grouped along the horizontal line: those suffering from bad health to the left, those in good health to the right.

Also, a theoretical surplus health is above the line, and ill-health, variously defined, is beneath it. Most people have ailments or troubles of various sort, but not all show them, or show them similarly. Instead some seek to show off while they meticulously hide or cover troubles. Neurotic defences may set in next - who can tell?

Experts estimate that the psychic health in Scandinavian countries is not top. According to the Norwegian mental health authority Nils Retterstøl, up to 25 percent of the population might preferably be hospitalised - but there are not enough hospital beds. Other estimates may be 20 percent, if it matters. The figure has blurred boundaries between the groups because estimates vary and definitions of health are tricky: There is no strict consensus about many definitions of mental disorders either.

Another sizeable part of the population could benefit from stays in hospital, but not as quite permanent residents there.

The pressed "middle group" consists of people who manage to work on, but with more or less severe problems to handle or repress as long as it lasts, or until retirement.

The healthy few - according to Abraham Maslow - may go on and gain from it too.

Overloads and winning streaks

If you begin some meditation regime, it could be that suppressed troubles start churning in your mind, and you do not feel better from the practice. The more effective the techniques, the worse it might get. It happens to some. Therefore, adapt to the situation and condition.

The tragedy to some is that those who might need the benefits of meditation the most, are unable to get them because over an overload of quite unsettled mental problems and troubles in the outer world.

For reasons such as these - putting safety first - consider yourself, your situations, the documented benefits of a meditation technique, and the way of instruction first. Is it self-help, is ig group-aided, mentor-led? These things matter. You should have at least some "winning streaks" to begin with, if unaided.

Gentle techniques may still be put forth in public, though, to be within reach of seekers. And general hints on how to proceed is not barred from anyone either.


Basic considerations for meditating ones have been given above. Some wider perspectives have been delineated by help of a pyramid and simple statistics-founded estimates.

On the next page there is more to look into. The yoga dictionary (there is a link to the left) might be good to have at hand in a separate window. Should you need tips on how to arrange such a setting, here they are: [Link]


Meditation tips, Literature  

Hewitt, James. The Complete Yoga Book: The Yoga of Breathing, Meditation and Posture. London: Rider, 1991. ⍽▢⍽ An encyclopedia of yoga practices, practical yoga, and the philosophy and background of yoga. The author has done exhaustive research. Clear and easy to read, easy to use, with very good descriptions of practices and postures. An excellent primer.

McDonald, Kathleen. How to Meditate: A Practice Guide. Ed. Robina Courtin. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Wisdom, 2005. ⍽▢⍽ For people who want to practice Tibetan Buddhist meditation.

Sands, William F. Maharishi's Yoga: The Royal Path to Enlightenment. Fairfield, IA: Maharishi University of Management Press, 2013. ⍽▢⍽ Dr. Sands has distilled some systematic teachings by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on yoga, and tells that good goals of yoga-meditation can be achieved without (much) effort. Recommended.

Shastri, J. L., ed. Brahma Purana: Part 3. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1986.

Sivananda, Swami. Meditation Know-How. 4th ed. Shivanandanagar: The Divine Life Society, 2011. ⍽▢⍽ A good yogi guide to such as the practice of meditation, how to benefit from it, by dealing with several obstacles in meditation, and more too.

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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