This is one of the most asked questions. Turns out, it all depends on how you define it. So, let’s look at the options.
What is Spiritual Meditation?
There’s confusion about what these terms mean because there are so many possibilities. People can interject a range of meanings into these words. Let’s define the terms and how we use them. This will at least clarify what we mean.
To be sure, the terms spiritual and spirituality relate to all matters concerning the spirit and the soul. Therefore, you can associate almost anything with spiritual significance. Eating spicy food can be a spiritual experience for some.
Second, the word spiritual has a wide scope of meaning. And, people often relate the term spiritual to religion. There’s a lot of social conditioning to equate religious teaching, ceremony, and tradition with being spiritual. However, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Many people think that religion is a counterfeit for true spirituality. In contrast, some contend that being spiritual has nothing to do with beliefs concerning religion. Therefore, being spiritual means, your actions exhibit the higher virtues of love and kindness. It’s not what you believe but what you do with your life that counts.
The term meditation is a little easier to define. Most people identify meditation as something you do with your eyes closed while sitting. Most people are familiar with seated forms of meditation, but there are also forms of moving meditation. For instance, Forest Bathing, Qigong, and Tai Chi are all methods you use while standing.
Similarly, almost any mental process for changing or altering consciousness can become a type of meditation. Likewise, since all forms of meditation involve our consciousness, they are also spiritual.
Spiritual Meditation Benefits
As you might suspect, the benefits of this practice are the same as any type of meditation. Depending on the type, this can be the focal point of your spiritual practice. The practice of consciousness-expanding techniques has a positive effect on all aspects of your life.
The mind is like a computer in some ways. If you shut off your computer and stop the processes. Then, when you turn it back on, it works better. Unplugging your mind works the same way. Meditation helps us shut off our internal dialogue.
The proper type of meditation brings us in touch with the transcendent. We recommend Japa or the commercial version of this technique, Transcendental Meditation (TM). We have a whole article that outlines spiritual meditation benefits.
Seated meditation is the heart of this practice. For instance, after practicing meditation we can think more clearly. And, many of these methods a good for our heart by reducing stress.
Moving forms of meditation are also beneficial not only for increasing mind-body coordination but also by improving our physical durability. The mind, body, and spirit share an intimate connection. So, when it makes sense to engage in things that improve us overall.
We use the word spiritual meditation concerning processes for expanding awareness and investigating higher states of consciousness. That’s because these processes connect us with our Soul, Spirit or the Observer of our consciousness. In short, it’s all about exploring consciousness.
Above all, the pioneers of these processes use language referring to the spirit and soul as synonymous with awareness and consciousness. So, it is practical to keep the teachings intact using the original terminology. Second, it honors the original teaching by keeping the original form of the language intact. After all, there is no need to change what already works. There is no need to modernize. Third, most noteworthy, many of these processes lead to a “eureka” awakening experience.
So, the bottom line for us, Spiritual Meditation refers to methods of exploring consciousness. This includes many seated and moving of meditation. However, it also includes several analytical processes. This gives us many processes, everything from a simple two-step beginning meditation to the practice of the Siddhis of Patanjali. The analytical processes include the Enneagram of Personality, Comparative Analysis, and several logical tools. When you define it in this way, it includes several spiritual technologies and processes but excludes religious dogma.
How Religion and Spiritual Exploration Differ
Everyone has their way of awakening through the use of ancient technologies. These tools are the basis for spiritual exploration. It’s most important to understand that spiritual exploration is at the opposite end of the spectrum from religion.
Religion is dogma concerned with whom might have created the universe, what may happen after you die and rules of integrity for governing behavior. They cloak all of this in fear of eternal punishment for those that disagree and an eternal paradise for those who do “believe.”
Whereas, Spiritual exploration has nothing to do with doctrine or dogma. It involves the application of spiritual tools/technologies to expand awareness and open the doors of consciousness. These spiritual technologies stand up to the test of science as having repeatable common experiential phenomena.
Spiritual technologies are proven methods for exploring consciousness. They are processes that can change or expand our awareness. Some of them are also doorways to higher states of consciousness. In short, spiritual technologies are methods of change. These processes result from eons of research by cultures around the world. Using these tools is what we call spiritual exploration.
These tools stand up to the test of science. That’s because they are repeatable. Several produce measurable changes in our physiology. It’s important to realize what spiritual exploration is not.
Spiritual exploration does not involve belief in a religion. This means they are available to anyone that can follow a process. It’s like baking a cake. If you use the right ingredients and follow the directions, you get something delicious. The processes are formulas or ingredients for exploring consciousness.
There are many ways to list these methods. One simple way is to divide them into four primary groups. You could list some of these tools in more than one group.
- Analytical Tools
- Awareness Expansion Tools
- Healing Practices
The study of spiritual things seems like an odd place to find analytical tools. However, analytical processes are vital to the spiritual quest. This is because their use enhances our reasoning ability. This helps us to think more clearly. In turn, this helps us avoid many of the common obstacles. The two tools in this group are Logical Reasoning and The Enneagram of Personality.
The study of logic is the first tool we use in our group practice. It’s especially helpful for those new to the spiritual path. We come back to review them regularly. This keeps them fresh in our minds.
We use a set of three related tools. The first tool is Logical reasoning. This article summarizes logic. It shows how people misuse logic to sell us ideas and beliefs. Next is spotting logical fallacies. This module provides practical examples of the most common logical fallacies. The last module, the logical axioms, ties everything together.
Comparative Analysis is another valuable analytical tool. This is a systematic approach to research based on the scientific model. It is a method that compares ideas and beliefs from different worldviews.
This process introduces the challenge of comparing their beliefs to other worldviews. Here we also learn why it is so important to use emotional checks. It helps us research with the least amount of bias and prejudice.
Above all, the use of logical reasoning and comparative analysis will sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction. So, these aren’t just for research. You’ll find a use for these tools every day. Besides their use in religion, politics, they are also helpful with TV and Radio newscasts.
The Enneagram of Personality
The Enneagram of Personality is a tool that helps us understand the mechanisms of Ego, personality, and instinct. Modern psychology and the Enneagram share many of the same concepts and authors. Borrowing and then building on the work of others was and remains a common practice. For instance, Jungian psychology parallels the structure of the Enneagram with its nine processes of consciousness.
The core of the Enneagram Personality Profile is a series of questionnaires. If you provide honest answers, you will get an accurate profile of our personality. The scientific method of testing verifies the accuracy of this tool. The system goes beyond identification into deeper thought processes and beliefs. It integrates spiritual and psychological understanding. It will lead you to an understanding of the source of your personal power.
When you say spiritual practice, many people think of meditation. Seated and moving forms of meditation are the centerpiece of spiritual exploration. The practice of meditation is now common knowledge. Both seated and moving meditation bring many health and wellness benefits.
Seated meditation is the heart of many spiritual practices. This includes a range of tools from basic Mindfulness Meditation through Japa or Transcendental Meditation (TM). And also includes more advanced practices like the Siddhis of Patanjali. It also includes more contemporary processes for grounding, like Tree Grounding and Sun Gazing.
Moving meditation is action together with a heightened level of awareness. So, this includes a range of activities involving the mind-body connection. Using these modalities helps improve our health and wellness. This progression includes energy collection modalities like Qigong and Tai Chi. It also includes Forest Bathing.
Awareness Expansion Tools
This group is a mix of tools dealing with awareness and perception. This group of processes starts with the Shamanic Journey or Guided Meditation. It also includes lucid dreaming, third-eye awakening exercises, and techniques to improve memory. Another important tool is the spiritual journal or book of shadows. This is your best coach. It also includes exercises like automatic writing. You could list these tools among some groups. However, we like to list separately because of their importance to awareness.
The Shamanic Journey is probably man’s first spiritual technology. This traditional method is at the core of many indigenous cultures. It serves as evidence to the historical importance of the inner quest.
There are many variations on this theme, but all use essentially the same formula. Rhythm is a key element that regulates heart rate and breathing. Then the mind projects an inner world providing the lucid journey. A Shaman is a person who guides people through this journey in the spirit world. However, you can take this inward journey by yourself. This tool for changing awareness uses a range of seated and moving forms.
This is one of the ancient technologies that people have tried to rename or rebrand. They do this to make the Shamanic Journey more marketable. So, some people know it as guided meditation or creative visualization.
The last group is healing practices. This group includes a diverse set of tools such as Pe Jet from Indonesia, or Reiki, and Shiatsu from Japan. Vedic medicine is also available along with other traditional healing forms. Self-care is a vital part of this group. Our overall health and wellness affect every aspect of life.
Using any healing method is a natural outlet for our positive energy. Many people come to the healing arts as a secondary interest. Then they find it is an enjoyable way of giving back and helping others.
We hope this clarifies the question, what is spiritual meditation. A simple way to think of it is as any process for exploring consciousness. That means it covers every type of process or method that affects change in our awareness or consciousness. It’s also important to realize that it has nothing to do with belief in imaginary beings. It is not the practice of religion. That being said, some ancient Eastern traditions are the storehouses of many of the tools for this inner work. However, you need not ascribe to the belief in the mythology to use these methods, which include mantras and sutras.
There are several for practicing meditation. If you want to investigate all the benefits of meditation, please follow the link.
We hope you found this article helpful, maybe even thought-provoking. You will find more interesting posts on our blog page. Use the “search” option on the blog page to find articles by key terms, topics, or category.
Does spiritual exploration interest you? If so, we offer both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. We use a blended learning process to get the best learning outcomes. This blended approach aligns with what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia