Meditation has not only spiritual benefit but worldly benefit, and can be a means for healing and finding creative solutions to difficult problems. One form of meditation is called Tafakkur and refers to reflection upon the universe or pondering the creation of Allah. It is a means of intellectual development that awakens and liberates the mind to help it achieve higher levels of growth. Many of the great Islamic scientists were said to engage in a meditative practice of Tafakkur to help guide their intellectual pursuits. Tafakkur is the means by which some people recognize the signs of Allah in the Creation. ‘Islamic Insights’*
With a deeper understanding of the human brain, our psychological knowledge has considerably improved regarding our spiritual wellbeing.
Mediation can increase your self-awareness and minimise your projections of your own states of mind on the reality we call God. With time, practising mediation, we become more aware of how our own experience of human relationships influences our own relation to God. For example, someone who had a domineering parent may perceive God to be domineering and cruel; someone who had abandoning or disinterested parent may perceive God as non-existent or abandoning, and so on.
The more we practise meditation the more we start to be aware that these states of mind are coming from us and we are developing an interest in who He really is. You may start to notice the beauty of creation. You may argue about your own mortality and your own limitations.
You may choose to focus on a religious text. You may want to choose a part that speaks about the love and compassion of God and omit texts that you don’t understand as we simply may not understand the historical contexts or literary symbolism of the text. We need to remember that people before us struggled with the same questions and were in similar states of mind and, as we are, they were influenced by their socio-historical context.
- Decide to spend 15-20 minutes every day to stay still in silence.
2. Choose a time of the day which suits you (a quiet time, not too late at night when you may fall asleep).
3. Choose the same place to meditate. You may want to close your eyes.
4. At the beginning of each meditation ask God to be with you. You may want to focus on your breathing.
5. Stay faithful to this exercise in times when you are sad, you experience emptiness, despair, confusion or happiness, love and fulfillment.
What shall I do during my 20 minutes?
Start by concentrating on your breathing and on the life that moves your body from the beginning of your life.
1. Name emotions that move your body, for example, ‘I feel despair’ or ‘I feel excitement’.
2. Name thoughts that come to your mind. Letting them come to you easily and leave your mind easily.
3. Your mind may sometimes be critical towards yourself. Be compassionate toward yourself. If you become self critical let yourself to come back to loving and compassionate feelings. Self-criticism or internal punishing voices are a result of our own emotions, being split from our conscious mind. Be compassionate to those voices and direct attention to the compassionate love of God.
Conscious Breathing is another form of sensating meditation. In this practice, a person simply takes a few moments to become conscious of his or her breathing. The person feels the breath and the way it affects the entire body. The person may lay down with eyes closed in Relaxation Pose and place hands on lower belly, solar plexus, chest, forehead, and top of head in turn and feel the movements of these parts of the body with the breath. The person may place two hands in two different places at the same time so that he can sense the movement of air from one place to another. The person feels the pause of breathing between exhalation and inhalation. Then, the person may consciously manipulate his breath to lengthen the pauses, deepen the inhalations, and make the exhalations more complete, but all gently and without strain or force. Islamic Insights*