Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spiritual Practices and their Effectiveness

I recently made a post to an internet discussion forum where I described some of the spiritual practices I've tried and whether I found them to be effective. It may be of interest to readers of this blog. The post is this:

1. Why meditate? Is it effective in bringing about spiritual awareness?

Meditation calms the mind. This helps you live more mindfully, more in harmony with your spiritual values. When the mind is calm, and when you engage in relaxing concentration and mindfully notice when your mind wanders, you see that that poses, attitudes, and opinions are often just empty pretense. You see how distracting thoughts of attachments and aversions and selfishness are silly and you become less selfish, less egotistic. In the absence of selfishness, love arises naturally. Many, many NDEr's, mediums, and other teachers say the purpose of life is to learn to love. Meditation helps you to accomplish that purpose.

Quieting the mental noise helps you become more aware of faint mental impressions some of which might be psychic. In particular it calms the analytical mind letting you become more in touch with the intuitive mind. It makes you more receptive to contact from spirits such as departed loved ones and spirit guides.

2. What kind of spiritual practices have you been engaged in? Have they been effective or ineffective?

Turning off Stress - Learning to turn off the body's reaction to stress is helpful in spiritual development because when you are stressed, you are more likely to be thinking about yourself and your problems ie. being egocentric. But when you are relaxed, you are less likely to be thinking about yourself and more likely to be in harmony with spiritual values like love, kindness, forgiveness, tolerance etc.

The best way to turn off stress that I know of is to do exercises which involve gently moving or stretching your muscles while exhaling slowly as you count to ten. This technique is extremely effective because it combines four separate methods for activating the parasympathetic nervous system in one technique:

  • Deep Breathing
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Body Awareness
  • Meditation

Some other relaxation techniques such as guided meditations, visualizations, hypnotic inductions, etc. work by making you sleepy or putting you in an altered state of consciousness, and when you return to normal consciousness, the stress comes back. This technique works by turning off the body's stress response, and the effect stays with you long after you are done.

Meditation - this should be the primary practice for spiritual development. See above. Also I've had experiences of oneness, and higher planes of existence.

Some people don't like meditation for various reasons. One reason is that it may bring out buried emotions a person might not want to deal with. I've found relaxation exercises can be an effective alternative to meditation.

Other alternatives to meditation include practices that involve movement such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and yoga. There are many different forms of these exercises for different purposes. As an alternative to meditation, look for the simpler forms of Tai Chi (some times called tai chi for the mind, or energy tai chi), moving forms of Qi Gong, and yoga that involves positions that are not too strenuous. Other forms of these exercises are fine and they have valid but different uses. Anything that requires attention and is relaxing will help calm the mind and can yield benefits similar to meditation for spiritual development.

Spiritual Healing - besides for healing, this is a fundamental practice for development of mediumship because it involves healing guides and is a form of physical mediumship. I've used spiritual healing on myself with good results, and when I was studying for a certification in healing from my Spiritualist church I collected seven affidavits of healing by people who were helped. You don't have to be psychic to do this, anyone can learn to do spiritual healing.

Spirit Communication. I took classes in mediumship, and developed a method one can use if classes are not available. Classes were effective as described at the link. Working by myself has also been effective. I've used same technique successfully for remote viewing. (There are other techniques too, for people suffering from grief and connecting with your spirit guides. But I haven't tried all of these). (Also of interest: What is it like to communicate with spirits?)

Spirit communication is one of the easier forms of psychic perception - you don't have to rely entirely on your own power because the spirits make an effort to get through to you. The spirits influence you, you just need to learn to be open to and become aware of that influence. This is particularly true in a class where the spirits are well practiced in communicating and the teacher's guides help too. Everyone has spirit guides, everyone is influenced by their guides whether they are conscious of it or not. Therefore everyone is a medium. Many people can learn to become aware of the influence of spirits. Just like most people can learn to pick out a tune on the piano even if they will never be able to play in a concert hall, many people can have some perceptions of spirit communication even if they will never be able to be a working medium. The evidence for the afterlife is convincing, but when you interact what a spirit you know the afterlife is real in a way that leaves no room for doubt.

Qi Gong - to learn to feel different aspects of healing energy with your hands. You don't need to be psychic to do this.

Psychokinesis/Psi Wheel - Learn to measure the healing energy coming from your hands using a simple home made device. I have magnetized inanimate objects with healing energy and those objects have the ability to spin a psi-wheel.

You don't need to be psychic to use a psi wheel. It can be a way for many people to have a paranormal experience. Once you learn that ordinary people can know and experience things that Science denies it opens up a lot of possibilities. You realize there might be a lot more phenomena that are genuine but which materialists deny.

Spirit Rescue I give a sermon for earth bound spirits every morning and it has been effective in preventing annoying spirits from bothering me by encouraging them to complete their transition to the spirit planes. You don't have to be psychic to do this.

Precognition: When I started keeping a dream log, I noticed many precognitive dreams. According to J. W. Dunne author of An Experiment With Time most people will notice precognitive dreams if they keep a dream log. You don't have to be psychic to do this.

Chakra Meditation (sometimes called Kundalini meditation): This type of meditation is supposed to help with psychic development and releasing kundalini energy. I'm not sure if it has helped me in those areas but I use it as part of a system of relaxation (linked above) in which it is effective for attaining a deeply relaxed state.

Out of body experiences: From my own experiences and from Charles Tart's research I believe techniques to induce OBE's are not effective - they mostly produce dreams of OBE's. I think that spontaneous OBE's are closer to the "real thing".

Diet: I have found that a vegetarian diet is not effective except for making me sick. I do think the right diet is important in spiritual development.

Ouija Board: Not effective.

Reading about and discussing spiritual topics - including parapsychology and philosophy also can play a role. I think it can be extremely helpful. But I would like to encourage people to do more than just approach the issue of spirituality with their intellect. Click on some of the links in this post and try meditation, or relaxation exercises, or make a psi wheel, or do qi gong, or keep a dream log. Understanding through experience is different from understanding through intellect. Don't limit yourself, don't except self-limiting doubts about what you can experience. Try.

More on my web site about spiritual practices / spiritual experiences.

From my blog, articles on: spiritual healing, psychic development, psi wheel, meditation, qi gong.

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