What is Meditation?
Mediation is anything to anyone. Meditation is whatever you wanted it to be. There are many different kinds of meditation for many different purpose. Meditation is used:

     *   To develop inner power, or Ki in martial art. (Shao Lin, Tai Chi, Aikido..)
    
     *   To cure illness, improve health and fitness..  (Meditation Therapy)

     *   To obtain supernatural power as in certain kind of yoga or ascetic buddhist sects.

     *   To achieve peace of mind, enlightenment, or salvation.

THE  MECHANICS

Basically, the mechanics of Meditation consist of the following components:

     *   Posture: Sitting, standing, laying, walking, or other specific postures (yoga) were used to facilitate concentration or deep meditation of the mind or also believed to develop certain special power of the human body such as: third eye, astral, kundalini, psychic power, etc...

     *   The breathing: Facilitate concentration, develop inner power (ki), regulate brain activities (control moods), enhance body endurance in physical exercise, can help people fasting without food or water for a long time under certain extreme situation or condition.

     *   Basic meditation consists of just sitting and breathing which we all do everyday naturally. However, the key to Meditation is not in the sitting or breathing but what's going on inside the mind.

As mentioned above, there are many kind of Meditation for many different purposes. But to me, the ultimate and most meaningful kind of meditation is the one that sets free and leads to enlightenment  or salvation.

THE  PROCESS

An effective meditation process required three things (factors).

     1.   Master the methods:
           For a start, the meditator need to learn the basic sitting and breathing technics as mentioned above. An effective way is to count the breath. Don't pay too much attention to the technics of meditation more than necessary, as there is nothing fancy about them. Remember fancy meditation doesn't make one enlighten any faster if his mind is not ready.

     2.   Self Control -- Endurance:
          The will power and unlimited patience to overcome the pain, the agony, sleepiness, fasting, hunger, and other obstacles. Ultimately to conquer the ego and win over the self. Only when the mind has complete control over the body then a person can achieve full enlightenment. These Self Control, Endurance, and Patience qualities can be developed gradually over time, and seemed unimportant at first, but will intensify in the last stage. Jesus is known to fast for 40 days and nights in the desert, while the buddha also fasted many times in his lifetime. Both Jesus and Buddha were also tempted by the devil and overcame the temptation before they were fully enlightened.

     3.   Mind no mind:
          The third factor and most crucial is the knowledge about the Way, which guided our every move in the right direction and keep it that way. This knowledge consists of the understanding of Dualism,  the law of Cause and Effect. But most importantly, the understanding of the nature of the Truth, which also called God's nature, Buddha's nature, emptiness, or the Original state of being. When a person truly understand this Original State Of Being, not by his brain power, or by what he is taught, but as if by "seeing", or experiencing it, he is then reach "Self Realization", the first step of Enlightenment..

MEDITATION  KEYS

           Having talked about methods and process, one more thing should be mentioned are Meditation Keys. The key things that make or break meditation. In other words, what does it takes to reach enlightenment.

            What does it take to enlighten?
           This is a "gray area" where many disagree. First, it depends on how one defines "enlighten", whether it's real or imaginary (see
What is Enlightenment?).  Secondly, most people think the harder they try, the more their chance of success. The more they do meditation, the closer they get to enlightenment. I heard stories of a zen master who sat meditating and never laid down in his monk's life.  Other zen master could sit for weeks or month in satori.

However, the meditation keys are not in the sitting, but they are all
mind's matters. One should keep moving on without paying attention to particular effects. There were legends of the sixth patriach Hui Neng who used to discourage monks from practice sitting meditation by sneaking behind and hit a monk who sat meditating in the garden with a zen stick; or at other time, blew in a monk's ear. The keys are: 

1) the understanding of the way, which one will acquire naturally after self realization. For example, visualize emptiness, one needs to know what it is before one can reach it or becomes it. Once reaches that goal,  one has to forget it as well. 

2) stay in meditation at every moments.

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