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Tuesday, February 22

Practice of Meditation From James Allen

If you're a pretty frequent reader of freethegoddess, you should know by now that I love reading philosopher James Allen's work.

I'm in the process of reading The Master of Destiny, and one of its chapters is called Practice of Meditation.

The chapter opens with, "When aspiration is united to concentration, the result is meditation." Nice.

Upon reading this section, I thought about whether or not I had ever involved myself in serious meditation. I pray consistently, but I had to ask myself if that was the same as meditating.

Allen continues this chapter with writing, "When a man intensely desires to reach and realize a higher, purer, and more radiant life than the merely worldly and pleasure loving life, he engages in aspiration; and when he earnestly concentrates his thoughts upon the finding of that life, he practices meditation. "

After reading on, I realized that, yes, I had mediated in the past, but it wasn't a regular practice. So, I decided that that this morning would mark the beginning of my efforts to meditate more. I got out of bed, walked a few paces over to my yoga mat, and plopped down with my legs crossed. I put my hands on my knees, closed my eyes and brought my mind into focus. Every now and then it would drift and think about the tasks I needed to complete for the day or how cold it was in the room. At the realization of my lack of focus, though, I'd immediately recenter my attention. In the end, it was quite a nice 20-minutes experience. But I found, as James Allen states, "Meditation is more difficult to practice than concentration...."

If you are a little green when it comes to meditating , like me, you might find the below suggestions from James Allen helpful on when (and when not) to meditate.

Times, Places and Conditions in which Meditation is Impossible
1. At, or immediately after, meals
2. In places of pleasure
3. In crowded places
4. While walking rapidly
5. While lying in bed in the morning
6. While smoking
7. While lying on a couch or bed for physical or mental relaxation

Times, Places, and Conditions in which Meditation is Difficult
1. At night
2. In a luxuriously furnished room
3. While sitting on a soft, yielding seat
4. While wearing gay clothing
5. When in company
6. When the body is weary
7. If the body is given too much food

Times, Places, and Conditions in which it is Best to Meditate
1. Very early in the morning
2. Immediately before meals
3. In solitude
4. In the open air or in a plainly furnished room
5. While sitting on a hard seat
6. When the body is strong and vigorous
7. When the body is modestly and plainly clothed

For more on James Allen's work, visit

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