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Recently some footage of the Maharishi and the Beatles appeared again on our television screens. There was the familiar image of the guru with a huge black and white garland around his neck, while his famous disciples conveyed the full colour ofpsychedelia despite the monochrome medium. It was 1967 and meditation had just hit the headlines.

At the time, this "Indian" practice seemed terribly new and exciting: the breakthrough into a new consciousness, the vital element in the equation that ended "Peace and Love". Yet in much of that era that seems now as distant as black and white TV itself, this particular feature has not just survived but taken root and flourished. Meditation is no longer seen as exotic, alien, challenging; what was once way out has now been accepted by many as a way in. Hundreds of thousands of people in this country, and millions world wide, now practise a technique as a regular, normal, unfussy, but deeply important part of their lives.

Meditation is often understood from the outside as a form of relaxation. According to this it enables you to escape from stress for a while, put yourself at ease, and increase your attention span. Doctors sometimes recommend it for people who suffer from depression or neurosis. This view has it that meditation is for those who have difficulty finding rest or who want to come to terms with an experience that has left them unhappy.

Is this really what meditation is for? Well, yes and no. Meditation is not a specific cure for anything. But who of us has no difficulty finding rest, real rest, and who of us knows no unhappiness, is truly happy? Lack of rest and a feeling that ultimate happiness evades us are the human condition. Meditation addresses the root causes of these problems. We may start because of some difficulty or unsatisfactory situation, but meditation will take us beyond these to what lies beneath them: our ideas about ourselves and our attachments.

The real search that people have is a search for themselves. We can express this in life's big questions: What is the meaning of it all? Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? These are the enduring questions that have been asked in every society from as far back as there are records. They underlie religion, philosophy and art. They may not occupy our conscious minds very much, but they motivate much of our activity. We look in our work for satisfaction, for a sense of fulfilment, for a realisation of our potential. Of course, we look also for the means to meet our material needs and our pleasures. But a job that is only done for the money and provides no other fulfilment soon becomes tedious, then is resented, and before long will be the object of hate.

Most of the time the driving force behind our actions is the search for happiness. We seek this in our relationships with other people, and in our physical and intellectual pursuits. Again we may not generally think of what we do in such terms, but if we feel unhappy our actions will be selected on the basis of making us happy, or, if this is not possible, we will dream of being in a different situation. What we require to make us happy is not absolute, but varies according to circumstance. A prisoner wishes to be free. A hungry person wants some food. We progress through life experiencing wants, satisfying them and then immediately generating new ones. We need to get around, we want a car, we get one, then we want a bigger, faster one. We take for granted our things and our relationships until we lose one of them, then we miss it and we grieve.

If our happinesses are so transient, they cannot really fulfil us. If we do not find lasting satisfaction, we must be fundamentally incomplete. The searching itself tires us, the dissatisfaction pains us, and the constant looking leaves us wanting rest. However old we get we remain the children that we once were who delight in a new toy, but soon get bored with it and move on to the next one. However, recognising this truism in itself does not free us from the tyranny of the desire. Nor does it explain why it is that cultures without even a fraction of our material wealth have identified the same dissatisfactions and phrased the same questions.

The problem with looking for happiness in all these is that we are looking in the wrong place. We are looking outwards, in the physical world. But the physical world is always changing. All of it is constantly on the move; even the continents, we now know, are never still, while much of the world whizzes by at a speed we can scarcely even see.

"All forms of meditation are an uncovering of a deeper, stiller part of our minds."

Occasionally, though, we will have the chance to look somewhere else - within. This is not a psychoanalytical delve into the personality, for that personality is itself a product of this shifting, changing, baffling exterior world. Nor is the looking a search as normally understood; it is more in the nature of an inner turn. To search you need to know what you are looking for. If you search for a pen you have an image of the pen in your mind, but to turn inwards you drop ideas and images. And what you find when you turn inwards is the opposite of the external world. Instead of movement there is rest. Instead of change there is permanence. Instead of wanting there is contentment. Instead of diversity, there is unity.

All of us know of the reality of this inner turn because we have all had some experience at some time of our lives of a deep calm, a sense of joy, perhaps a feeling that we are at one with our surroundings. We know also that such a feeling cannot be repeated in the external world to order. If we were engulfed in peace one evening watching a sunset over a lake, returning to the same lake the next evening would not produce the same inner peacefulness. Often, in fact, such experiences creep up on us unawares, catching us while we are busy with something quite different.

Meditating with MateriaTachyon, messengers from the universe.

Meditation is a powerful tool in which we learn to quieten the ramblings of the conscious and subconscious minds and begin to tap into the infinite wisdom of the super conscious mind and the higher realms. Meditating with tachyon energy opens up worlds of unlimited possibilities to us. As part of the rich fund of universal energies freely available to us, tachyons are energetic particles with no mass that move faster than the speed of light and have a unique type of consciousness.

Rather like tiny shamans, tachyons are able to transport information, transform chaos back to order and more importantly, they teach us about infinity and boundless existence. During meditation, we reach out with our minds, with the help of tachyons, we can go even further as they are travelling faster than the speed of light and are coming from the past, future and even from different dimensions.

Meditating on problems with Materia Tachyon, European Tachyon material, provides us with more information for quicker solutions as tachyons are able to bring additional information from the future which we did not have access to before.

Meditation increases awareness of our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies, tachyons are able to enhance communications between these different bodies: they cleanse the aura, promote regeneration of the physical body and they remind the body of the soul's purpose, bringing holistic health. Tachyons work on an organising balancing principle, once balance has occurred, residues of pain and old emotions are reactivated and released, current themes are experienced first, with older issues emerging later.

Colours are vibrational frequencies and with the coloured Materia Tachyon, it is the information about the colour that the tachyons transport: orange represents power and creativity, green allows for personal growth and blue represents communication. These colours combined with the different shapes make powerful tools for meditation. Materia Tachyon can be placed on the chakras for meditating whilst lying down, or simply held in the hand for sitting meditations. They also enhance any other type of meditational practice because of their ability to carry information. The "Pyramid" is potentised by a twisted inner pyramid while the different colours help us access hidden knowledge from lifetimes in ancient cultures. The sphere represents the Earth and is particularly good for grounding oneself and for creating a refreshed atmosphere to meditate in. The Pillar of Reflection is able to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain and thus both sides of the body, as well as to rebalance the chakras and the energy field. The Tree of Life is really quite special as it is a three dimensional representation of the diagram from the Kabbala which depicts the creation of the universe. Meditating with this tool supports us in gently releasing blockages to enable us to find our place within the universe.

by Naheed Zaman. Naheed can be contacted on 0181 883 4316

Such experiences are reminders of our true nature. What gets in the way of awareness of this is the mind itself. That part of the mind where we experience our thoughts and feeling is an interface with the external world and has the same moving, changing qualities as the external world. The chattering, the images and the wanting all belong to the discursive mind. So too does the unhappiness.

Meditation is always the same, whatever the pedigree of the particular practice, whether Zen, Tibetan, Advaita, Yogic, Sufic. The different techniques have arisen in response to the situations of particular societies, but the essence of meditation is not different. Meditation has been likened to a mountain: there is only one top, although there are different routes up. Likewise the routes are not the mountain, but a proven route is strongly recommended if you are to reach the top.

In an ideal world no one would need a meditation technique. However, the pull of the outer world is extremely strong, and our minds are constantly active. If we decided that a mountain really was the place to live, sitting all day on our own on a prayer mat, away from our normal cares, we would soon find that our minds created other distractions for us. These would quite possibly be even stronger than our normal ones. Meditation techniques are therefore designed to engage this active part of the mind and gradually lead it to stillness. The chattering, demands, desires, and feelings subside, and as they die down, the stillness and calm, the "peace of mind", is revealed as having always been there, but having been masked. The process is a gradual one because one cannot stop the chattering mind by an effort of will. This would only create further mental activity and a stressful conflict. The process also requires regular practice. However, this is not to say that only those who have been meditating for a long time can be conscious of the inner self. On the contrary, this awareness is there immediately. One does not need a completely clear sky to see the sun; if the clouds have been thick even a momentary break in them can be a brilliant revelation.

The technique that is taught by the School of Meditation is based on a mantra, a simple sound that you repeat to yourself. It involves no physical exercises, only sitting in a chair in a relaxed position, with the back straight. This form of meditation is designed to fit in with a normal Western existence. As one gains consciousness of one's deeper mind, a balance is brought to your whole existence. You go about your affairs much as before, but with a growing knowledge that however turbulent events are, you act from a point of calm, and however great the stresses, you respond from the awareness that there is a unity to all beings. As one practises the attention is less prey to every passing thought, hence able to rest more easily on what it is doing, making the person more efficient and energetic. For this you are asked to meditate twice a day, morning and evening, initially for two quarter-hour periods, but these grow to half-hours. For many people this seems like a huge chunk of time to find in a busy timetable, but as the clamouring of the activities dies down somewhat we seem to have more time, less rush, and a greater desire to do what brings us true happiness.

Like the Maharishi, this form of meditation comes originally from India, though there is nothing specifically "Eastern" about meditation, and the West too has meditation traditions. It has been taught in the UK for nearly forty years. All varieties of people, from different social and cultural backgrounds have found it to be of real benefit. Has it cured their stress, their depression, and their inattentiveness? Most people who have been meditating for a length of time would say that they have forgotten that these were their problems by Stephen Adamson

The School of Meditation is based in London, but has various branches elsewhere. It can be contacted on Tel: 0171 633 6116.

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