I have long heard of the term “meditation”. Weeks ago, The Straits Times Mind Your Body supplement carried articles about “Mindfulness Meditation”, and it spurs me to read more on it.
In the Mind Your Body article, it emphasised quite a bit on the techniques of breathing. So breathing in the “correct way” is important to any meditation attempt. (The article included 8 steps on meditation.)
In Oxford dictionary, “meditating” is “to focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation”.
A read in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation) can tell you much about what is meditating.
I am not going to tell you what are the benefits of meditating, or detail the breathing which is essential to any meditating attempts. Instead, I may dedicate another post for the latter.
In this post, I will write about a few notable persons who are known to meditate.
Starting from home, in recent years, it is known that Lee Kuan Yew meditates. In the past, he learnt meditation from Dr Tan Kheng Khoo, a Buddhist. Dr Tan gave Mr Lee 6 lessons on it. He tried to do it half an hour at a time, and later it became a daily routine.
Mr Lee said that he finds meditating better than tranquillizers and valium.
About 3-4 years ago, Mr Lee learnt meditating from Ng Kok Seng (the Chief Investment Officer of GIC). Mr Ng is a Catholic, and he was taught by a Catholic man called Lawrence Freeman (who in turn was taught by John Main).
So Mr Ng gave Mr Lee some advises on meditating. Once, Mr Ng even introduced Freeman to Mr Lee when both of them were in London. Later, when Freeman came to Singapore, he even gave Mr Lee a meditation session.
When Mr Lee meditate, he used the mantra “Ma-Ra-Na-Ta”, which means “Come To Me Oh Lord Jesus”. (Mr Lee is not a Catholic, but he said he chose this mantra because it is more soothing compared to others. The mantra of “Om-Mi-Tuo-Fo” was also suggested to Mr Lee.)
Mr Lee finds meditating helping him to go to sleep. He gave it a miss on some days, otherwise, he would do it for 20 minutes a session.
Another person who meditate is former Japanese PM Yasuhiro Nakasone. He meditated for 2 hours at a temple once a week, sitting with his back straight and legs crossed in lotus position. He is still alive today. (He was born in 1918).
Former Burma strongman Ne Win also meditated. He stood down from power in 1988, and by 1990 he began to read about meditating. Afterwards, he spent many hours each day, in the morning, afternoon and evening, in silent meditating. People said he looked better (not so sickly) after he started meditating.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand is also known for meditating. He did it the Buddhist way. I read that he practiced Vippassana Insight Meditation, Samadhi Concentration Meditation, and the Tantric meditation. I heard that such experiences are almost unattainable by normal Thai citizens. The King was guided by several top monks in the Kingdom, as well as a Tibetan Lama teacher.
Meditation is useful to allow people to relax and de-stress, especially in this fast paced world of ours. Worldwide, there is the Transcendental Meditation (TM) schools which teach people TM techniques. TM techniques are popular worldwide, and have millions of people doing it.
The founder of TM is Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who taught TM to Beatles and John Lennon in the last century. He started teaching TM in the 1950s. (He passed away on 2008).
I hope that schools in Singapore can teach some simple forms of meditation, and eventually allow for morning meditation sessions in all schools (E.g. before the start of the school day).
Meditation is not a religion. It can be done across all faith, and all people can of course also join in!