A Basic Method for Masonic Meditation
This meditation is not zazen, but is designed to help you receive insight and intuition. You may choose to make this your predominant method, or you may use it as a supplement to a regular practice of some stillness meditation such as zazen. You can even use these instructions just for stillness meditation by omitting steps 5 through 10. In any case, some combination of the two is recommended, as well as a routine of at least 3 days of practice per week, though once or twice daily is ideal.
1. Find some place where you can sit quietly and undisturbed for about 15 minutes.
2. Sit in a comfortable position with your belly relaxed a little. Shift around a bit to ensure that once you begin the meditation you can stay in that position.
3. Allow your eyelids to relax so that they either close or remain slightly open. If they remain open there is no need to focus on anything, so you may allow your vision to go out of focus a little as you relax even further. If you wish, at this time it would be appropriate to ask the G.A.O.T.U. for assistance in your meditation.
4. Begin attending to your breath. Just breathe naturally and observe it flowing in and out. Pay attention to how the breath feels and sounds as it flows in through your airway, expanding your lungs, chest and abdomen. Pay similar attention to how it feels and sounds as the breath flows out. If your mind begins to wander, do not chastise yourself; just simply return your attention to your breath. Count your breaths if that helps you focus your attention. Relax deeply and become aware of the silence within.
5. Once you feel deeply relaxed and centered, turn your attention from your breath and onto some Masonic symbol, allegory or teaching. It is fine to have previously chosen a subject for your meditation, though you may also want to see what spontaneously arises.
6. As you focus on the subject, don’t worry about trying to analyze it in any particular way. Simply allow your mind to float around and through the subject. Allow your thoughts and emotions to respond to the subject without inhibition, but remain somewhat detached and aloof from them. There is no right or wrong way to think or feel about the subject.
7. At times you will find that your mind goes so far away on tangents that you are no longer focused on the subject. There is nothing wrong with this; each time it happens just notice it and gently return your focus back to the original subject.
8. After several minutes, ask yourself some question about the subject. It can be as specific or general as seems appropriate. You may even simply ask: “What do I really need to understand about this?” Whatever the question is, ask it with a sense of faith and hope that a fitting answer will indeed come to you. Ask with a feeling not unlike the feeling you have when trying to recall something that is “just on the tip of your tongue”.
9. Now let go of all your thoughts and feelings, and focus on the silence deep within your mind, the silence between your thoughts. You may or may not find that this empty space is filled with a response to your question. Something may come to you very quickly as a clear thought or image. On the other hand you may get some kind of emotional response, or a vague “feeling” of some kind. It may be that whatever happens seems strange or nonsensical, and that’s just fine. It may be that nothing seems to come in response, and that is often the case. Whatever happens just let it happen and accept it as you continue to return your focus to the silence.
10. After a while, if you have received something that seems like a response, turn your attention onto it just as you did the original subject. Contemplate how that thought or feeling might answer your question. If you didn’t receive any particular response, then consider what message there might be in silence, just as if a friend had chosen not to answer some question you had asked.
11. After several minutes, return your focus to your breath and attend to it flowing in and out just as you did earlier. If you wish, at this time it would be appropriate to thank the G.A.O.T.U. for assisting you.
12. After several breaths, open your eyes, stand up and stretch. It is a very good idea to make notes in a meditation journal just as soon as possible.