How Does Conscious Mental Rest©Compare With Various Types of Meditation?
A question about the similarities and differences between CMR and various types of meditation has often come up during past introductory talks on Conscious Mental Rest©. The main question has usually been simply ...
Question: Is CMR in fact a type of meditation?
Answer: Yes ... and ... No.
The word ‘meditation’ means different things to different people, because there are different kinds of mental practices or processes that share the same generic term meditation.
For the sake of simplicity, ‘meditation’ can be categorized into a few broad categories, although there are also many sub-categories. Here are a few main types of meditation to help form a broad framework:
Four types of meditation
The concentration types of meditation – which involve concentrating one’s attention on some thing, or some idea. This requires some effort and control.
The contemplation types of meditation – where one takes an idea, or some human value such as love, beauty, or kindness, and thinks about it, explores it, delves into it, and so on. This keeps the mind at the thinking level and does not allow it to rest deeply.
Mantra meditation – which usually involves the repetition or introduction in some way or another of a sound, or a phrase, or some such focus of attention. It is often from an Eastern tradition and may or may not involve some kind of initiation and a spiritual master or lineage of masters.
The observation type of meditation - such as noticing one’s breathing and observing how the breath is drawn in and then exhaled. There are several other variations involving the body or the mind.
Expectations for the meditation experience
The focus of many of these forms of ‘meditation’ is often on what happens during the meditation session itself.
For example, practitioners may have hope to ...
- experience the mind becoming still, or without any thoughts;
- reach a particular state of awareness, or consciousness, or brainwave frequency; or
- experience some inner feeling, such as peace, joy, bliss, enlightenment;
- have some inner visual experience, such as a paticular colour of light, or some spiritual vision.
Where the focus is on the experience during meditation it is natural that expectations and hopes will arise on the part of the practitioner. This in turn can lead to some degree of effort, control or manipulation during the meditation session.
This is possibly why in some meditation traditions it is held that discipline and mind control are necessary and must be developed over time in order for the student to be successful at that particular meditation practice.
CMR does not fit into these principles and methodologies
The process of Conscious Mental Rest© is rather different from the well-known meditation techniques that would fit into the types of meditation categories outlined above.
CMR is simply what its name implies – a way to experience Conscious Mental Rest. Its name has been deliberately chosen in order to describe the process and at the same time to minimize any expectation or effort.
CMR is a process of allowing the mind to get rest from its incessant activity, and to do this without falling asleep.
There are no goals during the CMR session
CMR has no goal during the process other than allowing mental rest.
It has no other intentions or desired effects during the process of resting the mind.
There is therefore no incentive to try to reach any particular state of consciousness or relaxation. And so, there is no tendency for effort to be involved in order to do attain any goal. This is why CMR is described as being 100% natural.
In fact, one of the keys to successful Conscious Mental Rest© is to hold no expectations at all; to be completely innocent. The course will teach you how.
Meditation posture and 'trappings'
Another way in which Conscious Mental Rest© differs from many types of meditation techniques is that no special postures are required during CMR.
Almost every picture one finds depicting someone meditating shows the individual sitting with their legs crossed, either in the full lotus position, half-lotus or simply cross-legged. In addition, the individual invariably has their hands and fingers in the customary position on their knees.
For CMR you simply sit comfortably with your eyes closed. This can be in a comfy chair, on a bed or wherever you feel you can sit comfortably without being disturbed by others during your session.
Many people prefer to have some support behind their back, so they like to use a chair or a bed with a pillow or two behind them. Those who can sit upright without back support of any kind sometimes choose to do that for the CMR sessions.
Incense are not necessary and can even be distracting
Likewise, it is not necessary to burn incense during a CMR session. Although some people feel it puts them in a 'meditative' kind of mood, CMR is not about 'mood' or contemplative meditation. In fact, burning incense can sometimes be distracting, especially for someone who has breathing allergies.
So, the short answer to the original question is: Conscious Mental Rest© is not ‘meditation’ per sé, as the term meditation is usually understood. Yet its benefits in daily life might be considered to be similar to the benefits that many meditation methods strive to attain.
Conscious Mental Rest© has been referred to by some as the stress reliever for the modern world, and by others as the most advanced form of meditation they’ve come across, transcending what some consider to be outmoded techniques that have served their purpose for their particular era. Some people have even called it 'transcending meditation', for this very reason.
Next >> Is CMR A Safe Meditation For Beginners To Use?
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