Receptive Meditation


Meditation is linked with the Moon – as the Moon reflects the light of the Sun, meditation is a method that can also help us to reflect.

When we walk in the Ways of Old we do so with integrity, with an honesty about who and what we truly are, we also walk with an awareness of the world around us. This awareness of self and of the World is what allows us to truly find our place.

Meditation is often ‘pushed’ as a method for self-development – but Eastern Style meditation with its concepts of ‘clearing the mind, stilling and quietening the constant mental chatter by focusing on the breath’ is not a normal state for the human mind. The human mind wants to be ‘doing’ it does not want to be ‘stopped’, this is the reason why many people have trouble with this style of meditation.

“The Moon reflects the light of the Sun, illuminating the night sky of Earth. Less obviously, it also reflects the blue radiance of the Earth, casting back a pale glow that can be seen on a clear night when the Moon is a thin crescent. In much the same way, the human mind reflects the brightly coloured world around us, and it also more subtly reflects hidden worlds within us. Just as the Moon mediates light between Sun and Earth, the mind mediates awareness between matter and spirit. In fact, the words “moon” and “mind” come from the same ancient word for “measure.””     John Michael Greer

Full Reflection of the light of the Sun
Earthshine – reflecting the light of the Earth

In the Eastern Style of Meditation many people find that their mind just does not want to be focused on such a narrow focal point as the breath. It can also have another draw-back in that it can create people who are highly ‘spiritually enlightened’ but intellectually inept. This certainly would not aid awareness or our sense of connection or place.

Fortunately there are other styles of meditation that you can practice that do help with this, they also have the added benefit of stopping your mind from focusing on the ‘constant mental chatter’ as your mind is too busy to do so. You will still need to learn to –

Focus your attention

  • setting aside a time and a place where you will be undisturbed
  • adopting a posture that will allow you to connect with the energies of the Earth and allow the energies to flow freely through you
  • learning relaxation techniques for the body
  • learning a pattern of rhythmic breathing to ‘focus & recollect the self’ (you can also work with ‘colour breathing’ here)
  • using a ‘concentration target’ to help train your mind to stay focused  (most of us do not have trained minds – they jump from thought to thought like an over-excited monkey)
  • when your mind wanders (and it will), instead of just bringing its attention straight back to your target you re-trace your thoughts until you reach the ‘one’ that led you off your target – in this way you get a deeper understanding of the way in which your mind works, how it ‘tricks you’ into following where it wants to go, once you know this you can control it – a helpful ability in any life-situation.

This will help you to achieve a ‘state of focus’ – you can then chose to work with either of the two following techniques

Receptive Meditation

Best practised outdoors, when you have succeeded in reaching your ‘state of focus’ you then widen the focus of your mind instead of narrowing it. Try to be aware of everything around you, all at once. Open your awareness completely. Become aware of: –

  • Sights,
  • Sounds,
  • Scents,
  • Air movements, and
  • Everything else, all together.
  • If your mind starts to chatter –  and of course it will in the early stages – bring your attention back to the whole of the world around you.
  • You are not trying to reach a conclusion or a realization, as in discursive meditation; you’re simply trying to open yourself to the experience of the dance of the living Earth.
  • Make no judgement about what you see, hear, smell, or feel your focus should be on the second that you are in
  • If for instance a deer crosses your line of vision you do not even have the time to think ‘that was a deer’ because in doing so you have missed the seconds following it
  • Just accept and absorb, second by second
  • Lastly – remember to enjoy all the sensations

Discursive Meditation

This is a thinking-oriented approach to meditation. You “walk your mind around” a subject matter, seeing it from many angles. You reason with yourself, reasoning can be based on some auxiliary questions: why, who, what, where, when, how, & ‘what helps’?

In this type of meditation you pick a ‘theme’ – for instance : you want to meditate at a stone circle to help you to understand the enigma of its existence – this subject as a theme is immense and you would be unlikely to achieve much understanding – a bit like trying to read a book in 15 minutes and absorb all of the information in it. You need to break your theme down into ‘bite-size’ chunks – you may for instance be trying to understand the purpose of the stone circle or why this place was chosen for it,so instead of trying to focus on all aspects at once you could choose to focus on just one of the following aspects at a time, trying to get an understanding of  –

  • Who put it there?
  • Who were the people who built in?
  • What were their lives like 5,000 years ago?
  • What was the landscape like?
  • How did they manage to exist?
  • How did they make sense of the world around them?
  • How did they view life and death?
  • What would have been important to them?
  • What practices would they have developed to protect themselves, physically, emotionally & spiritually?

You may then find that in understanding the people, you begin to understand what would have motivated them to go to the extreme lengths of building a stone circle.