The Awareness Exercise.
In the first year we practice the Awareness Exercise. Wisdom is not just about the mind. It is also a question of being: or rather the state of one’s being.
In everyday life, the mind is often continuously darting around on the surface without much experience of real depth. The experience of depth paves the way for greater wisdom clarity and understanding.
In order to bring about a greater depth of experience it is necessary to gain the ability to become truly still. This is not just stillness at the physical level but crucially stillness of the mental and emotional activity.
During the 10-week introductory Philosophy course this awareness practice is developed, deepening the experience of stillness through connection with the senses. In addition to providing moments of inner peace, the exercise also sharpens our attention, enabling us to observe both our own inner world of mind, and the world around us, more clearly. What we observe provides some of the raw material for informing our philosophical studies.
Students in their second or third year who intend to continue with their studies are invited to take up the practice of mantra meditation.
With practice, students have found there is an increase in inner peace, stability, happiness and clarity of mind.
The meditation which the School offers is from the Advaita tradition and was introduced to the West in the early 1960’s when the Maharaj came to Britain and first introduced the practice. This was the beginning of wider acceptance of the practice, and its popularity was no doubt helped when it was later taken up by the Beatles! (1967)
A mantra meditation is where a single sound or word is gently repeated in the mind. It can be practised at home sitting quietly in an ordinary chair.
Meditation is introduced to students individually in a short, traditional ceremony and it is recommended that students meditate twice a day. Although the period of time for meditation is not prescriptive, the School suggests beginning with 15 minutes twice daily. This is eventually extended to half an hour twice daily. All students are encouraged to have a short termly one-to-one session with a meditation tutor. Additional guidance is offered on a regular basis through ‘Mornings of Meditation’.
The introduction to the practice is facilitated by The School of Meditation, with whom we have a close relationship. The School of Meditation is a registered charity funded by donations and its purpose is to make meditation readily available to anyone who wants it. Students wishing to take up the practice are asked to make a donation to The School of Meditation.
“People who meditate begin to discover a deeper aspect of life and an ease, a joy, a happiness which is not dependent on other circumstances.” Being oneself – The School of Meditation.
The book “Being Oneself” is a helpful guide to finding out more about the practice of meditation and is available through Amazon. The School of Philosophy also produce a short leaflet to help you get started, should you decide to take up the meditation practice.