All About Meditation

Meditation is the technique of controlling and guiding the focus of the mind and its thought process. You gain the ability to direct what your mind is doing, as opposed to having random whim control the contents of your mind. Different types of meditation evolved to develop different skills required to reach differing goals.

Stephen K. Hayes’ Volume I Spirit of the Shadow Warrior and Volume 2 Warrior Ways of Enlightenment, and the SKH Quest book How To Own The World all have chapters dealing with some of the mind techniques available through the Blue Lotus Assembly training:

PRESENCE Meditation

Learn to be fully present in your life. Recognize how your mind’s restless nature works to prevent you from fully enjoying the richness of each experience, and then cultivate the ability to dwell in the “exhilarating calm” of being totally in the present moment and place. What a refreshing space to be in this world of overcrowded, overloaded, and overstressed senses, decisions, thoughts, demands, communications, and choices that so often overwhelm us to the point of numbness or oblivion. How would life be different if you were more able to move through your days with a sense of centered peace? PRESENCE mindfulness meditations are often described in words that negate frantic pace and busy attention with titles like calmingor centering or tranquility, or the Japanese term shi which translates as “stopping” the mind-spinning.

INSIGHT Meditation

Learn to look within for verification of truth as you question all your answers. Develop the capacity to recognize habitual dead-end thought and feeling patterns that can seem so natural, but that actually stem from cultural, social, family, and community conditioning. What an empowering breakthrough it is to realize we have access to the answers to the vexing questions as to why life can be a confusing, exasperating, discouraging, and heartbreaking experience. How would life be different if you had more power to determine the quality of your interactions and encounters? INSIGHT meditations give us the opportunity to explore how our emotions, beliefs, habits, thought processes, and interpreted memories condition and determine our experience of life, who we are, and how we operate in the reality we are creating.

STRUCTURE Meditation

Learn to engage powerful traditional tools for disciplined progress. Build a carefully structured form for daily awareness conditioning as a method for moving ever closer to thinking, speaking, and acting like the ideal person you have always wanted to be. What an inspiring opportunity to have these age-old statements of principle with which to re-align continuously in our commitment to living in integrity. What could you accomplish if you lived every decision from a pre-determined code for heroic living? STRUCTURE recitation meditations are sometimes seen as seeming to state the obvious, but the practice has a way of becoming ever more challenging and stimulating and inspiring in the most personal of ways the longer we work with and reflect on the techniques.


Learn to tap into the direct experience of your highest purpose in life. Discover ancient secret methods for accessing bright inspiration that dwells within grand and timeless archetypal potentials as healer, spiritual champion, protector, guide, or provider of blessing. How liberating it is to let go of any sense of being off-purpose or beaten-down, and instead find within a truer, nobler, grander identity as a spiritual beacon for self and others. Who would you be if you were totally living up to your potential? INSPIRATION visualization meditations are doorways to our truest or highest self that dwells hidden beneath layers of mental and emotional shielding developed over years of conventional trial and error identity forging on the to way defining ourselves and our roles in life.


Learn to embody the perfection of spiritual truth that can be grasped by working through the challenges of our deepest fears. Perfect ancient secret methods for transforming into spiritual elevation even those aspects of personal makeup that conventional spirituality often disdains. How healing it is to attain initiation into the deepest realization of why we have been given a precious human life, and how we can use every inclination, feeling, conflict, and discomfort as a means for elevating life into a brilliant realm of sacred qualities in action. Who would you be if you could transform into trophies all lingering shadows of guilt, shame, resentment, or regret? TRANSMUTATION highest yoga tantra meditations are magical processes for recognizing in the mundane workings of our bodies and personalities the keys to highest spiritual transcendence.


These different types of mind functioning each led to the development of a particular school of meditation. Each mental power is desirable – no intelligent being would turn down the offer of any of these powers. It is also true that each mental power must be cultivated and earned. Meditation is the practice by which hindrances to these different mind powers are overcome. Because the natures of these powers are different, the types of training are therefore different.

Meditation exercises described in Chapter 5 of Stephen K. Hayes’ Vol. 1, Spirit of the Shadow Warriordescribe shamatha “mindfulness” or “centering” meditation. You work to discover and access at will a centered and unmoved state of inner stability and clear vision and “stop your mind from spinning” to prevent thoughts from running away with you. This calming and centering of the mind, with emphasis on cultivating awareness of the “empty-of-distracting-forms” state of mind, might be thought of as most characteristic of Japanese Zen or Chinese Chan meditation.

Meditation exercises described in Chapter 4 of Stephen K. Hayes’ Vol. 1, Spirit of the Shadow Warrior and the SKH Quest Publications First Steps on the Path of Light and How To Own The World are vipasshana , or “insight” introspection meditation. In this meditation, you monitor the flow of realizations as they move through your observing mind and “watch your mind at work” to see how your mind does work. This watching the mind in action and gaining insight as to the functions of mind is most characteristic of Theravada (“School of the Sages”) meditation, especially strong in the countries of Southeast Asia, such as Thailand or Burma.

Meditation exercises described in Chapter 7 of Stephen K. Hayes’ The Mystic Arts of the Ninja and those in the SKH Quest Publications Action Meditation are close to mikkyo “esoteric” meditation practice. In “eidetic visualization” ritual meditation, you willfully program your mind to alter its conditioned perceptions of the world. Mikkyo is characteristic of Tibetan and Japanese vajrayana meditation. The exercises require you to be in a specific environment and “psycho-emotional atmosphere” in order to be transmitted. Therefore, such meditations do not usually appear in books because the initiation must be in the form of direct experience guided by a qualified teacher.

How To Meditate

Meditation is the practice of focusing the mind’s attention for channeling energy, properly integrating mind and body, and experiencing personal growth

Meditation Posture

In a quiet place, relatively free from distraction, sit in a straight-backed chair or on a firm pillow.

Your seat should be higher than your ankles. If your knees stick up way higher than your seat, use a firmer pillow to lift you higher. If you are uncomfortable on the floor, sit on the forward edge of a straight back chair.

Sit up straight. Allow your muscles to work actively to keep you upright. Leaning back leads to drowsiness.

Fold hands together palms-up. Fingers of one hand rest on top of the insides of the fingers of the other. Flatten your thumbnails with the tips barely touching. When you look down you should see the flat thumbnails and upturned palms beneath them.

Sit with spine straight but not stiff. Imagine a straight line running from each ear lobe to the top of each shoulder. Elbows are not too far in, not too far out. Tongue rests lightly against the back of your front teeth and the roof of your mouth. Rock slightly in all four directions to settle yourself in.

Keep eyes open just enough to be aware of light coming in under lowered lids. With eyes half-open and half-closed, gaze at the ground in front of you. Allow your eyesight to reach out in front effortlessly. Do not concentrate fiercely. Meditation with closed eyes can result in “inner television”. Shopping lists, old quarrels, and “if-onlys” begin to sneak onto the screen.

The Mind

Center on breathing to channel the mind. Sit lightly and observe your breath. Lightly examine its quality. Is it deep or shallow, tranquil or in turmoil? Observe your breaths as they arise and fall away. Repeat to yourself, “Breathing”, once for the inhale and once for the exhale. Repeat the process for ten repetitions.

If you find yourself thinking, do not be annoyed. Inwardly smile to yourself, remind yourself “not now”, and let the thought go. Observe in unattached fashion and return to following the breath without any self-criticism. Do this practice long enough, often enough, and ever so gently the thoughts begin to retreat and you will find the mental stability you seek.


Since the beginning of history, people have disciplined their minds to stimulate states of well being with the release of endorphins. Recent research indicates these potent natural substances are byproducts of physical and mental well-being in people who have a positive viewpoint of themselves and others.

Remember that enlightenment is not some external thing you have to “go get”. Its potential is inherent in us all. We find it within ourselves. Kukai (774-835) and Saicho (767-822), founders of the Shingon and Tendai esoteric traditions in Japan, advocated “realizing enlightenment in this very body”. The monk Hakuin said that all beings are enlightened, just as all ice is by nature water. Lin Chi (ca. 866), the founder of the Lin Chi school of Ch’an in China (Rinzai Zen in Japan), commented on this dormant potential in the core of all of us, “When you split open the cherry tree, where is the blossom? Yet in the springtime, see how it blooms!”

Click to go to SKH Quest Shop for Meditation for Martial Artists DVD instruction in mind centering practice.