Wednesday, February 18, 2015

D. F. Bailey's "White Light Meditation": E-Book Review

I'm curious about meditative practices outside of a religious framework and ritual observance. I also wonder about those that, as D. F. Bailey's encourages, expect one to empty the mind. So, the author's invitation to review his short (e-book as a Kindle) study offered me a chance to learn more.

"White Light" bases its approach on thirty years of crafting by a Canadian writer and a counseling psychologist; this non-theistic, non-mystical orientation is designed to channel, as Chapter Two details, a "universal force of nature" with which to align the meditating mind. Chapter Three defines meditation, categorizes four types, and differentiates White Light Meditation's "special nature." Ten steps follow for Chapter Four's implementation. Chapter One introduces the study and Five wraps it up.

He begins with the analogy of iron filings seemingly "magical" as they combine and separate with an "aligning power" manifested on a paper, placed over a magnet, an experiment we learn in school. D. F. Bailey elaborates this comparison to the meditative process and its realigning power. He then continues to fit White Light Meditation into four definitions used by psychologists.

Breathing, walking, mindfulness, and mantra versions intersect with White Light where they all attempt to lift one out of awareness so as to become aware of awareness. This is not double-talk. This "illuminated consciousness" shifts one away from the primary type, the "monkey-mind" scattered by constant chatter of our normal experience. He does not apply Buddhist metaphors explicitly here, but those familiar with the "monkey" and the "raft" will recognize a few concepts.

The heart of this short account, 40% in, comes in ten steps, for twenty-thirty minutes daily. He recommends a week to prepare, including the avoidance of intoxicants, to enhance clarity. He adds advice for posture, setting, and time of day. Then, he explains the more "passive" aspects as the "illuminated consciousness" subtly shifts into gear.

This prepares for "stream entry" and unsurprisingly a focus on light in one's field of vision. He details types, and connects this with a mantra's release as "the inflection point into deep relaxation." He then guides you along the situations that may arise in meditation.

He segues into benefits of better fitness, more control over one's struggles, and the happiness which may emanate from the simple advice he organizes into ten steps. I agree that it's better to incorporate anxieties into a meditation to understand them specifically, rather than try to evade or glide past them as non-specific and nagging. He concludes, given his professional training, with a consideration of scientific explanations for the White Light, chakras, the Golden Mean, and brain chemistry.

The freedom from hype, theological or mystical speculation, and New Age or culture-specific applications makes this a primer anyone can use. Regardless of one's belief system, this allows meditation to become integrated into one's routine neatly. It's recommended, notably to a reader who may be less eager or more skeptical of more religious or ritualized types of meditation. (Amazon US 3-10-13)

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