In both Yoga and Zen a time of crisis is a good basis. A tragic bereavement, bankruptcy, public disgrace, ingratitude or even hostility from those who have been helped – these are the times when there is detachment from the world.
Here is a specimen meditation. It has been assumed that enough study has been done to give the degree of conviction and resolution to try meditation.
You have to be prepared to set aside an hour first thing every morning for three months in order to give this form meditation a fair trial.
You must be prepared, like an athlete training for an event, to restrict considerably sexual activity, smoking, alcohol and drugs of any kind, and indulging in intense conflicts.
Then every morning at the same place and same time make a seat of cushions on the floor, or sit on a chair with the feet underneath.
Sit reasonably upright.
Mentally make a reverent bow to a form of Truth such as Krisna, Christ, or Buddha; or if you have no such intuitive attraction then to bow to the unknown Truth indeterminate which you seek.
After a few minutes bunch the fingers and press just below the navel; use the after sensation to fix the mind there. Then touch with a fingernail between the eyebrows and similarly fix the mind there.
Breathe in twenty-one times feeling that the breath comes in at the navel and rises like milk up a straw to the eyebrows point. (The breath does not physically do this of course; it is an inner current which is easier to perceive by picturing the breath.) On the out-breath relax with no visualisation.
When there is a little facility is gained it creates a calm and a sort of expansion of consciousness.
Now, largely relaxed but maintaining the posture, peacefully cast of the various clothes you have been wearing for the individual life. It is like an actress at the end a performance taking off her stage make-up and dress – silk and jewels if she has been a queen or rags if a slave girl. You take off I-am-young, I-am-old, I-am-man, I-am woman, I-am English, I-am-Chinese, and so on and so on. Throw away all these roles, not wanted, not wanted.
On some days the moving thoughts will begin to die down, little by little you begin to become aware of an unmoving light which witnesses all the moving things.
Sit in the enjoyment of the peace of that light.
The whole practice should take an hour. In the last five minutes, mentally give away the merit for the benefit of all beings.
During the day, at brief moments when there is no time to philosophise or meditate, just feel a line of light on the front of the body from between the brows down to the navel. Even a very brief visualisation calms and invigorates body and mind.
Finally, sit in the calm which these practises will bring and give your friendliness and forgiveness to all, to those people you feel you have hurt, and those who have hurt you. In those final moments of the meditation practise, just offer a sense of forgiveness to them.