108 how to meditate
Be 1 with the Breath, Allow 0 to coalesce, Access the 8 infinite
Dedicated to sharing the 108 meditation and the depth of the relationship behind 108.
What’s in a number? Only what we project and apply to that number, some would say. I would argue that numbers provide windows for comparative understanding of relationships or similarities, at least.
The number 108, its symbolism and its origin, is of metaphysical intuition. In Buddhism there are 108 paths to god, and in contrast 108 defilements or sins. But these theological celebrations of 108 are just the tip of the spiritual iceberg.
The Esoteric Value of 108
Buddha is known to have pointed to 4 aspects or stages of love related to The Four Immeasurables; Love of self is the first aspect, love of others is the second, love for the happiness of others is third and love of all things in equanimity is the fourth.
Each stage of the following stage requires the preceding stage of love to be put forth. The Golden Rule is one element; love results from loving others as you would be loved. Just contemplate love for yourself, for others, for the happiness of others so they can find enlightenment/dharma — and all things can change for you and your surroundings.
See the divinity in the relationship between the Sun, Moon and Earth in the ratio of 108. The diameter of the Earth at the equator is 7926 miles. The diameter of the Sun is 108 times that: about 865,000. The average distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the sun’s diameter: 93,020,000 miles. The average distance from the Earth to the Moon is 238,800 miles, about 108 times the moons diameter: 2180.
See the divinity of yourself with all of humanity and all living beings, with the entirety of the planet as equally and divinely balanced. The relationship of the Sun, Earth and Moon provide for all life and moreover all consciousness on Earth. And the size and distance between the familiar celestial objects are all in the divine proportion of 108. Through this astronomical, divine and miraculous positioning, 108 is symbolic of celestial order and perfection, our microcosmic position in the macrocosm.
108 can be seen as illustrating love; 1 for unification and acceptance, 0 representing that nothing matters compared to love and 8 representing eternal, immutable compassionate love, no matter what. 108 is the key to metaphysical intuition. 108 links the micro and macro further in its representation of time: 1 for the present, 0 for the past and 8 for the infinite future.
Buddha’s dharma lessons are said to be the antidote to the corruptions, in the same way compassionate love counters confrontation. It’s said that Buddha revealed 84,000 lessons in dharma, or 82,000 lessons and that 2,000 more were later added for a total of 84,000 dharmas or meditations — antidotes to what are called the 84,000 corruptions. His teachings are divided into four parts; 21,000 teachings on each of the three baskets of teaching (Vinaya, Sutra and Abhidharma) and their combination, which counter and cure the gross corruptions of this plane.
There are four types of corruptions; 21,000 of passion, 21,000 of hatred, 21,000 of ignorance and 21,000 of a combination of the three equally. Buddha taught that the way out of suffering is not to cause suffering and that the way to happiness is to choose happiness; to cease allowing passion, hatred and ignorance to rule one’s consciousness. Question yourself and others acting in these states. These states of consciousness are reflected in the center of an ancient mandala of reincarnation, and in the cycle of Samsara (the birth/death cycle) as the passion of the pig, the hatred of the snake and ignorance of the rooster. They are depicted in a cycle, or reaction, chasing each other’s tails. The lesson? Instead of chasing tails, be compassionate for all, as 1, exclude 0 living beings from your compassion, and be accepting of infinite (8) alternative compassionate form and function: 108.
The Meditative Value of 108
84,000 Divided by 108 = 777.7777777777777….
7, 777 and sevens in multitude are symbolic of angelic being, ascension and transmutation of self into a spiritual being with heightened awareness. And perchance, 7+7+7=21.
There are 84,000 loving ways to counter 84,000 corruptions; 84,000 compassionate forms to choose from, instead of 84,000 causes for suffering. There is always a way to respond lovingly, in angelic being, rather than to react hatefully, in a trained reaction, in accordance to the scripting of another’s corrupt play. There is always a way to respond rather than react.
The number 84,000 is more of a metaphor than a specific count of course. It is a metaphor expressed in its angelic numerical relationships perhaps, but more importantly, it is reflective of the near limitless corruptions on this gross plane and that, for each one, there is a dharma lesson. For every problem and for every corruption there is a compassionate, caring, wise solution.
One of the most popular figures in Tibetan Buddhism is the Green Tara . Known as the Buddha of “enlightened activity”, Tara is a female Bodhisattva and represents the virtues of success in work and achievements. Tara has 21 aspects, Green Tara being the most frequently praised, and represents the ultimate feminine compassionate energy.
Tara is a meditation deity whose practice is used to develop certain inner qualities, and to understand outer and inner teachings of compassion and emptiness. There are many ways to connect with Green Tara. One meditation I learned, with accompanying ritual, reveals two main mantras to connect with Green Tara; the heart mantra and the activating mantra. It is said when the heart mantra is repeated 700,000 times, and for each thousand that the activating mantra is also said three hundred times, one can call on Green Tara with ease and obtain her assistance for compassionate acts.
300 multiplied by 700 is 210,000, giving a total of 910,000 mantra repetitions. 910,000 divided by 84,000 equals 10.83333333333333…. another fascinating result which, despite the decimal point, depicts 108 before the following neat sequence of repeated threes. The Activating Green Tara mantra is commonly used on its own: Om Tare Tu Tare Ture Swa Ha.
Be 1 with the breath
Let 0 thoughts Coalesce
Access the infinite 8
There are numerous benefits of meditation. The reason it is so beneficial in so many different ways is because 108, there is 0 nothing in between the 1 individual and the 8 infinite universal.
There are some things you simply cannot project or make up. For instance the diameter of the Earth at the equator is 7926 miles. The diameter of the Sun is 108 times that: about 865,000. The average distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the sun’s diameter: 93,020,000 miles. The average distance from the Earth to the Moon is 238,800 miles, about 108 times the moons diameter: 2180.
The relationship of the Sun, Earth and Moon provide for all life and moreover all consciousness on Earth. And the size and distance between the familiar celestial objects are all in the divine proportion of 108. Through this astronomical, divine and miraculous positioning, 108 is symbolic of celestial order and perfection, our microcosmic position in the macrocosm.
The long forms of most tai chi chuan styles contains 108 movements, and one of the first yoga systems to be brought to the west, The Five Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation, contains 108 breath coordinated movements when done in the recommended 21 repetitions and including 3 movements of the sixth rite. The celestial orchestration of Earth, the Sun and our moon is based on a balance ratio of 108, and a reflection of this is the utilization of 108 in some of the most celebrated meditative movements. Most serious practitioners repeat mantras 108 times often using mala beads with 108 beads. 108 links the micro and macro further in its representation of time: 1 for the present, 0 for the past and 8 for the infinite future.
Among Eastern theology there is said to be 108 emotions, 36 of the present, 36 of the past and 36 of the future. Whether or not there might be more or less emotions than presented is unimportant to the point, that just like our physical bodies can only be well or express disease in so many ways, our emotional bodies express ourselves the same. When we are emotionally disturbed we behave in disturbed ways. We lose our connection to the present. And when we are not present, we are more easily destabilized and tricked into behaving in disturbed ways.
Being emotionally present is extremely difficult the longer one has been emotionally in the past or future. Many people, no matter if they appear to be happy or sad, are simply not emotionally present. In fact much of the mediated entertainment available through commercial media is made to keep one in the past or the future. For example, television is based on taking one outside oneself, away from being present, into say a story about the past or the potential future, combined with commercials that take one away from the present by presenting problems and the ‘solutions’ they sell for the those problems – problems one has faced in the past or may face in the future. Most all entertainment is designed to take us away from the present.
Being emotionally present leads to peaceful stability. Being emotionally caught up in the past or the future, upset by what happened or expectant of what might happen, puts us in a mind state that is easily swayed by nefarious manipulators to operate and perpetuate a ‘war world’. Even war itself is based on some idea concerning a past event or some future potential.
One of the best ways to be present is to practice meditation. If you have never meditated or if your ego has convinced you that you cannot meditate, simply contemplate 108. The point of meditation is mindlessness. Meditation is mindfulness, but fullness of mind of the present.
Think of 1 thing; the breath. Allow the thoughts that arise, as distractions from the ego, to come and go like traffic. Be mindfully calm of the breath. Mindfulness of breath enables one to relax, to be present with each breath and, if only for a moment, to think of nothing. This in turn opens up our consciousness so we are capable of thinking of infinity: 1, 0, 8.
Be present and meditate for, if you’re not training, you’re being trained. And in the war world, if we’re not training to be mindful people, we’re generally trained for mindless war – for a war world mentality.
Consider the following, so as to decrease your likelihood of being tricked.
Great doubt, great awakening. Little doubt, little awakening. No doubt, no awakening ~ Zen saying
“There are three, but where is the fourth?” – Carl Jung
What’s in a number? Only what we project and apply to that number some would say. I would argue that numbers provide windows for comparative understanding of relationships or similarities, at least. 108, its symbolism and its origin, is of metaphysical intuition. 108 became a celebrated number through intuition or divination. In Hinduism there are 108 names for every god. And in Buddhism there are 108 paths to god, and in contrast 108 defilements or sins. But these theological celebrations of 108 are just the tip of the theological iceberg. Further, in Sanskrit there are 54 letters each with a masculine and feminine making 108. In Chinese martial arts, acupressure as well as Indian fighting techniques there 108 main pressure points and numerous forms of tai chi have 108 movements. The number is intrinsic in many traditions to the point the roots of its celebration are mysterious and too ancient to trace.
The divinity of 108 was never argued and its significance was adopted and transmuted or realized by all who came into its understanding. More than likely 108 is rooted in India. The ancient Hindu astrological system is based on lunar and solar cycles. The lunar and solar cycles hold 108 as central, only through different calculations of time. Astrology and astronomy are similar in that they look to space, but they are different subjects altogether. Only the ancient Hindu astrological system correlates with modern astronomical observation.
The most amazing aspect of the number has only recently been scientifically revealed, directly correlating astrology with astronomy and suggesting intuitive understanding. Its meaning was made scientifically wondrous validating the metaphysical number in theological, individual, astrological and celestial concepts.
We are flowing in an ecosystem flowing in solar system flowing in the universal system. Individual life on Earth and the goddess of Mother Earth as the collective Gaia we are a part of all exists thanks to a unique relationship between our wet rock and the Sun and the Moon. The relationship of the Sun, Earth and Moon provide for all life and moreover all consciousness on Earth. And the size and distance between the familiar celestial objects are all in the divine proportion of about 108. Through this astronomical, divine and miraculous positioning 108 is symbolic for celestial order and perfection.
The celestial relationship between the Sun, Moon and Earth of which we as individuals are a part of is balanced in a ratio of around 108, the exact distances fluctuate during our spherical revolution. So even though the Sun is about 400 times bigger than the Moon they appear the same size from here because of the ratio of 108. And yet this knowledge was only specifically understood in totality recently during the 20th century. But 108 was a celebrated number long before any specific knowledge of its cosmic astrological divinity was established beyond intuitive recognition astrological theory.
In 108 there is everything, just about. It represents the divine trinity of time. 1 symbolizes the singularity of the present, 0 the nothingness of the past and 8 the infinity of the future. This numerical symbolism alone is enough to make it interesting. Whenever I see a set of three, I think of what fourth part it may suggest and what fourth part may be lacking, having written the Matrix of Four, the Philosophy of The Duality of Polarity, I know there are many such trinities. Yet the trinity of time in 108, the present, past and future, appears complete, at least on initial inspection.
Yet the intuitive roots of 108, the intuitive recognition of 108 as a divine number before its scientific validation suggests the fourth part that the number suggests as well. The fourth part is likely unsaid because it’s difficult to explain and was traditionally left unsaid for to speak it was to make it untrue or somehow taint it. The fourth unsaid aspect is the aspect of intuition, the fourth unsaid of 108, of the present, past, future, is that of timelessness. The fourth aspect of time is timelessness and leads to intuition and intuitive understanding. The fourth aspect of time is like the Akashic Field where all is revealed including the significance of 108.
108 is divine and originated in divination. Through 108 our most powerful capability is suggested and revealed. Being in the fourth state of timelessness, tapping into the Akashic Field or being in The Zone, lends us intuitive consciousness. However tapping into the Akashic field and being in The Zone requires preparation and practice; hence tai chi, chi gung and yoga. All of which simply attune and balance one for the ultimate preparation to glimpse timelessness; meditation.
The 108 Workout or Work-In
We have analytical minds with mediated wants which promote us to live highly complex lives. And yet, underneath it all we all crave simplicity, but are led to believe it can’t be obtained without further complexity. In fact, it is simple to be simple – and it’s completely up to you.
For many, simply being present in the moment can itself be difficult. Statistically the thing most people do to relax is watch television, which takes the emotions and thoughts away to distant dramas and sitcoms; far away from the here and right now. As a culture we are used to becoming distant and distracted as a form of “relaxation” – and watching television is only one of many things a busy mind will do so as not to have to face itself.
While typical modes of relaxation take us away, meditation brings us into the present. It is at once energizing and relaxing, bringing us closer to ourselves. It creates the space within us where we can explore the metaphysical links between our wandering thoughts and emotions, and our physical presence. (As you meditate try to be present and remember that the physical is always in the here and now.) It shows us that true power is within ourselves, not some unattainable outside force. It is an invocation of inner peace. And it is available to all of us.
As consciousness vehicles, we were biologically wired to meditate and to benefit from meditating, as much as we were designed to walk. Like learning to walk, it can be challenging at first. There are stages of meditation which involve facing inner aspects of ourselves – our shadows – which can be just about the most difficult processes one can undergo. The longer one has been distracted from self, the more difficult it potentially may be. But, once we find our balance, meditation becomes second nature.
First Steps Toward Mastery
Initially, being mentally and emotionally present can be confronting. The access to the power of the mind is nearly always clouded by life’s desires and traumas, so when we remove ourselves from distraction and engage only in our deepest consciousness, we may experience an influx of unresolved thoughts and feelings; the traumas (past) and fears (future) of life may come into our consciousness, seeking to be cleared.
Before we are able to fully access the power within, we must face the darkness. We may feel that this takes us farther away from an immediate sense of peace, yet we can only achieve peace in the long-term if we acknowledge and resolve the thoughts and feelings that continue to arise in our consciousness. Know that the clouds of desire and trauma, now acknowledged, will clear over time, and allow those thoughts to pass through your consciousness as you return to the serenity of the present moment.
“This too will pass” ~ Buddha
The idea of perfecting meditation and meditative movement can also be intimidating to some, but like any new skill, practicing simple meditative movements will lead to quantifiable and noticeable reward. Release your ego to the process of betterment. It is always better to perform simple practices than not to practice at all. You can begin by doing any number of each Rite that you feel comfortable with – just try to do an equal number of each – and see for yourself.
Remember: In life and art, simplicity is beautiful. In meditative movement, simplicity is powerful. It does not lead to mediocrity, but to mastery.
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” ~ Bruce Lee
The Importance of Solitude
Meditation is the most important aspect of meditative movement. Within all meditative movement or still meditation, there is mental movement, beginning with an imagination shift into a mental state of being that one cannot see physically. In meditation, it is the power of consciousness which holds the real potential and power, and which requires real cultivation.
Because of our physical predicament as human Beings, requiring sustenance and satisfaction, ever subject to distraction and desire, meditative monks seek retreat in order to develop their spiritual potential. They understand that consciousness is unfathomable and boundless, and that being in quiet solitude is optimal to fostering a connection with that unlimited consciousness.
Accessing the power of consciousness requires mental, physical and spiritual development, and solitude is extremely important to this. Much of life can be distracting and upsetting to the mind, which is why meditation practitioners and monks go on isolated retreats to monasteries of sorts, or forests or caves, or take vows of silence, or just seek quiet places to meditate undisturbed. They understand that consciousness is unfathomable and boundless, and that being in quiet solitude is optimal to exploring a connection with that unlimited consciousness. Choosing moments of isolation (particularly within nature) aligns our conscious to a natural state that brings us inward – where the real power, insights and inspiration reside.
The Five Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation
I subscribe to the Pareto principle of meditative movement, that is that the simplest movements are often the most beneficial. And it just so happens that one of the quickest and simplest sets of meditative movements and one of the easiest to integrate as your own, is also one of the most powerful.
If you have never experienced the Five Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation, I beg you to do so. Both invigorating and relaxing, it is a vigorous series of breath coordinated movements and meditation. The practice helps one be balanced mentally and physically, and has been known to help treat depression and inflammation.
It takes about twenty minutes or so depending on how long you meditate, the longer the better of course. There are 5 movements, each done 21 times, Each of the Tibetans are followed by taking two deep breaths so as to balance out the energy just moved.
Each of the Five Rites are shown in the visual below.
- The first Tibetan is simply spinning clockwise with the arms active to the sides. The first Rite is done clockwise in unison with the sun for the chakras are said to spin clockwise. When held up such activates and opens up the arms, shoulders and neck. Try going extremely slow. The Five Rites strengthen and activate the abdominal area and neck. These areas are considered the most problematic and energetically clogged (the Rites open up the chakras). Then take two deep breaths. Hands are at your hips. Take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth with lips shaped in an O like Superman blowing out cold air.
- The key to the second Tibetan is to lift up and set down the legs and neck in unison. Each Tibetan is done in unison with the breath and as with all meditative movement, the inhale is tension/activation and exhale is relaxation/release. So each movement begins with inhale and returns with exhale. The easiest way to count is to count 1 on the inhale and 1 on the exhale, counting each twice so you are less likely to lose track.
- A trick with the third Tibetan is to think about using your hands as support and about bringing bring your back so that it returns to being perpendicular or just slightly past perpendicular, a degree or two forward. Go slow.
- The key to the fourth Tibetan is to initiate the movement with your neck opening the throat chakra.
- As you progress you will eventually be able to do the fifth Tibetan with opened joints and ligaments doing Hindi pushups where your face glides along just above the floor and then rises up, like a cobra, on the return/release.
Five Nuances for The Five Tibetan Rites of RejuvenationFor those who practice The Five Rites already, here are five nuances, one for each movement that can help and enhance one’s practice.
- The nuance for the first Tibetan is adding walking the square to spinning in a circle. Walikng the square makes a four step complete rotation. One steps ninety degrees with each step creating square one traces the perimeter of with each circumnavigation.
- The nuance for the second Tibetan is pressing down with one’s palms while being mindful to keep the tailbone on the floor throughout the movement. Release the press as you release downward
- The nuance for the third Tibetan is to of course move gently, aware that Rite 2 prepared the back for the extreme camel position variation movement, holding the hips together with the thumbs extending around so to keep the hips, pelvis and lower back together as you flow.
- The nuance for the fourth Tibetan is to push through the heels, but otherwise relax your legs as you use you abdominal strength to lift. This opens up the knees as you flow.
- The nuance for the fifth Tibetan is to come into and leave the cobra variation position with your back set in a way so that it is pushing upwardly as if ready to hop into a crane posture.
A Final Word- I like to practice the Five Rites slowly, to develop a deep breath cycle. One way to include a breath control ‘work in’ along with doing the Rites is to breathe only with the movements. Whether you do 5 of each or 21, his can generate tremendous chi and breath potential.
As with all meditative movements, part of the reason people are adverse to beginning it – part of the reason we allow our ego to convince us we do not need to do such practices – is because we see that they take time and effort. But remember, meditative practice makes time. It gives you more energy and focus, and as a result, more efficiency. It actively invokes peace and simplicity. And best of all, it’s completely up to you.
“As long as there is saliva in your mouth, it is never too late.” ~ Chinese parable
Activism and the Power of 108
Nuclear experimentation is the biggest problem of our time, and the biggest problem of all time. It is also the one that unites us. And united, we are more empowered to find a solution.
Whether sourced from industrial or militaristic concerns, radiation is difficult to quantify and impossible to see. The conundrum of nuclear experimentation is that radiation creates so vast and deep of an alteration of our ecology that, now only approaching year 70 of the nuclear experiment, the causal implications have not been considered entirely, if at all.
Due to the fact that this is a complicated technology shrouded in complicated politics, many people succumb to the ostrich effect-- that is, they bury their heads in the sand instead of acknowledging the nuclear industry's history of political fascism and ecological devastation as if they are powerless--when really it's always been "your voice, your choice." People have more power than they may realize.
So, when people first learn about the unsettling consequences of nuclear experimentation, I like to offer a simple formula for conscious activism and social transformation.
The Power Hidden in 108
Esteemed in an esoteric context, the number 108 is considered metaphysically divine. It symbolizes the union between the microcosm and macrocosm, the inner and outer worlds, and therefore represents wholeness and healing. And it holds the secret to understanding how to make activism more effective.
There are also innumerable auspicious aspects to the number relating to astronomy, astrology, intuition and spirituality, including the recurring ratio of 1:108 between celestial bodies in our solar system.
Examples of the Significance of 108
Hindu Mala prayer beads have 108 beads.
The Sikh tradition has a mala of 108 knots tied in a string of wool.
108 sacred book s constitute the holy writings for Tibetans, and there are often 108 steps in Buddhist temples.
There are 108 seats in the Nepalese government's legislative assembly.
There are 108 pressure points in Chinese martial arts.
There are 108 forms of dance in the Indian traditions.
The pre-historic monument Stonehenge is 108 feet in diameter.
108 is a Harshad Number, an integer divisible by the sum of its digits. Harshad in Sanskrit means "joy-giver."
The Five Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation have 108 movements
In the Jain tradition it is believed that there are 108 virtues.
The distance between the Earth and Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.
The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.
The distance between the Earth and Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.
The first manned space flight lasted 108 minutes. (April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin.)
There are 108 stitches in a baseball.
The number 108 holds valuable, hidden meaning for activists.
The "1" in 108 represents the singular 'now' moment; "what is." It reminds us that we must be in the moment, first, before we expect to change and evolve. We cannot change anything unless we understand and accept reality. To reach acceptance of the truth, we have to educate ourselves, and we have to communicate with each other. As activists, we must first acknowledge the problem.
When we move toward integration, where there is no positive or negative, this is a place where all is forgiven.
The integration phase is allegorically akin to witches throwing in sacred herbs as well as crow's feet and snake's heads into the cauldron, all at once. Everything has to be mixed in. To truly integrate this situation, we must forgive the past and understand there is no negative and no positive, no separation, and no past -- just the brew. We have to forgive each other our differences (despicable evil aside) and integrate all of our potentiation from this moment forward. This integration stirs the mix.
In this place of integration, we are unencumbered by guilt, and open to creative possibility. The "0" reminds us that we cannot change anything until we integrate our reality, combining everything until it just is; until there is no negative or positive, just the mix which forms the integrated whole. As activists, we must reach integration in order to solidify our foundation as the launching pad from which we can act.
"8" represents the infinite, the undefined potential, the possibility of full transformation. A cube has eight corners, which result from shifting a 2-dimensional object with 4 corners, into the third dimension. So "8" connotes a geometric shift. It reminds us that we can change our reality in infinite ways, yet only after acceptance and integration of the entirety can we see and understand and act on that potential. As activists, knowing that we can transform anything for the better is the power that allows us to take steps to accomplish our goals.
So what's the solution?
When we fully integrate our past and present realities, the energy of the past is separated from the present, and change for the future is able to progress freely.
Change can happen when we accept and integrate our reality, and it can happen quickly. Situations such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the number of people who were able to follow in Roger Bannister's footsteps after he broke the record for running the mile in under four minutes, show us how quickly humans can embrace successes which had been thought to be impossible.
Humanity manifested the rise of the nuclear industry (and its inherent disasters) and we can also manifest its dissolution.
First, we have to face the nuclear nightmare together, then we can grow up beyond our juvenile warring ways. When we consciously choose to come together, we can move beyond the war world.
So the next time you find the opportunity to raise someone's awareness of the extent of the problem, you may want to share this formula with him/her. Take them on the ride. Foresee that the truth may be confronting, and help them to understand the process of acceptance and integration and transmutation. Reassure them that that, although it may seem overwhelming, being a part of this transformative change requires that we begin to understand the truth. It starts with each one of us.