Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Kath
The Kath Meditation
The Kath meditation is usually done in a sitting position. Using a chair is fine, but any other means of keeping your back straight is okay too. The mudra (Sanskrit for “hand posture”) for this meditation looks like the Taoist yin/yang symbol, with the right hand holding the left hand, the fingers of one hand nesting in the other. This is called a mudra of containment, because it helps you contain your energy within so that it concentrates and can develop and strengthen.
For this meditation, it is best to have the eyes closed. Your mouth can be slightly open or closed, and it is good to have your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, the upper palette. Begin by paying attention to your breathing. Most people breathe in their chest, but in this meditation you will be breathing in the belly. As you breathe, feel your belly, sense it, as though you were touching it from the inside. With each breath, the belly expands, and as you exhale, the belly gets smaller again. You don’t have to take big or deep breaths; just be aware that there is breathing in the belly. As you become aware of breathing in the belly, begin to concentrate your mind—which means concentrate your awareness, concentrate your attention—at the center of the belly. When you concentrate your attention at that center in the belly, you will not find anything in particular. This meditation is simply a concentration of your attention, of your awareness, of your mind, in that region.
You might experience sensations of one kind or another; you might sense some localized presence; energy might build up; you might have various other experiences such as pulsation or heat. But the point is to hold a one-pointed focus on that area throughout the meditation without breaking it. There will ordinarily be other kinds of inner activity and content as well—thoughts and images arising, external or inner sounds, and so on. Do not try to stop or block the content; do not try to do any¬thing to your thoughts, emotions, memories, or sensations. It is fine that these things happen, but the point is to not let them distract you from your focus.
The mental or emotional processes can occur without your taking attention away from the breathing in the belly. If you fail in your initial attempts (as undoubtedly you will) it does not mean that anything is wrong. It is merely a sign that you haven’t done this meditation before or that you’ve been doing it only for a short time. If you get distracted, if you forget, if you become lost in thoughts or memories or planning—bring your attention back to the center of the belly the moment you become aware that you’ve lost your focus. You don’t punish yourself. It is a practice, a skill you learn, so of course you don’t get it the first time. You are not used to focusing your mind in one place without your concentration being broken, so while you are still new at this, it will be broken over and over again. Keep attempting to stay focused; every time your concentration breaks and you realize it, bring it back to the same place, remaining aware of the breathing in the belly and focusing at the center of the belly. Continue your meditation for twenty minutes, or more if desired.