Most High Blessings,
This page is about meditation/Iditation within Rastafari.
First of all meditation for Rastafari is more a personal experience, and because it is a personal journey, we cant really say; This is how Rastafari meditate, this is what the meditation is called, these are the steps we take, and this is the effect of that…(like we see in more conventional meditations). We can give some insight in how Rastafari see and practice meditation, which is usually a bit different then these conventional meditations.
When Rastafari speak about meditation it is not so much in terms of a practice like other (eastern) meditations, but more as a state of being. We see it as being deeply in tune with nature and YAH, focused on things like giving Praises to YAH and/or Haile Selassie I trough prayer, Playing Nyahbinghi or Reggae music, Chanting, Reading the Bible, The burning of incense like frankincense and mere, Making a wood Fire if living outdoors, Cooking healthy and lively food, Physical activity, Thinking Positive and about Life situations, Gardening, Physical activity or whatever one might be occupied with in the present moment, being more focused and therefore having performances enhanced and also trying to get a deeper insight and overstanding about whatever is going on having full attention on it. We also find relaxation in that state of being, finding inner peace which some feel as being close to YAH. Herb is often used to enhance this state of being, but it is not a necessity. Anything that has to do with Life and doing that with the highest focus or intent is part of the meditation of a Rastafari.
Love is a very Important factor for a Rastafari in Meditation, having a loving kind hearted spirit and feeling one with nature, enhances the meditation. This love makes it easier to connect with the Life Force then if we would have negative feelings and thoughts inside. Not to say people can’t achieve results by meditating without the feeling of Love.
Love and the feeling of Oneness is something that can be gained/found through meditation. But already having Love in our heart greatly improves and increases the chance to gain spiritual awareness and connect with the Higher Forces as this is Love Itself YAH/Mother Earth.
Herb is often used with the meditation of a Rastafari. Some Rastafari Bless the Herb before smoking it by giving a short prayer, or just being aware about the fact we are burning something sacred and treat it with that Raspect. It can be used to get in a heightened state of awareness where we can feel one with the Life Force YAH, or get deepened insights about anything we put our Intention on. There are Rastafari that smoke Herb especially for meditative reasons and there are Rastafari that don’t smoke Herb and meditate and that works perfectly well for them. But many Rastafari use Herb to strengthen the meditation, and have found that it assists InI to bring us in a strong and deep meditative state in which we acquire peace of mind, strengthened physical health and spiritual insights. Some will choose to work with Herb more then others. But we see it is an instrument to get us in to contact with YAH and Mother Earth on a energetic spiritual level.
A lot of people use tobacco in their spliff, but it’s good to know that tobacco is what they call a “downer” on an energetic level. It brings people down Spiritually, mentally and physically. Pure Herb is what we call an “upper” it gives the feeling of being High and also functions as a medicine. These are two conflicting energies that can disrupt the purity and strength of a meditation if combined. Tobacco is unhealthy and addictive, especially the cigarettes of most of the packaged brands. It makes people dependent and possibly smoking to much which can bring people in a dormant/passive state. Herb on the other hand is a Healer, that has the possibility to free us Spiritually, Mentally ánd Physically.
Rastafari often only smoke pure Herb and this is especially Important when used for meditation, as there is a big difference in meditating when smoking with or without tobacco. Not to say ones can't achieve heightened states if we do use it, it is just different and less pure. Also if tobacco is used Rastafari usually use plain unprocessed tobacco like tobacco leaves or cigarette brands like American Spirit or lucky strike natural blend that only use pure tobacco. Ordinary cigarette brands contain between 700 and 1200 different chemicals ranging from rocket fuel to rat poison. So please people be aware of this, and smoke pure tobacco if you don’t smoke pure Herb. (look up the list of harmful chemicals used in cigarettes).
Meditation is mentioned in the Bible a couple of times, this gives some insight about what it meant in more ancient times.
62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country.
63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.
65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.
66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.
67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
7The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD areright, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer
1 Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
2 Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
3 My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.
35 Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.
1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.
13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.
42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.
44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.
45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.
47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.
48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
88 Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.
89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
91 They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.
92 Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.
93 I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.
94 I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.
95 The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.
96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.
97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
137 Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.
138 Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.
139 My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
141 I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.
142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.
143 Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.
144 The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.
145 I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.
146 I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
147 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
149 Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.
2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
3 For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.
4 Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.
5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
6 I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
when we read these scriptures it is clear that Biblical meditation is more a form of focus and observance of the law and YAH and doesn’t indicate that the Incients were meditating in a way like they do in the eastern countries.
Through the livity we can see that Rastafari are practicing this type of meditation, as YAH and his Law is what motivates us and there is a always strong focus on the principles of the Bible. We can see evidence of this in the music we make and the things we speak about. The Twelve tribes of Israel keep the principle to read one chapter a day of the Bible. By doing this ones are encouraged to meditate on the words more, not taking too much information in. Boboshanti have a similar way to put more intent into the scripture by reading certain Psalms 7, 14 or 21 times. The Bible can also be used in a way that we begin whatever meditation we have with a psalm and/or close the meditation with a psalm or prayer.
Naturally there is some influence of some of the more conventional techniques in Jamaica and also within the Rastafari community through the influence that came primarily with the Indian population that migrated to Jamaica. We won’t find this influence so easy within Boboshanti or Nyahbinghi livity, but as there are many Rastafari finding their own way it is only natural that some of InI venture out into these kind of practices. Mutabaruka (a well known Jamaican Rastafari radio host) made his listeners become acquainted with the teachings of Buddha and how to do some simple meditation techniques, so in that way and through other sources certain knowledge about these eastern meditations was acquired and used. With internet it is also becoming easier to learn about these different techniques. But going to special classes where the people can learn about Yoga meditation, Kundalini meditation, Zen meditation, etc. Like we see in other countries… you won’t see too much of this in Jamaican or Rastafari culture, simply because the resources are not there and also because it’s not really part of the Jamaican or Rastafari culture to do this. Rastafari is more a Biblical livity or culture and is not involved too much with these eastern philosophies that teach these kind of meditating techniques.
Although we do see an increase of interest in these type of meditations by Rastafari that mostly live in countries where this is practiced more, like in europe and the usa.
Music is a big part of a Rastafari Meditation, one might find that Nyahbinghi chanting is the best suitable, as this is a more spiritual type of music that has a deeper impact on peoples state of being, physically and spiritually.
Reggae is also very suitable for meditation because of the messages that come through the lyrics which is something perfect to focus on, we meditate on the message, think about it and learn from them.
Both types of music also loosen the body and brings us in the Riddim of Life, the Heartbeat riddim which in turn creates more life-force connectivity.
Some Rastafari burn incense when meditating, this can be different things.
The main incense being used by Rastafari is Herb. Not only is it used to smoke, it is also plainly used as incense. It is mentioned in certain old Bibles as Kaneh Bosm, later translated in Calamus (although there is debate about if this was Ganjah or not) and was used for sacred practices (the above video, teaches about this). Frankincense and Mere are also mentioned in the Bible and often used by Rastafari. Frankincense is used for protection against negative influences (health wise and spiritual), and it is also used to get in touch with the spiritual side of life. It is usually burnt on a piece of coal and sometimes smoked to. Mere is often used in combination with it and also has some of these qualities.
The burning of plain wood in a fire can also be seen in this way, Rastafari are burning a lot of fires…and that also gives of an essence that influences the spirit.
Rastafari know that it is Important to have a healthy Life style to be fully spiritually aware, that the body is a Temple and that it needs to be taken care of and nourished well. The right food needs to enter the Temple so the energy flows are not disrupted. Some people might underestimate this, but this is very Important.
Raw food is the best food that can help with Spiritual connection, as raw food is still alive when we eat it. Cooked food is not alive, the vitamins and such are still in there but the real Life force has left. So Raw food is what we recommend that has the highest potential for spiritual growth. Most Rastafari are vegetarian or vegan which is also healthy enough. It’s more important that we don’t put junk food or unhealthy fluids (like soda pop) in the Temple and don’t have it influenced by meat, milk products, alcohol or drugs. Not only Rastafari know this, if we look at other people that are teaching about spiritual awareness and meditation, they will usually be vegetarian or vegan and live a healthy lifestyle.
INTENTIONAL / NON INTENTIONAL
There is a difference between intentional and non intentional meditation. Non intentional is when we just relax, being still in the mind and just observe the senses that we can feel inside us. That is a form many Rastafari practice naturally and often combine it with Herb which intensifies the feelings and senses. People may have many different experiences in that state of Highness. It can enhance creativity, inspiration, it can give insights into Life, physical relaxation, mental relaxation, maybe feeling current flows (Life energy) moving through the body which can give the feeling of being linked to a Higher energy.
Intentional meditation is a bit different, and is where focus comes in. the same effects as mentioned above can be achieved but with more power and deeper overstanding. Intentional is when we sit down with the intention to feel and move the energy flowing through our Temples, using certain techniques (breathing, intention, music) how this is done is more a personal experience. There is no set of rules or techniques that all or most Rastafari use when meditating this way, so we can’t say much about this. Finding the right path for one self, That’s the main thing… finding something that feels good for you personally.
People all have differences, physically, mentally, and spiritually. This also means there are different approaches in gaining spiritual awareness.
We will explore this aspect of Rastafari more closely in the near future and share the outcome of that with InI so we might grow in spiritual awareness.
***ZION VIBRATION MEDITATION***
(I Rastafari inspired meditation technique we developed and also information about other forms of meditation can be found In th other subjects page at the meditation branch page)
Click on the link above...Blessed Love
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