Syvak’s Museum of Heresies

An eclectic integral blog of my personal studies

Vulcan Meditation II

Posted by Jamil Syvak on March 17, 2008


In any system of meditation, one can categorize the techniques endlessly. One could divide them into active, passive, and waking, or; make distinctions between mental, emotional, and physical meditations. Active meditation techniques require you to focus on some object to the exclusion of all else. Like … meditating on a symbol, a set of words, or an image. A passive meditation involves stilling the mind so that the train of thoughts which occupy our consciousness so pervasively stop. The surrounding world fades from immediate awareness. The bodies noises and impulses cease to grab our attention, until finally the mind holds ” nothing “. Waking meditations consist of meditations one practices continuously. Like the exercises in mindfulness one finds in Buddhism.

Mental meditations have the purpose of developing the intellect. One might consider doing a logic puzzle or studying a foreign language a mental meditation. Albeit a simple one. Emotional meditations explore the breadth and flavor of our emotions: for one cannot hope to control a thing without first understanding it. Physical meditations consist of various strenuous exercises done in a particularly mindful manner.

Vulcans use meditation for ” arie’mnu ” ( mastery of passion and emotion ), and training the mind for complex uses of the intellect. So the latter method of categorization seems most suited to our explanation of the subject. All classification aside, the most important thing about meditation remains that one does it. Regularly and mindfully. Intermittent meditation practices lead to intermittent results.

The goal of Vulcan meditation ultimately involves the various sub – goals of:

Increased concentration and attention

The sharpening of perception

Control over ones train of thought

Making unconscious processes accessible to the waking mind

And many others

In this article you will find neither an exhaustive nor definitive list. This one considers such an effort futile, for no one true path exists to define ” kar-y-tan ” ( The Way of The Vulcan ). Each clan has its own variations, and Vulcans continually develop new methods.

This one will only attempt an examination of ” some “ Vulcan meditation techniques; a few of the basic ones. All of which most Humans can actually perform and benefit from. Below, a list of the meditations covered here:

1. Cycles of 10 Breathing Meditation

2. Controlling the Flow of Thought

3. A Mindfulness Meditation

4. A Method of Emotional Control

the first two meditations one generally finds, in one form or another, as the basics of virtually every meditation system in the Federation. ( at least ones practiced by hominoids ). The second two represent a couple of the more intermediate meditations Vulcans practice.


The most basic of all meditations consists of observing ones train of thoughts. Before one can control a thing, one must become aware of a thing. So one seeks to distinguish between consciousness and what occupies it. Meditations of this type come in many forms. One of the most basic is the Cycles of 10 Breathing Meditation. This one finds this the most useful beginners meditation.

One simply sits in a comfortable position ( but not too comfortable, you do not wish to sleep ), and breathes in and out at a normal pace. That constitutes a count of one. Continue to count until you reach 10 sets of breathing in and out. Then start the next set as one. If you lose count, or find yourself counting 11 or 12; simply start over again with one and try to stop at 10 during the next cycle.

I would suggest you try to do this for at least five minutes to start. Continue for the whole five minutes, even if you lose count. for normal Human breathing, this should consist of about 11 to 13 cycles of 10. Once you can easily do each cycle without flaw, add more cycles. You may add as many as you wish, but if you find yourself easily finishing 75 or more cycles you may wish to consider moving on to a more difficult exercise.

When you start this you may find your mind a raging torrent of unruly thoughts, or you may find yourself worrying about the days events. When this happens simply acknowledge you have lost track and begin again. In doing this you will find what fills your mind during your waking hours.


In this meditation, you attempt to direct the stream of thoughts either towards some object, or away from it. You may choose either to begin, but by doing both at different times you will gain more from it. In directing your thoughts toward some object, you pick a subject and strive to direct your attention to it and keep your attention from straying onto a different subject.

For example, you may sit and study the wall across from you. Look at the wall, observe the texture of the wall, think of the materials the wall consists of. Examine the many shades of color, focus your attention on the wall. When you stray off into another subject, once you become aware of it, simply turn your attention back to the wall. Again, at first attempt 5 minutes and gradually increase the time as you find the meditation easier.

In order to turn your thoughts away from a subject, you simply focus your attention on another subject or, group of subjects. The fascinating thing about this version of the meditation – once you try to command your mind to ignore a subject, the more your mind will try to focus on it. Pain seems like a good subject for this meditation, which gives a glimpse of the meditations to come. Of course, one can choose any subject.

Unless you have a very limber body, try this:

Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Lean over your legs, stretch out your arms and try to grasp your feet around the bottoms. Don’t fret if you cannot reach that far. Simply let the hands grasp the legs as far up as they can. At the point where you feel a pain in the back of your legs, almost too intense to endure; stop there and grasp.

Stay in that position, and begin the Cycles of 10 Breathing Meditation. Try at first for 30 seconds. If you cannot last 30 seconds you may have stretched too far. Pain does serve a useful function. It warns the body of impending damage. Do not stretch too far, too fast. If you easily last 30 seconds you have not stretched far enough. If you cannot feel any pain when you grasp your feet. you probably do yoga or something similar. Find a painful position which will not damage you.

While sitting this way, turn your attention towards some subject. Pick the subject in the prior meditation if you wish. Simply focus on something other than the pain. If you find you can do this for 20 or more minutes, consider moving on to the next meditation.


In this meditation you will perform the meditation periodically throughout your day. You may do this as you think of it, or at predetermined times. Pick a phrase which has significance to you. At the time periods you have decided on, say this phrase. Below I included several I use regularly:

” No ones mouth is big enough to utter the whole thing “

” If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him “
( I repeat this koan, mainly because I still don’t understand it )

” Oh, Rob? Yes Rob? Relax Rob, Yes Rob “

Generally I find one gets the most out of this exercise if you stick to a predetermined schedule. An alarm clock helps at first, but can disrupt others around you if you happen to do this during your work hours. I usually pick to do the exercise every hour.

This meditation one uses to develop, not only a mindfulness about what you do, but also of learning to program your internal clock. This meditation helps one internalize a fixed rate of time flow. ( if you used the predetermined time variant ).


An intermediate method of controlling emotion involves neutralizing an emotion by evoking it’s opposite. It consists of controlling ones breathing, combined with visualization and sometimes the use of special gestures. When one emotes, ones breathing, posture and facial expression and musculature all follow fairly predictable patterns.

Actors use this knowledge to evoke specific emotions and enhance their performance. We can us this knowledge to control the reactions from inappropriate emotional response. This technique will not eliminate emotion all together. At first, one still feels the emotion, but it no longer has control over the body and ones actions. Later in the practice, one can dispel an emotion with just a gesture or thought.

One begins to control emotional reactions in this way by breathing in a certain manner, depending on the reaction you wish to control; while evoking appropriate memories of past emotions, and possibly the forming of a special symbol with the hands. the use of a hand gesture allows one to associate it with the emotional state one wishes to evoke via classical conditioning. After long practice, while using this method in regular meditation, the desired reaction will become so associated with the forming of the symbol with the hands, that doing that alone will bring about the desired reaction. in the beginning, one should continue the breathing cycle until the emotional reactions cease.

When one feels excited, nervous, or any other highly discordant emotional state, breath thusly:

Deeply inhale to the count of 8 heart beats. Then, without pause, exhale fully to the count of 8 heart beats. While breathing in this manner call to mind past events when you have felt in control of yourself. Full of strength and purpose.

You may form the hand symbol for this and the following breathing patterns thusly:

1. Place your hands together, palm to palm.

2. Next slightly separate them, while still allowing all the fingertips to touch.

3. Let each pinkie finger and thumb of the left hand reach toward each other and touch, to form a ring.

4. Then, let the pinkie finger and thumb of the right hand reach through the ring formed by your left to touch; forming another ring.

5. You should now have two interlocking rings formed by the pinkie finger and thumb of each hand.

When feeling sorrowful, in pain, obsessive or any rigid / unyielding emotional state, breath in this manner:

Inhale slowly and deeply for a count of 8 heart beats. Pause for 3 heart beats, then quickly exhale fully. Then pause 3 heart beats before inhaling again. Concurrently bring into mind those events when ones actions truly flowed with the nature of C’thia; your response always seemed appropriate, and you always felt a calm sensitivity to events around you.

Form a hand symbol with the third finger and the thumb similar to the symbol above.

When feeling easily manipulated, timid, fearful, tired or any inactive withdrawing emotion, breath like this:

Quickly and deeply inhale, and without pausing quickly and fully exhale. As above, while breathing you must focus your mind on events when you felt powerful, full of energy, active, decisive.

Form the hand symbol with the second ( middle ) finger and the thumb.

When feeling selfish, jealous, patronizing, clutching or any narcissistic emotion, breath this way:

Deeply and quickly inhale, then pause for 3 heart beats. Next, slowly exhale to a count of 10 heart beats, and pause 3 heart beats before beginning again. Concentrate on events where you felt benevolent, accepting, and truly realized the value of t ‘ triahve ( the concept of IDIC ).

Form the hand symbol with the index finger and thumb.

As a Vulcan grows and learns, one uses more advanced meditations to control the body, emotions, and intellect. For example : to gain a more advanced control over the body a Vulcan may learn to move each toe on the foot independently of the others. A more advanced meditation over ones emotions could involving viewing images and sounds of violence and war and remaining unmoved by it. Or, just as useful, viewing images and sounds of love and tenderness and remaining unmoved by it.

The intellect receives constant training in Vulcans almost from the moment of birth. Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, all of the sciences provide a grounding in the scientific method and measuring. Even for a Vulcan brain, this amount of information could get staggering. So to help them cope, Vulcans regularly practice meditations to help them program their brain more efficiently. Evolution produces brain use algorithms which work, but may not work as effectively as they could. So Vulcans practice advanced meditations which help them register the passing of time, rapid calculations, while maintaining a constant spatial reference ( which involves visual distance and meaning ), and visualizing complex problems in detail.

One can find more information about Vulcan meditation practices by going to your Public Computer Library and doing a search. On Earth one may find similar practices within Buddhism, specifically in Zen, Tendai, and Tibetan Buddhism. Also in Hinduism, Sikh, and Christian monasticism. I only mention the Zen, Tendai, and Tibetan Buddhism schools because I have no familiarity with any of the others.

Copyright 1997, by Robert L. Zook II. All rights reserved. Permission is granted for the reproduction of this essay in any medium, as long as no fee is charged and this notice is included and unchanged.

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