I have been asked to publish some preparatory techniques of Meditative Philately for those who are not related to either philately or meditation. Before accessing meditation, or dhyāna, it is important to develop concentration or dhāraṇā. Therefore, the place chosen for practice should be quiet. Ideally, a room should be set aside just for philately, which is away from distractions. This simple practice is intended for our beginner friends. Before any practice, it is important to take three slow, deep breaths. Place the chosen stamp in front of you and direct your sight to the stamp with your eyes very relaxed. Do not focus your vision sharply on the stamp, but rather rest your attention on the stamp. Rest your gaze and attention on the stamp, allowing the image to gradually blur. Sitting quietly, let your attention focus on the image and allow its colors and shapes to affect your inner self. Do not resist the thoughts that appear, but allow them to recede and gently return your attention to the stamp. At first, 5 to 10 minutes a day will suffice. At the end, slowly return your attention to the world around you and maintain total silence for 3 minutes.
Classical philately focused on the study and classification of the postage stamp, its characteristics, paper, ink, and history. Meditative philately is directed to the study of the observation of the stamp. The stamp is used as the ideal tool to achieve relaxation, concentration, and meditation. In fact, we use the postage stamp as a means of self-knowledge and development at the level of consciousness. The stamp not only tells a story or highlights a situation, but is a window into the collective unconscious. The techniques of meditative philately are of great help in clearing the mind, calming it, and concentrating it, allowing us to access our essence. By distancing ourselves from conflicts and worries, we systematically order the mental chaos. Properly practiced, meditative philately is helpful in reducing stress, anguish, and negativity. Postage stamps reflect nations, cultures, the world, the cosmos. Every day more and more experts in medicine and psychology emphasize the importance of maintaining mental peace and balance. Meditative philately is an activity that contributes to our quality of life.
Below, we offer a preparatory technique for meditation that helps to reintegrate the rays of our attention. This simple method can reduce mental hyperactivity and mitigate our fatigue and stress. The practice is ideal for beginners who are taking their first steps on the path of meditation. It is adaptable to one’s needs as it does not require a set amount of time. By concentrating our attention on the design of the stamp, our mental activity balances itself. This calmness is essential to aspire to a meditative state and allow meditation to occur.
Stamps are not just made for sending letters. In addition to having a practical purpose, their shapes and colors express thoughts and emotions. The postcards are conscious efforts to manifest certain themes and are created to be observed. Each has a meaning and tells a story. Collectors are attracted to different types of stamps according to their character and personality. Some have a preference for certain countries, while others choose certain themes. In this way, each stamp represents a connection to both an objective reality and our inner world.
Before the practice, it is advisable to take a bath. It is also important to prepare a suitable environment.
The space should be clean and tidy. Ventilate the room to allow the energy to renew itself. Try to have good lighting so as not to strain the eyes. During the practice, keep the TV and cell phone turned off. If you wish, you can play a meditative melody that will create a soft musical background.
Posture plays a very important role as it reflects our attitude. Sit with your back straight from the sacrum to the crown of your head. The body is extended, but without tensing any muscles. Feel a sense of elongation without tension. You should not repeat a mantra or perform any kind of action. Next, proceed to place the seal in front of you in a position that does not tense the neck. This will be your object of attention. Close your eyes, breathing slows down as you attentively observe your nostrils for one minute. Notice how the air you inhale is cooler than the air you exhale. Instead of straining, allow the mind to calm itself. When calmness takes over, slowly open your eyes and place your attention on the seal. At first, observe effortlessly by unfocusing your eyes. Then proceed to place your attention on the center of the stamp. Slowly allow the colors and shapes of the stamp to invade your mind and calm your emotions. Through observation, we can access our innermost intimacy. Accept the well-being, tranquility, and mental order that flows to you through this paper window. As mentioned at the beginning, this technique is a preparatory step to meditation.
Philatelists delight in looking at stamps. Sitting in front of a stamp that catches our eye can be a soulful experience. Meditative philately delves into the experience of observing stamps.
The sun illuminates the interior of our houses, without it being inside our homes. Its light allows us to observe the walls, ornaments, furniture, and people inside our rooms. Also, although the light of consciousness is not part of the experience, it illuminates each and every one of them. Every experience has the cognitive element that knows or grasps the experience. Human beings refer to the cognitive element that knows our experiences as “I.” We all know that we are the only ones that know our own experiences. When inquiring into this “I,” we discover that it is not “something” or “someone” but is only the cognitive element that knows each experience. This cognitive element that knows each experience is only “knowing.” It is the light of consciousness, the very basis or foundation of all experience. What we really are is the light of knowing. It is the place or space where every experience takes place, with which every experience is known, and the very substance of every experience.
It is possible to remove any object from our experiences and they will continue to exist as such. We can remove everything, even the stamp, and leave the experience completely void of content. So, we will say that there is absolutely nothing. But if it were possible to extract from the experience only the cognitive element of it, it would be impossible to imagine what would remain. If I could only extract the knowing from experience, which is the very basis of experience, there would be no experience. Because even in order to say that absolutely nothing remains, the presence of the cognitive element of experience is needed. Even if you want to say that you don’t experience anything, you need to be aware of it. In reality, the light of consciousness or the knowing of the experience is the only thing that really is. The light of consciousness or the knowing of the experience can never know anything apart from itself. All that exists is infinite consciousness and all that is experienced is that same consciousness in different shades, just like water, ice, snow, steam, and so on are just water at different temperatures. There has never been an object with an existence independent of consciousness.
When our attention is swept away by memories, we place ourselves in a non-existent past. When we focus our attention on our hopes and dreams, we direct ourselves toward a future that does not yet exist. In both cases, our consciousness takes illusory and non-existent directions and we live in a dream. Reality, or what is, takes place only in the now. In order to live in reality, our consciousness must be focused on the present place and moment. By sitting down and directing our attention fully to the stamp in front of us, the stamp is serving as an anchor to connect us to reality.