Buddhists believe that there are many paths to the top of the mountain.
Tell that to the Buddhist monks I have dialoged with at school (University of the West; a Buddhist University). I think it is hard to really generalize a view in the context of Buddhism that isn’t in the Sutras. Some certainly agree with the claim above, but many are fundamentalist that see Buddhism as a superior path with a deeper kind of “enlightenment”. I however do not share their view.
By Michael W. Taft
As meditation experts the world around have noticed over the millennia, relaxing makes concentration much easier…
…Fortunately, there is one simple thing you can do that is guaranteed to calm you down, as well as help you to concentrate: breathe deeply and slowly. It’s really that easy.
Slow down your breathing. Make it as deep and full as possible. Notice if your stomach is going in and out, which is a reliable sign of a deep breath. Another is a feeling of outward expansion in your kidney areas. The whole lower abdomen should feel like it’s filling and emptying as you breathe. You may want to sigh. The kind that requires you taking a deep breath first.
As you take these calming breaths, feel your entire body relaxing. Don’t just think about it as an idea, actually feel the muscles releasing all excess tension. Feel your belly becoming less solid and rigid. Feel the tightness in your jaw muscles letting go. Notice the sensations of your whole body slipping into a more relaxed, open mode.
Reciting calming words while doing this can help further deepen the relaxation. For example, breathing in you might think the word, “calm.” Breathing out, you might think the word, “relax.” For some people, this greatly enhances the calming effect; others find it off-putting. Your mileage may vary. And, of course, you will want to stop reciting these words when it’s time to begin concentrating.
Two great tastes…
There is an interesting relationship between concentration and relaxation: they form a feedback loop. Becoming concentrated is relaxing. Think of how you feel when you are totally absorbed in reading a book, or listening to music—you’re quite still and calm. And becoming relaxed makes it easier to concentrate. Since that makes it easier to relax even further, which makes it easier to concentrate even more completely, it can quickly spiral into a feedback loop. It leads to a deep state of concentration that is very pleasant, and which Czech psychologist M. Csikszentmihalyi named “flow.”
So if you want to concentrate well, breathe deep, and get a little more relaxed before beginning. Every once in a while, check back in with your body to make sure you’re still relaxed. You’re on your way to a nice experience of flow, or deep concentration.
Alan Jacobs read Sri Ramana Maharshi. Talk 146.
"The ego is the I thought, the true I is the Self. Realization is already there. The state free from thoughts is the only real state. There is no such action as realization. Is there anyone who is not realizing the Self? Does anybody deny his own existence? Speaking of realization implies two selves. The one to realize, the one to be realized. What is not already realized is sought to be realized. Once we admit our own existence how is it that we do not know the Self? Ohhhhh because of the thoughts, the mind. Quite so. It is the mind that stands between and veils our happiness.
How to Get Rid of the Mind
Is it the mind that wants to kill itself? The mind cannot kill itself. So your business is to find the real nature of the mind. Then you will know there is no mind. When the Self is sought, the mind is nowhere. Abiding in the self one need not worry about the mind.” ~Sri Ramana Maharshi