Why Shum Meditation?

People have good intentions when they attempt meditation but most will eventually hit a wall, stop progressing, and end the practice. Is meditation so mystifying and challenging that only the few will prevail? I’m going to challenge the reader and say that your mind or past trauma is not the biggest issue when it comes to learning meditation—it’s the technique.

Shum is a rare meditation technique that only a few know of and my hope is to bring it out into the open so that the general population have the upper hand when it comes to trying meditation. Shum is a language constructed into a systematic process, designed by Hindu monks in the 70’s at the home of Carl Jung in Switzerland. The Shum approach gives the meditator something to do, a way to breathe, and a goal to achieve every step of the way. Nothing in Shum is vague, there is no chakra balancing or universal love and compassion. If anything, Shum is the first group oriented meditation instruction that can produce the same result with any user.

Guiding someone into themselves must be a systematic process. Our mind is not going to do well with abstract nothingness and needs a tool, a guided distraction, to bring it inward and get it calm. There’s too much action in our life for complete stillness to occur spontaneously, and perhaps most ironically we have to keep working in order to get good at meditation—except the work guides us in instead of out.

Step 1: Color Visualization

While most meditation systems assume there is a level of proficiency already in the student, my Shum outline starts with a test that must be passed in order to have success in the rest of the course. In the first week I ask that every student go through what’s called Mental Office training. The week’s goal is to establish a relationship between the user (you) and the mind’s capacity for imagination using colored objects.

Step 2: Breathing

Shum has three breathing techniques associated with it. The user must be able to control the breath function in order to have control over the mind and thoughts. While breathing techniques are not uncommon in meditation training and often become the alpha and omega of the style, Shum training takes it a step further and classifies breathing as a beginner step. Once our breathing techniques are proficient we can continue to step 3.

Step 3: The Power of the Spine

Simshumbisi (Sim – Shoom – B – See) is a Shum word that means spinal awareness, feeling, and power. We must understand the link of body awareness and strength, and Shum training asks that we forego the simple aspects of meditation in order to dive into the challenging methods of proprioception. With awareness of body and breath the mind becomes subdued to our will. The Shum student begins to understand that while psychology is integral to achieving mental peace, we must also learn our physiological system and the power that lies dormant in the tissues, nerves and organs.

Step 4: Breath + Color + Visualization + Energy

Becoming familiar with the individual aspects of meditation mastery is the prerequisite to the eventual combination of them. Breath, color, visualization, and energy become the practice using Shum words that define the step. Bivum (B -Voom) and Liu (Lee – oo) are two examples of steps that involve a previously learned breathing technique, a color visualization, and the directional movement of energy within parts of the body.

Step 5: Pure Focus

We can see that Shum is no easy task but it is not learned in vain. The amount of work performed grants the student access to the quietest areas of the mind that exist—and beyond. In step 5 we naturally have the ability to get quiet, to become more peaceful, and to begin to put the pieces together and create a harmonious practice that will last us the rest of our lives. Once one has the practice of Shum they will never forget, and they will have a resource—an entire language—to guide their internal studies without getting confused, lost, or distracted.

A Language and Practice Forever

I spent 12 years of my life studying Shum with its creators, editors, and masters inside a jungle monastery. The amount of joy this language has brought me is unending, and knowing I will never need to learn another technique is a relief. Out of everything I could’ve studied, out of all the teachers I could have found, I came to Shum and Shum came to me.

So, is the problem with your lack of meditation you? Or is it the technique? One thing remains true—you can only replace one of those things.


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Rajan Shankara

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Rajan Shankara left the world at 19 years old to become a monk and study his mind, find out what…

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