Maum meditation is a type of meditation based on the concept that all of a person's past experiences and memories are stored as images in the body, and that these images control the person's ideas and behaviors. These pictures come from what is seen, heard, smelled, touched and felt in daily experiences. Through meditation, such stored images are cleared away to remove preconceived ideas and concepts that are influencing negative thoughts and actions. Maum is concerned with the connection between the mind, soul and spirit.
According to the Association of Maum Meditation, as of 2010 there were 300 meditation centers throughout the world practicing the art. This Korean meditation began in 1996, when Woo Myung is said to have discovered the "true world" by freeing himself from the picture of the world that had he created. The founder of maum meditation went on to teach others how to find their own universal truth with the desire to create a more peaceful world.
There are eight steps in maum meditation to rid the mind of false images. The first step is to visualize death by closing the eyes and imagining a particular way to die, such as by drowning, illness or accident. Next, the soul or shape of the body should be visualized leaving the dead body and moving up into the wider universe. As the body is floating in space, a black hole should be placed in its path. Images and memories from the past should be brought into conscious thought and subsequently thrown into the black hole, followed by the soul itself.
The focus should then turn to relationships with others and the emotions associated with these relationships. An image should be created of each relationship and then thrown into the hole. It is important that both the person performing the maum meditation and the other person in the relationship are present in the image being thrown away. The third step involves removing the physical body from existence, as it was Woo Myung's belief that memories are stored in the cells of the body.
The following four levels of meditation systematically focus on destroying images of tasks, work, responsibilities and activities that fill daily life. Some practitioners like to visualize a staircase or escalator in these stages. At the end of the stairs, a fire becomes the place to destroy the images that are weighing down the person's life.
The final step of maum meditation is the most important. It allows the practitioner to find his or her new reality and be reborn without the false beliefs of his or her past existence. This is the most spiritual element of the technique, which promises true enlightenment.