Know thyself! Realize thyself
Yes this is meditation the key to keep you even; even under all odds. The toughest times pass very easy leaving no scratches on your cool balanced mind and cheerful glowing face. The soldiers at frontiers, students at studies tests and interviews, officers at challenging duties, women at pregnancy and tough days in family battles, businessmen at threats to peace in life, labor at toil and sages at worldly attractions or Lokeshna find meditation the best relief to maintain their true balance. The way you are feeling and thinking will certainly affect what so ever you do. Practice of meditation adds harmony and extraordinary experience when you undergo the process. Here are some tips about meditation or Dhyana for all and the way how to proceed on the path of deep meditation. Better, you learn it before the process of challenges begin and practice it deep even under all adverse occasions. Everyone can practice this easy form of meditation and be benefited with its ever fresh experience. You will be enjoying wonderful physical mental and emotional balance, better sense of discrimination, positive and creative outlook, wonderful skill of expression through speech, writings, body language and later spiritual communication without any material source.
‘Know thyself’ and ‘realize thyself’ are the words commonly applied when we are in spiritual discipline. The more we recognize and realize ourselves the deeper we enter into meditation. Peace, Love & finally Realization is the ultimate outcome of meditation or Dhyana mentioned as seventh fold of Yog Darshanam.
Meditation is so effective in adding beauty, balance, peace and absolute health dragging off the sorrows from our lives that some so called modern yoga masters have introduced it as an independent style of yog sadhna in their search for short gains. They do not even hesitate in describing this science as ‘Yoga & Meditation’ which is absolutely wrong as the two are never separate identities but meditation is just and only a step of Yoga that leads the Sadhak or the yoga practitioner to Samadhi where Dhyata ( the one who meditates) and Dhyeya (the object on which Dhyata meditates) become one. They are no more separate identities. Actually Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are so interdependent that one can’t be achieved without passing through the earlier. Dharna is simple concentration of mind on inner or outer object while Dhyana is deeper level of concentration where no other thought interrupts and mind is perfectly relaxed under spontaneity or unbroken continuity of awareness. Mahershi Patanjali describes it as ‘Tatra Pratyektanta Dhyanam’.
Meditation can best be practiced under some competent master. Even Maharishi Patanjali in Yog Darshana says, “Gurupdisht margaine yogamaiv samabhyaset “as guru can help you better as he has already gone through the experiences of the process. Secondly one must be comfortable at dress and light at stomach before going into the practice of meditation because if we practice meditation after meals it will weaken our digestive fire as the deeper we proceed into meditation our metabolism also goes into deep rest. We do even lose control over our body systems may it be digestive, respiratory, nervous or the other. Thus the undigested or half digested food in stomach creates problems. This is the only reason why there is the rule of taking meal after meditation not before. Until and unless we purify our body and mind with purity of food, application of five Yamas and five niyamas and find a proper and particular place for meditation it may be easy to speak of going into meditation but actually tough to go deep in the process. One may opt some river bank, holy shrine, or some charged place already ‘sanskarit’ being continuously utilized for spiritual sittings or meditation. After achieving some depth in practice such practice may be continued even at home and later anywhere, as the sadhak himself / herself becomes a charged one who is least affected with external changes.
The best time to practice meditation is ‘Brahm Muhurat’ before sun rise as body and mind both are fresh and untired. Gradually we may sit both the times at Sandhi Vela as described in Dainik Sandhya. We may begin with a half hour sitting but the most important thing is continuity of practice. We may prefer sitting even for a shorter period but it ought to be a regular event if we wish to attain sure success. We may choose any of the meditative postures such as Padmasana, Siddhasana, Sukhasana or even Vajrasana favourable to one’s comfort with spine, neck and head in one straight line. Practice of meditative asana must be so deep that one should not feel any inconvenience in long sitting. Neither one should feel necessity of changing position of feet or leg etc nor should there be any movement during course of meditation. Let your arms rest with palms in the lap below navel right atop the left one and keep the eyes gently closed. Feel the presence of your spiritual master with you while sitting for meditation and then begin.
Meditation for a beginner
There are different ways to practice meditation. One may adopt any of them favorable to his temperament, under expert guidance. Here is one that I find easiest, encouraging and result oriented for a beginner.
First step is determination
You are what you think of yourself. It is thought and auto suggestion that turns a warrior into a coward and a weakest one into daring. So let us begin with mind itself and see that I am the blessed one with all happiness around and free from all worries and cares at this moment. Nothing adverse is going to happen if I withdraw for this half an hour for meditation, on the contrary I shall come out of meditation more equipped and all round strong to solve all possible problems, if any. Such auto suggestions will allow us to come out of all possible adversities and provide favorable mental setup to cooperate the meditation taking place.
Second step is chanting of mantra
There are different styles of chanting of mantras such as Vachik, Upanshu, Manasik and Ajpa. No doubt Ajapa Jaap is the highest level but Vachik and others have their own importance. When our little children try to learn mentally in the beginning they lose their attention. Some time they feel dizziness and even sleep. On such occasions sensible parents or teachers suggest the children to learn with vocal recitation of the subject, giving their senses like tongue, ear, eyes and even mind to withdraw from other directions, join together and concentrate on the topic of study only. In the same way a meditation beginner is advised to grow control over his breathing rhythm and mental concentration through Vachik Mantra or vocal chanting of Mantra. The most easy and effective mantra is ‘OM’. Practice it with rhythmic breathing. Inhale comfortably deep and chant ‘O…’with mouth open for just half of your breathing length and chat ‘M…’ with mouth shut for rest half of your breathing length with fullest concentration of all your senses. Try to catch the chant with your ear and let the sound waves spread to your entire existence. Inhale again gently and continue to repeat for 13 to 24 times increasing number of chants gradually but devote yourself absolutely to chant of Mantra and let the mind be detached to outer subjects.
Third step is atam darshan
Set the physical body free and relaxed already firm yet comfortable in asana. Look at it mentally from distance. Watch your physical body. Is it your original face tensed with anger, fear, lust or passion? Continue to look at yourself, simply look but do nothing. After a few minutes you will find the skull deeply relaxed and a bit free from traffic of thoughts resulting into expressionless calm and gentle face with all signs of ugliness washed off. It is the ink of mental modifications that writes the language of permanent expressions resulting into wrinkles on human face. When your external body becomes still in a particular asana with regular and devoted practice, the inner organs and even mind will automatically become calm and tuned like all compartments and the passengers also stop moving when the moving train stops.
Fourth step is to join your breath
It Is the next step of your journey from concrete to abstract. Now confine yourself to your breath only. Watch the wonderful flow of breath you are gifted with. Don’t disturb it, simply go on watching the flow of breath but with total awareness. Close your eyes and see the breath going in……. See it going out…….Just watch the breath only and nothing else. Concentrate on your flow of breath only, join it religiously. It will help in balancing controlling your mental activities. Our breath and mind are in tune together. They are so close that if the breath stops for a few seconds the mind also becomes still. It will come to experience that breath, prana and consciousness are deeply associated. Breath is the concrete form of prana so closely associated that when the breath of an individual stops all of a sudden, we find that his/her pranic power comes to an end and we declare him dead. To go more deep we find that prana is the concrete form of Atma or Soul. This is the reason that for attaining Atma we begin with meditation on breath as it is a very easy process but never try to breathe deep. Your lungs should never be empty during this course or meditation. You will be involved in breathing only if you do so. You have simply to seek help of your breath to go deep into yourself. With such meditation on breath a moment will come when your mind will become passive it will automatically withdraw from breath and may even go sleepy. This dizziness or Tandra avastha is the first step of success in meditation. The withdrawal from Indriye chetna or sensory awareness is a must. Then onward we shall proceed towards introvert journey, it will automatically happen if we continue to meditate on natural flow of breath.
Fifth step is to join mantra with breath
Now we shall be more abstract from breath to holy Mantra of OM. Move along with breath with mental chanting of holy OM , just mental japa of OM with each breath incoming or outgoing. Not even a single breath will miss the chant of mantra. Continue it with the normal length of breath. No deep breathing. No deep inhaling or exhaling. Maintain it as normal as ever instead. Joint the mantra so deeply that awareness of breathing also becomes lost. Instead of moving with the flow of breath you start moving with OM ‘Vyaptam yeneh chara charam’. Such mental japa of OM will associate and later merge our awareness with ‘OM’ which is Ekakshram Brahm. In such course of action do not worry even if you feel sleepy or dreaming but you must continue mental chant of mantra as and when you come out of it instead. Never make any attempt to sleep.
Sixth step is to meditate on mantra only
Now hold your awareness in OM only in between the eyebrows. Come out of Japa or mantra now and let your mind be empty now. Don’t project anything simply stay in this position for some time.
Last step is to come out of meditation
Begin mental chanting of OM mantra with breath for a few minutes and stop japa of mantra. Simply concentrate on rhythmic breathing only. Have Mansa Parikrama (mental tour) of your entire body. Go for mental chanting of OM for three times and pray:
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्यः धीमहि धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् गायत्री मंत्र