Tuesday 31 January 2017

Meditation - 6

Mantra Meditation

Mantra, exactly means 'revealed sound', means a sound or mixture of sounds which develop spontaneously.

In mantra meditation, definite sounds are repeated (japa) to accomplish a meditative state.

A Mantra is a combination of sound vibrations which have a result on the mental and spiritual consciousness.

Although traditionally given by a Guru, in the absence of a Guru, the practitioner may choose his mantra. An important criterion for mantra selection is that it must please the mind fully when spoken orally.

Mantra chanting creates powerful vibrations which are said to be focussed to the right "chakras" to draw divine forces. This procedure is said to mysteriously cure the pious, physical & psychological body. It is significant that when the mantra is chanted, the words and their rhythm must be enjoyed and one must give up oneself to this experience.

The power of Mantra lies not in the meaning of the word but through the vibratory effects of the sound that they produced when spoken verbally or psychologically. In fact, a Mantra should not be confused with religion.

A Mantra should not be translated as this has the result of altering the sound vibrations wherein lies the strength of the Mantra. Repetition of a Mantra forms the basis of Mantra Meditation. Mantras for pious evolution should be practiced for a fixed amount of time each day. Repeating a mantra too much may not be right for susceptible or psychic people as it may affect them adversely. Generally, if you repeat a mantra for about 10 minutes every day, then, within a few days you will know whether the vibrations feel right for you. Mantra Meditation is the easiest and safest form of meditation and can be practiced by anyone at anytime and under any circumstances. The most ordinary way of practicing mantra Meditation is Japa. Japa (exactly means 'rotate') is performed by repeating a mantra in sync with the turning round of a Japa Mala. A Japa Mala is a rosary of 108 beads where each bead is turned after the mental or audible recitation of the mantra. Using a Japa Mala for Mantra Meditation is very efficient as it provides an anchor to bring the mind back as it experiences wavering thoughts. The Mantra combined with the Japa Mala provides concrete anchors to which the thoughts are focussed back as they spin out of control. That is why; Japa Meditation is one of the most recommended forms of meditation for the beginner.

Meditation -5

Let us take care of these two aspects while getting into meditation.

1) Body Position

The body should be in erect and relaxed stillness. The spine must be perpendicular to the Earth. The stomach should be empty. A check should be made of each part of the body that it is relaxed and not tense.

Check especially the muscles in the abdomen, neck and shoulders.

If sitting on a chair, the feet are flat on the ground, muscles relaxed. If on the floor or rug, legs are crossed in either lotus or half lotus position (this enables the back to remain straight for longer periods of time).

A pillow under the buttocks is helpful. The arms are resting on the knees with the palms relaxed opened  upwards. Check the shoulders to make sure they hang naturally and are not tensed upwards. In this position the body will be of the least distraction and you will not be weighed down by discomforts and tenseness.

2) Movement of Breath

The rhythm and volume of the breath are directly related to our state of mind. A nervous or anxious mind produces irregular breathing rhythms. Anger generates rapid, short breaths. In a relaxed state our breath is deep, rhythmical and longer in duration. We may reverse this process and affect the mind through breath control.

Relax the abdominal muscles and begin breathing with the diaphragm in long even inhalations and exhalations. Nothing should be forced. Do only what comes easily and naturally. If you are not used to breathing with the diaphragm, then spend some minutes each day on your back practicing this breath. It will develop gradually. With time the breath will be longer in duration; slowly and evenly in and out. There is no need to retain the breath. Keep an even relaxing rhythm. (In later stages of meditation you may be guided to retain breath. This is not suggested in the beginning).

It will be necessary to start the process consciously at first with a certain control over the mechanism of breathing. After a while this will take place automatically as you sit down to meditate or relax, just as you are now breathing automatically without thinking.

Eventually you will want to learn the "alternate breath" technique in which we alternatively breathe in through one nostril (holding the other closed) and then exhale out of the opposite nostril (now hold the other one closed). This technique is described in our book "SELF THERAPY", but you would do well to have an experienced yoga teacher check your position and method.

This technique is a very powerful means of creating balance and harmony in the bio-energy and the nervous systems. Scientific tests have shown that breathing only through the right nostril stimulates the left hemisphere of the brain, and that breathing only through the left nostril stimulates the right hemisphere. Thus, by breathing alternatively through one and then the other nostril, we create a harmonious balance in the nervous system.

Monday 30 January 2017

Meditation -4


There are two types of meditation - Active and Passive.

Active meditation relates to activities of everyday life such as walking, working, eating etc. This in fact is the aim of Yoga, to experience a meditative state in everyday life which has the effect of increasing performance manifold as the work is done with more efficiency and energy.

To achieve active meditation, passive meditation is required which involves taking time out to be seated and perform Meditation Techniques or practices. This is called passive as it involves withdrawing ourselves in calm, sitting postures to achieve a meditative state that can help us in our active life. The aim of all passive meditation techniques is to still the mind from wavering and distracting thoughts and gradually make one pointed. Passive Meditation Techniques though of many kinds, essentially have the same modus of operandi:

Stage 1: Introversion: Involves seating postures and awareness on an object. This has the effect of calming the mind and making it 'receptive' to see what's inside.

Stage 2: Introversion leads to the free flow of thoughts, visions, complexes, memories etc. from the lower mind. Our passions, fears, doubts and desires arise and we are now in a position to observe these and remove the undesirable content from our minds forever.

Stage 3: Having observed the lower mind, we are now in a position to explore the subconscious realms. It is here that real meditation begins. Our limitless storehouse of energy and knowledge starts manifesting itself.

Stage 4: Self realization: As these stages are transcended, supreme bliss is attained. There are many mediation methods known today. Some are best for beginners; others are better tackled after a few years of experience.

Saturday 28 January 2017

Meditation -3

Views About Meditation

Swami Satyananda Said: "Yoga is meditation and meditation is yoga - Never forget it". Yoga and meditation can both be seen as processes and goals."

According To Swami Chinmayananda: "Meditation has been glorified as the most sacred vocation. Humans alone are capable of the highest effort, by which they can hasten their own evolution. In preparing ourselves for meditation, we should first acquire the ability to look within. You must learn to go about your daily routine and uninterruptedly watch the mind…Let it be a silent observer of the workings of your inner life and estimate the motives, intentions and purposes that lie behind your thoughts, words and deeds. "

As Swami Bhajananda says: "Meditation is not an entirely independent discipline but a stage in concentration common to almost all spiritual paths. In every path, the aspirant begins with a large number of thoughts in the mind. These gradually become reduced, and the aspirant reaches a stage when they exists only one thought in the mind. "

As Vethathiri Maharishi a spiritual teacher says: "Meditation is a scientific method of enhancing the capacity of the mind. It fixes the mind on one's magnetic force, enhancing the ability to focus. This is the key to self realization. "

Others: "The whole purpose of meditation is to make you aware of your kingdom, to make you aware of your highest potential."

"Meditation is the study of attention. Attention is cognitive phenomenon. Meditation is the capacity of the brain to attend to something over a period of time.

Swami Vivekananda said : Meditation is the power which enables us to resist all this. Nature may call us, "Look there is a beautiful thing!" I do not look. Now she says, "There is a beautiful smell; smell it! " I say to my nose, "Do not smell it", and the nose doesn't. "Eyes, do not see!" Nature does such an awful thing - kills one of my children, and says, "Now, rascal, sit down and weep! Go to the depths!" I say, "I don't have to." I jump up. I must be free. Try it sometimes. ... [In meditation], for a moment, you can change this nature. Now, if you had that power in yourself, would not that be heaven, freedom? That is the power of meditation