by Swami Vishnu-devananda
When the surface of a lake is still, one can see to the
bottom very clearly. This is impossible when the surface is
agitated by waves. In the same way, when the mind is still,
with no thoughts or desires, you can see the "Self" this is
We can control the mental agitation by two means: by concentrating
the mind either externally or internally. Internally, we focus
on the "Self" or the consciousness of "I am". Externally,
we focus on anything other than the "Self" or "I am".
When we take up some recreation on putting the ball into
the hole (golf), the other thoughts are slowed down or stilled.
We feel we have played a good game when we have achieved perfect
concentration. The happiness we experience comes, not because
the ball being put in the hole eighteen times, but because
we have achieved perfect concentration eighteen times. At
that time, all the worries and problems of the world disappeared.
The mental ability to concentrate is inherent to all; it
is not extraordinary or mysterious. Meditation is not something
that a Yogi has to teach you; you already have the ability
to shut out thoughts.
The only difference between this and meditation (the positive
way), is that generally we have learned to focus the mind
externally on objects. When the mind is fully concentrated,
time passes unnoticed, as if it did not exist. When the mind
is focused, there is no time! Time is nothing but a modification
of the mind. Time, Space, and causation and all external experiences
are mental creation.
All happiness achieved through the mind is temporary and
fleeting; it is limited by nature. To achieve that state of
lasting happiness and absolute peace, we must first know how
to calm the mind, to concentrate and go beyond the mind. By
turning the mind's concentration inward, upon the self, we
can deepen that experience of perfect concentration. This
is the state of Meditation".
An Introduction to the techniques of Meditation
is an experience that cannot be described, just as colors
cannot be described to a blind man. All ordinary experience
is limited by Time, Space and Causation. Our normal awareness
and understanding do not transcend these bounds.
Finite experience, which is measured in terms of past, present
and future, cannot be transcendental. Concepts of time are
illusory, for they have no permanence. The present, immeasurably
small and fleeting, cannot be grasped. Past and future are
non-existent in the present. We live in illusion.
The meditative state transcends all such limitations. In
it there is neither past nor future, but only the consciousness
of "I am" in the eternal NOW. It is only possible when all
mental modifications are stilled.
The closest analogous state that we can experience is deep
sleep, in which there is neither time, nor space, nor causation.
Meditation, however, differs from deep sleep, for it works
profound changes in the psyche. By curbing and stilling the
oscillations of the mind, meditation brings mental peace.
On the physical level, meditation helps to prolong the body's
anabolic process of growth and repair, and to reduce the catabolic
or decaying process. Ordinarily the anabolic process predominates
until the age of 18. From 18 to 35 there is balance between
the two, and after 35 the catabolic process dominates. Meditation
can significantly reduce the catabolic decline. This is because
of the innate receptivity of the body cells.
Each of our body cells is governed by the instinctive subconscious
mind. They have both an individual and a collective conciousness.
When the thoughts and desires pour into the body, the cells
are activated; the body always obeys the group demand. It
has been scientifically proven that positive thoughts bring
positive result to cells. As meditation brings about a prolonged
positive state of mind, it rejuvenates body cells and retards
One cannot learn to meditate, anymore than one can learn
to sleep. one falls into both states. There are certain points
to remember regarding the techniques and stages of meditation.
- Regularity of time, place and practice are important.
Regularity conditions the mind to slow down its activities
with a minimum of delay.
- The most effective times are early dawn and dusk, when
the atmosphere is charged with special spiritual force.
If it is not feasible to sit for meditation at these times,
choose an hour when you are not involved with daily activities,
and a time when the mind is apt to be calm.
- Try to have a separate room for meditation. As meditation
is repeated, the powerful vibrations set up will be lodged
in the area; an atmosphere of peace and purity will be felt.
- When sitting, face North or East in order to take advantage
of favorable magnetic vibrations. Sit in a steady, comfortable,
cross-legged position with spine and neck erect but not
- Before beginning, command the mind to be quiet for a specific
length of time. Forget the past, present and future.
- Consciously regulate the breath. Begin with five minutes
of deep abdominal breathing to bring oxygen to the brain.
Then slow it down to an imperceptible rate.
- Keep the breathing, rhythmic, inhale for three seconds
and exhale for three seconds. Regulation of breath also
regulates the flow of prana, the vital energy.
- Allow the mind to wander at first. It will jump around,
but will eventually become concentrated, along with the
concentration of prana.
- Don't force the mind to be still, as this will set in
motion additional brain waves, hindering meditation.
- Select a focal point on which the mind may rest. For
people who are intellectual by nature, this may be the Ajna
Chakra., the point between the eyebrows. For more emotional
people, use the Anahata or Heart Chakra. Never change this
- Focus on a neutral or uplifting object, holding the image
in the place of concentration. If using a Mantra, repeat
it mentally, and co-ordinate repetition with the breath.
If you dont have a personalized Manta, use Om. Although
mental repetition is stronger, the mantra may be repeted
aloud if one becomes drowsy. Never change the Mantra.
- Repetition will lead to pure thought, in which sound vibration
merges with thought vibration, without awareness of meaning.
Vocal repetition progresses through mental repetition to
telepathic language, and from there to pure thought.
- With practice, duality disappears and Samadhi, or the
superconscious state, is reached. Do not become impatient,
as this takes a long time.
- In Samadhi one rests in the state of bliss in which the
Knower, the Knowledge, and the Known become one. This is
the superconcious state reached by mystics of all faiths
If you meditate for half an hour daily, you will be able
to face life with peace and spiritual strength. Meditation
is the most powerful mental and nerve tonic. Divine energy
freely flows to the adept during meditation, and exerts a
benign influence on the mind, nerves, sense organs and body.
It opens the door to intuitive knowledge and realms of eternal
bliss. The mind becomes calm and steady.
Comments or Questions
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