Yoga in Sanskrit means “Union” and it has as its goal a Holy purpose which is meditation. Meditation refers to a mental and spiritual state in which we tune into the Divine, which is also called Consciousness or the Supreme.
Meditation in Sanskrit is Dhyana which is also the seventh limb of the eight limbed Raja Yoga, as defined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Many people who do yoga set aside time in their lives for a meditation practice.
Why Do Meditation?
Meditation is essential to feel well and live a Happy Life. Meditation can help us to eliminate negative thoughts, worries, anxiety, all factors that can prevent us feeling happy. It has been proved that the practice of meditation, carried out on a regular basis, will mitigate the symptoms of stress and anxiety and going even deeper, as the Bhudda says, we can transcend suffering.
Another goal in yogic meditation or dhyana is bringing the body-mind-breath into alignment. This is done mostly in sitting meditation and sometimes includes the aides of breathing exercises or techniques. The goal, however, remains that we use meditation to look at ideas that bind us and keep us away from the happiness that is indeed our True Nature (the Supreme.)
Doing Meditation Practice
The seeker sets aside time in his or her day for a meditation practice. This is best done in a regular way. Since the goal is to find Peace then it is usually best to practice meditation in a peaceful place. Many seekers have a regular place where they can take time for their meditation practice. As it developes this meditation practice is called Sadhana, a Sanskrit word for the Spiritual path.
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As the meditation develops the seeker becomes aware of the setting he or she is in, and the ideas that rise and set within the mind. Usually when the seeker meditates there is a peace present as a quality in the meditation.
Many types of ideas are possible within our mind, some are peaceful and some are more aggressive. Sometimes qualities that we had not suspected were within us, such as destructive rage, all-consuming passion, excessive desires or deep-seated anger, can surface and astound us. Or, on the other hand, we can also experience wonderful feelings of freedom, joy, harmony and closeness to God.
All these experiences await us when we open the door of the unconscious and illuminate it with the light of knowledge. When we recognize our reality within us our entire perspective of the world can change instantaneously.
One question that is often raised is whether it would be better to allow the unconscious to remain buried rather than to stir it up. The answer is that we can only attain freedom when everything that we have carried with us since the beginning of our existence is brought up into the light. Further spiritual development is only possible when everything we have amassed has been processed and purified, and all obstacles from the past removed; it is only when our vision is clear that we are able to recognise the path that will lead us towards Realisation, the Goal (Union or Moksha.)
About The Meditation Master
Yoga is the best method of taking the decisive step to work through the contents of our unconscious with complete awareness. The guidance of a Realised Master who has already successfully dealt with this process is essential. He knows the dangers and obstacles on the spiritual path, and also understands our feelings and is aware of our condition. He can make us attentive, advise and help us when we still do not know which way to go. Confidence in the Master (Shraddha) is an essential requirement for success. At this stage of our spiritual development we are like tender little plants that must be supported and protected from the rigours of the weather. The Master gives us the necessary support, for he is as unshakeable and firm as the Himalayas.
Under the care of the spiritual Master we can accomplish steps on our path towards a fully developed human consciousness, and beyond to God-Realisation.
The Master can teach us the ways of the Heart which in Sanskrit is HRIDAYA. The Heart is like a Lotus and it is at the center of all seekers. From the Heart rises the ‘I’ thought, or ego, which is the first of all thoughts. It is from the ‘I’ thought that the other thoughts arise, becoming a bundle of thoughts. This bundle of thoughts is the Mind.
About The Mind
In the mind there are said to be seven levels of consciousness: Unconsciousness, subconsciousness, dream consciousness, waking consciousness, astral consciousness, supreme consciousness and cosmic consciousness. It is within these seven levels of consciousness that all of our experiences take place.
The mind (Manas) and the five senses (Indriyas) are compared with a wild elephant and should be kept under control by the Ankusha of Mantra and discipline (Sadhana).
Mantra can release tensions and removes energy blockages and activates our energy. And so the process of awakening the dormant powers within us and raising them into consciousness begins. Beautiful and healing experiences together with happy moments emerge from the past giving us strength and inspiration to continue on our path. But together with the pleasant experiences, we can also go through painful feelings in our experiences. Buried hurts and disappointments that were deeply etched into our consciousness come to the surface so they can finally be healed and resolved.
Disappointment is not necessarily something negative. It means a transition, a step in our development, a teaching. Every learning step in our life is accompanied by the correction of a false idea, by “dis-illusionment”. The mind is sometimes full to the brim with painful disillusionments. But, when we work our way through these misfortunes with wisdom they are transformed into valuable experiences and opportunities for development.
For as long as we live we will be confronted with problems. The ignorant take them merely as a nuisance and misfortune, but the wise regard them as valuable and beneficial experiences. When we learn from them and begin to work on ourselves we progress in our spiritual development. If we do not do this we remain stuck in the suffering and continue to replay the painful lessons.
Some of the things that can help us in our meditations are:
MANANA – To think about, to reflect
SANKALPA – To have the right intentions, to make positive resolutions
VIKALPA – To remove doubts and discard false ideas
ATMA CHINTANA – To be conscious of the Divine Self (Atma) at all times
When we learn from our mistakes and continue on our path with faith in God we gain in strength and therefore constantly become better at being able to cope with our inner experiences. It is important that we give up all of our well- worn “thought programmes” that have the effect of hindering and harming us, and instead develop and cultivate positive and beneficial ways of thinking.
On Clear Seeing
As we have said yoga means ‘Union’ with the Divine. The seeker or meditator in Sanskrit is called the Jivatma. The Jivatma looks at his or her ideas and meditates to be One with the Divine. This process or path is called Sadhana. In line with the Karma and personality structure of the aspirant (Jivatma), this process can either continue in tumultuous and intense circles or unfold gradually and calmly.
When the jivatmas practice unites with the Supreme Self its existence dissolves – just as a river loses its name when it flows into the ocean. Now it is in the sphere of pure Consciousness. Its form is perfect divine Consciousness and eternal, divine Bliss – SAT CHIT ANANDA SVARUPA ATMA. The Sat Chit Ananda translates as Being Consciousness Bliss and these are the three aspects of the Divine or the Father. The Realised Ones and Saints of all ages have reached this level of Consciousness, which cannot be described with words.
When we are unable to see or experience anything in meditation, it is because our vision is obstructed by the barrier of the limited “I”. Though our Atma (Soul) is directly connected to God, and is, in fact, God, we are not yet conscious of this.
The division is only apparent, because we are not conscious of the real unity. And yet the Jivatma must wander along a lengthy and often very difficult path until it again discovers this Oneness within the Consciousness.
All individuals travel along their own pathway, have their own history and their own experiences – but at the end all inevitably reach the same goal, the same Truth and the same Reality. However, until then it is a long journey. Only those who purposefully follow the spiritual path throughout their life with consistency and discipline, come through. Those who pursue happiness in the external world, lose their way. Eternal, true Happiness is found within us and not outside.
As Saint Francis of Assissi so concisely expressed it:
“That for which they seek is that which searches.”
Only when we turn towards the inner Self do we find fulfillment and Peace.
Hand your life over to God and pray in this way: “Oh Lord, may Your will be done. May my destiny be fulfilled”.
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