Rita guides you through a most loving and sacred yoga practice. Her gentle nature and lightness allow for the most wonderful unfolding to take place in her class. As a fellow student and teacher I am always appreciative of her gifts and radiant smile she shares with others. ... Aarti Ganesh           Read more...

Meditation ... Towards Self Development

This article is an extension of my last article-Yogic Ways of Cleansing and Seeding the Mind. Before reading this article, must read that one first.



MEDITATION

The process of Meditation is a part of Raja Yoga. Just as Hatha Yoga is primarily concerned with the body, Raja Yoga is primarily concerned with the mind. The work you have done under the four Sessions (see my last article), will provide you with a very healthy base for Meditation. Therefore, before going on to Meditation let me here briefly sum up the work of those four Sessions:

• All undesirable thoughts have been removed from the mind. The mind has been freed from the burden of unnecessary elements. Your basic desires are now rooted in your mind.

• Steps for proper care and protection have been taken to ensure satisfactory growth of the symbolic seeds.

• Steps have also been taken to weed out the unwanted growth from the vicinity of the planted seeds.

• The seeds which were planted a few weeks ago have become plants and they are in a very healthy condition. Their growth is satisfactory. They are well protected, getting proper nourishment and are growing fast to become healthy trees.

CLARIFICATION OF FEW ASPECTS

Meditation concerns your past, present and future. The past performances are analyzed to see what improvement could be made in the future. The present problems likewise are considered to see what needs to be done today or tomorrow; what requires priority and what is the best way of doing it. Everything concerning the present activities is taken into consideration and analyzed, evaluated and planned afresh. The future has a lot of importance in Meditation. 

What you have done during the four Sessions also relates to your past, present and future. But the basic difference between the two phases is that the work of the previous lessons will not be repeated unless extremely necessary. But what you are going to do from now on will be repeated.

BASIC STEPS OF MEDITATION

There are three basic steps of Raja Yoga. They are Dharana (Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation) and Samadhi (Contemplation). Basically there are only two major divisions of the steps of Raja Yoga- Concentration and Meditation. Concentration is one-pointedness of the mind. By mastering the skill of concentration, the fluctuation of the mind is controlled. Meditation goes further. 

Through Meditation the individual not only concentrates one-pointedly but also uses his mental faculties to analyze and evaluate his thoughts, plans and actions in a proper and desirable manner. One finds out what is right and what is wrong in one’s daily actions and what needs to be done to improve performance. One becomes equipped to re-establish oneself on its own, when one had erred in certain situations and conditions. One masters the art of overcoming obstructions and hindrances.

FIRST SESSION (PREPRATION FOR MEDITAITON) PLACE

One can meditate in any place where you have privacy. It should be neat, clean, peaceful with plenty of fresh air & free from insects. You can sit on a blanket, a mattress or a carpet. Preferably, Mediation should be practiced on a padded floor. Those who find it difficult to sit on the floor may use a chair.

BODY CONDITION

At the time of Mediation the body should not be heavy with food but neither should the individual feel hungry. A gap of two hours should be given after breakfast and a gap of three to four hours after lunch or dinner. The practitioner should be neat, clean and free from the effects of drugs, alcohol and smoking. The body should not feel tired, tense or uneasy. The practitioner should wear light clothes and should not be in a hurry.

TIME

Practice Meditation at a fixed hour everyday. Mornings and evenings are good times. But in special circumstances, it can be practiced at any time according to the convenience of the individual. For practicing at odd times the body condition must fulfill the above mentioned requirement.

DURATION

For this process of Meditation, a period of three to five minutes is quite sufficient and satisfactory. Practitioners are advised not to devote more than ten minutes of one sitting. Putting in more time is quite unnecessary. The ideal practicing time is about five minutes.

GENERAL INFORMATION

The practitioner should remain sitting in the chosen Meditative pose, undisturbed from the beginning to the end of the Session. There should be no disturbance. If for some unavoidable reason, one is disturbed while meditating, the Session should be terminated. In other words, when you sit for Meditation, remain undisturbed for a period of three to five minutes or for as long as you are meditating.

MEDITATION POSTURE SUKHASANA

Be seated on the floor in the Sukhasana (easy pose). For performing the Sukhasana, fold your right leg at the knee and bring the foot in front. Let the thigh and the knee rest on the floor as much as possible. Then fold your left leg at the knee and put the left foot on the right leg. Your left leg should rest on the right leg. Those who can’t sit in the Sukhasana pose on the floor; they are advised to sit on a chair. Sit erect with the spine, neck and head in one line. The left hand should be brought to the lap first and then the right hand put on the left hand. Now close your eyes and relax the body. There should be no stiffness in the body. Though the body is erect, it should not be strained and stiff.

GUIDELINES

Before starting the actual Mediation, practice the preparatory posture for a few days. Remain seated in the Mediation pose for about three to five minutes at one stretch. When you are accustomed to the position and feel comfortable, your Session in Mediation begins. A practice for two to five days should be enough to acquire ease in this sitting practice.

SECOND SESSION (ACTUAL MEDITATION)

• Be seated for meditation. See that you are sitting properly. Close your eyes… breathe normally… be mentally at peace… see in your mind what you desire the most…

• Try to make a clear picture in your mind of your Desire Number One… try to visualize its shape and details as accurately as possible… this should take about half a minute… when visualization occurs concentrate on the mental vision and say to yourself mentally, “This is what I want… This is what I wish to have…”

• Now visualize your Desire Number Two… make a comprehensive picture of the desired object… when the visualization occurs even for a few seconds, say to yourself mentally, “This is what I wish to acquire next… This is what I wish to have…”

• If you have a third desire and have planted the seed for it then visualize your Desire Number three… visualize it for a few seconds… then say to yourself mentally, “This also I wish to have…”

• After visualizing and concentrating your mental energy to intensify the wish for the fulfillment of your long cherished desires let the mind perceive and think of those things which have importance in your present and future life. Let the mind consider those items one by one and meditate on them.

SOME EXAMPLES

• Picture the mental health you wish to acquire and say to yourself, “I wish to become like this…” (go into detail).

• Say to yourself, “I am changing. I am correcting myself. I am improving and changing myself into a better, happy, healthy and prosperous person.”

• Say to yourself, “I do not want to harm anyone. I do not harbor any ill-feeling, hatred, jealousy and a desire for vengeance against anyone. I do not think ill of others”.

• “I realize that I have made some errors and mistakes. I accept them. I have learnt lessons from those mistakes and I am not going to repeat them again. Those lessons have made me a better person now. I do not have any feeling of sin or guilt for those wrongs. Those were only mistakes”. “It is possible that I might make mistakes and even blunders in the future. But when I know that I am wrong, I will correct myself. I consider making errors natural in the process of human growth.”

• “I am going to see all these things fulfilled- some tomorrow, some day after, some in months to come and some in years to come. What I wish to acquire; I am going to have.”

• After meditating on these various aspects of your life, let the mind analyze, examine and think of anything else that comes to your mind naturally… let the positive thoughts come into the mind… do not bring the negative thoughts back into the mind…

• In case, during Meditation you feel that certain elements, forces or people are trying to create hindrances and obstacles in your way… consider them as forces of obstruction… consider them as undesirable elements… just tell them mentally to fly out or run away… they will have to run away and fly out because they can not stand against the power of the individual who is making efforts toward self development…

• When you have spent about five to ten minutes in Meditation, end the session. Slowly open your eyes. Remain seated for a while in the same position. Get up slowly after half a minute and then walk slowly for a few steps. Your session is over.

THIRD SESSION (VISUALIZATION AND MEDITATION)

VISUALIZATION

Now you are going to Meditate in a very comprehensive way. Carefully follow the instructions given below:
• Lie down on your back on a carpeted floor… keep your eyes closed… breathe in a normal way…let every part of your body rest loosely on the floor… now start breathing deeply…

• While breathing you must make deep and prolonged inhalations and exhalations…your stomach should rise while inhaling… and go down while exhaling… there is expansion… and contraction… of the abdominal muscles in this deep breathing…

• Gently, bring your right hand on to the stomach… put your palm flat on the stomach without exerting any pressure… the hand should just rest on the stomach… then inhale slowly but deeply... take in as much air as possible… while inhaling let the stomach expand… your hand on the stomach will also rise as an indication of the upward expansion… after you have inhaled pause for a second. ..then start exhaling slowly… the stomach will contract and come down… contract the stomach as much as possible… when the exhalation is complete pause for a second… then start inhaling again as before… always remember to pause for a second after each inhalation and exhalation... do ten rounds of this inhaling and exhaling… In this deep breathing the mouth should remain closed throughout. Breathing should be done through the nostrils.

• After completing ten rounds of deep breathing, put you right hand on the floor. Let the body be completely relaxed. Feel as if you going to take a nap for a few seconds. Stay in this relaxed conditions for three to five minutes.

• After relaxing completely for about five minutes become mentally alert…focus your mental attention on your toes then move gently towards the knees…the thighs… waist… spine… shoulders… neck… then move to the area of the head… now proceed gently to the area of the mind… let the mind see the mind… let the mind visualize the transformed condition of the mind… visualize patiently and slowly… what do you see…

• You see a big change on the mental horizon… the seeds which were planted some time ago have now become plants… they look very healthy… the plants are well protected… there are no weeds around them… the whole area appears neat, clean and decent…the fence around the plants is intact… the plants are getting the necessary nourishments… they are growing without hindrance and developing satisfactorily…

• The healthy condition of the plants generates a hope that your desires are going to be fulfilled… it shows that you have made good progress compared to what you were before… your progress towards fulfillment will be in accordance with the condition of the plants…

• Now breathe deeply twice… then open your eyes… keep lying on the floor for a few seconds… after ten to fifteen seconds, sit up slowly for Meditation…

MEDITATION

• Sit in a Meditation pose… be quite for a while… close your eyes… be at ease… then begin to meditate on things concerning your present and future life in a systematic and coherent way…

• Meditate on your Desire Number One first… spend about thirty seconds on various aspects of this desire… similarly spend about thirty seconds on your Desire number Two and Three respectively…

• Then Meditate on what you plan to do today and tomorrow… evaluate and analyze whether things are being done correct… try to find out if you have made any mistake or error in your various activities… if you have made any mistake, accept it as your fault… say to yourself that you will not repeat those mistakes in the future…

• Say to yourself that you are not thinking of harming others… you have no jealousy or feelings of hatred against others… you are using your powers to make yourself a better, healthy and prosperous individual… conclude your session by saying, “I am changing… I am improving… I am becoming healthy… attractive… powerful… I possess sound physical and mental powers… I am going to use them in a creative and constructive way…. I am going to do wonders… I am happy to see my own progress…”

• Allow some time for Meditation on those aspects which come to your mind automatically and naturally during Mediation. You can follow the pattern of Meditation as suggested in the previous Session. When you have meditated for about five to ten minutes, then end this Session by just opening your eyes. Remain seated for about half a minute after the Meditation. Then get up slowly. The Session is over.

ADVICE AND CAUTION FOR REGULAR MEDITATION

• Practice Meditation at least five days in a week at a regular hour unless there are some unavoidable reasons. In case your daily routine is disturbed for one reason or another and your Meditation is discontinued for some days begin the practice all over again. The gap of a few days should not discourage you from continuing Meditation.
• Meditation can be performed immediately after Shavasana if you are practicing Hatha Yoga.
• When your desires are fulfilled, your new desires should be according to your changing conditions and requirements. Meditate on them during your Meditation period.
• Occasionally, say at the interval of few months, practice visualization of your mind by lying on the floor, according to the technique already explained. This visualization should be done just before you are going to meditate.
• Meditation can be practiced by any person, of any age or sex for curative, preventive and creative purposes.

CONCLUSION
Let me conclude by saying that if you continue to practice Meditation regularly, you will always maintain sound mental health and power. In case you are faced with a difficult or unpleasant situation, Meditation will serve as a tool, an instrument or a technique for overcoming the problem. You will be able to maintain a normal life with the enhanced power of your mind and the unforeseen obstructions. It would indeed help to maintain the excellence of both body and mind.


Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna

Om Shanti