Without knowing exactly the nature of
this process it is impossible to correctly
Object to Meditate
Without object to meditate upon, there
is no meditation.
The steps of
1. Dharana -
2. Dhyana -
Yoga as per
The mind is like a crazy monkey, the more
you try to calm it by force, the more
it will refuse to do that.
Let yourself be absorbed into, and by,
Before starting most people can successfully
practice aerobics or body building, for
instance, without knowing human anatomy
or without understanding at all what they
are doing or why.
Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately),
this is not so with yoga and meditation.
Without knowing exactly the nature of
this process it is impossible to correctly
realize it and therefore there can be
no true meditation. Meditation is the
highest yoga practice (this doesn't mean
it is difficult!). In fact, very few people
can really meditate, and this for two
main reasons: Very few know exactly what
meditation is; Even fewer are willing
to comply with it (lack of motivation).
Not everybody that stays motionless with
the eyes closed is meditating. Meditation
is an accurate science, therefore it cannot
be practiced in total ignorance. Only
those who study it with a serious inner
motivation can successfully practice it.
Yoga as per Patanjali:
Patanjali defined yoga as follows: Yoga
[is] citta vritti nirodha. Yoga Sutra,
I, 1 That is, yoga is the gradual stoppage
(nirodha) of the vritti-s (mental patterns)
of citta. This sutra contains the essence
of the whole yoga Science and the secret
of mental concentration. Maybe ignorance
and prejudices make you believe that you
cannot concentrate your mind. This is
not true! Everybody can concentrate, even
deeply, upon an object that is highly
interesting for that person.
The mind is like a crazy monkey: the
more you try to calm it by force and to
make it stay on a definite place, the
more it will refuse to do that, doing
exactly the opposite: jumping even more
crazily form one place to another. Therefore
start focusing the mind very softly upon
the chosen object and when it jumps to
another object just bring it back calmly
and patiently, with humor and compassion
at your lack of discipline. If you get
angry about this continuous mental jumping,
this will only increase the mind's tendency
Object to Meditate:
Keep in mind that meditation, especially
in the first stages, must have an object.
Without object to meditate upon, there
is no meditation. The simplest object
of meditation is a physical object (a
pot, a drawing, a ball, etc.). In more
advanced stages, the objects of meditation
become ever more subtle: mental images
created at will, a piece of information,
a problem that needs a solution, a feeling,
a thought, an idea, a subtle energy, a
state of consciousness, etc.
In this material the word "object"
will refer to any of these. An important
point here is that the object of meditation
has to be very well perceived by the subject.
In other words, the object must have a
clear objective or subjective reality.
A very vaguely defined idea cannot function
as an object of meditation. The subject
(the practitioner of meditation) must
be able to "take hold" of at
least one of the major characteristics
of the object, if not of all of them.
Learn to perceive. Consider carefully
the object of concentration: approach
it with astonishment and childlike curiosity
as if you don't know anything about it
(do we really know something important
about the objects of the outer world?).
Do Not approach the object rationally
and/or intellectually, but grasp its essence
with your feelings alone or even solely
by instinct. Explore the object non-verbally,
in a state of alert passivity, purposeless
and unconcerned waiting, child-like curiosity
and sheer astonishment. There is only
you and the object: nothing is expected
from you, everything is expected from
the object. Therefore sit in a state of
continuously euphoric expectation, in
the highest state of readiness.
This is very important. Let yourself
be absorbed into, and by, the object.
Do not try to define, to judge or to understand,
just consider the object with curiosity
as if you see it for the very first time.
The very fact that you cannot define exactly
the object and do not understand it rationally,
opens you toward the object and creates
the state of mental receptivity in which
intuition ("no-mind" or "superconsciousness",
as it is also called) can start to function.
By doing so, you will soon discover that
the objects of the surrounding world have
thousand meanings (that come in flashes).
We normally overlook these meanings.
Every thing is thus full of a sheer wonder
and fascinating mystery that you will
start to grasp gradually, everything is
sustained by an invisible energy that
you will start to feel and effortlessly
control. Mental concentration (dharana)
is a modality of starting a process of
resonance and attuning with the subtle
cosmic energies of which the object of
concentration is just a visible manifestation.
Don't try to speed up this process: let
it start by itself when the time comes.
In this approach, knowledge comes from
the object, NOT from the subject (the
Concentration is lying in wait, watching
hyperattentively, like a cat that waits
for the mouse to get out from its hiding
place: the unforeseen can happen any split
second. Every beginning is difficult.
At the beginning, you probably will discover
that this exercise fails lamentably. Accept
this fact as being perfectly normal. Keep
in mind that in yoga there is no lost
effort, in other words every effort will
bring a result eventually.
None of your failed efforts is wasted
labor. As the wise saying goes: "The
mud is as valuable as the lotus flower
that it nourishes." Every failed
try is in fact a step toward success because
mental concentration, the same as meditation,
has a cumulative effect that comes not
only from doing it "well," but
also from working consistently on it.
Taming the mind: At the beginning, the
mind has very little stability; you find
the object and then very swiftly you lose
it. The mind wanders elsewhere.
After a certain period of practice, sufficient
stability arise in mind so that the attention
will remain uninterruptedly focused on
the object for short periods of time (ten-fifteen
seconds, maybe more). Further on, the
degree of mental stability becomes even
greater than before; the mind can stay
constantly focused upon the object with
a reasonably good degree of stability
and yet, occasionally, it will wander
Then it will come a stage in which the
mind no longer loses the object, because
the power of concentration has come to
completion. Now, a sustained effort to
increase the clarity of mind has to be
done. After this, the mind will have a
tremendous power. With just the slightest
bit of effort, it becomes focused upon
the object and continues to abide effortlessly
in it for as long as you want. Once you
have attained this state, the mind has
become an extremely fine instrument for
any type of meditation you want to engage
in. It is like you want to ride a wild
This kind of meditation really produces
significant inner transformation and enlightenment.
Of course, meditating in the midst of
distractions is initially much more difficult
-- with fewer short-term rewards -- than
sitting quietly alone. However, if you
want to make the heightened awareness
of meditation a part of your life, then
you must meditate in daily life continuously,
you must remain inwardly in meditation
no matter what you do outwardly. Frequently
you may feel that you are getting nowhere
with the practice of meditation in the
midst of activity, whereas the quietistic
approach brings unexpected and quick results.
Yet rest assured that those who use the
quietistic approach only can never hope
to enter meditation in the midst of activity,
which is the true meaning of meditation.
The steps of meditation:
The ageless tradition of wisdom teaches
that in order to enter the state of meditation,
certain definite steps are to be followed.
Nobody can enter meditation without passing
through these steps.
The steps are:
a. Know about Dharana
b. The ideal state of Dharana
c. How to start it
a. What is Dhyana
b. The basic principle
c. How to start
a. What actually Samadhi is?
b. Loosing Yourself
c. Triangle of Meditaiton
In the Western Tradition, these three
stages are called consideratio
("contemplation") and raptus
Each step, when mastered, naturally leads
to the following step Dharana - mental
The human mind continuously receives information
about the outer world through the five
"gates" of the senses: smell,
taste, sight, touch and hearing.
Among the data received through a certain
sense, the mind can select only those
that are of interest at a given time.
This selection is realized through focusing
the attention upon that particular data
and ignoring the other unimportant data.
The more the attention is focused upon
a certain sense, the more the amount of
information received through that sense
increases and the information coming from
other senses becomes less important
and can even be completely ignored by
A special characteristic of the human
mind is the capacity of focusing the attention
toward the inner world of feelings, thoughts
and ideas. More than that, the human mind
can be focused even upon itself -- this
fact is of paramount importance, because
it creates the possibility of controlling
the mind. This faculty of the human mind
to modify at will the orientation of the
conscious attention is the basic mechanism
of mental concentration (dharana). Defining
the concept "To concentrate"
means to reunite into a center, to gather,
to focus. Mental concentration (dharana)
means to focus the mind upon a unique
object without allowing it (the mind)
to jump to another object for a determined
period of time.
The opposite of concentration is dispersion,
scattering. In this case, the mind jumps
uncontrolled from one object to another
fixing itself to nothing.
This is a fundamental principle of worship.
Mind is movement "Dharana" means
"holding the mind." The Ageless
Wisdom considers that "the mind",
as we know it, is just a perpetual flow,
according to definite laws, of psychic
patterns (vritti-s). The train of psychic
patterns has an undercurrent of emotions,
doubled by a consequent physiological
responses. Actually, the mind is movement.
Mind is like the wind: the wind is air
movement; when this movement stops, the
air is still there, but the wind disappeared.
The mental-stuff that remains after the
psychic patterns (vritti-s) have been
stopped is called citta. When the mental
patterns (vritti-s) are stopped, the mind
disappears: we enter the no-mind state.
No-Mind (which actually means beyond
the mind) is the state of highest
creativity and spiritual intuition.
The ideal state
Perfect mental concentration implies
to focus completely the whole potential
of attention -- without using any force
or mental / nervous tension -- upon the
chosen object for a definite period of
time, allowing no dispersion at all. This
state is analogous to the phenomenon of
focusing sunlight through a lens: the
light rays are gathered in a small point,
thus enormously increasing their power.
Here, the time element is very important:
if the light is perfectly concentrated
but this state lasts a very short time,
nothing can happen. The point of focused
light must be maintained continuously
a certain time - only after that the effects
can appear (for instance, the lighting
of a piece of wood).
In a similar way, dharana must be maintained
a certain period of time: only after that
concentration starts the process of resonance
with the corresponding cosmic energy and
the consequent transfer of that energy
into your being. The energy carries feelings
and information related to the object
How to start it:
Sit in a comfortable posture with the
spine and neck kept straight and vertical.
Close your eyes and pass through the following
steps: Relax quickly and deeply from bottom
to top. Let your attention swiftly scan
your body and release all tensions.
Let your breathing become calm and peaceful.
Turn the attention inward (introversive
gaze) and disconnect yourself from the
outer disturbing factors (noises, etc.);
begin to withdraw the mind from any thoughts
that arise (as a result of the activity
of the senses) by making a brief but detetrmined
effort to stop the discursive thinking;
Concentrate the mind (dharana) upon the
object of your choice. Let's examine in
greater detail dharana.
Empty your mind of all thoughts. Then
bring the chosen object before your inner
mind's eye. Don't allow the mind to jump
to another object or thought. If this
happens, calmly and patiently bring your
mind back to your object. This is the
only thing you are supposed to do during
dharana: to keep the mind focused upon
Beware of force or tension! Be calm,
open and favorably inclined to concentrate.
Doing nothing Mental concentration is
a static process: during concentration
the mind is frozen, the thinking
is stopped, the mental activity is suspended.
The only mental movement should be to
bring gently the mind back to the chosen
object when it jumps away. Mental concentration
can be described as "doing nothing".
You understand now that it is not laziness,
but "just sitting" with a purpose.
During dharana, the mind is like a mirror:
the only activity is to reflect the object.
"During Concentration (dharana),
the mind is like a pure crystal that takes
the color of the object upon which it
2.Dhyana - the state
What is Dhyana:
"Dhyana (meditation per se) is the
continuous flow of the mental processes
toward the object (of meditation)."
Yoga Sutra Dhyana is an effortless flow
of the mind spontaneously directed toward
the object. Dhyana (meditation) is a dynamic
process: during it, the mental processes
(thoughts, ideas, etc.) are turning around
the object of meditation, making free
associations (for example) related to
that particular object only. During meditation,
the activity of the mind reaches a tremendously
dynamic intensity and eventually becomes
a laser-beam-like stream of concentrated
Dhyana (meditation) is superimposed upon
dharana (mental concentration). In other
words, mental concentration lasts permanently
during the whole period of meditation.
The purpose of mental concentration is
to keep the object before the mind's
eye so to speak, and it is a static
process. Meditation takes place at a higher
level of mind and implies mental dynamics.
The basic principle:
There is a law of mind that says that
"if a thought / idea prevails in
mind, all the other thoughts / ideas gradually
have the tendency to submit to the prevailing
thought / idea". This is the basic
principle of meditation. The prevailing
thought is created by concentration and
the movement of the mind around that particular
thought is meditation. One leads to another
Concentration and meditation, even if
they seem very close, are nevertheless
distinct phenomena. If you realize a good
concentration, this will lead automatically
to meditation, because in yoga every step,
when perfectly realized, gives the key
to the next step. Do not force or do not
try to accelerate the process of passing
from concentration to meditation. Let
it come naturally: this will certainly
happen after a certain period of practice.
Remember: genius is an infinite patience.
Be therefore patient and you will become
a genius through the practice of meditation.
How to start:
1. The first step in dhyana (meditation)
is dharana (mental concentration). For
some time, this might be the only step
you will be able to make for meditation.
Through patience and tireless practice,
you will gradually discover through personal
experience how to start/release the next
Keep this in mind: at a deep level, nobody
can really teach you to meditate, except
yourself, applying the traditional information
exposed in this material.
2. While keeping the dharana (concentration)
state of mind, let go of it, allow your
thoughts to move freely, to make connections,
associations. Don't you think that you
have to do something for this: just be
mentally alert and realize the spontaneous
and effortless transition from the motionless
reflection (dharana) to the dynamic thinking
(dhyana). You will discover that now your
mind will not jump any more at random
but, on a lower level, dharana (concentration)
will be sustained almost effortlessly
and, on a higher level, the thoughts will
start to move, to revolve around the object
only. This is dhyana (meditation).
3. Samadhi- blissful
We saw that dhyana (meditation) is the
continuous flow of mental processes toward
the object of meditation. This process
leads gradually to a blissful identification
(co-penetration of the object of meditation
with the practitioner's own being). This
is the highest state, called samadhi.
In samadhi the mind, continuously and
to the exclusion of all other objects,
assumes the nature and becomes one with
In samadhi, only the object awareness
remains, as if the consciousness of individuality
disappears. Actually, the individuality
of the practitioner does not disappear
(it would be impossible !), but the practitioner's
consciousness blissfully identifies with
the object of meditation. In samadhi,
the mind and consciousness of the yogin
become one with the object. There is no
more awareness of mental functioning (the
mind apparently enters into a state of
void, emptiness). There is no more awareness
of personal individuality as being separate
form the object. Now, the practitioner
feels that there is no more difference
between "object" and "me."
This dichotomy is now impossible.
The triangle of meditation
During dhyana (meditation), there is
awareness about the knower (the practitioner
of meditation), the known (the object
of meditation) and the knowledge that
arises in mind about the object of meditation.
These three are distinct: The triangle
absorbed in a point.
In samadhi, knower, known and knowledge
fuse, merge one into another, become one.
Samadhi is an intuitive cognition referring
to what is directly present, it is he
immediacy of the replicative experience,
the non-intermediateness of perception.
This means that here perception is realized
somehow without using any of the intermediary
channels (like, for example, the senses,
the mind, the intellect, etc.), and this
is why this experience is perceived as
identity. Samadhi is a state of undifferentiated
identity with the object to be known,
a self-detaching immersion into its meaning.
In this state, the yogin experiences that
state of consciousness in which he perceives
the undifferentiatedly unique substratum
of all things, creatures and worlds. The
part is discovered to be the whole, every
unit is present in any other units, everything
is a part of the fullness of which the
experiencer represents an epitome. The
yogin who has brought this process to
its completion is able to recognize the
underlying and essentially unconcealed
reality of the Cosmic Consciousness that
composes the most intimate status of every
apparently finite objects.
Here the triad of knower, known and the
process of knowing has been transcended.
The knower (the yogin in samadhi) turns
away from the object and doubles back
on himself. In so doing, he creates a
situation in which the object of knowing
is the knower himself, and the process
of knowing is also simply the knower himself.
This state is sometimes described as "void"
or "emptiness" (shunya) because
of the contrast with the apparent fullness
of objectivity (represented by the duality
object-subject) that precedes it. It is
a process of progressively stripping away
the outer attributes and characteristics
of the object of meditation until the
yogin is simply left with the sheer existential
essence of that object. This process of
rediscovery of the undifferentiated unique
substratum of everything that exists is
a major feature of the attainment of liberation
and spiritual enlightenment. No longer
do finite objects appear as separate and
limited structures; rather, the Consciousness
out of which all things are composed surfaces
and becomes visible as the true Reality
of perceived objects.