The significance and method of Meditation is generally misunderstood. Without regular meditation real spiritual development is not possible…
The word Yoga in general conveys that which helps man in uniting with the real or higher-self. The Hatha Yoga which is more popular deals mainly with well being at physical level. Raj-Yoga is much more comprehensive and is in fact a royal path to self realization.
Raja Yoga in Sanskrit is called the Ashtanga Yoga. The word Ashtanga consists of two words viz. ‘Asht’ which means eight and ‘Anga’ which means limbs or parts. Thus ashtanga yoga consists of eight limbs or more accurately eight steps as follows:
(1) Yama (2) Niyama (3) Asana (4) Pranayama (5) Pratyahara (6) Dharana (7) Dhayana (8) Samadhi
Yama and Niyama are certain do’s and don’ts which help in forming a strongly positive character thus these two are of ethical importance.
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The final three steps are concentration (Dharana), Meditation (Dhayana) and Super conscious or trance state (Samadhi) respectively.
Apart from other steps the one at number 4 is very helpful and in fact essential for attaining ability to meditate deeply and effectively.
What is Meditation? …
Meditation is disciplining the mind to concentrate on an idea, thought or object as consciously desired and then take the consciousness level to super conscious or trance state in order to know the hidden knowledge about that.
So in fact there are three steps, as named above at numbers six, seven and eight viz. Dharana, Dhayana and Samadhi, connected directly with meditation.
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Best time to meditate…
Unless the physical body is relaxed and mind is peaceful one cannot meditate. Therefore the best time to meditate is whenever you feel relaxed in body and mind. When the stomach is empty or not too full and mind is not in agitated state one can meditate with better results.
Some experts suggest meditation when a person is mentally agitated. True meditation is possible only when one’s mind is at rest. So if you feel agitated or upset due to some reason then first of all try to calm down your mind through deep and slow breathing which comprises of smooth inhalation through nostrils and then without retention exhaling through mouth over a longer period of time than you took to inhale. With a couple of such breaths you will feel mentally calm and relaxed and fit for meditation.
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Best Posture for Meditation…
In selecting a posture for meditation the main concern is comfort and relaxed state of mind. Any comfortable sitting posture in which the back and head are held straight upright is good enough.
For those of the east who are used to sitting in lotus posture from early years such posture is fine, but those with stiff body and no practice of sitting on the ground in lotus posture, such posture is not recommended.
A slightly easier posture as compared to the above (lotus posture) is the Vajra Aasana one can sit in this posture on the bed or on a rug on the floor.
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Still easier and comfortable postures can be followed by sitting on a chair with legs down and feet resting on a rug. It is also important that you select a place where you will not be disturbed during your session of meditation. There should be dim lighting and no noise.
How to do Meditation? …
Select an idea, thought or object on which you wish to meditate. Just for example you may like to know some behind the scene details of something or you desire to know how and when an object came into being.
An interesting session of meditation could be to find out how and when a particular tree came into existence. In such a case take a flower or fruit or a bud from that tree and hold it in your hands. Focus your whole attention on that flower, fruit or bud and concentrate.
Then close your eyes and stop thinking consciously. Let your mind become devoid of any thought and focus your gaze inwardly at a point just above the meeting point of your eyebrows.
Keep breathing normally. With practice you will go into trance or super conscious state and may see in the astral the blooming of that flower, growing up of that plant or tree and even go back to the time when the seed of that tree was germinating or even earlier.
In that state of consciousness you will actually perceive the past scenes. You may even see inside the stem and watch water and nutrients rising up from the soil. It’s all very interesting. You may end your session of meditation when you feel so.
Article by: Jyotirvid Pawan Kumar