Meditation and yoga nidra were the subjects taught on the last day of my 200hr YTT course. I’ve never came across of meditation or attended any classes before. It is a mystery to me. Meditation can be so esoteric, it’s about the mind and our experiences in the mind, which is difficult to articulate. Until that day, for the first time I experienced an 1 hour and 15 mins long of meditation. Then I realised how powerful it is meditation benefits to us! I can unable to describe the feelings I had with words. Although there’re so many times my mind wandering to somewhere else but I managed to bring it back to Self. What I only can say is the experience and feeling is so amazing and wonderful that I think I would like to try it again by myself when I’m at home. With the curiosity to meditation, it makes me decided to do a research and a write-up about Dhyana (Meditation).
Dhyana means absorption. It is the art of self-study, reflection, keen observation, or the search for the Infinite within. It is the observation of the physical processes of the body, study of mental states and profound contemplation. It means looking inwards to one’s innermost being. Dhyana is the discovery of the Self.
In meditation there is no seeking or searching, as the soul and goal have become one. Chanting of mantras is sometimes given to the beginner to steady his wandering mind and to keep him away from worldly desires. At first the mantra has to be recited aloud, then it is said mentally; lastly comes silence.
The best time to meditate is when one is fresh in body and mind, or at the time of going to bed when one feels peaceful.
The key to the technique of meditation lies in keeping the brain as a passive observer. The art of sitting correctly and silently is essential to achieve physical and mental harmony while practising meditation. Below are some techniques for meditation:
Keep the spine erect and the chest lifted up. This slows down the flow of breath, lessens the activity of the brain and leads to the cessation of all thoughts.
Keep the body alert. Keep the brain passive, sensitive and silent, like the thin end of a leaf, which shakes even in a gentle breeze.
Keep the crown of the head parallel to the ceiling without tilting the head to the right or the left, forwards or backwards, up or down. If the head is down, the sadhaka is brooding on the past, the mind is dull and tamasic. If it moves up, he is wandering in the furure, which is rajasic. When the head is held level, he is in the present, and this is a pure (sattvic) state of mind.
Close the eyes and look within. Shut your ears to outward sounds.Listen to the inner vibrations and follow them until they merge in their source. Any absent-mindedness or lack of awareness in the eyes and ears creates fluctuations in the mind.
Only people who are easily dejected or distressed and who have dull or weak minds are advised to direct the gaze at the centre between the eye brows with closed eyes for short periods of time. This should be done four or five times during meditation, with an interval between each attempt. This practice brings about mental stability and intellectual sharpness. However, people with hyper-tension should not follow this procedure.
Stay in meditation for as long as you can, without allowing the body to collapse. Then do savasana. Stop meditation the moment the body starts swaying forwards, backwards or sideways or if faintness is felt. Do not persist when this happens, as it means that the time for meditation is over for the day. If you persist, it may lead to mental imbalance.
The end of meditation is to make the mind submerge in the Self so that all seeking and searching comes to an end. Then the sadhaka experiences his own universality, timelessness and fullness.
The moment you become silent, aware and your inner sky is full of delight, you know the first taste of true life. That has to be the work for every seeker, to create more and more awareness, then freedom comes of its own accord.
“In the same way that rain breaks into a house with a bad roof, desire breaks into the mind that has not been practicing meditation.” Buddha
B.K.S. Iyengar (2013). Light on Pranayama. London: Harper Element (Original work published 1981).