‘How to meditate, increase mindfulness & find God’ is not my Blog or writing. My intellect is too small to even begin to answer this most profound question like the saints who walked this country did. They gave to this world the real meaning of spirituality and the precise understanding of mindfulness, who is God and how to find God through meditation. This blog is their message, their words, their writing. I feel immensely blessed to be their very small instrument as I amplify their message further. This blog is also my very personal spiritual story: the story of my learning on the most beautiful road of spirituality (Not religion). This blog is long but a comprehensive guide to the above question (I promise). You will need 2-3 readings to fully absorb everything that’s written here. So, be slow and thorough to get the most out of it.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
Here are eight super compelling reasons why you must not delay meditating:-
1. You’ll be able to concentrate on anything like a laser
Try practicing the Meditation technique (described in detail) inside this Blog for 30 days and see the magic for yourself. Be it business or studies or enjoying 100% with the people you love- your concentration (absorption) will become top notch within a few months of practice of this technique.
Whatever your vocation be- you can increase your efficiency multifold by regular deep practice of concentration techniques & meditation. Some of the world’s hugely successful people are practicing meditation for decades now. I guess there is a clue here for us.
All men of success have been men of great concentration, men who could dive deeply into their problems and come out with the pearls of right solutions. Inequalities in the power of concentration exhibited by various people are reflected in the varying degrees of success they achieve. Most people are drowned in the tides of distraction while endeavouring to fish for the pearls of success.
– Autobiography of a Yogi
2. It will slowly rid you off restlessness,
And give you an ever new joy, peace and perception of love. Would you not want to have these feelings early in your life? With daily, deep meditation habit- any puppet like mind will begin to become restful & genuinely confident. You will begin to live in the NOW (begin practicing real mindfulness).
Many of us confuse mindfulness with being in a meditative state. Mindfulness is a by-product of meditation practice and techniques. Mindfulness is the art and science of being in the present moment, being aware of your mind and body and making the most of it. This blog will discuss mindfulness in detail in the subsequent pages. It is one of the most joyous benefits of continued practice of meditation.
3. You’ll sleep so well,
You will sleep better, deeper and wake up fresher with a much rested mind & with fewer thoughts (Compare this to how you normally wake up these days).
4. It will break your negative momentum.
One reason why we do not change in our life is because ‘We do not do what we know. Rather we do what our momentum makes us do’. Momentum is that Vriti (tendencies deep ingrained inside us). For e.g. I have this task-obsession momentum. This obsession is good professionally but it usually leaves me extremely restless & irritable.
My momentum (& your momentum) will not break with discrimination alone (because we all know what’s right and wrong). This momentum will break with the weight of meditation. It is like a see-saw – on one side you have momentum. The other needs to be balanced with meditation. Until we balance the wrong with right, the momentum will not break. Where momentum is carrying you away really fast, meditation slows you down & finally cracks your momentum (habits) forever.
5. Your intuition will increase.
That premonition, that ability to hunch things and events early will begin sprouting. You’ll also start intuiting the right things, the right people and the right decisions for your ownselves. Secret blessings get perceived more (Personally experiencing).
6. You will never feel Loneliness.
Because you will have God, masters and divine experiences as your company. What a super company boss!!
7. Whatever is good inside you will get amplified.
I found my spontaneity to have increased 10x since I started doing dhyaana (Stillness & Meditation). I smile more often than I used to.
8. Years of sincere practice and you will meet God. What else? You’ll find the purpose of this life.
‘Confusion to Clarity’& ‘Atheism to Devotion’- My Own Story:
I was born & raised in a North Indian, Hindu and Brahmin family. As I was growing up; I saw my parents & relatives trying to devote themselves to God & deities in ways which were either rituals or random. Mostly fear & wellbeing (fulfilling desires) were the fulcrums of their devotions. As kids we used to do pooja, go to temples and yatras & more often than not these turned out to be more of an adventure & less of seeking the real. I never could feel any connect or depth (possibly my problem).
I was growing from a teenager into an adult & with time as I saw suffering & pain in the world (bad things happening to good people); my already confused faith about the concept of God began to quiver. There came a time when I started believing that God is a man-made concept. Became agnostic, which is worse than being an atheist (happens with most people in their lives).
I absorbed myself then into the worldly ways e.g. skin, money, glam, power & thrills of every kind. I thought this was the way to find not only success but also meaning. Reason: – I saw almost everyone around me competing to win THIS race only. So, everything made me believe that this race only is the real one. But as I kept on finding good success in THIS race; I only ended up tiring myself (even after achieving things). Every single time; there was a victory in my life- I could not even deep savour it for 10 mins fully AND my Goal post changed.
I always was looking for that ‘something else’ which can complete me. Right through- my mind was at perpetual unrest & in spite of having most things; my eyes still felt empty. The more i kept on gaining; the more I was feeling the scarcity in my life. The luxuries that I was acquiring were coming at the silent cost of dissipation of brain and nerve energy.
I was achieving almost everything but was progressively feeling trapped along. Elders, books and some friends suggested that I take a plunge into deeper truths i.e. Spirituality, Meditation, God. That hyper active quotient was perpetually inside me and my search for spiritual truth made me quite a wanderlust. I hopped from here to there seeking answers to my curiosities. Did almost all courses which were available to do in the spiritual market. Actually traveled North, West, East, South to learn about ‘How to Meditate & Increase Mindfulness’.
Somehow that total connect was escaping my soul in each of these places. Not that these courses were bad or fake; but one or the other reason stopped me from accepting them fully. Some schools of meditation emphasized on visualization (subconsciously produced hallucinations, frozen image of my own imaginations), others were semi-shops (books, courses and DVDs were very above the cost price), a few others demanded that I bring more followers (too much traffic) etc. They possibly were good only and maybe my low EQ / IQ could not match.
MY LIFE AS A SEEKER: The Various Spiritual Paths I tried
I tried doing Mantra Yoga. Here again my temperament was not matching. That stillness and deep dhayana was eluding (again could be my issue). My work was all travel and I used my travel to start visiting temples and places of worship of other religions as well. I felt hurt and confused at a lot of temples as if God was the exclusive right of pundits and pandas.
And then just when I was trying to figure out hidden truths through the words of saints and holy books- the episodes of Aasaram Bapu, Ram Rahim, Nirmal Baba etc. dented my belief to route my search through a Guru Medium (Not sure, who is true and who is a wrong number). The biggest damage that Baba Ram Rahim & Aasaaram genre do is to U-turn the faith of youth from Spirituality & genuine Gurus (who are God Realized themselves). I objectively thought about it and then re-thought.
Here is what I concluded after deep confusion & then cogitation: – India is a land of Spirituality. God Realized masters walked our country. Guru Nanak, Kabir, Sai Baba, Yogananda, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Vivekananda, Ramana Maharishi, Gurus of Radha Soami sect – what beautiful names. A bad comparison but one or two Kheeras (Cucumber) if turn kadwaa; does it mean ALL kheeraas are Kadwaa?? Or for that reason ALL KHEERAAS that ever were grown here or shall be grown in future will be KADWAA?? Sreesanth fixed matches SO all cricket matches are fixed? Stampede happened at Kedarnath. Where was God? I don’t believe in him anymore.
See- It is important to be AWARE. To be CONSCIOUS. But is our FAITH so flimsy. Is our belief on God a relationship of Convenience which if doesn’t get suited to our terms – we sour it so easily?? I summarized that I would not let a few bad fish mean that the entire ocean is Bad.
STUMBLING UPON KRIYA YOGA; the Event that Changed My Life Forever
I read somewhere that when your search for God increases; God sends you a Book. When it rises manifold further- God sends you a teacher and when you really become extremely thirsty- God sends you a Guru (a soul in human form who himself is God realized & the voice of silent God). Just when I was exhausting myself in my search for truth; I found this book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Sri Paramhansa Yogananda. The cover pic of Yoganandaji (his eyes) drew my soul to this book. I read and then kept on reading everything from him (you have to read from him yourself to believe what I am saying).
A true Guru (SAT-GURU) will tell you the truth. A True Guru knows that devotion to the personality of any Avatar, Guru, Sage or Mahatma perpetuates the illusion of division. A True Guru helps the sincere devotee realize that what animates the Guru animates all. The True Guru directs the devotee’s devotion to that One Pure Consciousness (Aum-Tat-Sat).
Einstein said that space looks very suspicious, because everything comes out of it and everything disappears into it. Whither do electrons vanish and whole worlds? Meditate and you shall be told; where everything is coming from & disappearing into (Vibration to Vibration less ‘Sat’).
Shiva, Kaali, Krishna, Ganesha, Buddha, Guru Nanak, Prophet Mohammad are all symbols of that One pure Consciousness. Even if one prays to any of these deities; in deep Samadhi (the highest state in meditation) – the form will automatically convert into formless (super consciousness).
I decided that I will worship God as spirit, the one pure consciousness (instead of any one deity). Finally my head was sorting after so much tear and wandering. The book and lessons in meditation from Paramhansa Yogananda were helping me tremendously.
One gets connected to one’s Guru based on one’s soul temperament. I was seeking perfect answers which will lead to direct experience of God through the highest meditation techniques and was finding it in here. It is like till now I was making tangents & or chords to the circle of spirituality. With Kriya Yoga (meditation); diameters started beginning to get formed. Another thing which attracted me the most to this path was its inclusiveness. I see Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Foreigners and almost everyone meditating together on pure consciousness.
If you already have a true Guru and are very satisfied with his instructions on how to meditate and how to increase mindfulness then you do not need to change paths. If you do not have -your spiritual preceptor (Guru) will automatically draw you to him if your thirst is very high. I had some very intimate and personal super natural experiences in 2013 which made me believe that my path is that of Meditation (Kriya Yoga, the highest form of Yoga which is Raja Yoga). Based on your soul journey and at the right time; you will automatically get an indication of your Guru. A Guru may or may not be in his physical body (living) to be your Guru.
My favourite quote in all these years of search became:-
God does not want to influence anyone by miracles performed through saints. God wants to keep Himself as a suggestion hidden behind all cosmic beauty. He wants every human son to use his own free will and innate willingness to find his cosmic Father.”
I summarized that all religions, sects, Gurus say the same thing and lead you to the same supreme consciousness. Just that their ways of saying it are different. And we humans create repulsive dogmas. Be it Islam or Sikhism or Buddhism or Christianity or Hinduism – all talk of ONE universal consciousness. Can there be two? Can you imagine elections or war in Swarg Lok? Crap! The biggest lie / falsehood perpetrated on mankind is ‘My God vs Your God’. History, as Napolean Bonaparte is reputed to have said, ‘is a lie agreed upon’.
So, after reading Autobiography of a Yogi, I subscribed to lessons in Kriya Yoga meditations (& Self realization). For the next 3.5 years, the lessons started reaching my door step every month as a registered post. The cost of these 3.5 yrs of lessons was much less than any medium sized Pizza. I finally started meditating. As I progressively refined my awareness about ‘How to meditate right’; my restlessness, task obsession vriti, my negative momentums slowly started getting replaced with joy, peace and bliss.
Thousands of people pray in temples (wait in serpentine queues to visit the idols), in churches, in shrines but they don’t know why they do so, or why they don’t get answer to their prayers. If they knew the law of deep meditation, they would easily be able to commune with him. This is what I deeply learnt.
Temples, Churches, Mosques, Gurudwaras etc.- Imagine meditating at these shrines for hours (diameter devotion) vs plain visiting them (Tangents or at the max chords devotion). Imagine being totally aware of yourself, your existence, being mindful of the beautiful vibrations in these places of worship vis-à-vis the chaos and humdrum of surface worshippers! One of my Goals is to do Mt Kailash & deeply meditate in that time and place. Hope it happens. Amen!
So, WHAT IS MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS?
A lot of people ask me ‘What is the definition of Meditation’? Please read carefully and very slowly- the best one that I found from Vedas & Upanishads:
Meditation (dhyana) is an unbroken flow of thought toward the object of concentration (God). In other words, meditation is prolonged concentration. The process of meditation is often compared to the pouring of oil from one vessel to another, in a steady, unbroken stream. Thoughts are waves (vritti) in the mind. Ordinarily as thought-wave arises, remains in the mental field for a moment, and then subsides, to be succeeded by another wave.
In the practice of Samadhi meditation (the highest), a succession of identical waves are raised in the mind; and this is done so rapidly that not one wave is allowed to subside before another rises to take its place. The effect is one of perfect continuity like the pouring of oil. A continuity of endless identical images is fused into one flow of love with no end. This is the real meaning of Meditation. Very important that you understand THIS.
Mindfulness, on the other hand, along with heartfulness is becoming a major trend. I repeat, it is a by product of meditation. In simple words, mindfulness is the human ability to be fully present in the present moment, be aware of our space and time, and focus on the task at hand. It is the ability to not get perturbed or overwhelmed by the situation around us but to observe calmly and try to figure it out. So, the best ways to be mindful is to be meditative!
To have ANY kind of above mentioned spiritual experience(as given in the definition of Meditation above); The BODY must be still, the mind must be still and the feelings must be still. Stillness means NO restless thoughts, not even praying. Just be aware of the spiritual eye i.e. keep the mind riveted at Kutastha (the point between the eyebrows where ladies put bindi).
The word STILL is of paramount importance here. So, what is stillness? Razor sharp awareness of Joyfulness is STILLNESS. Do not expect anything. Do not look for anything.
Stillness can only be felt. It cannot be expressed. In stillness there is no effort. Just the PAUSE button. When you pray to the spirit i.e. Consciousness then do not coax God to come in any particular way. Let him come his way. He is keener to come. You just make the effort. In deep stillness when it happens to you; God will silently break in (as Light or peace or as sound (Aum) or as joy, devotion, bliss).
However, if you have an individualized relationship with God e.g. you are a devotee of any of symbols of God e.g. Shiva or Kaali or Hanuman ji or Guru Nanak or Christ or any prophets or saints or your Guru then God will appear in that form only (This is a divine promise mentioned in Bhagwad Geeta).
Without stillness God is impossible to achieve because PEACE and STILLNESS are the altars of Divine.
HOW WILL THIS STILLNESS COME?
It can come through many ways. Slower ways are chanting (Mantra Yoga), jappa, pooja, bhakti, gyana, laya, Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga or singing songs or more. Most of these methods are bullock cart ways (slow). However, God has no rules to come. Each of these methods is good and can lead to God realization if done with deep intensity. This deep intensity comes the best and the fastest through STILLNESS (Aeroplane way).
And stillness cannot be achieved ordinarily (Finding the devotee’s attention entangled in restlessness and engrossed with sensations, thoughts, associated memory thoughts; God’s voice recedes into the depths of silence). So we need scientific techniques of concentration to get rid of rowdy sensations of touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight, the tumult of sensation, and memory-roused thoughts.
There are dozens of concentration (people erringly call it meditation) techniques which one may learn. Do not forget that the objective of each of these techniques is NOT the technique itself but to progressively generate stillness (Pratyahara or interiorization of mind) for further meditation to happen.
Some good techniques which are there are Buddhist ways of stilling the mind, Vipassana, Transcendental meditations, Sudarshan Kriya, Osho methods, intellectual discriminative meditation & more. If you already are following any concentration technique and you believe it is leading to increased depth and dhyaana then pls carry on doing it. Rather start doing it with the greatest of mental intensity. I learnt many techniques in the last many years but stayed a little unsatisfied with most. Saying again- the problem could be with me or my individual soul temperament.
Then I started learning Kriya Yoga and Lo! It was like wowwwww ! Magic. I found all my answers (rather questions did not remain). Lord Krishna in Bhagwad Geeta extols Raja Yoga (Kriya Yoga) to be the highest form of Yoga. Kriya is the aeroplane route to reach God. It is that profound a technique. It is difficult to become a Kriya Yogi for the path is only for people with a dogged will power (Needs discipline).
WHAT ARE THE MAIN TECHNIQUES OF KRIYA YOGA MEDITATION?
Kriya Yoga path includes four main techniques:-
1. 38 Energization Exercises (They are no ordinary exercises. It takes me 18-20 mins to do these exercises daily. Airport or abroad or at home – I do these super power exercises daily, without fail and they keep me recharged).
2. Hong Sau (a quite similar technique is described below)
3. AUM (One listens to the Aum sound in his right ear and merges with it. Later this sound starts getting heard in the surroundings as well. Yes! One actually hears AUM)
4. Kriya is highest of all meditation techniques. One single Kriya (which takes 30-35 secs to do) is equivalent to completing one complete year of normal spiritual evolution. Just doing a few Kriyas with deep intensity and deepest devotion disconnects the mind totally and stillness then comes easily.
The Lord, through the Bhagavad Gita, promised:
“Even a little practice of this inward religion (Kriya Meditation) will free one from dire fears and colossal sufferings.”
You too can begin your journey to become a Kriya Yogi by subscribing to lessons in meditation (self realization). The LINK is THIS. Strongly recommend you to read the classic ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ deeply before you subscribe.
A person in a lighted room whose windows are shuttered may enjoy the beautiful furnishings of the room, but can see nothing beyond unless he opens the shutters and looks out. Similarly, we live in a sunlit decorated hall of earth, but we cannot behold the territory of the infinite unless we open the window through deep & regular meditations.
Let us get back to Concentration, Concentration Technique & Meditation. I am sharing next with you the most beautiful, simple & yet a very effective technique. Following this technique one can easily climb the staircase of Stillness and thence to deep meditations on any aspect of God. If you do not believe in God then also you can practice this technique and it will lead you to supreme peace, joy and bliss (so much required for the worldly work). This technique is just not mine, not is its description. I am too small a person to teach anyone a technique as this.
This Concentration technique is very similar to the classic Buddhist mediation techniques or mindfulness techniques and also to Vipassana & Hong Sau (mentioned above). Be rest assured that you are reading next- a very profound technique given by God (through the voice of saints & monks who are self realized). The words, the inspiration and the blessings inside the technique are of Sri ParamhansaYogananda (The author of the biggest spiritual classic- Autobiography of a Yogi). I am just a copier of the truths said by him.
WHAT IS CONCENTRATION?
Concentration is the power by which one can free the attention from objects of distraction and place it upon one thing at a time. Mental efficiency depends upon one’s development of the art of concentration, the reason- why one must learn the scientific techniques to concentrate. Imagine if you knew the art of conscious concentration, you will be able to focus the burning power of attention upon any difficult problem, just as sun’s rays, concentrated through the magnifying glass, can set fire to objects beneath it.
Meditation is that specific form of concentration which is applied only to know God. Mindfulness is the result of it.
The correct place and posture for meditation:
1. Sit in a clean, silent place, preferably facing north, north-east or East. The place where you meditate regularly develops extremely positive spiritual vibrations that will help you concentrate better at the same place each day. And the north or east direction aligns you with the magnetic pull of the right currents from Earth. If possible, try and place a silk cloth or preferably a woollen blanket on your meditation seat.
2. The best is to sit in ‘padmasana’ position (lotus position) on the ground with your spine straight i.e. perpendicular to the ground. But a lot of people find padamasana difficult. So, simply sit cross-legged. The most important thing is to maintain a straight spine because it aligns all the organs into the right position which is conducive to seamless flow of breath & life force.
Initially, it might cause you slight unease, but with practice, sitting straight becomes quite easy. You still find it difficult to sit on floor- no issues. If sitting directly on the floor is difficult, you can use a pillow or a cushion. Slight elevation below the buttocks provides great support for sitting for longer hours.
You may choose to sit on an armless chair but with back straight (picture attached below). I do it this way. Many advanced meditators sit on chairs when they sit for long hours and it’s absolutely okay. Ensure that your feet are flat on the ground (keep a cloth on floor for feet) and you are not slouching or taking constant support at the back rest of the chair.
3. The lumbar region of the spine (opposite the navel) should be gently crooked forward, the chest up and shoulders back (which places the inner edges of the shoulder blades closer together). Each hand, palm upturned, should be put on the corresponding thigh at the juncture of the thigh and abdomen to prevent the body from bending forward. The chin should be parallel to the floor.
4. While maintaining this correct position, undue tension in the muscles should be relaxed. This is a very critical point. Take two minutes to relax any kind of tension in your body (motor nerves, muscles or any other part). If body is tense then you started it.
Summary- The posture should be Sahej (i.e. should lead to ease and not to discomfort of any kind. Any discomfort will only block the flow of right energies). Try consciously to relax each part of the body; make a mental check every now and then throughout your practice to be sure the body is really relaxed. In the beginning- you may want to take about 20 deep breaths to calm yourself down (only if need be).
HOW TO MEDITATE: THE TECHNIQUE AND DOs & DON’Ts
Once you have taken position for meditation and are relaxed, close your eyes and fix your gaze upwards, to the point between your eyebrows (where ladies put Bindi). It is often called the Kutastha (or the spiritual eye) and is placed polar opposite to the medulla oblongata. As a preliminary exercise practice fixing your gaze at Kutastha (in the initial few days). With time, this will automatically happen. Keep the mind calm. This is important for successful practice.
Please ensure that you don’t shut your eyes too tight. Gently keep them closed and try to keep your gaze fixed at the Kuthastha.
Now, the technique starts.
Feel your breath naturally coming in and going out (Basically with a very relaxed body and mind- you need to observe your breath as if someone else is breathing i.e. Saakshi Bhaava (witness)). Very important- Do not in any way use mental will or force to send your breath in or out. While practicing, take the calm attitude that you are a silent observer of the natural flow of your breath coming in and going out, a rhythmic movement of which we are generally not conscious. Whether the breath remains in the lungs or flows out, always wait until it flows naturally again.
Don’t force yourself to inhale or exhale. Just keep gazing at your Kuthastha and allow breath to naturally come and go. Neither do you need to force yourself to hold your breath. To keep track of your inhalation and exhalations, you can fold your index finger in (for breathing in) and out (for exhalation). With practice, you can stop doing the finger fold as you will get accustomed to observing your breath without keeping any tab on it.
Do not concentrate on the movement of the chest or other movements caused by the breath; just be aware of the breath itself as it flows into and out of the body.
In summary- This is the only thing that you have to do – keep your gaze fixed and be conscious of your breathing. Be an observer, a ‘saakshi’. Gaze is important but not as much as your being a calm witness to the flow of air(breath). See it is like driving. You are looking at the front glass, changing gears also. So with time gazing at Kutastha and being a calm witness to flow of air- both will automatically set right. Practice for a few days and you’ll know.
There will be distractions of course. Every time you realize that your thoughts have strayed, simply bring them back to conscious observation of breath. Do not fret that you ‘just can’t sit still or concentrate on breath’ and start believing it is not for you. It’s just your mind resisting the good change that it is being forced to undergo.
Inattention during the practice of this technique produces sleep. Be conscious not to fall asleep during this technique.
EVERY TIME the attention goes away; BRING THE ATTENTION BACK (jabardasti). Concentrating on the flow of breath with the greatest mental intensity doesn’t mean tension. It means complete loving absorption in the process of witnessing the flow of breath. Concentrated attention will bring a tingling sense of divine life to every body cell. You’ll feel electric sparks in your nerves, something travelling all around your body and much more. Do not get scared. This is just the beginning 🙂
WHY MEDITATION WORKS THE WAY IT DOES?
The science behind this meditation technique is extremely beautiful! Read carefully the next six points to understand this beautiful science:-
1. By training the restless attention to isolate and focus upon the normally unconscious act of breathing, we train the attention in the art of one-pointedness, or concentration. Those who attain even a small degree of success in one-pointing the mind during the practice of this technique find their ability to concentrate on their various duties and problems throughout the day increased multi-fold.
2. Further during the practice of this technique an increased state of calmness is attained. Intuition, the unerring guide of wisdom, manifests through the receptivity of calmness. Ultimately, perfect concentration is attained when by practice the life force is switched off from the internal body functions and senses. The attention and consciousness is then freed completely from all distractions to contemplate God or any object or problem.
As you cannot broadcast through a broken microphone, so you cannot send out prayers through a mental microphone that has been disordered by restlessness. By deep calmness you should repair your mind microphone and increase the receptivity of your intuition. Thus you will be able to broadcast to Him effectively and to receive His answers.
– Paramahansa Yogananda
3. As you watch the course of incoming and outgoing breath, you’ll finds that your breath naturally slows down and calms the relatively violent action of heart, lungs and diaphragm. As the breath slows, the heart also slows down and the heart muscles relax. A lower heartbeat ensures that the heart gets to take much needed rest. It pumps blood more slowly and shuts down the energy flow to the five senses of touch, hearing, smell, sight and taste. The nerve receptors at these senses also start relaxing and the body goes into a blissful limbo of inactivity.
Basically, the sense switch shuts off with the heart pumping lesser blood (energy to them). This is THE point for which you need to work for. When the disconnection with senses happens- it is then that Dhyaana or Magic can happen.
4. Initially you will notice that your inhalation and exhalation are longer and the time that you are holding your breath is shorter. But slowly, the breath becomes shorter and the pauses become longer. That’s when you will know – that your body is experiencing something extraordinary! Do not consciously attempt to shorten your inhalation and exhalation (like salesman achieve their targets. You’ll kill this technique by doing this). Let it happen on its own. But this won’t happen in a day. It will require daily, deep and prolonged practice. So be patient – and don’t forcefully hold your breath just to make something happen. It will happen naturally.
Remember that the purpose of this practice is to increase naturally the intervals when the breath does not flow.
The purpose of this technique is to gain conscious passivity, not mental blankness but a state of increased awareness & concentration free from 1) sense entanglement 2) breath and 3) other body motions. A state of deep peace or perfect inner calm.
5. How to handle Thoughts which come as a Thought Attack (when you begin to focus on your Breath)?
Anyone who has ever tried to meditate knows that one of the biggest hindrances to concentration is wandering thoughts that keep diverting our attention. Thoughts will come. They will. It is absolutely OK. Treat these thoughts as Birds. Let the birds come, fly over your head and then go away calmly. Do not pick up any bird and allow it to nest your brain (mind). It is only when we let nesting happen that the dhyaana goes for a toss. Adamantly (jabardasti) bring back your attention to the flow of breath (whenever birds (thoughts) start flying over the head).
6. It is very important to have realistic expectations of results from this technique. The minimum one needs to sit for in this technique is 20 mins. If out of these 20 mins; you are able to disconnect for the last 6-7 mins- it is a good achievement. In fact the real impact of this technique starts after 10 mins of its practice. But most people do not have the patience to sit till then religiously focusing on their breath with calm and ease. Its like a glass of water with soil (mud particles) mixed in it. You calmly allow the water to settle and stay unstirred and Lo !in a few minutes the mud would have settled down and water will become clear. Mud here is thoughts and water – your mind.
NOW THE REAL MEDITATON BEGINS:
You should practice this technique TILL THE MIND BECOMES CRYSTAL CLEAR. This concentration technique will give you deeper concentration & thence your practice of STILLNESS and then MEDITATION will find more depth before you do them.
When you have calmed your heart and mind with THIS technique, remember that the stillness experienced afterwards is more important than the technique itself. Many are so involved with the performance of techniques that they don’t have time for stillness. So, at the end of this technique, forget focusing on breath and just sit for a long time (minimum 10 minutes) in Stillness.
Stillness is not doing anything. It is just a pause button. Not thinking anything, not even praying. Just very calmly gazing at Kutastha with shoonya(zero) thoughts. The problem is that we have worked all along on focusing on breath. Now telling the mind do not work – is a challenge. The most imp word here is PATIENCE. Only with devoted patience will Stillness come. Do not get tense or excited if STILLNESS doesn’t come initially.
The performance of techniques is the preparation of the meal, and that many stop there without partaking in the meal itself. Stillness is eating, enjoying and benefiting from that food fully.
Try to sit for longer periods of time at least once a week. Depth and length of meditation – both are equally important when it comes to effective meditation. It is understandable that you can’t always sit for longer hours. But make effort at least once a week. The result will be drastically different!
Remember- If there are ONLY two keys to deepen meditation then they are 1) REGULARITY & 2) STILLNESS.
WHEN TO MEDITATE?
The correct time for meditation is important but not something you need to worry about right now. Advanced meditation techniques do require some dietary and posture constraints. But basic concentration (mindfulness) technique as the one explained above has no such rules.
- It can be practiced at any time and place where you can close your eyes.
- You can practice right before meals, or right after them too (prefer former though).
- You can practice during your leisure or free time, even while lying down. But remember – if you are lying down, you should lie down absolutely straight, without a pillow – like in the ‘shavasana’ position. Practicing during leisure hours will give velocity to your mindfulness & concentration Goals.
But what is the best time to meditate (especially for working people)?
- It is said that ‘brahma-muhurta’ (4 am – 6am) is the most conducive time to meditate. But if those hours do not suit you, it’s absolutely fine. Personally, I feel the best time to meditate is when you are starting your day. Sit within 15 minutes of your waking up and give a wonderful, calmly active and actively calm start to your day.
- Another very good time to meditate is just before going to sleep. Especially for people who suffer from sleep disorders, this is the best you can do.
- It is also an excuse to not start and end your day with blue screens and devices but with your own mind and body. Try it out. It is Superrrr when you end your day with the above technique (& further with Stillness and Meditation).
If you are getting overwhelmed with all this information and want to remember just a few things about meditating – remember these 3 things: Sit straight, fix your gaze to the point between your eyebrows and observe your breath as it comes and goes naturally.
It does not matter where you are, what time of the day it is, whether it’s an empty stomach or a house full of people. The only important thing is that you meditate, even if it is for 20 minutes (Although this technique needs a 25-30 mins of minimum practice in one sitting). As long as you do that – everything else will fall into place!
DON’T WAIT. MEDITATE.
I am 40. I wish I had started at 20 or even earlier. Now, I want to use my profession and spend the rest of my life giving hope to needy people and in amplifying my biggest learning to the masses. And that learning is ‘The Goal of this Life is to find God and merge with him. The best gift that you can give to your own-self in this life is the gift of learning to meditate. So, do not wait, Meditate’.
Only this will lead to unalloyed happiness. Make the mighty effort to learn to meditate. Even after you have learnt; it wouldn’t be easy to do it daily. It is a hard, rocky path of self control. Stubborn bad habits will bludgeon your will power every time (Ask me! My ossified habits kick me like a football). Have the fibre to go ahead and hug the real substance instead of shadows.This will require patience, adamantine will and untiring persistence.
Think of the times in your life when you have idled hours away in useless talk, or in futile dwelling on negative thoughts. Henceforth, give such time to God instead. If you born as human into a good family and are healthy too; then you have an ovarian lottery. Do not waste it. Go and find God. Make your home a place of peace.
Maybe on this path, you will become slightly boring to people around but then you’ll focus much better. An important caveat here- ‘If you just meditate only but stay unscrupulous & debauch in your daily life- that meditation is of no use’.
Sharing my favourite poem:-
I am running, running and running
I do not know where, I do not know why?
O, the embodiment of peace and prosperity!
Bless me with solitude for a few moments,
So that I can reflect upon myself & meditate upon you.
Thereafter, I can run still faster,
And with renewed vigour
But in the right direction
& with a specific purpose.
Spending the most important years of life on the ways of the world and things of the world only will be a very poor investment. Do not let your vanity hold back your search for the grand, the eternity, the infinite. Meditation will give you such a sorted head and mind that you will become 10x in your worldly achievements too. Personally experiencing!
Lord Krishna said- ‘Out of 1000, one seeks me; out of 1000 that seek me; one knows me”. Ask yourself where you are standing right now in this equation. My favourite most human sight till now remains that of a young girl in her 20s sitting in very deep meditation in a Shiva Temple in Ranchi at 4 am on a wintery night. Wow!
Have you ever done anything REALLY new, very amazing in your only Life? Do not wait. Meditate. Even though you may be able to do everything else but meditate, you will never find in anything else that joy which comes when the thoughts are silent. Meditation will get to you an Aura & a Grace which nothing else in the world can get to you. And further this Aura & Grace will get you everything else. Awesome na?
Never asked anyone to SHARE any of my Blogs. In case you found value in THIS one; please DO definitely SHARE. It will be your small contribution in making this world’s people more peaceful and blessed (even if one of your friends picks up the habit of meditating by your SHARING).
All my love & best wishes for BEING on the right path (& not on an EASY one),