Why and How to Meditate?

Benefits and Techniques

Woman doing yoga in nature
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There are many motivations for meditating. For some, it's to lower one's blood pressure, for others, to reduce stress. Some want to gain knowledge, others wish to use it to give up compulsive actions, and the list goes on. What happens if we are successful in acquiring what we strive for? Do we stop there? Are we satisfied?

Hopefully, we will be wise in our understanding and choose a course that is progressive and does not impose limitations on us.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a technique that is often referred to as medicine. So a wise question would be 'what is our real problem'? Most of the responses from the spiritual community would be - we live in delusion, we are bound by darkness, our lives are spent in a state of ignorance.

I hope we do not invest our time in secondary or superficial goals, but choose to put our sights on our true needs, which will bring us to a place of true nobility and the process of liberation. This path is endless and without boundaries. The only thing you have to do is give it everything.

So perhaps the question should be,  "When will I meditate?"

Meditation teaches us many things, one is how to watch, when we refine this ability we are able to see things clearly. If our attitudes are healthy, and we are courageous, we can begin to see and understand our ego in a new light. We are able to have glimpses of our awareness (pure mind) which is the essence of our inner self.

If we see our problems in a realized sense of clarity, then we can start implementing solutions to changing and becoming freer and by the same light, when we truly see our inner realities, we can merge with them and take refuge in our sacred space.

If one wants to discover the truth of their own being and live in the experience of it, then this is a valid approach.

There are many meditation techniques. It might be necessary for a person to try many before they find the right one. I think one should spend some time to learn one technique well; this will give one a foundation to compare other techniques.

What is being put forth in this instruction is simple and basic - that does not involve esoteric or occult knowledge and requires no belief systems.

May we pursue our spiritual discipline (sadhana) with patience and humility.

Will Power, Mantra & Japa

There are many ways to connect with the truth; some would say that not all fit into the meditation category, so perhaps it could be said that spiritual technique and meditation are several of the dynamics that get us from HERE to THERE. This 'there' is the desired spiritual reality that we are trying to attain. What works for one person may not work for the other.

There is an Indian tradition that promotes a technique, in which one gets quiet and then ask, “WHO AM I?”. For those who are not that far along in their spiritual growth, the apparent realization may be of a person who is fragmented, dysfunctional, etc., which is not the result intended. On the other hand, someone very advanced might ask this question and the realization might be that they are the self (atman), which is the result intended.

There is a great Indian saint who said we should not meditate but just see and know that everything before us and within us is god. I am sure that for him this is the reality. But how many of us can have that experience and can we grow by inflating our belief systems?

For the techniques that are put forth in this instruction, there are some very important questions:
- “WHERE AM I”?
- “FROM WHERE DOES THIS ARISE"? (the thing focused on one example would be joy)
- "WHAT IS ITS SOURCE”?

When we advance, our ability to 'see' in meditation, then can we have glimpses of these mysteries. It can be said that technique is the vehicle that gets us from here to there.

Will

Will is truly one of the greatest mysteries in the human make up, there are religions and spiritual organizations whose very foundations are based on right use of will (prayer, fasting and surrender, etc.)...

The general spectrum of human will is willful action control to surrender... acceptance.

Here, watching and becoming familiar with the will are very important. It is true that many levels of activity can be happening at the same time while we meditate, and each can have different degrees and types of will applied. An example is applying a number of different techniques in our meditation process and in the end, give up, stop doing, relax completely, surrender and open ourselves to divine truth.

It is said that if we can sense and see from where our will arises, then we have entered the sacred domain of the inner self.

Mantra

Mantra (sacred words with power) is an Indian word (Sanskrit). It is said to be an objective language constructed by the ancient sages (rishis) who were the great yogis that created the sacred science of the soul, yoga, and the very foundation of the 'Sanatana Dharma', that includes Indian spirituality, Hinduism, Buddhism.

Generally, you could say that mantra means repetition of sacred words. These Sanskrit words have divine connotations. Many mantras are simply making salutations to the divine reality, others are more geared towards developing certain aspects of our being. 

There are a number of techniques, with a variety of desired results. One, said to be a siddha technique, is to start saying, singing, or chanting the mantra slow and as time passes, one speeds up the tempo faster and faster then stops, which hopefully creates a sensation that propels us to the next level - a deeper state of meditation.

This is a classic example of the unleashing of a personal form of grace (energy) that helps us evolve spiritually. In Indian terms, this would be called 'Shakti' or 'Kundalini'. It is said that this energy is always present, but the reality of 'sadhana' applied hopefully will bring us this energy in a rarified form. As we go forward, hopefully, a love for sadhana and the experience of divine truth will arise. At this point, we have just progressed to a new level. When we chant with love and devotion and hear this in our own voice, then can we be put into a deep and sweet state of meditation.

Another technique is called 'Japa'. With this a new dimension is addressed, that of discipline. Sometimes the results we are striving for are in the realm of difficult accomplishments. An example would be to repeat the Mantra - HARI OM TATSAT JAI GURU DATTA - 10,000 times. The general tools here would be a rosary of Mala (meditation beads, necklace, numbering 108). One would simply start with the first bead of the mala then chant the mantra on each of the 108 beads till we come to the last bead, then this process would be repeated approximately 93 times, which is a number over 10,000.

Some Mudras & Symbols

Mudra

Classically, Mudras used in Hinduism and Buddhism portray esoteric realities and are used to affirm one's commitment and practice, for visualizing, to establish concentration and much more. In regard to the techniques in this instruction, we deal with one Mudra - Chin Mudra.

It is said that the domain of Chin Mudra is where the disciple meets the Guru, where the 'Atman' melts into the 'Paramatman', and finally where the Lord's presence can be known.

You could say that it is possible to live in Chin Mudra, as we established getting centered into the focused on realities in this instruction, then this Mudra becomes the foundation or anchor for maintaining and harmonizing these states.

Meditation Symbols

Yantras are usually complex esoteric geometric symbols, portraying deities and other divine realities; they are used as meditation symbols for a variety of results.

The meditation symbol given to me by Nityananda, may not have geometric substance or symbolic meaning, but for some, there have been experiences from meditating on this symbol. Some have experienced seeing energy and colors that have put them into a meditative state.

Pictures of Saints, Gurus & Holy Beings 

There are so many cases of people having very powerful experiences while looking at these holy beings. A common experience is the eerie sensation that the face of the saint looked upon is but a mask and behind the mask is the divine. Another is seeing an atomic or nuclear energy around the Guru's picture, or perhaps the face in the picture may appear to be breathing or smiling. When we gaze upon these special beings, it is possible to experience a magical feeling or perhaps sensation. It is said that this sensation or feeling, is the same as our own inner feeling. Whatever it is, these experiences can bring us to a state of deeper meditation.