These traditional meditation practices have been performed by students of Yoga since ancient times. They are inexhaustible in their depth and power to expand the consciousness. Their value will reveal itself if meditation is practised daily with interest, perseverance and faith in the deeper spiritual reality within us awaiting discovery.
Sit comfortably with the spine and neck erect and the chin held in. If possible, sit cross-legged on a cushion on the floor, or else on a firm chair.
Traditionally, rhythm plays an important part in meditation. The best time for meditation is shortly after rising in the morning or just prior to retiring at night.
If the mind is allowed free scope during the day, it will be more difficult to control at the set meditation period. The spiritual teachers therefore recommend that we bring the mind back to one of the practices, whenever we have a quiet few moments during the day.
1. Approach the meditation with reverence and calmness. Feel that you are in the presence of the divine, within and without you. Mentally bow to that invisible power.
2. Breathing Practice with OM
Sit in relaxation, in the meditation posture. On the in-breath, draw the breath from the navel to the spot between the eyebrows. As you breath in, hear the 'O' of OM, as you breathe out, hear the 'M'. Do this practice for five minutes.
3. In relaxation, dismiss thoughts as they arise
In relaxation, continue to breathe consciously and a little more deeply than usual. With each breath go into relaxation. When relaxation is obtained, then wait. You will have some desire, some thought. If you can dismiss the thought and the desire, you are a true human being. One way of dismissing the thoughts is to say, 'It is an illusion. I do not want it.'
If you are successful in negating five thoughts in this way, you invite the great stream of peace and fortitude into your mind. This is the real yogic secret. Yoga is the ability to suspend and dismiss thoughts and desires. If you slowly do it in this way for five or ten minutes every day, then the vacuum you create will be filled with the spiritual light. In this way, as your thoughts evaporate, you acquire a sense of peace.
4. Meditation on a text
O my mind,
Find rest in that most blessed Peace that is always within thee,
And follow not after that which is transient.
This kind of meditation may be called educational, for it educates the mind spiritually, and, if done properly, the mind will receive a measure of the true spiritual peace. In this way, tranquillity and righteousness become a part of the empirical nature.
When the meditation has been held in the mind for some time, it passes into the emotions, and it is here that the real seeds of meditation are sown... Though the mind may stray, if one returns to the initial subject very soon, the meditation is not spoilt.
(For further guidance, see Meditation – Its Theory and Practice, p 45. You can find this book in the on-line bookstore.)
5. Close the meditation period by extending your thoughts of peace and goodwill to all beings, without exception.
There are more notes on meditation and information about the pratices currenty being done during the public meetings at Shanti Sadan here.