Saturday, June 20, 2015

SIMPLE MEDITATION by Atman Nityananda

Haidakhan Babaji in deep meditation
 SIMPLE MEDITATION
by Atman Nityananda 

Meditation is a practice that helps us to internalize and quiet the mind in order to be aware and rest in our core of our existence, the silent space of consciousness within. Meditation and self-enquiry are the most important practices through which we can achieve the ultimate goal of life which is the awakening of consciousness and the realization of our true Self. 
 
According my experience, practicing in combination pranayama, japa-nama (the repetition of mantras), self-awareness, dispassionate observation, meditation and self inquiry is the most effective way for awakening and self-realization. When we combine these practices we facilitate a lot the purification and the concentration of the mind which are two of the most important qualities for awakening and Self-realization (the realization that we are the divine Self or Atman which is Existence, Consciousness and Bliss eternal).

There are several ways for meditation. Regardless of the technique we use for meditation it is important to know that we cannot succeed in meditation if we try to quiet the mind and concentrate by effort, struggling or fighting with the mind.


ASKING QUESTIONS

A simple way to stop the compulsive thinking, to quiet the mind and enter in a meditative state is to ask questions. Questioning
loosens the mind from thoughts and identifications without effort, strain or exertion and calms the mind naturally.
The question I suggest here is.  Where is this thing (meaning the things we think about), if I do not think about it? This question we use it when the thoughts are persistent and we identify easily with the thought process.

There are also other questions we can use such as: From where arise these thoughts? , Who is identifying with these thoughts?  

Let see a formal session of meditation
For a formal meditation we sit on an asana assuming a comfortable and steady posture keeping the body immovable and relaxed. After we get the appropriate for us position we may for a while note what is our mental, emotional state and how we feel our body.

Then we 'try' to relax our body by being conscious of our body and passing slowly our attention from all parts of the body from the toes until the head. We can do this several times until we feel relaxed. By regular practice we will manage to relax oue body more easily.

Then we can do some prayer and then repeat some slokas for the peace, the prosperity and the well being of all. These prayers elevate the vibrations and fill the mind with sattva which is the quality that brings, clarity, tranquility and peace to the mind.

I suggest here my favorite slokas 

 We repeat each verse three or more times according our convenience
Om
Sarvesham swasti bhavatu - May auspiciousness be unto all;
Sarvesham santir bhavatu - May peace be unto all;
Sarvesham purnam bhavatu - May fullness be unto all;
Sarvesham mangalam bhavatu - May prosperity be unto all;

Om
 sarve bhavantu sukhinah - May all be prosperous and happy;
sarve santu niramayah - May all be free from illness;
sarve bhadrani pashyantu - May all See what is Auspicious;
ma kashcid duhkhabhaagbhavet - May none suffer;
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti - Om peace, peace, peace
Om
Asato mā sadgamaya - From ignorance, lead me to truth;
Tamasomā jyotir gamaya - From darkness, lead me to light;
Mrityormāamritam gamaya - From death, lead me to immortality
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti - Om peace, peace, peace
Om
Purnamadah, Purnamidam, Purnat, Purnamudacyate
Purnnashya, Puurnnamadaya, Purnamevavashissyate
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Om, That is Full, This also is Full, From Fullness comes that Fullness,
Taking Fullness from Fullness, Fullness Indeed Remains.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

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We continue with the verses below;  we repeat each one of them three or more times according our convenience and then we continue with the next one
Om
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu - May happiness be unto the whole world.  
(3X) or more times
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti 

~~~~~~~~~~
Om
 Peace, Love, harmony all over the world
 (3X) or more times
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti 

~~~~~~~~~~
Om
May all beings be happy;
May all beings be blissful;
May all beings be peaceful;
(3X) or more times
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti 
If we do the previous steps I have mentioned above (Asana, relaxation, prayer, slokas) normally the mind will be relatively calmer. 
Focusing on the breath

 Then we continue focusing the mind on the breath. This will help us to relax our mind and emotions more as well as be more aware of the inner space and the thoughts that pop up into the mind.

We feel our breathing (feeling the breath means that our attetion is there; do not make any effort to pay attetnion, only feel your breath) without to try control the way we breath. Note also the pauses at the end of exhalation and inhalation. 
 
Initially, every time we note that the mind begins to think of something, or the attention is attracted from external sounds, we bring back gently the attention on the breathing (by saying mentally I feel my breath; this way our attention without any effort will come bacj to the point of our focus).  It is very important also  to be aware or to notice always the inner space regardless the practice we do. Thus while we feel and note our breathing process we note also the silence within, it doesn't mattr if we cannot perceive it  fully.

If the mind is calm and concentrated we remain focused on breathing and we continue notice the inner space or silence. If the mind remains calm, focused and steady after some time we can turn our attention completely in the inner silence. This is the point that real meditation begins. (Meditation is to remain almost effortlessly absorbed in the inner silence. It is more a state of being than doing. Of course in the beginning there is a very slight effort –which I call it effort without effort, but slowly even this slight effort fades out and we pass from a state of perceiving the silence in a state of being the silence).
 
We remain aware and focused in the inner space of silence no matter if we are partly conscious of our body, external sounds, of some weak thoughts that occur rarely and the sense of Iness, (that is, we have the sense that we, as an ego, we are aware of the inner space of silence).

If we notice that our mind is distracted and leaves the point of focus (The inner space of silence) simply we remind our mind to return in the breathing by saying to our selves -I am feeling the breathing process – By saying this, the mind and the attention without any effort return to the breathing. And  after a while we remind also ourselves to notice the silent space within (by saying also: I am aware of the silence within; it is important to say it mentally because our attention without effort returns to the point of  ouir focus) and gradually we focus more in the silence than the breath.

This is the good scenario.

On the other hand if the mind is uneasy, if
thoughts arise in it constantly and especially if the thoughts are persistent and the mind makes little stories identifying with them considering them as a reality, (normally the egoic mind identifies and considers as real all the thoughts which arise in it) then we can apply the following technique of questioning in order to disidentify from the thoughts and pacify the mind.

 Instead of ‘trying’ to focus the mind back to the breath we ask the question: Where is this thing (meaning the things we think about), if I do not think about it? We do this question and sincerely we wonder if these things we think about can exist anywhere if we stop to think about them. 

If we contemplate in this question, very soon we will realize that the things we were  thinking about and appeared as  a reality do not exist anywhere if we stop think about them and the mind naturally becomes quiet letting go the thinking about them. It is necessary to realize this deeply and not only to know it as a mental information.  
Each time the mind identifies with a mental story we ask the question again (Where is this thing, if I do not think about it?) By doing this and by realizing each time more profoundly  that thoughts are not a reality but only imagination, the mind will stop thinking effortlessly and its calmness will increase gradually. At the same time the inner silence will become more and more evident.

We keep doing this process of questioning and contemplating the question without ‘trying’ to do anything else. It is important also to mention this: do not try to concentrate, to achieve the concentration, do not try to achieve the calmness, and do not expect anything strange to happen. We just repeat the question whenever we see persisting thoughts to arise, we contemplate  this question and if we do it properly we will realize that these things that appeared in our mind as real they are just thoughts which have not any reality. 

By doing so the mind will become more and more calm and quiet and the inner silence after some time will become more obvious. If the mind is calm and focused enough then it is suggested to put your interest in the silence, experiencing it as much as you can.

As I said before if from time to time weak thoughts arise, do not bother. Keep focused on experiencing the silence. If thoughts are strong and distracting then we apply again the question (Where is this thing, if I do not think about it?), contemplating on it.

Another suggestion to this meditation is to combine the concentration on the breathing process with a mantra. In the beginning we concentrate on the breathing. After 2-3 minutes we combine the mantra with breathing. After some time we concentrate only to the mantra and the inner silence. At the end we drop the mantra also and remain aware of the silence within. If there are persistent thoughts and identify with the story we apply the question.

It is also important to mention that everyone will develop this practice according his understanding, his personal capacities, maturity and the way of perceiving things. If we want to have results in a practice (not only to this practice but any other technique) we have to apply it for a long time (more than six months) doing it every day with interest and attention. Then this technique becomes part of deeper consciousness and we can apply it naturally, effortlessly and effectively when it is needed.

NOTE: The steps for meditation are:
 
1. Asana (posture) steady and relaxed at the same time.

2. Relaxation of the body, prayer and invocation of some slokas for the peace, the prosperity and the well being of all.

3. Internalization, calming and focus of the mind (this already begins with step two). Then we continue using a technique. For example, we focus on the breath, in the mantras, in the chakras, doing affirmations, prayers, hear mantras etc.

4. Being aware of the inner silence and concentration on it. When the mind becomes quiet and serene then the inner silence becomes very obvious. Thus while until now we perceived the silence as the background of our experience, gradually the silence comes forth and becomes the forefront of our experience. Here the real meditation begins.

5. Immobility of mind and perfect concentration in the silence. This is true meditation. There comes a point where we do not concentrate in the silence but we are the silence.

5. Samadhi: Complete and perfect absorption of the mind into the silence.