MEDITATION

From Swami Atmachaithanya's book "Path of Wisdom":

"Meditation is concentration on the form of the Lord, which is divine and auspicious. A person practising meditation should commence with Japa at the beginning. When meditation becomes firmly established in the object of the meditation, the mind leaves all other distractions and dissolves itself into the object. This is the highest stage."

"Japa is the repetition of a single name or Mantra pertaining to God. … Japa needs to be accompanied by purity of action, and faith in and pure love of God."

When the meditator is in the experience of meditation his mind is in absolute peace. It is a universal experience which has a profound effect on him. As Swami says "the mind dissolves itself into the object" (the object being the Supreme Being). In that highest state the meditator experiences Sat-chid-ananda (Universal Truth-Knowledge-Bliss). The stages before one reaches this highest state we can call concentration on the Supreme Reality.

There are many names of the Divine, e.g. God, the Divine, Brahman, Paramatman, Allah, Divine Mother, Heavenly Father, Shiva, Durga, Supreme Being, Absolute Reality, Oneness, Higher Self. Some people also focus on the name of divine personalities such as Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mother Mary.

All names of the Divine lead to the goal - God-Realisation (the union of our soul with the cosmic soul).

The meditator chooses the name of the Divine which relates to him closest as this helps him to progress fastest on the spiritual path to Self-realisation because he is able to connect to that name with higher concentration and more intense love.

All sages and scriptures state that in the present time cycle the quickest and safest way to Self-realisation is by repeating the Divine name constantly.

People new to meditation may not have a conscious connection to a particular divine name but can start by choosing various other concentration techniques. This will help a great deal to focus and calm the mind.

Meditation offers many benefits - these benefits increase with regular meditation practice. Some benefits are stress relief, relief from anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, worries, fears; clarity of mind and increased concentration; lessening of feeling isolated or lonely; insights into your mind-stuff; increased creativity; inner peace; happiness; bliss; able to deal with any life circumstances in a tranquil and harmonious manner; and becoming aware of the deeper purpose of your life.

Generally, 20-30 minutes daily or twice daily are recommended to commence with your meditation practice. It is also important to lead a balanced life - your meditation practice will help you achieve this.

You are welcome to join our Meditation Class (see Events).

Some preliminaries

Relax your body. Sit with erect spine and head. Ideally sit in one of the yoga meditative postures such as Lotus, Cross-legged or Siddhasana. If that is uncomfortable then you can commence your meditation practice by sitting on a chair with legs hip width apart and feet flat on the floor (take your shoes off). Using a hand mudra will enhance your meditation practice. When you focus on your object and other thoughts enter your mind, as soon as you become aware of them gently take your awareness back to your object.

     

Cross-legged seated pose


Chair pose


Siddhasana seated pose

It is best to attend a class to learn about all the various aspects of preparations for meditation and meditation techniques.

Here is a brief introduction to some objects you may choose for your meditation:

Meditation on the Divine Name

Choose the name of the divine you relate to strongest. Focus on the name and repeat it mentally with love and concentration. Have the feeling of merging with the vibration or form of the divine.

Meditation on the Breath

Focus on the incoming and outgoing breath at the entrance of the nostrils. Observe. Be the witness of your natural breaths.

Meditation on an aspect of nature

You could choose a mountain, the ocean or a lake.

Choosing a lake, focus your mind, with closed eyes, on the space in front of your closed eyes and visualise a still lake. Focus on the peace and stillness of the lake. Feel your mind becoming more still and more peaceful. When you feel and/or see the lake very still without ripples on its surface, dive into the depth of that lake, to the core of the stillness.

Walking Meditation

Practise in your home or in a natural setting such as the woods or the seaside.

The following three steps can be practised as a sequence or as three separate "walking meditation" techniques.

1. Be aware of each step you make (from the heel to the toes) - walk very slowly.

2. Repeat the name of the divine in your mind with each step you take.

3. Walk with awareness slowly or slightly faster while repeating the divine name in your mind. After a while stop, close your eyes and become aware if anything comes up in your mind, e.g. feelings, thoughts, symbols etc. - then continue with the practice.