Commentaries on yoga

Mantra, thoughts, emotions, sensations, all happening at once.

by Tristan Dorling

Q.

I get back to you because I’m experiencing some obstacles with deep meditation, and maybe you’ll have some advice for me….
I’ve been practicing AYP meditation since Sept 2015, and even if I undoubtedly feel the benefits in my daily life (I am more joyful, patient, positive, if I experience something negative I bounce back very quickly, I feel more love for and people in general, I experience more bursts of laughter,…) I am still not sure I am doing the right thing.

My problem is that when I started meditation, it was with different techniques (like focusing on my breath for ex.) and it seems like it is difficult for me to get rid of these first habits! I would like to start with spinal breathing pranayama, but I want to make sure first that I master deep meditation techniques, or maybe it is not that important and will come with time and practice, I don’t know? It seems like my attention is divided into several parts, my breath, the mantra, my thoughts or whatever, and that I am almost never in the process of deep meditation. I can’t go back to the mantra because I am already with it….and with other things at the same time!

It is also hard for me to find the perfect rhythm with the mantra, not too slow, not too fast, and it always ends up synchronizing with my breath, which is a strong body sensation when one is still…  I do not have the same experience each time, but it feels like I am not evolving on that path, but maybe it is just an impression?

I read Yogani’s Deep Meditation book two or three times. I also read the AYP main lessons, but practice is a different matter. And the more I focus on it, the more I get annoyed, even though I know this is not going to help, I can’t help it. Would you have a hint for me? How can I reverse the process to be in a calm and trusting atmosphere again? How can I know I am doing the right thing?

Thanks for your precious help!

A.

When using the mantra for meditation, it is quite normal to have thoughts and the breath and the mantra, all happening at once. There are other things that can be happening as well, like sounds outside the room, or in the room, strong emotions, or a pain in the knee etc. All we need to do is to favour the mantra with our attention, over anything else that is happening. That means that more than 50% of the attention is with the mantra. If we find that that is not the case, say if we have become distracted by a thought, then we simply favour the mantra again with our attention. There is no need to push anything away, or stop anything from happening. There is also no need to label, or judge what is happening in the mind. It will be whatever it is supposed to be in that moment.

It can be hard at first, especially if there is a lot of purification going on. When the body and the mind have been purified, to a large degree, the mind is naturally very quiet and still and it is not easily disturbed. So, if there are a lot of thoughts coming up, or a lot of distractions, then that can be a sign that a lot of purification is taking place. It can seem a bit frustrating at times. It is worth persevering!

Concerning the breath and the mantra becoming synchronised, this is also quite natural. In AYP, the advice given is not to either try to synchronise the mantra with the breath, or to try to stop it from happening. Simply treat it as any other thing that you notice is happening during meditation and easily favour the mantra with your attention. Over time, it will not be a concern any more.

There is no perfect rhythm or speed for the mantra. Just let it go as it will without making any judgement as to whether it is too fast or too slow. It will find a rhythm of its own, which will change over time. Sometimes it will turn into a continuous sound, or even disappear altogether, which is fine as well.

It is good to become settled in and stable with Deep Meditation practice before adding Spinal Breathing Pranayama. But, don’t expect to become a master meditator before adding anything new to your practice routine, because you could be waiting a very long time! It is your call of course, over when to add new practices. And it is great to hear that you are experiencing more joy and love in your life, and more spontaneous laughter! That is the real test of progress on the spiritual path. 

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