Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 15 - Restlessness in Meditation
Date: Wed Nov 19, 2003 1:01pm
Q: Since beginning, I felt some nice peacefulness and calmness for a few days. Then I started getting restless during meditation and irritable during the day. What’s going on?
A: While cleansing the nervous system with meditation seems a simple enough process, it is quite delicate. The procedure we use is simple – easily thinking the mantra, letting it refine naturally, losing the mantra, later realizing we are off it, then easily going back to it without attempting to hold it clearly or unclearly… and so on for twenty minutes twice each day. But do not be deceived by the simplicity. Do not take it lightly. This is an advanced and powerful practice. We are facilitating lifetimes of obstructions to be released naturally from deep within us. These are stresses and strains embedded in our nervous system that restrict our vision of the truth in and around us. Some restrictions we were born with. Others we have added in this life. It all is being released bit by bit during meditation. It is a huge undertaking, with profound results.
If the purification process is a little out of balance, some discomfort can happen — Restlessness. Irritability. Unpleasant physical sensations. Fidgeting. Unpleasant thoughts. Things like that. Fortunately, there are ways to balance the process of meditation if there is some discomfort. The first thing to do is take plenty of time coming out of meditation. Remember that during meditation a process of inner cleansing is going on. You might not feel much is happening, but if you jump up from meditation without resting first, you could feel irritable for some time afterwards – maybe even all day. Don’t take it out on your loved ones, friends and coworkers. See it for what it is, an imbalance in your practice. Always take at least a few minutes of doing nothing (relaxing, not thinking the mantra) at the end of meditation. This allows stresses and strains being released from the nervous system during meditation to dissipate harmlessly. Then, when you get up, you will feel light and refreshed. If you don’t, you are probably not resting long enough. So rest at the end as long as necessary to enable a smooth transition from meditation to activity. You may even wish to lie down for a while at the end of meditation. Everyone is different. Find what is the best for you coming out of meditation.
Some people respond very quickly to meditation. A little bit may go a long way. This is a good thing. If you are one of these, you are blessed, but you must be careful to balance your routine so you won’t be uncomfortable due to a high rate of inner cleansing going on. If lying down and resting for a while after twenty minutes of meditation does not settle things down, then it may be necessary to shorten the time of meditation to fifteen minutes. If it is still uncomfortable, try ten minutes. Find your balance. And always take your time coming out.
Sometimes physical discomfort can happen during meditation. This is usually a symptom of the release of obstructions in the nervous system. If it interferes with the easy process of meditation, then pause with the mantra and allow the attention to be drawn to the physical discomfort. Just be with it for a while. Usually, this will dissolve the discomfort naturally. Once it does, go back to the mantra and continue your meditation until your time is up. Count the time you spent with your attention on the physical discomfort as part of your meditation time. If the sensation does not dissolve, lie down for while, until the sensation subsides. It is a good thing. A big obstruction is going. Let it go easily, naturally. The same procedure applies if you are overcome with a barrage of overbearing thoughts, which may or may not be accompanied by physical sensations. If you can’t easily go back to the mantra, just be with the thoughts until they dissipate enough so you can easily pick up the mantra again. Remember, meditation is not a fight with physical or mental activity we may have. These are all symptoms of the release of obstructions from deep in the nervous system. We just let them go. Our job is to follow the easy procedure of thinking the mantra and allowing the process of inner cleansing to happen. This is not a war on the level of the conscious mind. You can never win it that way. We are working from the inside, within and beyond the subconscious mind. In order to do this we must allow the natural ability of the mind to take us in. So learn to think the mantra easily, and let it go in.
Meditation is the most effective means of operating deep inside the subconscious mind and cleaning it out. With meditation we easily go beyond the subconscious mind to our underlying consciousness, the source of all that is true and evolutionary. It is our consciousness that removes the inner obstructions, if we give it the opportunity through meditation. Over time, as the obstructions are removed, we find more and more peaceful silence in our daily lives. This is the dawning of enlightenment, our natural state. So keep cleaning the window of your nervous system every day.
The guru is in you.