Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 21 - Objects of Meditation
Date: Mon Dec 1, 2003 1:14pm
Q: What is the difference between meditation on a mantra, chakras, a religious icon, a candle, etc?
A: Meditation is the bridge between attention on an object and the great beyond we know as bliss consciousness without thoughts or external sensory experience. The goal is to make that journey repeatedly, like clockwork, on a daily basis. The technique we use is simple, yet delicate, relying on the natural ability of our mind to become quiet. Other forms of meditation may not be so simple and natural, and may involve focusing on intellectual meanings or on multiple objects. This can bog down passage of the attention to the expanded realm of bliss consciousness residing within us. This is not to say other forms of meditation will not work. But in our approach, simplicity and efficiency are at the forefront. This is an advanced method of meditation anyone can do. We will discuss meditation on other objects from the point of view of the method we are using here.
What is the difference between meditating with our technique using a mantra, versus using chakras (energy centers in the body), a religious icon or other physical objects? Again, it is a matter of simplicity and efficiency. The goal is to bring the attention beyond the thinking process, and, in doing so, take the attention beyond outer sensory experience. The mind is the neurological process in us that links consciousness with the outer world. It is a very intimate connection. Our attention, engaged in the dynamics of the mind, is always an inch away from experiencing the divine bliss of pure consciousness. When the mind is allowed to come to rest, we are there. So we begin with the mind, the most intimate connection to bliss consciousness we have. We begin inside, so we can quickly and easily go deeply inside. If we were to begin with a physical location in the body or a physical object, we could still go deep. No question about it. But it is a longer journey, a more complicated journey. The further outside we are when we start, the more physical, intellectual and emotional baggage we have to shed on the way in. This is also why we do not verbally utter the mantra during meditation, or give any attention to meanings while meditating. It is an inner process right from the start. By beginning meditation with a thought, using the specific procedure, we bypass external obstacles in the nervous system that can bind our attention. Ultimately we dissolve them naturally from the inside going out, rather than trying to dissolve them from the outside going in, which is not easy.
We begin with a thought, not focusing on any meaning, just picking up the repetition of the thought of the mantra’s sound easily, on the edge of letting go. We let the mantra go its own way naturally to less and less – this is the simplest and most efficient way to dive into the infinite sea of bliss consciousness within us. Having done so repeatedly, we come back out after twenty minutes soaked with peace and bliss, achieving much purification during the process.
In time, the distance between consciousness and outside experiences evaporates as the obstructions become less and less. There was really no distance at all! Then it becomes natural to experience many shades of bliss consciousness while gazing upon chakras, religious icons, our loved ones, beautiful landscapes, scriptures, or even a book on theoretical physics. When bliss consciousness has arisen, everything is seen in terms of that. But this is not the procedure of meditation. This is enjoying the fruit of meditation – living life with an increasing appreciation of its many gifts. The rise of this appreciation inspires us all the more to carry on with our practice.
The guru is in you.