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... the best subject for meditation and contemplation is always a Brahman,
and the idea that God is in everything, and everything is in God and everything is God;
this is the very idea where mind must be concentrated on.
... There are no special conditions for meditation.
But solitude and solitariness as well as keeping a body
immobile are a great help to everybody, especially this is important for a beginner.
Sri Aurobindo 'Letters on Yoga' Volume 3
Meditation is the essence of Yoga practice. This is a time when your consciousness changes moving away from a routine thought process and emotions. Sri Aurobindo opposed the complicated practice of meditation (complicated Kriyas) including observation of Nadi (thin energy channels) or multistage visualization of the Divinity (Devs) in energy centers (Chakras) and in some parts of the body. He didn't recommend either the compound breathing practice (Pranayama) with a breath-holding (Kumbhaka) and locks (Bandha) in an energy body. On the one hand it is connected with the fact that simple energy Kriyas can have only a little health-improving effect and, on the other hand, more complicated Kriyas can easily cause serious disorders even if you do exercises with slight - at first glance - inaccuracy.
Instead of this Sri Aurobindo offered a very simple and, at the same time, a very difficult method of meditation practice. The method is simple because it hardly requires special knowledge of Yoga at the beginning. The basis of this method is a sincere opening of Self towards the Divine Consciousness-Force. This superconscious Force descends into a body of a yogi changing and making him progressively the Divine.
Why is this - at first sight simple - method at the same time very difficult? At the beginning of the spiritual practice we are driven by a mental irradiation of Truth that opens to us; by emotional enthusiasm of vital energy that sees an opportunity of infinite expansion and raising its nature; by the call of the true Heart. We feel enthusiasm in our being. But the emotional part of human nature is utmost changeable, ups alternate with downs. The mind requires new ideas; it is always in advance of the body. In its dreams we already must be perfect (Siddhi), the mind doesn't understand why it hasn't happened yet. The motion of spirit demands straight-out sincerity from us. If we don't follow its guiding that can promote us to change totally our routine life and if we aren't ready for it, the spiritual call is becoming quieter insisting on nothing any more. We are losing inclination to meditate spontaneously. Our interaction with Consciousness-Force is becoming more veiled because catching on our ordinary life we have ceased to be sincere in our calls. We feel apathy and uncertainty of what we have to do. However, Spirit once it aroused is not ready to lose right away the battle he has come to this world for. He secretly continues to lead us, sometimes reminding of Truth we must find. Just to this eternal-lived Spirit these words are addressed...
Our human nature has to learn the Great Patience. Our mind must understand that energies and a body need the Method. In order this method bears fruit we need plenty of time for a fundamental change of nature. Emotional energy part of our Self should learn to be calm, open and sensitive towards Consciousness-Force. In such a way, step by step, we have to change our Self. There is no other way to do it.
Yet you don't often meet such a patient and careful man (Dhairyam) who is able to use this simple Method.
Make yourself in a lonely quiet place. Take a comfortable motionless position for meditation (as usual it is a sitting position on a rug or on a chair). Such position of the body will release the perceiving mind and the part of consciousness that controls your moving activity. Generate in yourself an intention of finding time for self-knowledge. Present this action and all its fruits to God. Begin the preparatory part of Dhyana - observe your minds from the outside not getting attached to their meaningful part. Having found a zone in your consciousness that is free from thoughts try and expand it. This can be called a spatial approach. You can stop a mental activity if you increase an interval between thoughts or open a part of a thinking mind upwards a Super Conscious zone overhead. In that case the mental activity immediately stops. The last method requires sufficiently developed consciousness. It is unwanted for beginners. As a rule it takes from several weeks to several years to pass through this preparatory stage. In all cases to your surprise you will sense how nice your consciousness feels in a new status if even for a short time you manage to get rid of a shroud of thoughts. You have no abstractions any more; experience has become brighter and more saturated. From this point on consciousness is ready for pure contemplation.
In the Integral Yoga there are following centers for concentration: 1) the zone of the Spiritual Heart in the middle of the breast 2) the zone of the Transcendent Supermind - the source of the Original Shakti (the Conscious Power) that is located over the top of the head.
One might say that the Supermind and the Original Shakti are located everywhere, in every point of space. Yet, the above-mentioned centers are the gates that you can walk trough the easiest. It is caused by locations of Consciousness-Force in Nadi-Channels that are accumulated in these centers.
These two centers enable you to release your True Self.
The zone of the Spiritual Heart enables you to uncover the Divine Self. Under the circumstances a yogi experiences a state of immortality and a feeling of the Absolute Freedom and Delight as well as he/she gains knowledge of other his/her Selves. This is liberation (Mukti) occurring in the Heart.
The overhead center that locates in the Sahasradala chakra opens the Transcendent Aspect of God who dominates all his incarnations in the World and who enjoys their Play. Also a dynamic aspect of Adi Shakti - the Origin Force Self - the Mother of the World, manifests itself in this zone. She gives birth to all universes and to all motions and forces in them.
There are three fundamental realizations in the Integral Yoga - individual, transcendent and cosmic. But they can not come at once because they are the fruit of long meditation as a result of which the human consciousness transforms into the higher one. Merely simple mental understanding of these aspects approaches a yogi to their realization.
Concentrating on the mentioned centers during Dhyana and in a silent prayer your Spiritual Heart and Sahasradala chakra (the overhead zone), a practitioner begins to feel the described emotional experiences as his/her original ones that are inherent in his/her True Self.
During the first experiences of releasing consciousness when we, even if for a very short time, don't identify ourselves with a body, emotions and mind a sense of a power comes to us. It is everywhere, it surrounds our body, and it is our body itself. We can also sense its higher manifestation in Sahasradala chakra. From the heights the Consciousness-Force descends to our mind (Manomaya Kosha), energy body (Pranamaya Kosha) and a physical body (Annamaya Kosha) and transforms it into the perfect divine form (Varam Rupa).
While you are keeping a thought process and emotions in a passive state switch your attention to the zone of the Spiritual Heart. Contemplating God in yourself and having convinced of your inside Sincerity, concentrate on the Highest and His Light-giving Force in the overhead zone. Open yourself like a flower towards the descending Power and the Divine Consciousness. Open your mind and your emotional Self. Uncover these zones for changing and transforming them into a higher form. Listen to your sensations, vibrations in the body and hear in silence of the mind how your consciousness is changing. Rely on God - it is the most natural motion that a living being can make. Open towards Heaven and ask It about a new Mind and a new Heart...
Perhaps in a few days, months or years before you strengthen yourself in your Heart and in Wisdom of the Highest Self - the Spiritual Sun over your head. You will have a sensation of how Consciousness-Force is descending and not only transforming your Mind and Heart but also penetrating into your whole body filling it with a flow of joy. The Descending Force goes into hands, a stomach where it interacts with living energies, and then goes down to legs working with subconsciousness. Consciousness-Force also descends to space round a body. A sensation of a body will have changed: it will experience more and wider than a physical coat. From this point onwards work on integration with the Cosmic Consciousness begins.
Open your whole body and all space around to the Divine Mother. Observe the opening of the Mind body, the Emotional-Energy body; observe the Shakti work with a physical body. Aspire to raise your Consciousness higher: one meter over head, two, ten, Infinity... With its elevation experience of space, time and cause-and-effect relations will be changing too. The nectar of Ananda (the Divine Joy) will fill the whole body. Alternate your meditation between closed and slightly opened eyes. During such a spiritual practice the words of the Holy Texts revive, they go through the reality of your Self.
The higher your consciousness rises the clearer you feel space under the body. So the zone of subconsciousness - Tantra Pathalas, Adas - opens itself. Don't give special attention to this zone unless the Spiritual Sun begins to shine fully in your body. But if the Light has become stable you notice how it goes down illuminating all and dissolving all fears as well as getting out of the way all distortions that become apparent in the physical world as sicknesses or failures. The conscious stage of working with these levels must be realized only with the blessing of your Spirit Guide.
After meditation on the Higher Level over head try and feel space in front of your body, behind the body, on the right and on the left of your body while you are bringing down these higher vibrations to the level of the body and lower. Don't try to move consciousness from one zone to the other one, but do unite them adding one zone to the other one creating the Great Sphere (Macha Bindi - the All-Being, the United Omnidirectional Consciousness).
The state of Macha Bindi is characterized by lack of boundaries. There are no more objects for concentration nor any special methods. Consciousness is changing from quality to quality in all space. This is the original natural effortless state (Sahaja). This is the state of the stopped, strong, trained and transformed Consciousness. In the period of the opening of Space of All Directions and perception of Macha Bindi both quiet basic meditations and work with Mantra are possible. Mantra vibrations open the sun nature of the Manifested World.
This type of meditation can be practiced in action, i.e. during walking, conversation, meal and sleep.
When we continuously contemplate Brahman (the Highest Consciousness-Force) in ourselves and in all beings we close a circuit of day and night. A yogi realizes the Great Liberation - the perception of his/her Original Nature and super-Ability starts to show itself in his/her Body.
He looks straight and God looks through his eyes... This is the conclusion of all Yoga and the Great Beginning of a new journey.
In a long time these realizations will deepen until the physical body itself doesn't change completely.
OM NAMO BHAGAVATE
O Supreme Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You
Meditation according to the plan of Consciousness
Being in the state of total and sincere commitment it is necessary to unveil all plans of a human being creating regarding action of the Divine Shakti that regularly replaces them with Its Super Guidance.
Before the practice address yourself inside and devote your action to the Most High.
Get yourself into a correct position (the back is straight). Focus your attention on Sahasrara Chakra (the overhead space). Keeping concentration open the space, like an opening snow-white lotus, towards the Highest Light-giving Source. During the whole practice it is necessary to hold the concentration on the descending energy of the Divine Shakti as well as to be sincerity directed towards the Divine.
Having concentrated on the overhead zone, open in turn the following plans of Consciousness towards Adi Shakti (the Original Consciousness-Force):
- The Upper Buddhi - the Upper Mind (the crown of the head, the top part of brain). It manifests itself as ability for off-conceptual perception of Truth. It doesn't work with most people.
- The Lower Buddhi - the Lower Mind (the zone between eyebrows, the middle level of brain). It manifests itself as ability of conceptual (with the help of thoughts) perception of different parts of Truth of the phenomenal World. It enables you to think logical and straight. It works diminished with most people.
- Space around Buddhi (in front and behind, on the right and on the left)...
- All parts of Antah Karana with centering in the defined zones of a human body have the quality of nonclosure. The thinner the field structure of the Instrument is the easier this quality manifests. Not losing concentration on opening of the overhead space, Upper and Lower Buddhi as well as the space around Buddhi towards the Most High, continue to keep this concentration for some minutes itself.
- Then open Manas - Perceptive Mind (the distance from the zone of eyebrows to the chest). Manas manifests itself as ability to perceive the outer world and initially to reflex by interaction. It partly functions by people substituting the functions of Mind. It perceives the 5th Jnana - Indriya: eyes, ears, tongue, and skin. The 5th Jnana - Indriya has an influence upon digestive system, two hands, two legs, speech organ and genital system.
- Space around Manas (in front, behind, on the right, on the left). Let the energy of Consciousness enter this zone and fill it with its Presence. Keeping the concentration on the Light-giving Source over head, open Buddhi, Manas and space around these centers towards this energy.
- Open Shakti Chitta - the basic consciousness, an emotional plan towards the force (the zone from heart to the middle between heat and navel). Chitta manifests itself as ability to experience a wide variety of emotions. It also operates as memory. By people it manifests itself as a motivating factor: love, sadness and so on.
- Space around Chitta (in front, behind, on the right and on the left)
- Space over heart
- Space under heart
- All space around Chitta.
Keep your concentration in the center over head where all the upper centers and the zone around these centers were opened by the Light-giving Shakti.
Don't lose your concentration, open five basic Pranas (thin energy that supports working the whole body with the help of 5 winds) to the Consciousness:
- Udana Vayu (a prana that moves up throughout the body, centers itself from the neck base to the crown of the head; it is a communication channel between a physical life and the Highest Life of the Spirit).
- Prana Vayu (a prana that operates in the upper part of the body, centers itself in lungs; this prana is a breath of life because it brings a universal power to a physical system).
- Samana Vayu (a prana in the center of the body; it regulates the alternation of Prana and Apana in the place of their meeting; it is the most important in the balance between the vital forces and their actions; it is a mediator in digestion, a fire of digestion).
Integrate Pranas with the Light-giving Source over your head.
- Apana Vayu (the prana that locates in the lower part of the body; it takes part in secretory processes of the physical body; it is a breath of the death because it gives away a vital power; its refill at the expense of a descending flow allows to delay ageing of the dense body.
- Vyana Vayu (the prana that saturates the whole body and distributes energies along it; circulation of the blood and distribution of the most part of digestible food).
- Keep open all five pranas.
Return to the overhead center in your concentration and keep all the centers and the pranas of Sukshma Deha (the thin body) in complete and sincere devotion to the Divine Shakti.
Step by step open Sukshma Deha (the physical body) to Force and Consciousness:
- Skin; feel how the Light touches with your skin, penetrates into it and begins to saturate the surface of your body. It little by little penetrates and begins to circulate in veins and in vessels and gets then into a circulatory system.
- Light fills up all internals,
- muscular tissue,
- bone stocks,
- joints, sinews,
- the whole body.
Your body is pierced by the Transforming, Light-giving Energy. In complete commitment and in all sincerity open yourself to Force, Energy and Consciousness. Keep this concentration.
Turn your attention to the center over head and keep the full opening of Sukshma (thin body) and Sthula Deha (thick body) as well as keep the space that is opened to this Force around you.
Light inside, Light outside, from above and from below, Light around you. There is nothing but the Light-giving Transforming Space.
Narrow your eyes and keep this concentration for some time.
After you complete Dhyana present all results to the Most High, try and keep the achieved state during the post-meditative period.
Indications of progress
If you meditate for an appreciable length of time and correct the following indications are possible:
- Increasing of the concentration power, clearness of concentration.
- Overcoming of slackness and sleepiness.
- Stopping of the thinking process.
- Light pressure in the upper part of the head; afterwards sensation of Power in the whole body.
- Sensation of dilution of the body.
Indications of further advancement:
- Intellectual flow practically stops; ability for its control appears.
- Sensation of pleasant coolness over head (activation of Sahasrara Chakra).
- Inner physical sensations of space extension.
- Possible sensations of inner sinuosity and swirling.
- State of motiveless joy, easy and purity, both inner and physical.
- Vision and physical sensations of the descending Light Energy and sensations of Joy in the whole Being.
- Intuitive knowledge of any subject.
- Recovery of disturbed functions.
- Sensation of the present of God in everything.
- Possibility of influence on current circumstances.
Aparadhas (obstacles on the way)
Always remember that all the results of this meditation as well as its process must be devoted to the Divine. Declension from this basic rule can lead to such consequences as appearance of negative Samskaras that can be a cause of Yoga difficulties and falls. Moreover it is a mistake if you practice in the state of personal motives and in aspiration for Siddhis (super talent).
OM NAMO BHAGAVATE
O Supreme Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.