Dyhana ~ Lets talk about meditationAugust 20, 2019 1:50 pm
Meditation practices can also be called Raja Yoga or the Royal Path.
Raja means royal. Raja Yoga deals with the mind. The last three steps of the eight-limbed system of Patanjali concern meditation. They are Dharana, concentration and Dhyana, Meditation, which leads to the eighth and final step, Samadhi or super consciousness. (Look out for our next blog ‘ Who was Patanjali and what are the Yoga Sutras’)
Asanas and pranayama practice primes the body and mind for these higher rungs of raja yoga. Meditation is the essence of all yoga practice – in the yoga sutras it is said ‘yoga chitta vritti nirodha’~ yoga is the stilling of the thinking mind.
Meditation is an ancient universal system of knowledge. Approach to it varies, but the basic principles remain. Here I aim to present a basic understanding from a classical yogic perspective.
Meditation asks us to look within, to turn our attention and awareness to the inner world and landscape of our thoughts. For many, life is lived mostly ‘out there’ in a world of sensory impressions and sensory experience. So what do we find when we look within ourselves? This internal plane of the mind can be chaotic, the vacillation of thoughts this way and that, a mind in a constant state of chatter, liking this, not liking that, grasping at things. This continual movement drains our ability to be still, to be present, to simply Be. It clouds our discernment. The idea behind meditation is to gain control over this internal world, to find balance and peace. With meditation as with all yoga practices we work on ourselves, the task at hand it us. Gaining control of our thoughts we foster peace and contentment in our lives, this in itself becomes an automatic help to those around us. This is a mark of all ‘true’ practice, it will benefit us and others.
Everything is in a constant state of flux. Things come and go. We breathe in and out. To live we have to have the ability to receive breath and in the same way let it go, so that once again we have space to receive. It is a continuous cycle and is mirrored throughout nature. The seasons roll by in a seemingly unending cycle. Acceptance of this as with all things changing helps with equanimity of mind.
Happiness is something everyone wants. And wanting we go looking, often blindly and in the wrong places. If we try to find it in the shopping basket, in a relationship or in a certain job we are in a endless, unquenchable cycle of desire of if and when. All of these external forces are changing. It is our ability to control our thoughts and internal landscape that pave the way to true and lasting happiness. With simple yoga and meditation techniques we all have access to the vast peace and happiness that is our true nature and lies within each and every one of us.
Meditation practice starts out with concentration techniques. As we train the mind to focus on an object, an image, sound or mantra the mind gains strength in its ability to stay one pointed. As the mind strengthens we can concentrate on subtler aspects or objects of concentration. It is important to approach the practice of meditation with positive thinking. If we can approach mediation with an understanding of the nature of the mind we will have much greater success. The source of all our actions is our thoughts. As we realise this our thoughts become the raw material and building blocks of our lives and we can sculpt them as we choose. Thoughts have weight, thoughts have power, they not only affect us, but also others. With loving, well meaning thoughts we can send love and healing to others. The quality of our thoughts colours the quality of our lives. At first the mind may rebel, thinking up a hundred excuses why not to practice; have patience and perseverance. Keep going with tenacity and regularity, success will be yours.
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