What Is Meditation?

Anandamayi Ma in meditation

Meditation is the practice of bringing the mind inward by concentrating on a single thought (or object) to exclude all other thoughts. It cannot happen without complete concentration, since the mind is continuously creating thoughts and bringing your attention from one thing to the next. Only when the concentration increases, thus excluding all thought waves, the mind becomes calm and quiet.

In this sense, meditation is the empty space where there is nothing but an uninterrupted flow of energy and the usual preoccupations with the world disappear. It is being fully anchored in the present moment. At deeper levels, duality also fades away because the ego-mind merges with Divine Consciousness. This is called Samadhi or Nirvana. The highest, permanent state of Samadhi is what we call Liberation or Self-realization, where there is no ego or sense of individuality; it is the aim of all spiritual paths and the true purpose of life.

Meditation is both a practice and a way of being that leads to spiritual freedom. The ultimate outcome is Self-realization, but there are many other benefits at every stage of spiritual development. Because it purifies the body in general and the nervous system in particular, diseases of the body and mind naturally improve with a daily practice. Energy levels and mental powers increase, as well as creativity and intuition. Stress is reduced and inner joy becomes a regular experience.

If you are able to meditate at least for half an hour every day, you will become level headed and face life with greater peace and mental strength—that is, less identified with your body, mind, and ego, and therefore less attached to suffering.  The divine energy that flows during meditation has a purifying effect on the mind and the body, which is an extension of the mind. For this reason, it is the most powerful medicine.

It also allows discrimination and intuitive wisdom to emerge and lead you to the truth of who you are. As the mind becomes calm and steady, you experience inner peace, which is what you truly yearn for but keep seeking outside of yourself. With practice, duality disappears through super-conscious states, but you must be patient and consistent, because reaching these states takes a long time.

Important Guidelines for Meditation

  • Use a seat for meditation or asana made of wool or wool on one side (bottom) and cotton on the other. Avoid sitting on the bare ground, since your energy may be drained off, and do not share your asana with anyone.
  • Regularity of time, place and practice are important, as they condition the mind to slow down, paving the path to deeper levels of inwardness. Ten minutes every day is better than one hour every now and then.
  • If possible, the best times to meditate are dawn and dusk, when the atmosphere is quiet and charged with special spiritual energy, but if it’s not possible, just choose a specific time and stick to it everyday.
  • Try to have a separate room only for meditation, if you can. As meditation is repeated, the energy will increase and the atmosphere will be filled with peace and purity, which will further support your daily practice.
  • When sitting, face North or East in order to take advantage of favorable magnetic vibrations.
  • Sit in a steady, comfortable, position, preferably cross-legged, with the spine and neck straight but not tense.
  • Select a focal point for the mind to rest. Most people choose the third eye, as it is close to the eyes and easy to focus on. Eventually, choose the heart as your anchor.
  • Keep your focus on your breathing. The breath, the prana (vital force), and the mind are connected. Regulating and controlling one will regulate and control the other.
  • Do not force the mind to be still, as this will set in motion additional thoughts. Focus on the breath, a mantra, or a specific technique; with practice, the mind will eventually recede and become still—through your own concentration.
  • Attempt to live a pure, sattvic life and treat your body like a temple. Strive to eat pure, nutritious food and to avoid intoxicants. A vegetarian or vegan diet will accelerate your spiritual development.

Now, turning your daily practice into a way of being also requires letting go of all the false ideas about yourself, others, and life—all the distortions of the ego you identify with. So contact me today to delve deeper into yourself and gain greater emotional and spiritual freedom!

© 2011 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.