Meditation in Crisis

In both Yoga and Zen a time of crisis is a good basis. A tragic bereavement, bankruptcy, public disgrace, ingratitude or even hostility from those who have been helped – these are the times when there is detachment from the world. Here is a specimen meditation. It has been assumed that enough study has been done to give the degree of conviction and resolution to try meditation. You have to be prepared to set aside an hour first thing every morning for three months in order to give this form meditation a fair trial. You must be prepared, like an athlete training for an event, to restrict considerably sexual activity, smoking, alcohol and drugs of any kind, and indulging in intense conflicts. Then every morning at the same place and same time make a seat of cushions on the floor, or sit on a chair with the feet underneath. Sit …

Read moreMeditation in Crisis

The purpose of meditation is realization of an existing fact

In meditation practice, it is essential to remember the purpose, which is: realization of an existing fact. Meditation is not building up a dream. The traditional meditations are, however, allocated to different stages. Many people cannot yet meditate on identity of the true Self and God; it is too remote from daily experience. To them, such texts are frankly incredible. Statements such as Rama Tirtha’s main teaching, “You are infinite, God Almighty you are, Infinite God you are”, run so absolutely counter to actual experience that they are mentally discounted. Until the vividness and urgency of daily life have been considerably thinned, meditation on the true Self will be (as Shankara says in his Gita commentary) impossible. While individual concerns and trivial events continue to occupy most of the attention, there will not be conscious experience of the true Self. That experience has to be as clear and direct as …

Read moreThe purpose of meditation is realization of an existing fact

Meditation on the heart-lotus

There are many forms of meditation, but this article is about the meditation on a symbol, as described by Swami Mangalnath from his own experience in the book The Heart of the Eastern Mystical Teaching by  Hari Prasad Shastri. “The hollow in the centre of your body where the ribs join just below the breast bone is the best region on which to fix your mind in meditation. You may have heard the expression `the lotus of the heart’; it refers to this point. You can apply a little sandal-paste to the spot and then concentrate your mind on it. Two hours a day is not too long a time for this practice. When you can fix your mind there at will, then visualize a lotus of bluish colour, and when this meditation is matured, imagine Om placed on the lotus, and meditate on it.” This form of meditation is …

Read moreMeditation on the heart-lotus

Spiritual Archery

“That which is bright and is subtler than the subtle, and that on which are fixed all the worlds as well as the dwellers of the worlds, is this immutable Brahman; it is this vital force; it, again, is speech and mind. This that is such, is true, it is immortal. It is to be shot at; O disciple, shoot at it. Taking up the bow, the great weapon of the Upanishads, one shouldfix on it an arrow sharpened with meditation. Drawing it with a mind fixed on Brahman, hit, O disciple, that target, the Immutable. OM is the bow; individual self is the arrow, and Brahman is said to be the mark. It is to be hit by one who is steady. One should become one with it as an arrow is one with the mark.” Mundak Upanishad In these famous verses God-realization is described by the analogy of …

Read moreSpiritual Archery

In both Yoga and Zen a time of crisis is a good basis for meditation

In both Yoga and Zen a time of crisis is a good basis. A tragic bereavement, bankruptcy, public disgrace, ingratitude or even hostility from those who have been helped – these are the times when there is detachment from the world. These are practices that Dr Shastri recommended; they are well proven and reliable, and the book that they come out of is “Meditation: Its Theory and Practice”, which was written by Dr Shastri. One can be showered with different practices or presentations, but if one does one thing properly, then there is a chance for a response to come – an invitation to make the practices go further. But unless we start to do something there can’t be any response, there is no rapport. Lay down a particular time for meditation; he recommends first thing in the morning, when the mind is calm, though it might mean getting up …

Read moreIn both Yoga and Zen a time of crisis is a good basis for meditation

Shankara on the Yoga Sutras for Yoga Practise

Here is Trevor leggett’s original specification using links (1) Read the Introduction for the General Reader: at this stage pass over the Technical Introduction. Then read the following passages of the sūtra and commentaries from part 1 only:- (2) 1.02– 1.06 then jump to 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 back (3) 1.12 – 1.22 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 back (4) 1.23 – 26, God. Sūtra-s only – pass over the elaborate proofs. Take it as a working hypothesis to be confirmed by experiment. 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 back (5) 1.27 -32 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 back (6) 1.33 – 40 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 back (7) 1.41 – 49. Note the conditions for inspiration given in 1.43 and 1.47. Not all Samādhi-s are Truth-bearing. 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 1.46 1.47 1.48 1.49 back (8) 1.50 and …

Read moreShankara on the Yoga Sutras for Yoga Practise

Yoga Sutras for Yoga Practice

Using Shankara on the Yoga Sutras for Yoga Practice You have to know enough theory for a working basis; there is no need immediately to read the subtleties of the intellectual background. (1) Read the Introduction for the General Reader Introduction for the General Reader The text translated here is an historical find: an unknown commentary on the Yoga sūtra-s of Patañjali by Śaṅkara, the most eminent philosopher of ancient India. Present indications are that it is likely to be authentic, which would date it about AD 700. The many references to Yoga meditation in his accepted works have sometimes been regarded as concessions to accepted ideas of the time, and not really his own views. If he has chosen to write a commentary on Yoga meditation, it must have been a central part of his own standpoint, although he was opposed to some of the philosophical doctrines of the …

Read moreYoga Sutras for Yoga Practice

Om for realization of the Self

Practice The practice is to be done first of all in a meditation posture, preferably on a cushion or folded blanket on the floor, with one foot up on the opposite thigh and the other foot underneath, forming a triangle on which the body can be supported for a long time. Failing this, the practitioner may sit on a chair, but without supporting himself on the back of it. The general posture of the back is something like that of a horseman looking into the distance. The spine is balanced, which means fairly straight, and the weight of shoulders and head should be felt to rest on the loins. Hands are locked together in some way, and eyes half shut or, if there is no tendency to sleep, fully closed. Westerners should cultivate where possible a seated position on the floor; it does not have associations of sleep for them …

Read moreOm for realization of the Self

radiant forms meditation

16 The Light Experiences sutra 55 or (by) the sorrowless radiant (mental perception) Shankara explains this as a much more important practice, and many teachers make it the first step, omitting the previous ones. The centre of attention (dharana) is the ‘heart centre’, roughly where the ribs meet. Some yogis put a dab of sandal paste there before sitting; the fragrance rising helps them to keep attention centred. Two hours is not too long for the practice, says the teacher Swami Mangalnath in the Heart of the Eastern Mystical Teaching. When the yogi can hold attention steadily at that spot, he generally becomes aware of something like a lotus, made of light, and he meditates on it. Many Westerners have only a hazy idea of what a lotus looks like, having only seen them from a distance. Like many of these traditional similes, this one has been chosen carefully to …

Read moreradiant forms meditation

How To Use Realization of the Supreme Self for Yoga Practice

You have to know enough theory for a working basis; there is no need to read the subtleties of the intellectual background yet. Establish a daily rhythm of study, meditation, self-discipline and devotion as explained in the readings. Get up one hour earlier to create space for the practices. Set apart a quiet place to do the meditation and study without fail at the same place and time. Choose one meditation text from Chapters 9 or 10 the six week period and focus on it for twenty minutes. Once the Line of Light has been established in the meditation period, it can be maintained during the day,at first at quiet moments, and then even in disturbance. It gives many advantages both physical and mental.

Formal meditation posture

The Thinker, East and West It has been an axiom for thousands of years in the Eastern traditions that the body reflects the mind, as the mind reflects levels deeper than itself. Rodin’s ‘Thinker’ is here side by side with the 8th Century clay figure of a Chinese Lohan or Buddhist saint. Both of them have been thinking, but what a great difference! In fact, the wonderful technique of Rodin conceals the unnaturalness of the posture. Most people, asked to sit like the famous ‘Thinker’, put their right elbow on the right knee. They are quite surprised to find out that it should be on the other knee, an uncomfortable position that cannot be held for more than a short time. The knuckles of the right hand are pressed so hard against the mouth that the lips are pushed out of shape. In spite of the apparent calm of the …

Read moreFormal meditation posture

Yoga Power Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8

Strength of Yoga The practice of the eighth chapter presents mainly meditations on the Lord felt as within the body. First the mind and the prāṇa currents of vital energy are focussed at a centre in the heart. Then the focussed attention moves up with them to a point on the forehead roughly between the eyebrows. People who try this soon find that the concentration becomes confused. They are not sure when they have enough concentration to begin the move upward, and become indecisive. The Gītā explains that it is done, and can only be done, by what it calls the ‘strength of yoga’. Śaṅkara explains that this strength is in fact the after-effects of long practice, repeated till the saṃskāra-impressions have been formed strongly in the causal part at the root of the mind. The process is then accomplished spontaneously, so to speak, independent of the discursive mind. Repeated …

Read moreYoga Power Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8

Samskara impressions are latent and dynamic

Line of Light Spiritual training at the outset can look unrealistic. It says: ‘Do this!’ or ‘Don’t do that!’, but a bare command can defeat its own purpose. It is like the King in Alice in Wonderland, who angrily tells the trembling witness: ‘Give your evidence. And don’t be nervous. I’ll have you executed if you’re nervous!’ There are some things that cannot just be commanded. We feel that an order not to be nervous is like an order not to feel cold, or an order to like eating something unpleasant. The question is whether feelings can be controlled by a simple order, even when backed up with a threat of beheading. In yoga the words used are more gentle; perhaps something on these lines: A student of yoga should do his actions without personal hopes or fears about the result. But the point remains: how is this to be …

Read moreSamskara impressions are latent and dynamic

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!