Sitting on the hilltop under the blue sky.

Sit reasonably upright.  Now think of yourselves as sitting on top of a hill, on a seat on top of a hill, with nothing round you, just under the blue sky and emptiness in front of you.  In your lap you have a cloth full of little pebbles.  Now you are sitting there.  And a thought will come up about a holiday or something like that.  I wonder if I will be able to get away this year.  Now throw that thought away, feel your hand is taking hold of a little pebble and throw the pebble and the thought away.  So it goes away down the hill.  Then another thought will come up about a row I had recently.  Oh I could have said this, now pick up the pebble mentally and throw it away.  Then another thought will come up.  I wonder if I could … Throw it …

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Line of Light practice and meditation on a text

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/LineofLightpracticeandmeditationonatext.mp3   The subjects of concentration in yoga are realities. They are not beautiful dreams. They are actual realities and it is a question of bringing them to clear awareness in us by persistent practise and this exercise, you remember, consisted in visualising and feeling the centre line as a line of light, to touch the finger on the forehead and then to bring it down the centre line and use the after- sensation down to the navel, feel this centre as a line of light here, throwing away the sensations from the exterior, throwing away the memories and associations from the interior, coming to the centre line. This is one example that is given. Examples are only meant as illustrations, they can’t be taken too far or too exactly, but these red lines (diagram) are associated with these dark lines which do not actually touch them but, nevertheless, to …

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The Line of light practice

The Line of Light This can follow the opening practise as described below One of the main traditions, which Dr Shastri followed, recommends focussing attention on the central line of the body, from the navel circle to the forehead. It is a development of the previous exercise. In this more general practice, there is no movement of the attention, nor focussing on the breath. Press a fingertip on the top of the forehead, and slide the fingertip down the front of the body. Pass it with light pressure between the brows, over the nose, chin, throat, breast, and end up at the navel. Use the after-sensation to bring the mind to the central line. Feel it as a line of calm light. Sit for ten minutes, looking at it, and feeling it. This is called the Line of Light practice, or in some traditions, the inner Middle Way. Some experts …

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A few thoughts on a meditation practice

 Meditation text:  As the bud opens to the dew so does my inner being to receive the light of truth. OM  This text evokes a strong visual image which attracts the mind. A bud is not meant to remain a bud. In fact the bud is a contraction of its potential. It is meant to awake – to flower in glory as an expression of beauty and to attract and benefit pollinating insects, bees and butterflies, fulfilling an ecological and horticultural purpose. The bud needs the right conditions to burst into flower, otherwise it wilts. It requires light and water and the plant of which it is a part demands sustenance from suitable soil nutrients and bacterial conditions. The bud opening to the touch of the dew contains a metaphor for us. Similar to the bud, we remain in a state of contraction without the gentle, timely grace of an …

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Sit on a hilltop under the blue sky

https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/tlayt.bucket1/Short+Talks/Sitonahilltopunderthebluesky.mp3   To sit up reasonably upright, not uncomfortable.  Now to feel one is on a hilltop under the blue sky. In your lap you have a cloth full of pebbles. Now a thought comes up – something which happened yesterday – and I mentally pick up a pebble and throw it and the thought away, so it goes rolling down the hill. Then another thought comes up – a row that’s brewing – take the pebble and throw it away with the thought. Gone. Not wanted. Another thought: “I wonder if this will come….”.  Throw it away. Another thought:  “Oh, these things always happen to….”.  Throw it away. Now mentally sit there.  You need not move the hands at all, but as the thoughts come up, mentally throw the thought away with the pebble. No thought can remain long in the mind if we don’t support it with our …

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The natural postures for meditation and for worship

The natural postures for meditation and for worship are different. In worship there is often a natural raising of the hands, or arms, upwards and the body may be kneeling, sitting on the legs in the Japanese fashion, or standing. Of course in a formal group worship, definite movements may be prescribed. But in general one can say that the limbs are not withdrawn; there is some extension, even if it is just holding a rosary over the heart. The attitude is of an aspiration to a God outside, generally conceived as somehow mainly above, though theoretically asserted to be all-pervasive. In practice, he is thought of as everywhere but here. The characteristic meditation posture on the other hand, symbolizes withdrawal from the sense entanglements, by physical withdrawal of the limbs towards the centre conceived of as round about the navel. The traditional posture of yoga is to sit on …

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Remove the quilt of Samsara and space becomes shining

There is radiance when all the dreams and haze in the oppressive mind-cage are thinned away. Take scrubbing the floor as an example. Now what happens?  We’re asked to examine what happens when I scrub the floor or when I have to do a lot of copy typing or I have to add up a lot of figures that sort of thing. What is actually happening? I don’t have to listen, it  doesn’t have to involve much actual thought but I’ve got to scrub the floor of this room. I start there. Well, while I’m scrubbing there I’m thinking ‘God, a whole room!’ Then I get to a place and I think ‘Oh it’s about a twentieth! Phew!  I’ve done a bit more’. In other words while I’m acting I’m calculating. Along with the action I’m dreaming. I’m doing the action but I’m dreaming. ‘I’ll just start at this now. …

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OM meditation practice programme for one day

Start 10 A.M. 1.    Touch the spot about an inch below the navel – tense the muscles and keep the attention on it. [5 minutes] 2.    Breathe OM naturally on the in and out breaths- feel the breath is there at the navel point. [10 mins] 3.    Carry on as in the previous one but there is an OM in light on the navel point. It blazes more brightly with each breath. [15 mins] Comment: The point below the navel is called the manipura in the Indian tradition, that is the city of the jewel, – and in the Chinese and the Japanese tradition it is called the field of the elixir or the ocean of energy. This centre has been studied in Japan especially. The purpose is to provide strength. It is a real thing unlike, say, imagining yourself being carried, lying down, in a river with willow trees along the sides. …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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