Sometimes you wake up in the morning and there is a thought there and it disturbs you. Or you are trying to go to sleep, but the mind doesn’t let you.
Sometimes you want to just take a break, to experience peace, but the mind keeps on going with its thoughts, feelings and emotions. So you can see by your thoughts that the content floating around in the mind does not belong to you.
The mind is not just thought. It’s a whole complex. Your emotions and feelings are all part of the mind complex. It’s conscious thought, subconscious thought and unconscious tendencies.
When you have an angry thought, your body doesn’t feel very happy and those feelings can lead you into very uncomfortable states of being and even into addiction.
So unless we have a practice where we can meet ourselves before the mind consistently, we are identified with the mind and the content floating around in it.
Meditation is the fundamental way of transcending the mind, going beyond the mind. Until we transcend it, we are living within the mind, at the mercy of the mind, and it’s not always a pleasant place.
Meditation is important not just for our own sake, for our own peace, but also for the sake of the collective. It’s the single most important practice that you can bring into your daily life.
What exactly does it involve?
In Sanskrit, the name for meditation is ‘Dhyana’. This means the continuity of awareness.
Patanjali, in The Yoga Sutras, uses the word ‘Samyama’ to describe the process of meditation. Samyama is a collection of four aspects of consciousness, the movement in consciousness during meditation. They are Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the senses, withdrawing from our preoccupation with the objective world, with its stories, with our busyness. It is about turning the five senses inward, pulling them back – closing the eyes, covering yourself with a woollen or silk shawl (bringing your energy inward), rolling the eyes up to the third eye (sambhavi mudra), applying khechari mudra (rolling the tip of the tongue back in the mouth) and focusing inward into silence, the pure field of being.
From there you start to have Dharana, concentration. Before you can go beyond concentration, there is concentration, Dharana. This means that instead of having scattered awareness, you focus your awareness. Focused concentration, but not forced ̶ it’s natural. For this, you can focus on the breath, on the silence, or on a mantra. There are many different techniques, but what is important is that you are focusing on one particular event in consciousness.
As you do this, spontaneously Dhyana starts to happen. Something starts to happen to you. You start to merge into a deeper state of silence. This is when meditation is happening to you. You are not meditating anymore. Now it is something that is happening to you.
As you go deeper into that Samadhi occurs, meaning you start to unite with the unified field. You start to make contact with the timeless field of being in you, the pure field of awareness, before all thought.
What is the purpose of it all?
The purpose of meditation is to begin to take charge of your mind, to master your mind. Only when you begin to master your mind can you begin to master your life. A regular sit-down meditation practice is fundamental to that.
When is the best time to start?
Now – always Now!
How often should I practice?
Meditation helps you come to sanity within yourself. So it is important to have a daily practice, morning and evening.
After that, you can start to bring it into the other areas of your life, allowing your whole life to become a meditation. But a sit-down practice is crucial so that you can start to realize how deeply capable you are.
Don’t waste another minute. Go beyond the mind. Experience more. It’s what you are here for.