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They have sung Him as infinite and unattainable; but I in my meditations have seen Him without sight.


Sweet one…

God is helping you as you read these pages… encouraging you to turn the searchlight of your mind inwards, away from the entrapping power of the senses. Meditation is an essential step on the ladder of Self-realization… and to succeed in this endeavour, it helps if you make certain tenets an intrinsic feature of your daily spiritual routine. A proper environment, place, a disciplined schedule, physical and mental states should all reflect a keenness to turn inward. Some of the key issues and practical points are elucidated below for your understanding.

Regularity in practice and at the same time and place help calm the mind, and also slow down its activities, making it more conducive to entering deeper states of concentration . The best times are at dawn between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. and at night 11 p.m. onwards. The ether at these times is charged with a special spiritual force, but if it is not possible to meditate during these tranquil hours (when the atmosphere is devoid of many material energies and concerns), sit at any other convenient time when you find your mind to be quiet and at ease. While a fixed timing each day brings notable benefits, regularity of practice is more important. Try and set aside some time each day both in the morning and evening.

Try and have a separate room or a cordoned off portion in a room for your meditations. As far as possible, do not use this room for any other purposes except spiritual practices. Impregnate the room/area with the vibrations of your chosen Deity / Guru by placing a picture etc. on the altar. The photo of your Guru is a manifestation of the spiritual consciousness of him/her and emanates powerful, very beneficial vibrations. As you regularly meditate here, the vibrations being generated will help you go deeper and deeper. Over a couple of months, the entire room/area will have a magnetic aura of its own and will soothe, calm those who come within its presence.

Your meditation seat should be comfortable. A cushion of cotton or some other natural fibre facilitates the natural flow of circulation. Some serious practitioners place a deer skin, tiger skin, or even a woollen blanket over the cushion. This protects the body from the downward pull of certain earth currents and helps raise the life current (prana) to the point between the eyebrows.

Sit facing north or east. The magnetic currents flowing in from these directions assist in concentration.

Posture is vital. Be comfortable and steady with a straight spine and with the neck held high but not tense, keeping the chin parallel to the ground. The abdomen should be in, with the chest held out and the shoulder blades drawn gently together. The palms of the hands should rest on the inner part of the thighs (towards the belly) and face upwards. You may sit in an armless chair with your feet planted flat on the floor if the most advisable (padmasana (lotus posture) or a simple cross-legged position is difficult to assume.

The padmasana has certain inherent energy-flow advantages very conducive to depth in meditation and one is encouraged to try and gradually seek to assume it but not at the cost of undue pains in the legs which will only tie one down further to sense consciousness. The buttocks should be pushed back slightly to straighten the spine. A straight spine will help ward off the natural tendency (especially among novices) to fall asleep, even as it clears the path for the consciousness to be lifted from the body to the Infinite. Metabolism, breathing, and brain-wave impulses will slow down as one goes deeper.

The eyes remain preferably lightly closed or half-open (naturally, as in some cases) but definitely with the eyeballs looking up at the point between the eyebrows. The focus of the mind and the attention is also on this same point. This is vital. This is the point of the ajna chakra (the third eye, the luminous astral eye of intuitive perception) and is the seat of concentration and will power. Initially there may be pain as one follows this practice, but with practice and a calm mind, the tension eases off and one finds oneself looking upward automatically even when, for example, one is falling asleep. Great benefits accrue by cultivating this habit so that one looks upward each time one shuts one’s eyes either while traveling, walking, relaxing, or amidst any other activity.

The stomach ideally should always be empty before your spiritual practices. An empty stomach makes available more life energy and helps raise your consciousness levels to the higher astral centers.

The mouth should be closed with the tongue touching the palate to make a kind of bridge (facilitating movement of the prana from the nose to the throat).

Relax and still the body. Tension in any part will lock your consciousness there and prevent the mind from going beyond the body. To help physically relax, slowly (in a gradual upward flow) tense the entire body from bottom to top, hold for a few seconds and then quickly exhale, feeling that all the tension and worry is together being thrown out of your being. (For further enumeration on relaxation, see our sub-section entitled Relaxation.) Intermittently keep checking the body to ensure that it is relaxed.

Before you begin, will the mind to be equanimous and quiet. Let go of all thoughts of the past, present, and future. Consciously regulate your breathing to be rhythmic and natural. Regulation of the breath will also regulate the flow of life energy (prana). Yogis suggest a typical technique of breathing in (through the nostrils) to a normal count of 10 to 20, holding the breath for the same count, and then releasing the breath over the identical count. Repeat this cycle 5 to 10 times. As an alternative, you may breathe in and out very regularly, at the same rhythm; apropos, if you breathe in for six seconds, you must breathe out for six seconds - all through the nostrils and gently. It is wise to mentally repeat a holy name (eg. Aum) at the same time.

Ritualistically, create the right mental attitude and environment for yourself by lighting a candle, and also some incense. Each of these ingredients represents a certain element in nature and in our beings. As we light a candle, we are actually offering the element of fire within us to the one God. Incense is symbolic of surrendering the air element. Similarly if you wish, you may offer food as the earth element, water as the water element, and flowers as the ether element. Rituals are important if we understand the inner meaning behind their practices and dissolve our beings in the act of devotional offering.

The soul when deluded by cosmic delusion or psychological Satan becomes the ego. It now attaches itself to all identifications and possessions of the body. The soul is very simple; the ego, complicated. The ego is bound by personality, and has many layers of conditioning, corruption, and poisoning. God as prince soul is waiting eagerly behind these blocks, hoping that one by one we will discard these filters to let the light of his resplendent kingdom shine through. The ego so identified with weaknesses and limitations cannot express its omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. An actual prince, it wanders around like a beggar in the world of delusion. Yoga as the divine communion with God is concerned with reversing this descent of the soul into the subtle lower astral centers in man.

The process of evolution is not in the soul. It is already what it is. If a screen blocks your enchanting view of the scenery beyond, it would help if an opening were made in the screen. As the opening increases in size, more and more of the scenery comes within the range of the vision. When the screen is removed completely, you are able to view the scenery in its totality and become one with it. This screen is the mind of man. Behind it is the majesty, the pristine, infinite power of the soul.

As the mind becomes purer and purer, more of the majesty of the soul manifests itself. The change is in the screen, not in the soul. “When the I shall die, then shall I know who am I,” affirm the scriptures. The ego dies when the body dies, and so does the mind. But the soul is transcendental of both. And only when in living consciousness we experience the death of this ‘I-consciousness’ will we wholly manifest the presence of the soul, long truant on the highway of incarnations. When we choose the soul, we choose God. Forget yourself as an entity separate from existence, and in that very disappearance, you will be reborn.

God sent us as petals of his flowers to behave like immortals manifesting true soul qualities… to enjoy the play of creation without attachment and clinging. But through proximity and ignorance, souls fall prey to the charms of maya and identify with desires, thoughts, feelings, and other actors who manifest similar traits. On the day of reckoning, when the soul is required to exit the body temple, even as it undergoes its inherent reviewing of the details of the dream life gone by, it retains some desires and attachments. These attachments cling to the soul and prevent it from returning to Spirit.

Again and again, it must manifest as the ego, till at last all vestiges of desire and shadows of karmic obligations are worked out. In the manifestation of the divine One, we will experience joy and bliss that will a million times over be more intoxicating than all the gratification of our material desires. Sweet one, move homeward. HE is waiting for you.

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