In order to practise meditation we must satisfy the requirement of stillness of the body, an erect spine and closed eyes. These are important disciplines that allow energy and senses to become focussed upon our meditation. There are simple modifications if you are not able to assume the classical cross legged positions.
Dhyana or Meditation itself has four stages. These are relaxation of the mind, concentration of thought, elevation of the soul, and expansion of the spirit. These ideally culminate in varying degrees of peaceful or heightened experiences of consciousness.
Relaxation – attitude of surrender – humility – preparedness
Concentration – power of the mind to tune it and focus
Elevation of the soul – aspiration which allows emotional uplift and contentment
Expansion of the spirit – meditative mood of freedom and flight
The richness of any beautiful meditative experience demands that its essence is registered on the physical brain as an indelible memory. We may try to recapture the mood of a previous meditation and sometimes succeed, but usually each meditation is unique.
Meditation is a natural state of mind when we are without stress, when our thoughts are cheerful and our mind without disturbance.
Relaxation is a natural preparation for meditation. Relaxation of the muscles and nervous system is practised in Yoga Nidra from commencement of Yoga classes or training. It remains one of the most enjoyable experiences both in group class or in private practice. Relaxation of the emotions replaces fear, anxiety and other negative feelings with positive states such as contentment and peace resulting in a kindly peaceful mood and disposition. Relaxation of the mind allows the mind a ‘holiday’ from concerns of work, responsibilities, personality attachments and fears. It is a state of non-striving with one’s thoughts.
Each of these states depends upon a release of restricting influences, and an expansion into a more secure state and condition until one is capable of feeling whole and untroubled.
Next we employ deliberate concentration upon a pleasing quality, or idea which serves to anchor our thought, and not let it wander at all. After some minutes the mind will tire, then is the time to let all effort of mind cease and to encourage a growing feeling of lightness and elevation.
Meditation is a wonderfully relaxed state of mind following mental effort and attunement and there are different recognized states, each of which may be the result of different stimuli. It may sometimes naturally develop to overtake you when you are feeling relaxed and contented, or when moved by strong emotion. However, in the methods used in Yoga, meditation is consciously initiated by the individual who deliberately chooses to tune in to some particular quality through concentration of mind, knowing that there are deeper and finer aspects of consciousness within to explore.
Meditation promises rich enjoyment and spiritual rewards.