Meditation

“The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self.

Our task must be to free ourselves; by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

 Albert Einstein, 1954

 

Meditation can move us closer to promoting compassion within ourselves and those that we touch.

Through meditation we become more responsible.  This responsibility lies in the balance we discover by unlocking the synergy of our mind….. our heart….. and our inner spirit. We propose that through a continued and ongoing dedication to a personal meditation practice, great strides are possible for ourselves, our relationships, our family, and our society.  It allows us to subdue the self.  It allows us to “just let go”.  In doing so, a remarkable thing happens.  We do not cease to be.  We do not lose control.  We do not lose self; instead we liberate it.  We find a beautiful place of peace, harmony, and balance.  We now frame the self within a much purer form of loving and nurturing energy.  We begin to see a clearer picture of the world and our place in it.  We learn the art of alchemy in converting passion into compassion.  Our decision making process then incorporates a powerful and far reaching wisdom.  We are in tune within a rhythm of life, our surroundings, and those we touch.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”

 Dalai Lama

A great soul once responded when asked the question, “What is the most important time?” 

The response went somewhat as follows, “The most important time is this present moment.  It is the only time that we will ever have control of.  It is what we do in this present moment that determines the direction of our lives.”

We can use this time wisely and responsibly or we can diminish its value.  Remember this; the value of this present moment is colored by our deepest feelings and subsequent thoughts and desires.  Any decision in life will have their imprint.

 

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

John Lennon

 

Ask yourself these questions:

Who am I?

Where am I going?

How will I get there?

Who am I?  Where am I going?  How will I get there?

These very important questions take on a very different response when we open our heart to discover its secrets.  Through the act of quieting the mind, we allow the content resting deep within the heart to awaken.  When we contemplate our awareness and again ask these same questions after cultivating the heart, our responses are altered and given a much deeper meaning and significance.

 


 

 

 “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”

Lao Tzu

 A “loving kindness” meditation

After a long day, including some difficult personal encounters we tend to build stress within our bodies and our mind.  Our mind keeps going over the situations reviewing the negative pictures and the emotions attached.

Take the time to brew yourself a cup of tea, preferably green or herbal, sit down in a comfortable and quiet setting, alone by yourself.   

Sip your tea and inhale, filling the lungs while lowering the diaphragm with breath, enjoying the beverage.  Review the day, the good and the bad.  Continue enjoying the tea and the review.  After a few minutes…..close the eyelids…..

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the exhale…..say the word “listen” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the exhale…..say the word “observe” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the exhale…..say the word “value” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the exhale…..say the word “embrace” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the inhale…..say the word “I”….. then say the word “love” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

“I…….Listen”

“I…….Observe”

“I…….Value”

“I…….Embrace”

“I…….Love

Repeat the above, quietly feeling the impression of each word, surrendering to the emotional impact of each word and each breath.

After a few rounds, just say the word, “I” on the inhale and “love” on the exhale, surrendering to the ebb and flow of the breath.  Start to let the breath find its own rhythm without any personal effort.  Allow the breath to breathe you.  Surrender to its mastery of the moment itself.  Now is when the meditation begins.  Now is when we listen to the breath…..we listen to the awakened heart.  Do not be concerned when you find the mind begin to wander.  This is normal.  It’s what the mind does.  Gently bring the attention of the mind back to the breath, back to the mantra.  The mind is like a young excited child.  Be loving, kind, and gentle with it.  The words on the inhale and the exhale help to still and calm our mind.  The relationship between our awareness and our breath is our goal.  This relationship unlocks the secrets of our heart.  It is only when we subdue the mind can we discover what the heart has to say.  It is as if the mind is a like a pond that has stones cast into it relentlessly.  It is only when the stones are stopped that the surface of the pond finds its calm.  It is then that we can see the beauty hidden beneath its surface.  The breath will guide us.  The heart beckons us upon our journey.  We just need to listen, then observe, then value, and finally surrender and embrace what we find.  In this moment we are open to the very magic of the heart.  Rediscover, in the solitude of your being, the very private and special tenderness that goes before no other soul.  Let this place and this moment embrace you with its wonder.  Let the Love and Grace found within your being expand to every cell, every breath, and every moment.  Breathe Love – Be Love.   Let it last as long as you will.

Upon completion of this meditation, revisit the problems of the day with this affirmation:  “I let go….. I listen….. I love….. I forgive…..  My heart – My love, extends to all that I meet in loving kindness.” 

 What do we hear when opening our heart?

…..Listen to the silence.

What do we see when opening our heart?

…..Observe the stillness. 

What do we find when opening our heart?

…..Value the fullness of this moment.

What do we do when opening our heart?

…..Embrace this moment with the compassion of loving kindness.

Listen to the silence of a loving heart, observe the stillness of a loving heart, value the fullness of a loving heart, and then, embrace this special moment in time with compassionate courage, generosity, and humility born from loving kindness.

 I listen, I observe, I value, I embrace…….I am…….I love…….In thee, I am…….In thee, I love.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Proverbs 4:23

The act of meditation has not the goal of gaining anything.  The purpose of meditation is to surrender, to release, to “let go”; to just listen and observe.  We then value and embrace what remains.

What do we find when we still our mind?

…..Love

 

“Our knowledge of God is perfected by gratitude: we are thankful and rejoice in the experience of the truth that He is love.”

Thomas Merton

When do you recall ever having taken the time to explore the depths of your own heart?

Will the discovery of the secrets lying dormant within your heart alter the direction of your life’s journey?  Have you ever wondered which fork in the road to take?  Have you done all the necessary preparation to make the choice valid?

May we extend this invitation to self examination.  

We are all given gifts at birth.  Discover them for yourself and their ultimate power for personal transformation.  Explore how their cultivation can add meaning to your life and the lives of those you touch.

“I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks.  God is the friend of silence–we need to listen to God because it is not what we say but what He says to us and through us that matters.”

Mother Teresa


 

Mantra and Yantra by yogamag.net

Mantra and Yantra

by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Mantras are sounds and yantras are visual symbols. These two tools are much used in tantra. Yantras represent maps of consciousness, maps of the mind. Mantras represent the essence of the final element.

The five elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether and the five indriyas, the senses, are connected. Sound and speech are connected to akasha tattwa, the ether element. When nothing of matter exists, only sound exists. Sound, the vibration in space lingers on and on and on. The basic nature, the basic quality, the basic expression of the space element is sound. Therefore, mantra represents finality. After having gone through all the elements, there is merger into the space element, the brahmandiya element, the universal element.

When you are chanting the mantra in your meditation, you are only focusing on the sound and nothing more. In order to focus the mind and stop its wavering, you use a visual form, the symbol. That symbol can be anything. It can be a triangle, a flame, a drop, the moon, sun, or a flower.

The symbol which you have visualized, is the yantra on which you are focusing the mind. A yantra can be complex like the Sri Yantra, with many little triangles and pieces. It can also be as simple as a single triangle with three lines, or the shape of a flame.

Anything visual, in which you are holding your mind for an extended period of time, becomes the yantra. Ultimately what you are observing creates a mirror image in the mind, and that is your psychic symbol.

iPads and iPhones

When I see children playing their games on iPads, iPhones, and computers, and when I see that their attention span is becoming shorter and shorter every passing day, then I imagine the kind of mind they are expressing at that time: it is a visually cluttered mind. Even when these children are dreaming, they are dreaming of Age of Empires,in their sleep. Even when they are dreaming, they are dreaming of a computer game, Batman shooting bang bang in their sleep or something coming to eat them.

These images become the symbols in the mind of a young child, for that is what they see when they sleep at night. They see themselves playing the game. Grown-ups, who have had a different background, have different visual impressions. They are not watching a game, but they will be watching their stresses in their dream; the difficulties that they had during the day, at work, with the job, the pressure, stress, anxiety and tension. That becomes the visual in their dream.

Anything that becomes visual is like a release from within, it is being acknowledged and released from the rubbish bin. Therefore, visual inputs and sights as yantra observation play an important role in tantra.

Sight and sound

The sense organ that is used to the maximum is sight. Through your eyes, through your sight you can see wherever you want to see. You cannot taste twenty kilometres or twenty feet away, but you can see twenty kilometres or twenty feet away. You cannot touch twenty feet away, but you can see twenty feet away. You cannot smell twenty feet away, but you can see twenty feet away. Eyes are the most active sense organ that connects you to the world, and then comes sound.

Mantra and yantra are the tools which are used to transcend the gross dimension of form and sound. Yantras represent the transcendental form, and mantras represent the eternal sound principle that continue to exist even when creation does not exist, when matter and manifestation does not exist, when elements do not exist.

The best form of visualization during the chanting of any mantra is according to one’s inclination. Some people select as their symbol, an abstract symbol. Some people select a figure. Others select an image of saints, sages, gurus and avatars. There are people who select nature images such as water, a star, the moon or sun, a flower, a blade of grass or a leaf. Some people choose religious symbols and motifs such as an Om, a cross, Christ, Prophet Mohammed. Anything can be used for visualization.

In yoga the best type of images recommended for visualizations are those which do not carry any emotional content; and for that reason, the abstract symbols are used more often.

Mantra and yantra together become a powerful tool to take one from the gross to the subtle dimensions of human experience.

—17 April 2016, Ganga Darshan, Munger

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A Simple Meditation by Nayaswami Maria, Yogananda, & ananda.org

9 Meditation Tips from Paramhansa Yogananda

“How easy the spiritual path is, if you give even a little time each day to meditation. Meditate intensely, morning and evening. Even fifteen minutes of meditation is better than no time at all.”PARAMHANSA YOGANANDA, FROM CONVERSATIONS WITH YOGANANDA

1.“In meditation, you must go beyond thought. As long as you are busy thinking, you are in your rational mind, on the conscious plane. When you sleep and dream, you are on the subconscious plane. And when your mind is fully withdrawn in superconsciousness, it becomes centered in the bliss of the spine. That is the level of the soul’s existence.”

2.“Do not be anxious if you don’t have meditative experiences. The path to God is not a circus! Don’t even be anxious about such fruits of meditation as inner joy and peace. Everything will come in time. Meanwhile, consider meditation, too, as a form of karma yoga: action without desire for the fruits of action. Meditate above all to please your higher self, not your ego.”

3.Every sincere effort is registered in the Divine consciousness. Your duty…is to accept whatever He sends you — and, for that matter, He doesn’t send. God alone knows what past karma keeps you from perceiving Him right now. He may want you to finish up your karma in this life, before giving you eternal bliss.”

4.“Don’t waste the perception of the God’s presence, acquired in meditation, by useless chatting. Idle words are like bullets: they riddle the milk pail of peace. In devoting time unnecessarily to conversation and exuberant laughter, you’ll find you have nothing left inside. Fill the pail of your consciousness with the milk of meditative peace, then keep it filled. Joking is false happiness. Too much laughter riddles the mind and lets the peace in the bucket flow out, wasting it.”

5.“Meditate regularly, and you will find a joy inside that is real. You will then have something you can compare to sense pleasures. That comparison will automatically make you want to forsake your sorrow-producing bad habits. The best way to overcome temptation is to have something more fulfilling to compare it with.”

6.“Never count your faults. Just think about whether you love God enough. [The Divine] doesn’t mind your faults, only your indifference.”

7.“Many people meditate till they feel a touch of peace, but jump up then and leave their meditation for their activities. That’s all right, if you have important work waiting for you, for it is always better to meditate before any activity, that you may feel at least some peace as you work. Whenever possible, however, sit for a long time after your practice of techniques. That is when the deepest enjoyment comes. Intuition is developed by continuously deepening that enjoyment, and, later on, by holding on to its calm aftereffect.”

8.“[The Divine Spirit] answers all prayers. Restless prayers, however, He answers only a little bit. If you offer to others something that isn’t yours to give, won’t that be a merely empty gesture? If you pray…similarly, but lack control over your own thoughts, that prayer will be without power. Thoughts and feelings, both, must be focused when you pray. Otherwise God will meet your little trickle with another trickle in return! Answers will be doled out to you in a teaspoon. Too often, prayer is more like the halfhearted mumbling of a beggar than the confident, loving demand of a friend.”

9.“You won’t find [the Divine Spirit] by making constant excuses: for example, saying, ‘When I find a quiet place, I will meditate.’ That is not at all the way to get there! If you tell yourself, however, “Right now I will plunge into deep meditation!” you can be there in a moment. When you are really sleepy, you have no difficulty in sleeping no matter where you are. When a person is in love, he or she finds no difficulty in thinking of the beloved; rather, it is difficult not to think of him or her, even to the point of ignoring work. Be in love with God! It is easy to meditate deeply, when your love for [the Divine] is deep enough.”

LEARN TO MEDITATE

Having a daily meditation practice is a powerful tool for a more fulfilling life. Learning this simple and effective meditation technique will ensure you maintain a daily practice.

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