Meditation - Contemporary Meditations
by Anandmurti Gurumaa
Meditation is a scientific way to understand the intricacies of the human mind. It is a way to transcend its periphery and reach the infinite. Our mind is always engrossed in a constant flow of thoughts that are either about the past or the future. It is never at peace. Mind is a mechanism and one needs to understand that it is not our true identity. We are separate from the mind, just as the vehicle is different from the one who drives it. To understand this through experience is meditation. Through meditation one learns to know oneself, accept oneself and celebrate being with oneself. It can generate a tremendous transformation, not through suppression or aggression, but through the process of witnessing.
Through dhyana, anger, greed or other forms of negativity are converted to their positive components. Anger gets absorbed and converted into compassion, greed is absorbed and converted into sharing, lust is absorbed and converted into pure love. Dhyana smoothens the complications of life.
Concentration is not Meditation
Meditation is often considered akin to concentration but concentration is not meditation; concentration is an attempt of the mind to bring it to a single point, to focus itself. Concentration is necessarily on one particular object. However, in meditation there is no object. Meditation is not a mind exercise, it is a phenomenon in which absolute expression of life happens; it is effortlessness where one experiences exploding peace and serenity.
The Need for a Master
It is important to learn and practice this art in front of a master. As we need a scuba diver expert to teach us scuba diving, we need a master to help us progress on the inner journey; who can guide us and quench our spiritual thirst.
The master is one who liberates us. He or she is a guide, a friend, who delivers us from ignorance. The master lives the truth, carries the vibrance of the truth, the aura of the truth. Truth is an abstract term, but the master becomes the very physical body of that abstract truth.
I place a lot of importance on the practice of meditation, and have experimented in creating new and unique methods of meditation for the contemporary seeker, as well as reviving ancient forms. A seeker needs to be committed to the disciplines of meditation, contemplation and action in human life. Mere listening is not sufficient.
Unique Meditation Techniques?
I have designed and developed these techniques for the assistance of the modern seeker who has to face various upheavals in life. Our lives have become a mechanism to yield something or the other, and failure in our pursuits plunges us into higher levels of stress and depression. At such a critical stage, these meditation techniques act as an antidote.
Every human mind is a complex and unique structure. We have different medicines for different diseases. Similarly, every mind has its own set of complications, which require a different approach. These meditation techniques are various approaches to help an individual emerge from conflict. They are different treatments given to different people. Unlike treatments, they are not just a part of one's life. These techniques get infused in your very breathing, through which an individual learns to exhale all the negativities of mind and inhale pure bliss.
The meditation techniques can be broadly categorized into two forms:
Passive forms of Meditation
In passive meditations, the silent witnessing of thought against the backdrop of light music forms the center of the seeker's awareness, raising consciousness levels and healing him on all three planes, physiological, psychological and spiritual. One awarefully watches every single passing thought, whether good or bad, pure or evil. One does not entertain them or analyse them. Just as the passerby watches all that he sees without analysing them, or wanting to know them, so too, one simply sits and watches.
Under this meditation process, thoughts slowly dissolve and finally disappear, leaving behind the pure witness in the climate of serenity.
Every meditation starts and concludes with a prayer because prayerfulness induces compassion and surrender in the seeker. Through prayer, the seeker asks the Divine to hold his hands and take him to the journey within because he is moving on a path which is absolutely new to him. He surrenders himself to the Divine and commits to following the techniques with pure sincerity. From beginning to end it is the Divine that guides him.
As the name suggests, this meditation technique begins with fixing the gaze at one point for a certain period of time. The mind is subtle and difficult to catch. However, if one can fix one's gaze at a point, eventually the mind also follows and comes to a still!
Tratak dhyana extends beyond a simple gaze as it requires willpower and concentration to gaze constantly, without blinking the eyelids. By controlling this small tendency to blink, a seeker gradually begins accumulating willpower and stillness of the mind, which further strengthens the power of determination. Tratak is very useful for students as it improves concentration and sharpens memory.
Accompanying tratak with soothing music in the backdrop helps facilitates the movement within and the discovery of joy and peace.
Nothing comes in one single flow. Even our sentences contain small gaps in them. So do our thoughts. There is always a gap between the coming of one thought and the passage of another. They may be very subtle but they are there. Observing these gaps, catching them and meditating on them can enhance our awareness. We are hardly aware. We perform our functions mechanically. These spaces are sacred and worth meditating upon because truth is ready to knock at your door through them.
This form of meditation can also be used to become aware of the unnoticed gaps present in between sounds. We use special types of music while practicing this form of meditation. Performing on gongs, bells and singing bowls along with pressing percussions, we create an ambient and fluid music that's also suitable for relaxation.
The Science of Breath
This meditation technique is based on certain ways of breathing that produce profound peace and ecstasy. Breathing is our constant companion, but all through our lives we remain oblivious of its art and science. Every emotional / psychological state has its corresponding pattern of breathing; anger, tension, happiness, all have related breathing patterns which can be observed, understood, and transformed with awareness. If you can become aware of how you are breathing, especially when negative feelings arise, and if you can redirect the flow of your breath at those times, you will experience immense tranquility, making you feel more energized, balanced, and relaxed.
Dynamic forms of Meditation
In dynamic meditations active breathing forms the center of the seeker's awareness, acting as a cleansing agent to steer clear the mind of unwanted thoughts and negativity. The dynamic form of meditation not only operates on the surface level of mind but also penetrates its innermost core, where the roots of unwanted thoughts are hidden. These thoughts are allowed a cathartic release.
This forms an active breathing technique. In the first stage, the pace of breath is deepened to clear the body of all toxins. After practicing deep breathing for some time, in the second stage the pace of breath is made to increase in accordance with the music. The meditator is required to follow certain rhythms while increasing the pace of breath, though in a controlled manner. Then a time comes when there is a thunderbolt of breath, no pace is followed, and the meditator is asked to let go. This is also called the stage of catharsis. There follows the upsurge of energy where all repressed emotions are allowed a release. Finally, the meditator is asked to stop the catharsis and surrender to an experience of profound silence.
The technique concludes with a deep prayer of gratitude to the Divine, without whose benevolence, the exquisite experience would not have been possible.
Throughout the technique, a melodious alchemy of various instruments and percussions follow the seeker, matching the pace with his slow and fast breath. Thus, music is an imperative part of the exercise, instrumental in inspiring a deeper plunge into the wonderful world of inner ecstasy.
A very ancient technique that I have updated for the 21st century. It starts with a very mellow chanting of the universal sound energy, om. In the first stage the meditator closes his ears with his hands and very slowly hums 'om'. The concept behind closing the ears is that the meditator can attentively listen to the humming of om while blocking any other sound.
The humming involves taking a deep breath and while exhaling, producing the sound of om. Not uttering it but humming it just as bees hum around the flower. As the process is followed, one can feel the sound vibration of om reverberating in the throat.
This sound vibration slowly grows on you and is instrumental in taking you to a higher level of consciousness. The second stage involves reciting om with the exhalation of breath. The initial humming now changes to recitation.
It is important to regulate the pace of breath. The deeper the breath, the more prolonged will be the recitation of om. As the seeker gets more and more involved in the above technique, he starts feeling the settlement of mental chatter.
The constant regulated recital of om against the backdrop of music induces calmness and indepth silence. The final stage involves sitting silently and enjoying the divine grace showered upon you where every cell is bathed in om.
The meditator just sinks in the silence and celebrates every moment of it.
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