By Life Positive January 2003 Call it the source of ultimate bliss, the de-escalator of stress, Sunit Bezbaroowa, a first time meditator, goes on a whirlwind tour of some of the meditation centres in Delhi and experiences what is unique to each technique A great experience, a risk, or a great challenge? I wondered what it would be like to undertake different meditation sessions. The idea seemed exciting, especially for a beginner like me. But, doubt and hesitation continued to pervade my mind: “If acquiring peace of mind is so easy, then wouldn’t everyone in the world practice meditation? Would I experience insurmountable happiness as often claimed by other meditators?” On completion of the meditation sessions, I had a clearer understanding of the process. Though it is impossible to realize oneself in a few meditation sessions, I could at least sense the momentary wholeness that can translate into a continuous state of being for regular practitioners of meditation. Silence The Mind I was ready to undergo a one-hour session of Raja Yoga meditation, as practiced by the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, armed with a strong faith that I needed the fodder for my spiritual hunger. As I settled in the lotus position (actually just sitting cross-legged) in the deafening silence, accompanied by my meditation teacher, I was urged to concentrate on the silent ambience. It did not take me much time to relieve myself of all stress and worries. I began chanting the most revered word in meditation—‘Om’, making sure that the sacred syllable emerged from deep within. Soon, a strange kind of calmness and peace enveloped my mind. I could sense a synchronization between my mind and body. The overpowering ability of the mind to define our state of being, that is the central theme that emerged after my meditation experience here. Embrace The Universe If you thought that meditation can be done only by sitting upright amidst pin-drop silence, then you are wrong. Sufi meditation has a lot to do with body movements including dancing. A style inspired by Zen and Gurdjieff traditions, Sufi meditation promises to be the ultimate form of relaxation and stress-relieving process. My session with Sufi teacher Akash Dharamraj proved to be an enriching one. The first step was to greet the universe as a whole, with a bow bestowed on all directions. Then followed the utterance of three magical words, ‘Hu Ya Hu’ which seemed to do wonders to me. ‘Hu Ya Hu’ was repeated, gradually increasing the force of these words. When I walked in slow steps, chanting the words simultaneously, I felt the strength reviving within me. All the stress and tensions began de-mounting from my body. Pressing my hands against my upper body, I went on uttering these words in rapid succession plunging my torso down towards the ground. It seemed that I was invoking an invisible force that got rid of all my negative energies. The psychedelic drum beats played as background music and the semi-dark ambience in the room seemed to conjure similar patterns between my movements and the beats. Sufi meditation has a lot to do with circular movements and that formed the next part of the session. It is believed that in circular movements one embraces the universe and accepts one’s unity with the universe. I felt a sense of oneness and warmth within my body as I whirled round and round. Now, it was time for the whole body to relax. I stretched on the ground, oblivious to time passing by. I gathered that it is only ‘I’ who exists, nothing else—no tensions, worries or problems. In-Depth Thought No sitting postures, no whirling around but only thinking, thinking and thinking. In this very simple and basic session with the Brahmakumaris, I was only made to contemplate—think about various things which I had previously never conceived in my mind. Initiation into spiritual knowledge is an integral part of this technique before one gets down to meditating. Then comes the actual meditation process, where one does not have to adopt a certain posture or chant any mantras. This meditation can be done any time of the day. How can someone think and meditate at the same time? This question emerged in my mind when I thought of substituting the word thinking for meditation. But after I started swimming in my thoughts, I reached a different state of consciousness. Never had I known that thinking can be so beautiful and potent. When my spiritual teacher introduced me to this form of meditation, we instantly got down to the core factor that determines meditation. My teacher told me that it was very important for everyone to seek an answer to the eternal question: “Who am I?” It is imperative to know what they aim to achieve through meditation. Just Be If a member from the legendary rock and roll band, Beatles, George Harrison could come all the way to Rishikesh from England to learn Transcendental Meditation (TM) from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, then I am sure it is worth the experience, I thought to myself. I was asked by my instructor to sit in a semi-dark room. What I liked the most in TM was the fact that it leaves you to be yourself. One does not have to compel oneself into a special state-of-being. One may mistake a TM session for deep sleep. But in TM, one goes into a deep state of restfulness, keeping awake and conscious all the time. The chanting of a mantra taught by my instructor made me focus on the meditative process. The session just made me forget about myself, at the same time keeping me awake and aware of what I was doing. I was enjoying whatever state I was in and did not want to come out of it. My mind, which usually races to and fro while thinking, was now completely tamed. It followed my command. It made me look at the brighter side of life. TM made me more aware of my consciousness and taught me a state of being beyond the mundane. Contact: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre: 011-26443697 Akash Dharamraj: 011-26868248 Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya: email: email@example.com Transcendental Meditation centre: 011-24642798
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