Meditation
Introduction
Meditation is a technique for training and exploring the mind and (hopefully) the ‘Self’ or ‘That’ by using various systems and methods which encourage ‘one-pointed’ concentration or focus. ‘Those who aspire to the state of yoga should seek the Self in inner solitude through meditation. With body and mind controlled they should constantly practise one-pointedness, free from expectations and attachments to material possessions.

The Self or ‘That’ is ‘That which cannot be named’. To experience the Self or ‘That’ meditation practices potentially offer practitioners a way of experiencing, understanding, trusting and knowing.

There is only one purpose of meditation ~ to experience ‘That’ which is also known as Samadhi or enlightenment. And although there are many types, styles and paths of meditation such as, meditation in the Buddhist tradition, Transcendental Meditation, yogic meditation practices, meditation through religion, etc, there is always only one ‘goal’. That final destination may be given other names or descriptions as there are many pathways ~ but there is only one outcome.

Meditation Practices
In yoga there are two main meditation practices ~ active and passive. Active meditation allows us to meditate in the midst of action ~ when we perform daily duties; when we walk, talk, eat, garden, shop, etc. Indeed this is the aim of yoga ~ to allow ourselves to meditate while being involved in the world.

Passive meditation is the aim of sitting with the spine in an upright position (or as erect as possible) and performing a meditation practice. The aim of these practices is to ‘still’ the ever-chattering mind and to make it eka grata (one-pointed).

Some general passive yoga meditation practices or tools that can aid the practitioner towards meditation include:

  • Sound practices such as extended pranayama practices, mantra practices, japa, (japa ~ repetition meditation can be divided into four types; baikhari (audible), upanshu (whispering), manasik (repeated mentally) and likhi (written)
  • Sight practices ~ ‘trataka’ ~ focusing on a candle/point, focusing on Yantras and mandalas (geometrical shapes), focusing on internal vision e.g. a lotus, light, other objects, Chidakasha Dharana (viewing the ‘space of the consciousness’), visualisation practices
  • Observational practices like Antar Mouna (inner silence) and Yoga Nidra (psyhic sleep)
  • Manasik Mental repetition of japa meditation

    Sanskrit syllables, words, phrases used to concentrate upon in meditation practice. Mantra also used by many religions e.g. in prayer. Often thought to be 'mystical' interpretations of sound heard by Rishis in meditation.Pranayama Breath awareness or generally used to mean breath control practises

    Puja Worship

    Raja Yoga Royal Yoga; a path of yoga with eight stages that includes yama (personal restraints), niyama (personal observances), asana (posture), pranayama (breath awareness), pratyahara (sense withdrawal), dhyana (concentration), dharana (meditation) and Samadhi (state of unity)

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