Authored By: Jatindar Singh Virdi
On the International Yoga Day let us get clear on the Concept of Yoga and Meditation.
The moment we hear the word “meditation,” there are all kinds of misconceptions about it. First of all the English word “meditation” doesn’t mean anything in the sense, if you close your eyes and sit, in English we call it “meditation.” You can sit with your eyes closed and do many things. You can do japa, tapa, dharana, dhyana, samadhi, shoonya. Or you might have just mastered the art of sleeping in vertical postures just like our great Saints and Gurus have done.
So what is meditation then? Generally we assume that people are referring to what is known as dhyan or concentration.
The reason why most people who have tried meditation have come to the conclusion that it’s very difficult or impossible is because they are trying to do it. In that context of referring to dhyan as meditation, Sadhguru says it is not something that you can do.
Nobody can do meditation but you can become meditative. Meditation is a certain quality. It is not a certain act. If you cultivate your body, your mind, your energies and your emotions to a certain level of maturity, meditation will naturally happen. It is just like if you keep the soil fertile, if you give it the necessary manure and water and if the right kind of seed is there, it will grow and bloom into flowers and fruits.
Similarly, if you create the necessary atmosphere within yourself, then meditation will naturally flower within you. It is a certain fragrance that one can enjoy within himself.
The mind does not like meditation because if you keep the body still, the mind will also naturally become still. If you just learn how to keep your body absolutely still, then your mind will also become still.
You just need to observe yourself and see how many unnecessary movements your body makes when you stand, sit or speak. If you look at your life, you will see that more than half the time is taken up in these things that you yourself don’t care for.
If you keep the body still, the mind will slowly start collapsing and the mind knows that it will become enslaved if it allows this. The main aspect of meditation is, right now your mind is the boss and you are the slave. As you meditate and become more meditative, you will become the boss and your mind will become the slave and that is how it should always be.
As Guru Nanak Dev ji wrote:
"Man Jeetai Jagjeet"; By conquering the mind you conquer the world! The mind is given to you to serve you, not to control you.
If you don’t know how to keep the mind as a slave, it will put you through all kinds of endless suffering. If you allow the mind to rule, it is a terrible master. But as a slave, the mind is wonderful – it is a miraculous slave. All the academic degrees, material achievements, and trappings of success will not give you self-command and self-mastery. Such things only come from mastery of the mind. And mastery of the mind comes from a regular mindful discipline and practice.
Let’s take a look at this mindful discipline and the practice.
Time required : 15 minutes daily for at least a week (though evidence suggests that mindfulness increases the more you practice it).
How to do it : The most basic way to do mindful breathing is simply to focus your attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale. You can do this while standing, but ideally you’ll be sitting or even lying in a comfortable position. Your eyes may be open or closed, but you may find it easier to maintain your focus if you close your eyes.
It can help to set aside a designated time for this exercise, but it can also help to practice it when you’re feeling particularly stressed or anxious. Experts believe a regular practice of mindful breathing can make it easier to do it in difficult situations.
Sometimes, especially when trying to calm yourself in a stressful moment, it might help to start by taking an exaggerated breath: a deep inhale through your nostrils (3 seconds), hold your breath (2 seconds), and a long exhale through your mouth (4 seconds). Otherwise, simply observe each breath without trying to adjust it; it may help to focus on the rise and fall of your chest or the sensation through your nostrils.
As you do so, you may find that your mind wanders, distracted by thoughts or bodily sensations. That’s OK. Just notice that this is happening and gently bring your attention back to your breath.
- Find a relaxed, comfortable position. You could be seated on a chair or on the floor on a cushion. Keep your back upright, but not too tight. Hands resting wherever they’re comfortable. Tongue on the roof of your mouth or wherever it’s comfortable.
- Notice and relax your body. Try to notice the shape of your body, its weight. Let yourself relax and become curious about your body seated here—the sensations it experiences, the touch, the connection with the floor or the chair. Relax any areas of tightness or tension. Just breathe.
- Tune into your breath. Feel the natural flow of breath—in, out. You don’t need to do anything to your breath. Not long, not short, just natural. Notice where you feel your breath in your body. It might be in your abdomen. It may be in your chest or throat or in your nostrils. See if you can feel the sensations of breath, one breath at a time. When one breath ends, the next breath begins.
- Now as you do this, you might notice that your mind may start to wander. You may start thinking about other things. If this happens, it is not a problem. It's very natural. Just notice that your mind has wandered. You can say “thinking” or “wandering” in your head softly. And then gently redirect your attention right back to the breathing.
- Stay here for five to seven minutes. Notice your breath, in silence. From time to time, you’ll get lost in thought, then return to your breath.
- After a few minutes, once again notice your body, your whole body, seated here. Let yourself relax even more deeply and then offer yourself some appreciation for doing this practice today.
Yoga Is The Journey Of The Self, To The Self Through The Self.Happy International Yoga Day