Each person will experience meditation in a different way, even if there are points of similarity with that of others. Also, meditations can vary greatly for each of us. In some meditations a lot will be going on, and then in other meditations it will seem as though we are just sitting and coasting along with nothing “happening.” This is exactly as it should be. Some meditations will produce changes and others will be times of quiet assimilation and stabilization.
When nothing seems to be going on at all, we may mistakenly think we are meditating incorrectly or it just does not work. Actually, meditation produces profound and far-reaching changes in our extremely complex makeup, whether we do or do not perceive those changes. Some meditations are times of quiet assimilation of prior changes and balancing out to get ready for more change. If we are meditating in the way outlined, we are doing everything correctly and everything is going on just as it should be–every breath is further refining our inner faculties of awareness.
Hatching the egg
Very early in the scale of evolution sentient beings are born from eggs. This includes us human beings. So it is not inappropriate to think of our evolution in such terms. All eggs hatch and develop through heat–this is absolutely necessary, just as it is for the germination of seeds (the “eggs” of plants). Yoga is called tapasya, the generation of heat, for that very reason. Our meditation, then is like the hatching of an egg. Nothing may seem to be going on, but life is developing on the unseen levels.
The hatching of a chicken egg is a prime example. Inside the egg there is nothing but two kinds of “goo”–the white and the yolk. Both are liquids and have no other perceptible characteristics than color. The hen does nothing more than sit on the egg and keep it warm, yet as the days pass the goo inside the shell turns into internal organs, blood, bones, skin, feathers, brain, ears, and eyes–all that goes to make up a chicken–just by being incubated, by doing “nothing.”. At last, a living, conscious being breaks its way out of the shell. No wonder eggs have been used as symbols of resurrection from death into life.
Beauty from dullness
Another apt symbol is the cocoon. The dull-colored, earth-crawling, caterpillar encases itself in a shroud of its own making and becomes totally dormant. Yet, as weeks pass a wondrous transformation takes place internally until one day an utterly different creature emerges: a beautifully colored and graceful butterfly that flies into the sky and thenceforth rarely if ever touches the earth.
The same is true of the persevering yogi and the eventual revelation of his true nature. Through the japa and meditation the “heat” of the divine vibration causes our full spiritual potential to develop and manifest in us. Tapasya evolves the yogi, turning the goo of his present state into a life beyond present conceptions.
- So’ham Yoga: the Yoga of the Self: About the theory and practice of So’ham Yoga meditation
- The Breath of Life: The Practice of Breath Meditation According to Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Jewish and Christian Traditions (the full book)
- How to Be a Yogi—This is not a book about the technique of Yoga, but about that without which the successful practice of yoga is impossible: the Yoga Life.