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Living the Yoga Life: Meditation

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The basis of the search for God is daily meditation and constant japa. Those who purify and elevate their minds in this way will rise above the detrimental influences of the world, including worry. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

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Meditation is the sure way to Live in the Light, for it lights up our inner and outer being. That is why Krishna said: “Even a little of this dharma protects you from great fear” (Bhagavad Gita 2:40). But to be without meditation is to live in uncertainty and fear. As Krishna also said: “For him who does not meditate there is no peace or happiness” (Bhagavad Gita 2:66).

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All the good and evil in the world comes from the human mind exclusively. That which appears to come from outside the mind comes only because of the karmic forces set in motion by the mind itself. The entire world is a mirror, a sounding-board, for humanity. Therefore the solution for all evil and suffering lies right inside each human being. It is not the world that needs changing, but each one of us.

Since the mind is the power of the Self it can accomplish all that is necessary. But knowledge of the way to use that power is needed, and that way is Yoga.

“For the undisciplined there is no wisdom, no meditation. For him who does not meditate there is no peace or happiness” (Bhagavad Gita 2:66).

“The yoga-yoked sage quickly attains Brahman” (Bhagavad Gita 5:6).

“With mind made steadfast by yoga, which turns not to anything else, to the Divine Supreme Spirit he goes, meditating on him” (Bhagavad Gita 8:8).

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The mind which is such a botheration to us, which seems the embodiment of all that binds us to the wheel of birth and death, can through the cultivation of awareness through japa and meditation eventually unite with the Infinite Consciousness that is Brahman.

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The secret of detachment from worldly objects is to be totally attached to God. Then lesser attachments will vanish. Continual practice of japa and meditation is the way to accomplish this.

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Since the Self is within, we can maintain awareness of it whatever the external sensory experiences might be. If the inner awareness is fixed on japa, even when acting the yogi is meditating. Meditation alone develops the mind, intellect and consciousness. To find out for yourself how this is done and what is it like, see Soham Yoga, the Yoga of the Self.

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“Verily; that Self is (abides) in the heart. This one is in the heart, thereof it is the heart. He who knows this goes day by day into the heavenly world” (Chandogya Upanishad 8:3:3). To be immortal, the yogi must lead his awareness into the cave of the heart, the core of his consciousness, through meditation.

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The Canadian humorist, Stephen Leacock, wrote a wonderful satire called Sorrows of a Super Soul, in which a complete fool tries to commit suicide by keeping poison and bullets by her bed. Every morning she is astounded to find herself still alive. Silly as that is, this foolishness is a commonplace in human life, especially in the field of religion. Even though true religion is the science of the spirit, people confine it to externals, the result being that people remain in ignorance, and often hypocrisy, all their lives. For religion must be thoroughly internalized to be of any real value and effect. Meditation is the process to accomplish the necessary internalization.

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However holy an external object or person may be, our approach to it must be internal. Consider Krishna, the archetypal divine yogi. There were those who did not benefit a bit from being around him. Some hated him and a few tried to kill him. But Arjuna was transformed by being with him. Arjuna, you see, was a yogi, and that made all the difference. He internalized and assimilated the wisdom of Krishna, making it his own.

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It is in the stillness of meditation that we find the path to liberation (moksha).

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In the Bhagavad Gita we find this very significant verse: “Like the ocean, which becomes filled yet remains unmoved and stands still as the waters enter it, he whom all desires enter and who remains unmoved attains peace” (Bhagavad Gita 2:70). This indicates that forces of negativity, ignorance and evil can be encountered and even “touched” by the minds of those living in the human body. Good and evil are “offerings” to the human being who either responds or does not react to them. When Patanjali speaks of the yogi’s mind having no waves (vrittis), he means that the adept yogi’s mind is insensitive to outward stimuli unless he wills it otherwise. He has the power to respond or not respond and remains always in command of his entire being.

Since duality is the foundation of relative existence, positive and negative, light and dark, good and evil constantly flow toward each sentient being. To attempt to simply cut this off is ultimately ineffectual. Japa and meditation make us untouched by negative bombardment, just as being inside a house makes us untouched by wind, rain, hail or snow.

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Many people who enter conscious spiritual life, especially meditation practice, expect their practice to be perfect and to become enlightened right away, or at least in a few weeks. But time is needed for the unripe to become ripe, for the sour to become sweet.

I met a swami on my first trip to India who was a genius but eccentric to the point of craziness. He was quite advanced in age, and had been just as odd throughout decades of sadhu life. Whenever I would go to the ashram where he lived I would be sure to meet him so I could enjoy his weirdness and have some funny stories to relay back home. Actually, I greatly respected him, as did the members of the ashram, though they had plenty of hilarious stories to tell about him. He was very kind to me, but that did not decrease my amazement at his strange behavior and words.

The last time I met him I took one of our ashram members, promising him a good show. But we got something better. When I found him sitting outside, he was very quiet, and emanated a divine radiance. He was so still, so still, and so filled with bliss. We sat with him for some time, savoring the holy moments. That was our last meeting. It had taken time–over fifty years I would estimate–but the fruit had become ripe and sweet.

There were others I met who at our first meeting were not at all admirable, even a bit objectionable, but years later when I met them they had become utterly transformed, awesome even. It had just taken time. The one thing they all had in common was perseverance. As Yogananda used to say: “A saint is a sinner who never gave up.” Certainly I have seen proof that steadfastness in yoga works transformation undreamed of.

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Although it happens imperceptibly, everything about a yogi is made different by his sadhana.

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A fundamental effect of meditation is calm and clear mental states which actually enable the yogi to go beyond the mind and see the deeper reality of his entire makeup. This is the touchstone of right yoga and right practice of right yoga. All kinds of amazing and cataclysmic experiences have nothing to do with authentic yoga, most especially not “kundalini experiences.”

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A yogi must be after consciousness itself, not all kinds of modifications of the mind and psychic energies. Teachers who go on and on about energy and vibration are harmful in the long run, though they appeal to people who have a background in hallucinogenic drugs. A true spiritual teacher and yogi will speak of consciousness and point the student to higher levels of consciousness, instructing him in the way to move into those levels and be established in them.

Next in Living the Yoga Life: Prana

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About to Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga

Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga

Living the Yoga Life–Perspectives on Yoga: Introduction

    1. Living the Yoga Life: Climbing the Ladder of Consciousness
    2. Living the Yoga Life: Sanatana Dharma, Sanatana Yoga
    3. Living the Yoga Life: The Atman/Self
    4. Living the Yoga Life: Bhakti and Jnana
    5. Living the Yoga Life: Brahman
    6. Living the Yoga Life: Ishwara
    7. Living the Yoga Life: Breath
    8. Living the Yoga Life: India and Sanatana Dharma
    9. Living the Yoga Life: The Importance of Independence
    10. Living the Yoga Life: The Intelligent Path
    11. Living the Yoga Life: The Internal Life
    12. Living the Yoga Life: Japa and Sound (Shabda)
    13. Living the Yoga Life: Japa with the Breath
    14. Living the Yoga Life: Jnana
    15. Living the Yoga Life: The Jnani
    16. Living the Yoga Life: Karma and Karma Yoga
    17. Living the Yoga Life: Kundalini
    18. Living the Yoga Life: Liberation
    19. Living the Yoga Life: It Is All Up To Us
    20. Living the Yoga Life: Madness, Divine and Worldly
    21. Living the Yoga Life: Manas (Mind) and Buddhi (Intelligence/Intellect)
    22. Living the Yoga Life: Buddhi Yoga
    23. Living the Yoga Life: True Masters (And Not)
    24. Living the Yoga Life: Maya
    25. Living the Yoga Life: Meditation
    26. Living the Yoga Life: Prana
    27. Living the Yoga Life: Raja Yoga
    28. Living the Yoga Life: Reincarnation
    29. Living the Yoga Life: Religion
    30. Living the Yoga Life: Samadhi
    31. Living the Yoga Life: Sadhana
    32. Living the Yoga Life: Dedication to Spiritual Life
    33. Living the Yoga Life: Self-realization
    34. Living the Yoga Life: Shivashakti
    35. Living the Yoga Life: Spiritual Experience
    36. Living the Yoga Life: The Spiritual Teacher
    37. Living the Yoga Life: Subtle Anatomy
    38. Living the Yoga Life: The World
    39. Living the Yoga Life: Worship
    40. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga, the Body and the World
    41. Living the Yoga Life: Dharma and Adharma
    42. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga–The Supreme Dharma
    43. Living the Yoga Life: Yoga Nidra
    44. Living the Yoga Life: The Yogi
    45. Living the Yoga Life: Some Advice to Yogis
    46. Living the Yoga Life: Qualities of a Yogi
    47. Living the Yoga Life: This and That
    48. Living the Yoga Life: Touch Not
    49. Living the Yoga Life: The Gita Speaks To The Yogi
    50. Living the Yoga Life: How It Is Done
    51. Living the Yoga Life: Use your mind
    52. Living the Yoga Life: Some things it is wise to avoid
    53. Living the Yoga Life: Things you should definitely do and have in your life
    54. Living the Yoga Life: Spiritual Reading
    55. Living the Yoga Life: Gorakhnath Speaks To The Yogi
    56. Living the Yoga Life: And A Final Word From Me
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