Concentration, Meditation and Self Realization

What Meditation is not?

A person who received a certificate from a meditation program doesn’t even know what true meditation is or what it should feel like because they themselves have never experienced it.  They can only teach what they have been trained to teach. They will tell you that focusing on your breath is meditation. Focusing mentally on your breath is not meditation.  It is concentration.  We might say it is one of the simplest forms of meditation or a meditation for beginners, but in the true sense it is concentration. In Hindi it is called dharana and it is the sixth limb of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga ( eight limb yoga) that begins with yam (basic moral values), niyam (discipline), pranayama (breathing techniques), asan (yoga poses), pratyahar (withdrawing of senses), dharana (concentration), Dhyan (meditation) , and finally samadhi ( the merging of one’s consciousness with Super consciousness/self realiztion/Brahman).
Uninterrupted concentration is a precursor to meditation and for ones who can train themselves to focus effectively, it forms a robust substratum for meditation. One can benefit tremendously from a regular 30 minute session of focusing on ones inhalation and exhalation. There are three ways to do this:

  1. Just observe your natural inhalation and exhalation without trying to manipulate it.
  2. Inhale and as you do, mentally count slowly to 10 and as you exhale do so mentally to a count of 10. Pause for a moment and inhale again.
  3. Inhale slowly as you mentally chant SOoooooo and as you exhale slowly mentally chant Hummmm.

If done with sincerity you can experience the benefits immediately. You might feel more grounded, centered, calm, positive and have more clarity, better deeper sleep, compassion, kindness and forgiveness. It can help build a higher  threshold  for handling stress for negativity around oneself. Try to extend this ability to focus to everything you do. If you’re at home with your family don’t think about work and when you’re at work don’t think about home. Train yourself to give your 100% focus to whatever it is you are doing. The problem we all face today is that whatever task we are performing  in a given moment, it doesn’t have our full attention because  our attention has drifted to the next task instead of the one we are currently involved with. Trataka is another example of external concentration. In Trataka one focuses without blinking on the flame of a ghee lamp. Mantra chanting with rosary beads is yet another example of concentration. In a nutshell- trying to get the mind to focus is concentration.

 

Self Realization
This pictorial representation comes closest to attempting to explain self realization

Now what is meditation? 

In very simple terms- uninterrupted focus leads to the state of mediation.

Just as a certified meditation expert cannot really teach meditation but only provide some guidance, even so – a person who has experienced the highest Brahman state /self realization cannot teach another being how to meditate or attain self realization or what self realization feels like.

Why is it difficult to explain?

Because self realization is experienced through one’s consciousness not through the senses.  There are many words to describe every feeling one experiences through the senses, but there are no words to describe the state of Brahman. They can only attempt to describe what it should feel like and still fail for lack of words.

As I write this I realize I am struggling to best explain this experience of Brahman. It is happiness without cause but a very grounded happiness.  But then again it is a state of neither happiness nor sorrow, neither ambition nor inertness, neither action nor inaction, neither compassion nor apathy, devoid of anger, devoid of indifference, devoid of desire, devoid of restlessness. The state of Brahmi is one of silent contentment, peace, ecstasy, equanimity and pure love all at the same time that spontaneously emanates from within in the absence of an external source or cause.  That is my very feeble and inadequate attempt to even begin to explain the experience of Brahman or self realization. The realization that the world is false and the only truth is our pure, divine nature bursting with unconditional grounding love. That is the state of being self realized.

In my next article I will touch upon some guidance tips for higher meditation.

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Chakra Meditation

My fellow blogger Eklavya is happy to share one of his  comprehensive posts on Chakra Meditation with us.

You can access more posts on meditation by visiting his website at http://www.meditationiseasy.com/

Link to chakra meditation http://meditationiseasy.com/blog/meditation-techniques/chakra-meditation

or read here

Chakra Meditation : A Definitive Guide for Absolute Beginners

Chakra Meditation is quickly gaining ground as one of the most popular forms of meditation. In this post, I am going to explain Chakra Meditation in a beginner’s friendly language covering all the relevant aspects of this topic.  In this article, I shall try to explain in details the concept of Chakras, Kundalini  and the simplest method to utilize them in your meditation practice.

Table of Contents :

What is Chakra Meditation
Understanding the Chakras
Chakras in Indian & Tibetan perspective
The Nadis : Channels that passes through Chakra
The Seven Chakras of Human Body- Explained in detail
The Concept of Kundalini
The Big Picture : Applying the concepts of Chakra and Kundalini in your life
Risk Involved (Don’t play with the serpent)
What if you can’t awaken it due to risk involved?
The safest path : Mantra
Technique of Chakra Meditation
Correct Pronunciation of Seed Mantras
Conclusion

What is Chakra Meditation

Before trying any kind of meditation using Chakras, we need to have a clear understanding of  Chakras. Once you understand this,  doing the  Chakra meditation will be easy and effortless. While I will be explaining the entire process of Chakra Meditation in the later part of this article,  for all of you who are curious, it would be suffice to say that Chakra meditation is quite similar to Mantra Meditation that I explained here. However, before learning the technique of Chakra Meditation, we need to have a basic understanding of what exactly are the Chakras.

Understanding the Chakras

The word chakra is a Sanskrit word which is derived from the verb car (“to move”). There are several literal meanings of chakra:

* wheel
* circle
* Center

Besides the literal meaning, there are also some esoteric meanings:

* The Chakra denotes the “wheel of becoming” (bhavacakra), or “round of existence” (samsara), which is the phenomenal cosmos.

* The word Chakra is used to refer to a circle of initiates in a Tantric ritual.

* A Chakra is a diagram used to determine the right kind of mantra for a particular situation or student.

* The word Chakra refers to the psychoenergetic vortices forming the major “organs” of the body composed of life energy (prana). These esoteric structures are also often referred to and graphically depicted as “lotuses” (padma, kamala).

As per the ancient Hindu belief, Chakras are energy centers of circular shape present inside our body. While there has been some disputes on the number of Chakras, in most of the belief systems there are seven chakras. These Chakras are believed to be situated inside our bodies at a  particular distance from each other, the lowest being at the base of the spine and the topmost between the center of our skull. The five lower chakras are believed to be associated with one of the 5 basic elements that constitute this universe which are Earth (prithivi), Water (apas/jala), Fire (tejas/agni), Air (vayu) and Ether/Space (akasha). The remaining two higher chakras i.e. Aagya (Third Eye) Chakra and Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra do not contain any specific element. The Third Eye Chakra is believed to contain Maha Tatva- the supreme element which is the source of all other elements. The Crown Chakra, on the other hand, is considered beyond all elements.

Here is a symbolic representation of Seven Chakras in our bodies.

 

Chakra Meditation -Image of 7 Chakras in Human Body

Chakras in Indian & Tibetan perspective

Chakras as per Buddhism(Tibet)

Chakras are seven energy points in human body and denote various characteristics of our spiritual development in this world. It is believed that right from our journey from the physical world to the highest position in spiritual word, a person passes through seven bodies. Every chakra in our body denotes one such body. Read more : The mystery of the seven bodies

The original models of the chakras from the Brahma and Yogatattva Upanishadswere adapted in Tibetan Buddhism as Vajrayana theory and as the Tantric Shakta theory. Vajrayana Buddhism aims to assist the student in achieving full enlightenment or Buddhahood in  just a single lifetime. Using techniques based on ancient scriptures known as the Tantras, the practitioner tries to identify with and practice the enlightened ways of the Buddha. Tantric techniques include the repetition of mantras, the use of breath control, healing mudras (or hand positions) and the use of mandalas (circular symbols of the universe) for meditation. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition only five chakras are identified.

Chakras as per  Shaktism (India)

Shaktism arose as an organized sect in India in the 5th century AD, and it is this sect’s interpretation of the chakras that has most influenced the Western understanding of them. Shaktism describes the seven major chakras that we recognize today. In Shakta theory the chakras are viewed as centers of pure consciousness and are focal points for meditation. Shakta theory firmly established symbolic associations and correspondences for each chakra: its element, visual symbol, mantra sound, deity, color and animal. The Shakta way also teaches us about kundalini energy: the energy that was unleashed during the creation of the world; Tantric practice focuses our attention on awakening this energy at the base of the spine for a specific purpose.

The Nadis : Channels that passes through Chakra

The Tantric texts refer to the nadis (or  channels) of vital life-force (or prana), which passes throughout the body and link with the chakras. According to Shakta theory, the seven chakras are strung along the primary nadi in the body-the Sushumna Nadi-like pearls or jewels. It is also believed that there are two secondary nadis on either side of the sushumna: Ida on the left (containing descending life-force or vitality); and Pingala on the right (containing ascending vitality). Their aim is to direct the energy of each secondary nadi into the central nadi, where it then ascends through each chakra in turn. When kundalini energy reaches the highest chakra (the Crown Chakra), the yogi (or master of yoga who has achieved a high level of spiritual insight) achieves a state of oneness with God.

Let us learn each of these chakras and bodies in some details :

The Seven Chakras of Human Body: Explained in Details

First Chakra – Muladhara (Root)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Muladhara Chakra

Literal Meaning: “root-foundation wheel”
Location: Base of the Spine (Perineum area)
Color: Red
No. of Petals : 4
Element: Prithivi (Earth)
Mantra: LAM

The first chakra is the root chakra, called Muladhara in Sanskrit. The root chakra is believed to be located at the base of the spine at the tailbone in back, and the pubic bone in front which primarily consist of Perineum area.  The root chakra is closely related to one’s contact with the Mother Earth, improving our ability to be grounded into the earth plane. Muladhara is also the center of manifestation. When you are trying to achieve something in the material world, business or possessions, the energy to succeed is supposed to come from the first chakra. If this base chakra is blocked, an individual may feel fearful, anxious, insecure and frustrated.

A man’s sexual organs are located primarily in his first chakra, so male sexual energy is usually experienced primarily as physical. A women’s sexual organs are primarily in her second chakra, so female sexual energy is usually experienced primarily as emotional. Both chakras are associated with sexual energy.

Second Chakra – Belly (Sacral)/ Swadhisthana

Chakra Meditation : Image of Swadishtan (Sacral) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Wheel of the self-base”
Location: Two inches below the navel (area of Clitoris in women/ Base of Penis in men)
Color: Vermilion, white
No. of Petals : 6
Element: Apas (Water)
Mantra: VAM

The next chakra or second chakra is the Svadhisthana – often referred to as the sacral. It is located two inches below the navel around area of Clitoris in women/ Base of Penis in men). This chakra is believed to hold the basic needs for sexuality, creativity, intuition, and self-worth. It also denotes friendliness, creativity, and emotions. It is also believed to govern a person’s  sense of self-worth, his/her confidence in his/her own creativity, and his/her ability to relate to others in a friendly way.

Third Chakra – Solar Plexus ( Manipura)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Wheel of the jeweled city”
Location: Navel
Color: Dark grey, red, blue (also gold)
No. of Petals : 10
Element: Tejas (Fire)
Mantra: RAM

The third chakra is called Manipura (in Sanskrit) – also referred to as the Solar Plexus Chakra in English. It is located in the navel area. The Manipura chakra is considered as the center of personal power, the place of ego, of passions, impulses, anger and strength. It is also considered the center for astral travel and astral influences, receptivity of spirit guides and for psychic development. When the Third Chakra is out of balance you may lack confidence, be confused, worry about what others think, feel that others are controlling your life, and may be depressed.

Fourth Chakra – Heart (Anahata)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Anahata (Heart) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Wheel of the unstruck sound”
Location: Chest (center of two breasts)
Color: Deep red, gold, smoke
No. of Petals : 12
Element: Prana (Air)
Mantra: YAM

The fourth chakra is the Heart (Anahata) chakra.It is located in the central of the spine near the heart, with its exact location between the center of two breasts. This Chakra is the center for love, compassion and spirituality. It directs one’s ability to love themselves and others, to give and to receive love. This is also the chakra connecting body and mind with spirit. When this chakra is out of balance you may feel sorry for yourself, paranoid, indecisive, afraid of letting go, afraid of getting hurt, or unworthy of love.

Fifth Chakra – Vishuddhi Chakra (Throat)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Vishuddhi (Throat) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Pure wheel”
Location: Throat
Color: Smoky purple, Blue, White
No. of Petals : 16
Element: Akasha (Space)
Mantra: HAM

The fifth chakra is the Throat Chakra also known as Vishuddhi Chakra in Sanskrit. It is located at the throat and is the center of communication, sounds, and expression of creativity via thought , speech, and writing. The possibility for change, transformation and healing in a person are located here. When this chakra is out of balance you may want to hold back, feel timid, be quiet, feel weak, or can’t express your thoughts.

Sixth Chakra – Third Eye (Ajna or Aagya Chakra)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Aagya (Third Eye) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Command wheel”
Location: Forehead ( Between eyebrows)
Color: White
No. of Petals : 2
Element: Manas (Mind)
Mantra: OM

The sixth chakra is referred to as the Third Eye Chakra. In Sanskrit it is known as Aagya Chakra i,e. Command wheel. It is located above the area of physical eyes on the center of the forehead. This is the center for psychic ability, higher intuition, the energies of spirit and light. It also assists in the purification of negative tendencies and in the elimination of selfish attitudes. Through the power of the sixth chakra, one can receive guidance, channel, and tune into your Higher Self. When this chakra is not balanced you may feel non-assertive, afraid of success, or go the opposite way and be egotistical. Please also read Third Eye Meditation.

Seventh Chakra – Crown (Sahasrara)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Thousand-petaled Lotus”
Location: Above head, facing down
Color: White
No. of Petals : 1,000

The seventh chakra is referred to as the Crown.

It is the upper terminal point of the central channel (sushumna-nadi) and the final destination for the awakened serpent-power (kundalini-shakti). When the kundalini, the force of Devi, reaches this center, this signals the merging of Shiva and Shakti.

It is the center of spirituality, enlightenment, dynamic thought and energy. It allows for the inward flow of wisdom, and brings the gift of cosmic consciousness. This is also the center of connectedness with the Goddess (God), the place where life animates the physical body. The silver cord that connects the aura bodies extends from the crown. The soul comes into the body through the crown at birth and leaves from the crown at death. When this chakra is unbalanced there may be a constant sense of frustration, no spark of joy, and destructive feelings. Illnesses may include migraine headaches and depression. Balanced energy in this chakra may include the ability to open up to the Divine and total access to the unconscious and subconscious.

The Concept of Kundalini

The topic of Chakras will be incomplete if the concept of Kundalini is not described here. The Chakras are essentially the milestones through which the kundalini travels to reach at the highest abode in the 7th Chakra.

Chakra Meditation : Image of Kundalini as it arises in Chakra Meditation

`Kundalini” literally means coiling, like a snake. The word kundalini comes from the Sanskrit word kundal, which means a ‘spiral’ or ‘coil.’ In Yoga, Kundalini Shakti means the ‘coiled power.’ It is compared to a serpent that lies coiled while resting or sleeping. It essentially denotes a primal life force that animates all living entities and is the source of all creative energy. As the kundalini moves upwards in the spine, it results in an upward shift in our consciousness. There are three nadis (energy channel) in the body known as Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. When awakens the kundalini is believed to travel from Sushumna Nadi through various chakras.

In Hindu scriptures, Kundalini is also described as the feminine power – the Shakti- at the base of the spine, which travels up the spine to unite with the masculine power, her consort, Lord Shiva (Shakta), in the seventh chakra, Sahasrara.

Symbolism apart, Kundalini power has found a mention in almost all the spiritual traditions of the world in some way or other ( Read more here ) . While there has been a number of spiritual paths like Vipassana, Zen etc which gave no specific stress upon kundalini, there are a number of paths wherein the spiritual progress of a person runs parallel with his level of Kundalini awakeness.

Further, all the spiritual paths which give emphasis to Kundalini awakening can also be divided into two major groups. The first group is consist of the practitioners of Mantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Laya Yoga or Raja Yoga etc wherein the kundalini is awakened through the effort of the individual (often under the guidance of a guru or master). The second group is of those representing Sahaja Yoga, Kundalini Yoga or Siddha Mahayoga wherein the kundalini is spontaneously awakened by the grace of the Siddha guru in a process which is called ‘Shaktipat’. In this tradition, the Siddha Guru/Master conveys shaktipat initiation to the disciple by means of touch, word or intention which results in an instant awakening of  kundalini. Both of these paths of Kundalini awakening have their advantages and disadvantages.

The first path of individual effort is considered the difficult path as the person has to work hard on his practice and the  progress is often very slow. However, as everything depends upon the individual effort, the consistent efforts results in permanent  progress and the Sadhak (the person who tread the path) becomes supreme confidence in his efforts. Further, slow awakening of kundalini allows proper control over the excess energy it produces and the chance of damage or of negative effects are minimized. However, even in the individual approach, the guidance of a guru/master is a must. In the absence of an experienced person to guide the Sadhak, he may face a sudden uprising of the Kundalini which will be difficult to control.

One such real life incident happened in the winter of 1937 when an Indian man by the name Gopi Krishna experienced a sudden and forceful awakening of kundalini in the state of deep meditation in his room at Jammu, India. His life after the Kundalini awakening was both blessed by ecstatic bliss and tormented by physical and mental discomfort. Here is the description of his experience in his own words taken from his autobiography ‘Living With the Kundalini’

“The illumination grew brighter and brighter, the roaring louder, I experienced a rocking sensation and then felt myself slipping out of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light…I felt the point of consciousness that was myself growing wider, surrounded by waves of light…I was now all consciousness, without any outline, without any idea of a corporeal appendage, without any feeling or sensation coming from the senses, immersed in a sea of light simultaneously conscious and aware of every point, spread out, as it were, in all directions without any barrier or material obstruction…bathed in light and in a state of exaltation and happiness impossible to describe.”

Another disadvantage of individual effort in Kundalini Awakening is the fact that the Sadhak who succeed in this endeavor may become egoist due to his achievement. The awakening of Kundalini and its control is considered as one of the most difficult feat to achieve. As such, those who have some worldly desires in them, will feel elated and somewhat special on achieving this feat. From spiritual point of view, this egoism hinders the progress of the Sadhak.

The second path of Kundalini awakening through Shaktipat also has its merits and demerit. On the one hand, it is a short path where the blessing of a Guru is enough to initiate the disciple and awakening his Kundalini. On the other hand, this sudden rise in consciousness may prove difficult to the unprepared Sadhaks. Further, the Sadhak becomes too much dependent on his Guru and live his life depending upon the borrowed experience of his Guru’s grace. An independent awakening of an individual sadhak through is own  effort is thus missing in this second method.

The Big Picture : How you can utilize the concepts of Chakra and Kundalini in your daily life ?

What I have discussed in the preceding paras is a brief outline of the concept of Chakras and Kundalini as they exist in various belief systems. However, this will be of no value if I don’t tell you the way to adopt these concept in your daily meditation practice. As already stated in the beginning of this article, this guide is for absolute beginners who are living a busy urban life and don’t have time to fully devote themselves to the spiritual path – but still they want to adopt the practice of meditation in their life for inner peace and personal growth.

Risk Involved (Don’t play with the serpent)

Since we are discussing the concept of Kundalini Awakening, I want to clarify one thing loud and clear. The Kundalini is not something to play with. Never, never try to play with the Kundalini. Kundalini Awakening is a high risk subject which may wreak havoc on the subject if done in haste without preparation.

Please read this advice of Swami Yatiswarananda in his book ‘Meditation and spiritual Life’  about the danger of Kundalini :

Those who practise spiritual disciplines without physical and mental purity are not only wasting their energy from the spiritual point of view, but are also running the risk of gathering too much energy, which, flowing through the worldly channels, might intensify their worldly life, including sex life, and thus harm them greatly.

Sometimes some take it seriously, and try to awaken the kundalini without undergoing the purification of mind. The practice of concentration without sufficient purity is dangerous. If the energy that is increased through concentration cannot  move along the spiritual channel, it may express itself outwardly in the form of violent passions in an extrovert, harming him as well as others. In the introvert the gathered-up energy may not find an outward expression. In that case it may form an awful whirlpool in the individual, shattering his nerves and mind and making him a complete wreck.

In some cases, as the mind is stirred through meditation, all the good and evil things lying hidden in it may come to the surface with tremendous force and bring about a physical and mental collapse. Those impure souls who want to play with the ‘serpent’ always come to grief. In some others again, the stored-up energy may manifest itself as cheap psychic powers such as clairvoyance, thought-reading, and such powers which make those persons egoistic and spiritually bankrupt. In some cases again, there may be a partial awakening of the latent power. The spiritual power may rise to a higher center but may fall down with disastrous results, stimulating worldly desires.

One thing which I want to make clear is that when you are doing anything with the Chakra, you are actually tinkering with the Kundalini – the dormant energy lying at the base of your spine. Without the able guidance of a Guru, the awakening of the Kundalini can have serious negative consequence as the sudden burst of energy, if not controlled properly, can harm the Sadhak. The part of the consciousness which normally remains  hidden in the subconscious mind become available after awakening of the Kundalini. The untrained extrovert may waste the excess of energy on on sex and violence whereas the untrained introvert can stuck themselves in a whirlwind of cyclone of the void. (Read more about this concept here and here )

What if you can’t awaken it due to risk involved?

Again the words of Swami Yatiswarananda will give you solace and show a way :

The description of the rise of the Kundalini appears to be simple and easy enough. But actually, it is all very, very difficult. Out of a thousand people who struggle for it, only one may get the awakening. But there is no need to get discouraged. From the way most people live we find that it is only good that in their case the Kundalini awakens very slowly or does not awaken at all. Most people are not at all ready for the rise. They can not face the tremendous reaction that it produces. In fact, in the beginning of one’s spiritual life, it is better to  forget all about Kundalini and think only about God. Let the love for your Ista Devata (term denoting a worshipper’s favourite deity within Hinduism. Read more here)  absorb all your attention and energies. Leave the Kundalini to Him. He will look after your spiritual welfare. God will grant you awakening at the right time.

As I have repeatedly said, it is better to follow the path of synthesis – a combination of Karma, Gyana (Knowledge) and Bhakti (Devotion). Let selfless work go hand in hand with your meditation. That purifies and strengthens the mind, Practice self-analysis and make the mind detached and calm. And then japa (the repetition of the Mantra) does the rest. When properly done, japa creates an inner harmony which gradually flows along the susumna making it active.

In view of the risk involved, we need to adopt a path which uses the concept of Chakra & Kundalini in its meditation practice but does not involve the high risk mentioned above.

The safest path : Mantra

Whatever be our spiritual path, be it Hindu’s, Buddhists, Christians or Sufi’s, the three stages we all have to pass through are purification, meditation and experience of the divine Reality or Godhead. Here arises the question : how are we to begin meditation with a view to awakening our spiritual consciousness? One disciple once asked the spiritual teacher, Swami Brahmananda,’ Sir, how can the Kundalini, the latent spiritual consciousness, be awakened?

This is what Swami replied:

“According to some there are special exercises by which the kundalini can be awakened, but I believe it can best be awakened by the practice of japa and meditation. The practice of japa is specially suited to this present age; and there is no spiritual practice easier than this, but meditation must accompany the repetition of the mantra.”

So what is the path. It is very simple, very powerful yet relatively very safe. Simply speaking it is Mantra Meditation.

As explained above in the section of individual 7 Chakras, the lower 5 chakras have 5 elements attached with them. These 5 elements have their respective seed (Bija) Mantras. We use these seed mantras to balance the elements in the respective Chakras. For the two higher Chakras ( Aagya/Third Eye & Sahsrar /Crown) the divine Mantra ‘OM’ is used.

So, in short, the Chakra Meditation, in its safest form, is the repetition of Bija Mantras related to the respective elements of 5 lower Chakras  which in turn helps in balancing the Chakras.

Technique of Chakra Meditation :

If you ask me to define the exact method of doing Chakra Meditation, it will be like this :-

(1) Sit in the lotus pose. Take some deep breaths.

(2)  We will be focusing on various Chakras of our body one by one, starting from the lowermost Muladhara to the uppermost Sahsrara. While we focus on the Chakra, we will recite the Seed Mantra associated with its elements. It will go like this:

a)      Focus your attention on the place where Muladhara the base Chakra (representing the Earth element) is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : LAM…. LAM … LAM ….

b)      Now bring your attention on the place where Swadhishtan the Sacral Chakra (representing the Water element) is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : VAM …. VAM … VAM ….

c)       Now bring your attention on the place where Manipura, the Solar Plexus Chakra (representing the Fire element), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : RAM …. RAM … RAM ….

d)      Now bring your attention on the place where Anahata, the Heart Chakra (representing the Air element), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : YAM …. YAM … YAM ….

e)      Now bring your attention on the place where Vishuddha, the Throat Chakra (representing the Akasha/Space element), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : HAM …. HAM … HAM ….

f)       Now bring your attention on the place where Aagya, the Third Eye Chakra (representing the Supreme element comprising all the basic elements), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : AUM …. AUM … AUM ….

g)      Now bring your attention on the place where Sahasrara, the Crown Chakra (Considered to be beyond all elements), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : AUM …. AUM … AUM ….

(3)   Once you complete the above steps, you will be having two options: (i) Either repeat the above cycle by following all the seven steps mentioned above or (ii) Repeat any of your chosen Mantra of your liking (as explained in the Mantra section here).

I would advise you not to do the first option in excess. Instead please follow a combination of the 3 steps as below:

Suppose you have chosen the Mantra ‘OM Namah Shivay’ for repetition. Therefore, do the combination like this:-

(3.1)  Recite the cycle of 7 seed Mantras as explained above. Then recite the Mantra ‘Om Namah Shivay’ three times.

(3.2)  Repeat the above (i.e. one cycle of 7 seed mantras and 1 main mantra) two times more.

(3.3) Now stop the cycle of 7 seed mantra and only recite the main Mantra (Om Namah Shivay in this case) continuously for 5-10 minutes.

This, in nutshell, is the entire technique of Chakra Meditation.

Another Method of Chakra Meditation :

Another method of Chakra Meditation which is equally good but adopt a slight different approach is this:-

Instead of focusing on the seven chakras one by one and repeating their Seed Mantras one by one, you can focus on just one Chakra in one session. What you will be doing is to focus on just one Chakra in your body and repeating the Mantras related to its element. Apart from repeating the Seed Mantra of that Chakra, you can also visualize the colour related to that Chakra.

(Thanks to Giovanni Dienstmann from Liveandare for suggesting this method)

While you focus your attention on one particular Chakra, you must repeat one of the main mantras after this method. It will help in balancing any sudden force of energy that may arise within you. Main Mantras are important medium to control the power of Kundalini)

Important things to be kept in mind :

(1)    While repeating the mantras, the instructions as explained here should be kept in view.

(2)    While the main mantra should be repeated contemplating its meaning in your heart, the same will not be possible in the case of seed Mantras as they don’t have any particular meaning. So while reciting them you should focus on their respective chakras.

Correct Pronunciation of Seed Mantras

Watch this video by MC-yogi:

Then this one by Heart Alchemy Yoga

Watching carefully the way in which all the seed mantras have been pronounced in the above two videos. After browsing through numerous videos, I have selected the above two videos as in both of them the seed mantras have been pronounced correctly that is the way they should be pronounced.

Conclusion

This ends my detailed explanation of Chakra Meditation comprising the concept of seven chakras in human body, the three Nadis, the concept of Kundalini, dangers involved in the practice and the safest way to perform Chakra Meditation. I hope all people interested in the Chakra Meditation will like it beneficial for their practice.

Related:

Chakras and Supernatural Powers

Chakras

Root Chakra

The Seven Chakras of the Human Body

Meditation

SculptureGarden

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How to Effortlessly Increase your Threshold for Anger and Stress

yachnayoga

yachnayoga.wordpress.com

I Will Start Meditating Tomorrow

I am pleased to share with you one of my articles that was published in the June issue of Life Positive Magazine under the title-“Drop Out, Tune In”.  They also have an online presence at http://www.lifepositive.com/.

Very often aspiring mediators find it hard to start meditating and even harder to make it part of their daily routine.  Most of the advice we have heard so far are banal statements like-“Just do it” and “Don’t get involved with your thoughts, just observe them,” which are very true, but not always helpful.  

If you think meditation is too hard, or if you have attempted meditation in the past, and only met with frustration, exploring some of the common hurdles many of us face when trying to begin a meditation routine can help you overcome them.  Below is a look at some of the most common problems one deals with when meditating, along with solutions to help one around them.

Problem: Waiting for the perfect time

There is no such thing as the perfect time.  There will always be work, chores, obligations and responsibilities.  They are a part of daily life.  Although the early morning time, free of the hustle and bustle is recommended best for meditation, it might not be suited for everyone.  Some find it more convenient to practice in the evening.   

Solution:  Setting aside a certain time of the day for your session is highly recommended, but if your schedule absolutely won’t permit you to meditate in the morning or evening, it would be best to take advantage of any time slot the day has to offer you. The success of a few consecutive sessions will prompt you to prioritize your day to fit everything around your meditation session.  The key factor is to meditate daily.  Try starting out with a 15 minute session and as you progress you can slowly build up to 30 minutes or longer.

Problem: Not having the motivation

You have the time, but lack the motivation.  

Solution: Being knowledgeable of all the health benefits that you could accrue from meditation can motivate you to finally do it.  We are all aware of the effects stress can have on our health. According the American Institute of Stress, almost all emotional, physical, mental and behavioral health disorders can be linked to stress. Stress triggers the release of hormones into the blood stream that if gone unchecked over a period of time can lead to and/or aggravate a number of health concerns such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches, mouth ulcers, muscle spasms in neck and shoulders, lower back pain, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke. asthma, difficulty breathing, duodenal ulcers, ulcerative colitis, irritable colon, menstrual disorders, vaginal infections, hair loss, eczema, suppression of the immune system, Parkinson’s disease, obsessive compulsive disorders and auto immune disorders such as psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain cancers. 

Where once meditation was considered to be an esoteric eastern practice, it has now been adopted as a stress reduction tool by western medicine and is highly recommended to counter stress induced medical conditions.   

A study conducted by the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation showed that performing Kirtan Kriya meditation (a meditation belonging to the Kundalini Yoga tradition) 12 minutes a day for 8 weeks increased blood flow to the brain and increased brain activity in the parts of the brain that are central to memory.

Another study published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging showed that different meditation techniques resulted in an increased blood flow to different regions of the brain opening up the possibility of ‘prescription meditations’ to treat specific health disorders like trauma, anxiety and depression. 

Meditation has the power to transform your thinking pattern from negative to positive.  Performed regularly with sincerity, it can help purge your system of all negative emotional manifestations of stress like anger, jealousy, doubt, suspicion, cynicism, nervousness, and restlessness. Depending on the sincerity and consistency of your practice, it is possible to notice an undeniable difference in your overall well being and mental attitude within a week.  Meditation can help heal your heart and dissolve your emotional baggage. 

Being in a structured environment of a meditation class with teachers to guide you might be another avenue you might choose to pursue. Being around like minded people will give you a sense of community support.  A class like environment could help evoke in you the healthy spirit to succeed and motivate you to give meditation much deserved sincerity and time.

Problem: Not having the discipline

No. It is not okay to miss a day.  If you skip a day you are most likely to skip another.  This attitude opens the doors to indiscipline and sets the stage for failure.   

Solution: Make a resolution and share it with someone. If you think you are one of those people who wouldn’t honor a promise made to yourself, share your resolution with a close family member or friend.  Knowing that someone else knows will make your resolution all the more real and pressure you to take it seriously.  Be specific in your resolution.  For example:  I promise to practice (meditation type) everyday for the next 40 days without missing a day.  If I miss a day, I will have to start all over.

Consistency is key to success in meditation.  You are after all training your mind to adopt a new habit. Worse come to worse, shuffle things around and shift your session time, but don’t skip it.   

Problem: Feeling restless and distracted and giving up too soon

The mind is constantly ravaged by thoughts.  It is the nature of the mind to wander.  Sitting down in meditation only brings you face to face with the state of your inner turmoil. 

The first five minutes of meditation are always the hardest.  The list of pending chores and temptations will race through your mind and try to pull you away.  You will feel restless and fidgety and have the strong urge to flee.  The reason for that is the high frequency beta waves that are generated by an aroused brain. Beta waves are associated with alert working states involving high mental activity. When you first sit down to meditate, your mind is still operating at this frequency level. It is hard to alter it immediately.  Meditation helps alter your brain waves from high frequency beta to low frequency alpha waves.  Theta waves which are of an even slower frequency are associated with deeper states of meditation or relaxation. Low alpha and theta waves have been associated with creative thinking, inspirational ideas and enhanced problem solving abilities. If you can sit through the first 5 minutes, the next 5 minutes will be relatively easier as your brain waves transition from high frequency beta to low beta and then slower frequency alpha waves.  At the end of 10 minutes your mind will calm down significantly.  This calmness will act as a catalyst to keep you going longer and help you enter deeper meditative states.   

Solution: Wrestling with your thoughts and trying to subdue them will only lead to further aggravation of your mind. According to ancient yogic texts, the mind and body are interconnected.  A steady breath helps calm the mind and a calm mind helps steady the breath.  Anulom Vilom (Alternate nostril breathing) is a great technique to help steady your breath and mind.  It balances your seven major chakras and the left and right hemispheres of your brain.  Practicing relaxing techniques that promote mind breath and body coordination, like yoga or moving meditations like Tai Chi, Qigong, activities like reading, listening to relaxation CDs, guided meditation videos/CDs can gradually ease your brain waves from high frequency beta to a low frequency beta or alpha state, leading to a more relaxed state of mind and preparing it for meditation.  

If you like, you may want to create a ritual to symbolize the beginning and end of your meditation.  Simple rituals like dimming the lights, lighting a candle, and ringing a small meditation gong can help set the mental tone and help ease you into your meditation.   

Problem: Dealing with discomfort of sitting

The traditional seated positions for meditating might pose some initial discomfort to aspiring meditation practitioners, but should by no means become a reason to not meditate.

Solution: Since you will be required to sit still during your meditation for at least 15 minutes or more, it is important to find a position that would be most comfortable.  Burmese style is a great posture to sit in as it won’t cramp your legs and is a relatively easier pose for beginners. If you find it hard to sit on the ground, you can practice sitting on a chair.  Just remember to keep your spine straight.  If you are unable to sit on a chair due to physical ailment, practice your meditation lying down.  Just make sure you are on a flat, firm surface and your spine is straight.  This will prevent you from dozing off.  Although there is no need to invest in any fancy paraphernalia if you’re just starting out,  using back support, meditation cushions, or other props could help minimize bodily distractions and make your meditation relatively easier.  Avoid wearing clothes that are tight as they can interfere with your blood circulation and impede breathing.   

Problem: Wrong Mental Attitude

Coming into meditation half heartedly and resisting it with preconceived notions of doubt, skepticism and a ready to fail “I told you so” attitude is not the way to begin a session.  Some come into it looking for amazing and immediate results without the desire to give it time.

Solution:  Your mental attitude could set the stage for the success or failure of your session.  It is advisable to keep an open mind.  An open mind is associated with alpha brain waves which are generated when one is relaxed.  Consciously trying to cultivate attitudes of compassion, love, forgiveness and gratitude can help you work synergistically with your meditation and make all the difference.   

Problem: Don’t know where to start

If you dread meditation time, one of the reasons might be that you just haven’t found the one that is right for you.   

Solution: Guided imagery meditations can be a great place to start until you feel you are ready to graduate to the next level.  Meditation techniques like Soham, Zen, and Vipassana are all worth exploring.  Spend some time sincerely experimenting with a few and find the one that works best for you.  If you find yourself struggling, you might want to consider joining a meditation center and learning under the guidance of an experienced teacher.  

No one else can meditate for you. Personal endeavor is absolutely essential. The benefits of meditation will stay with you throughout the day, day after day.  Investing some sincere time and effort to your daily practice will undoubtedly help you reach your highest potential and bestow you with tranquility, improved focus, better concentration, mental clarity, equanimity and glowing health.  

“Prescription Meditation”

If you suffer from insomnia, disturbed sleep, chronic anxiety, depression, mental and physical fatigue and feel impatient, restless, cynical, angry, negative and frustrated its time to give meditation a sincere try.

Numerous people suffer from everyday stress and more and more people than ever before are turning to prescription drugs, alcohol and illegal drugs to help ease the symptoms of stress.  Prescription pills and even over the counter sleep aids, herbal preparations that promise relief, but actually leave one feeling physically and mentally lethargic, befuddled and with a hangover like feeling.  Consistent use of drugs leads to dependency and not to mention a whole list of dangerous side effects.  Prescription medications don’t produce lasting results.  In some users these prescription medications can aggravate the symptoms of anxiety several fold.  Stress is a part of everyday life.  The threshold for stress varies from person to person.  It causes a great number of health disorders.  Visit American Stress Institute for an elaborate list to learn more about the kind of havoc stress can wreak on your health. Western medication is manipulative medication.  It doesn’t work at the root cause of the problem, but instead does a very poor job at a very superficial level of masking your symptoms.

Your thoughts affect your cells. Stress produces blockages and imbalances in the body. Negative thoughts weaken your cells resulting in sickness in the body. The vibration of healthy thoughts and positive emotions will help restore the healthy vibration of the cells in your body.

Read Thought Power.

Meditation is considered to be a panacea for a wide range of physical, emotional and mental health problems.  It balances and heals all your chakras.  It will help return your endocrine glands to a healthy vibratory level so they would produce hormones in healthy amounts.  Your cells will vibrate at a healthy frequency.

It will help shift you to a more positive thinking.  You will notice a serious decline in emotional outbursts, worry and negative thoughts.  There will be no need for you to repress your emotions and suffer internallly.  Meditation will give you a higher threshold.  Petty things won’t bother you anymore. You will enjoy a renewed zest for life, more confidence.  You will feel in control, and naturally happy.  What might look like an obstacle to most people, will seem like an opportunity in disguise to you.  Everything will come to you easier.  Ideas, solutions, answers, inspiration, creative thinking will all be yours.  Step back and watch even little mundane desires manifest.  You will see things from a totally different perspective.  Immediately after one good session of meditation you will notice an undeniable and significant improvement in your overall wellbeing.  You will enjoy deep undisturbed sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and energized.

While practicing meditation it is important to focus on healthy eating.  Consuming caffeine and foods that are gassy, inherently hot, temperature hot and spicy can agitate the mind and increase anxiety.  Stale food, processed food and sugary food will leave you feeling lethargic.  Consuming high vibration fresh and healthy meals will have a calming effect on your mind and a healthy affect on your body.  People with a healthy vibratory level exude charisma, positivity, energy and a glow.

To learn more about the three categories of foods, read my article https://yachnayoga.wordpress.com/yoga-asans/recommended-yogic-diet/

My favorite meditation is Soham meditation. Start out with 15 minutes a day and slowly increase it to 30 minutes eventually graduating to 40 minutes.  It is after the 20 minute mark that the real magic begins.  You can click on the link below to find more detailed information and guided videos etc about Soham.

http://www.swamij.com/soham-mantra.htm

Related links you might like:

Guidelines for Practitioners of Meditation

Meditation

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101025101636.htm

http://karunavine.com/ayahuasca/vibration-of-food/

Mystical Experiences During Meditation

By Sri Swami Sivananda

Various kinds of lights manifest during meditation owing to deep concentration. In the beginning a bright, white light, the size of a pin’s point will appear in the forehead at the space between the two eyebrows which corresponds tentatively to the Ajna Chakra. You will notice, when the eyes are closed, different coloured lights, white, yellow, red, smoky, blue, green, mixed lights, flashes like lightning, fire, moon, sun, stars and sparks. These are Tanmatric lights. Each Tanmatra has its own specific colour. Yellow and white lights are very commonly seen. In the beginning small balls of white or red light float about before the mind’s eye. When you first observe this be assured that the mind is becoming more steady and that you are progressing in concentration. After some months, the size of the light will increase and you will see a full blaze of white light, bigger than the sun. In the beginning these lights are not steady. They come and disappear immediately. When you have steady and systematic practice of meditation for 2 or 3 hours, these lights appear more frequently and remain steady for a long time. The vision of lights is a great encouragement in Sadhana. It impels you to stick to Sadhana steadily. It gives you strong faith in superphysical matter. The appearance of the lights denotes that you are transcending the physical consciousness. You are in a semiconscious state when the light appears. You are between the two places. You must not shake the body when these lights manifest. You must be perfectly steady in your Asana and breathe slowly.

At times you will see some lustrous forms of Devatas or some other physical forms. You will see your Ishta Devata or your Guru. Siddhas, Rishis and others give their Darshan to encourage you. You can see beautiful gardens, palatial buildings, rivers, mountains, golden temples, sceneries so lovely and picturesque as cannot be adequately described.

During intense concentration, many are able to feel certain peculiar sensation as if some electric current passes from the Muladhara-Chakra. They immediately disturb their body and come down to the physical consciousness out of fear. They need have no fear at all. They should keep steady and wait for further experiences.

The experiences vary in different individuals. The experience of one man may not be the same as that of another man. Many erroneously believe that they have realised the Self when they get these experiences, stop their Sadhana and try to move with the public to preach and to do Loka-Sangraha. This is a serious blunder. This is not realisation at all. These are all simple encouragements from your Ishta Devata to convince you of a higher spiritual life and push you in your systematic and incessant practice with zeal and enthusiasm. You will have to ignore these things and drive them away just as you did with worldly objects. You must not care a bit when you get these visions. You must have your Lakshya on the goal. The visions may appear in some persons within a few days, while in others within six or nine months. It depends upon the state of the mind and degree of concentration. Some persons may not have such experiences, but they will be progressing in the spiritual path.

Sometimes you will get very powerful, dazzling lights, bigger than the sun. They are white. In the beginning, they come and disappear quickly. Later on they become steady even for 10 or 15 minutes according to the degree of concentration. Lights will appear before the eyes or at any one of the Chakras. The light is so powerful and dazzling sometimes that you have to withdraw yourself from looking and break your meditation. Some people are afraid and they do not know what to do and how to proceed further. By constant practice, the mind engaged in concentration will vanish. The beings and objects with whom you are in touch during the early period of Sadhana belong to the astral world. The lustrous forms are higher Devatas of mental and higher planes, who come down to give Darshan and to encourage the Sadhakas. Various Shaktis manifest in lustrous forms. Adore them. Do mental Puja as soon as they appear before you.

Do not waste your time in looking at these visions. This is only a curiosity. These are all encouragements to convince you of the existence of superphysical, metaphysical realities. Visions are either subjective or objective, your own mental creations or of realities on finer planes of matter. Universe consists of planes of matter of various degrees of density. Rhythmical vibrations of Tanmatras in various degrees give rise to the formation of various planes. Visions may be of these things or beings. Or in many cases they may be purely imaginary. They may be the crystallisation of your own intense thinking. You must discriminate well.

Elementals

Sometimes these elementals appear during meditation. They are strange figures, some with long teeth, big faces, some with three heads, some with faces on the belly, some without flesh and skin, etc. They are inhabitants of Bhuvar Loka. They are Bhutas. They are supposed to be the attendants of Lord Siva. They have terrifying forms. They do not cause any harm at all. They simply appear on the stage. They come to test your strength and courage. They can do nothing. They cannot stand before a pure, ethical aspirant. Repetition of Om or your Guru Mantra will throw them at a distance. Whenever young people look at a dead body or when they see a body hanging or when they see a cruel murder, they always brood over this instance. Even during meditation, the same thought will come and take peculiar form. Again and again they will see the same form before their eyes. They should not fear at all. It is only their mental creation. A coward is absolutely unfit for the spiritual line. Destroy fear. Develop courage. Be bold.

Life In The Astral Plane

During the course of practice, one day you will feel that you have separated yourself from the body. You will have immense joy mixed with fear; joy in the possession of a new light, astral body; and fear owing to the entry in a foreign, unknown plane. At the very outset, the new consciousness is very rudimentary in the new plane. You will only feel that you have a light, airy body and will perceive a rotating, vibrating, limited astral atmosphere with illumination of golden lights, objects and beings. You may feel that you are floating in the air.

You will never fall; but the new experience of subtlety generates novel feelings and sensations in the beginning. How you leave the body and remain, is unknown. You are unaware of how you have completely separated yourself from the body. The new joy is inexpressible. Your will have to actually feel and experience it yourself. When you come back to body-consciousness, there is an intense craving to regain the new consciousness and to remain in that state always. By chance, by repeated attempts, you are able to go beyond the body-consciousness once in a month or so in the course of Sadhana. If you plod on with patience, through Yogic practices, you will be able to leave the body at will and stay for a long time.

You can by mere willing travel in any place you like with the astral body and there materialise by drawing the necessary materials either from Ahamkara or the universal storehouse. The process is very simple to occultists and Yogis who know the rationale, the detailed technique of the various operations. Thought-reading, thought-transference, psychic healing, distant healing, etc., can be very easily performed by those who can function with the astral body. Concentrated mental rays can penetrate opaque walls and travel miles and miles.

The Best Kundalini Yoga Meditation

A study conducted by the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation showed performing kirtan kriya meditation 12 minutes a day for 8 weeks increased blood flow to the brain and increased brain activity in the parts of the brain that are central to memory. When done for 12 weeks, there was an increase in well being, spirituality and mood.

For beginners and people who tend to very anxious or restless and always on the go, it can be difficult to start a meditation technique. It can be hard for people to sit still for a stretch of even 20 minutes. Usually they end up giving up within the first few minutes. Kirtan Kriya meditation gives such people a sense of multi tasking as it requires the constant movement of the fingers and thumbs of both hands, a constant repetition of a mantra and something to focus on mentally and visually during Shambhavi Mudra. Try this meditation for 12 minutes daily for 12 weeks and enjoy its wonderful benefits.

Benefits of Kirtan Kriya Meditation:

1. Increases one’s intuitive abilities.

2. Helps eliminate negative thoughts and allows a positive state of mind to come on naturally.

3. Bestows health and longevity

4. Reduces stress, bestows mental poise, and improves concentration and focus.

5. Helps to break old habits and addictions

6. Activates the crown chakra and ajna chakra, thereby stimulating the pituitary and pineal glands respectively.

This meditation involves visualization, and chanting mantras while performing certain finger positions.

1. Sit in easy pose (cross legged) or on a chair.

2. Make sure to keep your spine straight and your chin slightly tucked.

3. Place your hands, palms facing up on each knee.

4. Close your eyes and turn your gaze upwards to the space between the eyebrows (third eye chakra/ajna chakra). This is called Shambhvi mudra

5. Begin by repeating mantra sounds while doing the hand mudras (gestures/positions) as shown below.

Chant saaa (means birth) and press the finger tips of the Index Finger + Thumb (bestows wisdom)

Chant Taaa (means life) and press the finger tips of the Middle Finger + Thumb (increases focus)

Chant Naaa (means death) and press the finger tips of the ring Finger + thumb (bestows vitality/energy)

Chant Maa (means rebirth)and press the finger tips of the little Finger + thumb ( improves communication)

6. As you chant, visualize the sounds entering through the crown of the head and leave through the third eye chakra in an L-shaped form.

• Chant in a normal voice for 2 minutes.

• Chant in a whisper for 2 minutes.

• Chant mentally for 4 minutes.

• Chant in a whisper for 2 minutes.

• Chant aloud for 2 minutes.

• Sit completely silently and still for 1 minute

• To end, inhale deeply, raise your arms above your head and bring them down in a sideways sweeping motion.

The total time for the meditation is therefore 13 minutes.

A link to a very helpful sa ta na ma meditation timer can be found here.

You may alternately do the 31 minute version which involves:

• Chant in a normal voice for 5 minutes.

• Chant in a whisper for 5 minutes.

• Chant mentally for 10 minutes.

• Chant in a whisper for 5 minutes.

• Chant aloud for 5 minutes.

• Sit completely silently and still for 1 minute

• To end, inhale deeply, raise your arms above your head and bring them down in a sideways sweeping motion.

The total time for the meditation is therefore 31 minutes.

 

My Spiritual Awakening Experience

Below I am sharing three of my most significant divine experiences with readers. Hopefully this will dispel any doubts and inspire you to continue on your spiritual journey.

From the Spiritual Diary

The Unstruck Sound:

I wish I had written this down sooner, but the demands of a family responsibility took first place. So here I am now a week later and I still wouldn’t have written this down if it weren’t for what I learned yesterday. It is May 29, 2005. Last week I awoke to a pleasant reverberation of Aum in my mind. No, I was not chanting Aum, nor was I thinking Aum, but as soon as I opened my eyes I could hear the harmonious reverberations loud and clear, effortless in my ears and mind. It was a beautiful sensation; Most divine. I just lay there in bed quietly without blinking almost in a state of daze for fear of losing it. I felt the calm of the break of dawn and the calm in my mind energized by the unstoppable sound that all of a sudden sprung forth out of nowhere. It only lasted for a few moments, but I feel blessed that I am one of the very few individuals who got to taste that divine nectar, that feeling of bliss however short lived it was, but for a brief period it was mine.

Following the experience, I did some research and found an article on-line: http://sannyas.org/quotes/chakra06.htm. To my surprise, it mentioned my Aum experience exactly the way I had experienced it – as something that you can’t force. You can hear the Universal sound without any effort on your part and without any need for deep concentration or meditation. It flows freely and the individual has no control over it. I have realized that I may have experienced something so special and indescribable. I think only someone who has experienced the same will be able to understand what I mean.

2011 Update: Unfortunately the page doesn’t exist anymore, but below is part of the article that I had saved back in 2005. I believe it was written by Osho.

“And the heart centre is the centre from where the soundless sound arises. If you relax into the heart centre, you will hear Omkar, Aum. That is a great discovery. Those who have entered the heart, they hear a continuous chanting inside their being which sounds like aum. Have you ever heard anything like a chanting which goes on by itself? – not that you do it. That’s why I am not in favour of mantras. You can go on chanting aum, aum, aum, and you can create a mental substitute for the heart. It is not going to help. It is a deception. And you can go on chanting for years, and you can create a false sound within yourself as if your heart is speaking – it is not.

To know the heart you are not to chant aum – you have just to be silent. One day, suddenly the mantra is there. One day, when you have fallen silent, suddenly you hear the sound is coming from nowhere. It is arising out of you from the innermost core. It is the sound of your inner silence. Just as in a silent night, there is a certain sound, the sound of the silence, exactly like that on a very, very much deeper level a sound arises in you. It arises – let me remind you again and again – it is not that you bring it in; it is not that you repeat aum, aum. No, you don’t say a single word. You are simply quiet. You are simply silent. And it bursts forth like a spring…suddenly it starts flowing, it is there. You hear it – you don’t say it, you hear it.”

A month or so after I stared doing Pranayam, I had yet another experience worth mentioning. I was trying to fall asleep at night and after a while I felt myself ease into a slumber only to be woken up by extreme silence. I felt as though I was 3 times bigger than my actual body. This experience actually intimidated me and led me to suspend all yogic practices for a while.

In the summer of 2007, I experienced spontaneous bliss. Words cannot begin to describe the feeling. Emotions of intense love and compassion flooded every fiber of my being. I felt a connection to every living organism and the presence of a force bigger and stronger became intelligible. Intense bliss took over. The hollowness of the material world at once became clear. The esoteric finally made sense. The only thing I remember that led to this state of ecstasy was that I was in a meditative state (not sitting and meditating, but going around my daily activities while meditating and preventing any thoughts from arising in my mind (chitta vrittii nirodh-preventing the rise of thoughts (vrittis) in the mind (chitta).

God realization/Self Realization What is Brahman.

God realization/Self Realization
What is Brahman.

Over the years I read several Hindu scriptures and discovered that  my experience above matches the description of what is called Self-Realization or God-Realization or realization of Brahman-the formless God that pervades the entire Universe.

08/27/2013:  I just learned that this type of bliss can be achieved through Bhavana Samadhi which is achieved through meditation that involves ceasing of thoughts. There are other paths that lead to Self realization that involve rigorous Yogic Kriyas/techniques.

I have included some information below if you want to know more about this.  This kind of Samadhi does not involve the union of kundalini Shakti with Siva which gives the practitioner various psychic powers and siddhis and which is actually achieved through rigorous practices and might also be extremely dangerous.

Point to be noted is that most spiritual experiences usually happen when the mind is at its calmest, which is very early in the morning when you are just about to wake up or at night when you are just drifting into the dream state. Some paranormal experiences can be scary, but remember, they are very rare and don’t repeat themselves often. They happen when you least expect them.

NOTE:

In the first place, there are two main lines of Yoga, namely, Dhyana or Bhavana-Yoga and Kundalini Yoga; and there is a marked difference between the two. The first class of Yoga is that in which ecstasy (Samadhi) is obtained by intellective processes (Kriya-Jnana) of meditation and the like, with the aid, it may be, of auxiliary processes of Mantra or Hatha Yoga (other than the rousing of Kundalini) and by detachment from the world; the second stands apart as that portion of Hatha Yoga in which, though intellective processes are not neglected, the creative and sustaining Sakti of the whole body is actually and truly united with the Lord Consciousness. The Yogin makes Her introduce him to Her Lord, and enjoys the bliss of union through her. Though it is he who arouses Her, it is She who gives knowledge or Jnana, for She is Herself that. The Dhyana Yogin gains what acquaintance with the Supreme state his own meditative powers can give him and knows not the enjoyment of union with Siva in and through the fundamental Body-power. The two forms of Yoga differ both as to method and result. The Hatha Yogin regards his Yoga and its fruit as the highest;

the Jnana Yogin may think similarly of his own. Kundalini is so renowned that many seek to know her. Having studied the theory of this Yoga, one may ask: “Can one get on without it?” The answer is: “It depends upon what you are looking for”. If you want to rouse Kundalini Sakti, to enjoy the

bliss of union of Siva and Sakti through Her and to gain the accompanying powers (Siddhis), it is obvious that this end can be achieved only by the Kundalini Yoga. In that case, there are some risks incurred. But if Liberation is sought without desire for union through Kundalini, then, such Yoga is

not necessary; for, Liberation may be obtained by Pure Jnana Yoga through detachment, the exercise and then the stilling of the mind, without any rousing of the central Bodily-power at all.

Instead of setting out in and from the world to unite with Siva, the Jnana Yogin, to attain this result, detaches himself from the world. The one is the path of enjoyment and the other of asceticism.

Samadhi may also be obtained on the path of devotion (Bhakti) as on that of knowledge. Indeed, the ighest devotion (Para Bhakti) is not different from Knowledge. Both are Realisation. But, whilst Liberation (Mukti) is attainable by either method, there are other marked differences between the

two. A Dhyana Yogin should not neglect his body, knowing that as he is both mind and matter, each reacts, the one upon the other. Neglect or mere mortification of the body is more apt to produce disordered imagination than a true spiritual experience. He is not concerned, however, with the

body in the sense that the Hatha Yogin is. It is possible to be a successful Dhyana Yogin and yet to

be weak in body and health, sick and short-lived. His body, and not he himself, determines when he

shall die. He cannot die at will. When he is in Samadhi, Kundalini Sakti is still sleeping in the

Muladhara, and none of the physical symptoms and psychical bliss or powers (Siddhis) described

as accompanying Her rousing are observed in his case. The ecstasy which he calls “Liberation

while yet living” (Jivanmukti) is not a state like that of real Liberation. He may be still subject to a

suffering body from which he escapes only at death, when if at all, he is liberated. His ecstasy is in

the nature of a meditation which passes into the Void (Bhavana-samadhi) effected through negation

of all thought-form (Chitta-Vritti) and detachment from the world—a comparatively negative

process in which the positive act of raising the Central Power of the body takes no part. By his

effort, the mind which is a product of Kundalini as Prakriti Sakti, together with its worldly desires,

is stilled so that the veil produced by mental functioning is removed from Consciousness. In Laya

Yoga, Kundalini Herself, when roused by the Yogin (for such rousing is his act and part), achieves

for him this illumination.

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