What is Meditation?

Meditation is used to establish who we are and nothing else. Our thoughts and speculations are like a veil covering our true Nature, so the purpose of Meditation is to still the mind and hault thinking so that Pure Existence can be experienced. Meditation is continuous Concentration...
Concentration is to devote one's Attention towards a single point: the point of Concentration. The uninterrupted flow of one's Attention is called Meditation. Through continuous Meditation, one becomes One with the object of one's Concentration. This is called Contemplation and the resulting Trance is called Samadhi, Holy Trance, Mystical Union, filled with the Holy Spirit, etc.

The greatest difficulty faced in meditation is our identification with personality, ego, mind-structure and body. We cling to this false personality, fearing its dissolution, and it is only when the mind comes to a complete standstill that we are enabled to fully identify with the silent observer: our true Self. By experiencing one's Self as pure Awareness, the fear of death is eliminated. Death only concerns body and mind and Awareness is not the product of either: Awareness simply Is. It compares to waking up from a dream: Upon waking, the dreamer continues to exist long after the dream world has vanished.

Meditation would be much easier if we could simply order the mind to be still - but to cease creating thoughts is an extremely difficult task for most of us. For this reason, meditation techniques have been developed to give the mind something to hang on to. Words designed for that purpose are called mantras. The mental application of mantras during meditation is called Mantra Yoga, Mantra Meditation or, since it leads beyond, Transcendental Meditation. Effective mantras for meditation may be AUM, OM, So-Ham, Aham, ...

Jnana Yoga technique for Concentration and Meditation:

During Meditation, and possibly even after, Jnana yogis concentrate on the first thought that makes all other thoughts possible: I. Without I there is no you or anything else. I see, I hear, I feel. I is the first thought, that is all that I is, and by meditating on this one thought then no other thought will arise. This is a shortcut to the Stillness of the mind where the real I-am is experienced as something felt rather than thought. It is the Bliss and Knowledge of I-am-ness that we seek. Once Pure Beingness is established, Meditation has done its job.
For more information about Jnana Yoga, please see: Jnana Yoga

Breath technique for Concentration and Meditation:

Awareness, the center of our Being, is the source for both our breath and the first thought I. We can therefore also reach the center by observing the in and outgoing breath. This technique may further be reinforced by mentally repeating the mantram So-Ham (pronounced so-hum). Inhaling we repeat So and exhaling we repeat Ham. In time this will calm the mind, setting free Pure Awareness as the observer and the real Self.

Alternate Nostril Breathing / Nadi Sodhana Pranayama:

Alternate Nostril Breathing is a preliminary pranayama technique that helps to balance the Life-force (prana) and calm the mind. Ancient Yoga texts state that this technique helps to rid impurities in the finer nerve channels.

Close the right nostril with the thumb of the right hand and inhale slowly through the left nostril. Then close the left nostril with the little finger and the fourth finger. Exhale slowly through the right nostril followed by a slow inhalation through the right nostril. (The inhalation and exhalation should be equal in length). Close the right nostril and exhale slowly through the left. This completes one round. Ten rounds will complete this exercise.

For more information consult your Hatha Yoga manual in the pranayama section. All breathing exercises are only recommended to healthy persons, who should not exceed their abilities. This exercise should be safe since there is no breath retention involved.

Related Article: Herbs and Foods of Interest for Yogis

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