Meditation practice reveals the union or interconnection of every living being, advaita which is the identity of your true self (atman).
“No meditation, no life,
Know meditation, know life.”-Osho
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, there are instructions on meditation and descriptions as to what constitutes a meditation practice. In the first chapter of the Yoga Sutras, the second sutra explains that yoga (or unification) ensues when the mind is at peace. This state of spiritual tranquillity is fashioned by bringing the body and mind, along with the senses into stability which, consecutively, eases the nervous system. Meditation starts when we discover that worldly pleasures can only give us momentary satisfaction, but eventually we go back to our true nature of never-ending desires. This self-realisation, leads us to shift into the realm of meditation.
In Yoga, meditation (dhyana) is precisely a state of clear awareness. Dhayana is the seventh limb of the yogic path which is concentration. Dhayana is followed by Samadhi which is the state of enlightenment, the final limb. These three limbs of Patanjali’s eight fold path, dharana (focus), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (trance), are intimately connected and together are referred to as samyama, delicate discipline of the yogic path.
The first four limbs are external disciplines. The fifth limb, pratyahara denotes the pulling out of the senses. This physical withdrawal rises when we practice the first four limbs and connect the external to the internal. We are aware of our senses but at the same time also detached. So, once this external and internal connection is made, the connection of the self and the soul helps us to meditate. Concentration is just a part of meditation; it is in actuality, an expanded state of awareness.
While concentrating, we focus on something, anything but ourselves. When we need to shift to the realm of meditation, we need to get involved and communicate with the object of focus. This brings us to a point of self-realisation of the oneness of both, the object of focus and the self. This state is called Samadhi.
There are many ways to meditate:
• Sound: By employing certain chants, or mantras, sound becomes the object of focus. The recitation of your mantra is called japa. Practice of mantra meditation requires mindful commitment because the japa is just like a prayer. Chanting is a longer form of mantra yoga, is a powerful path to go in into meditation.
• The Use of Visualizations: Visualizing too is a good way to meditate for beginners. Usually, a meditator envisages his or her chosen deity in vibrant and in depth fashion. Nature can also be the object of focus. Some also meditate on the chakras (energy centers) in the body, where the focus is on the area or organ of the body parallel to a particular chakra, imagining the particular color connected with it.
• Breathing: Breath can also be used as a point of focus. By doing so we solely observe the breath without changing it. So, in such a situation, the breath grows into the lone object of your meditation. You perceive every hint of the breath and its each and every sensation. Although you are entirely conscious of the rhythm, you refrain from judging them you are completely detached from your observation. You are simply with the breath at every moment.
Our pain and suffering is created by the misperception that we are detached from Mother Nature. The realization that we aren’t separate may be experienced impulsively. Nevertheless, most of us need guidance, and Patanjali provides us with his eight-limbed system to the path of enlightenment.