Deepening Our Practice of Meditation (2)
by Swami Smaranananda, Board of Directors, YSS India
Excerpts from a talk at 2010 Convocation
Practise the stillness. Brother Bhaktananda would say our meditations consist of 5 stages:
1. Prayer — We start our meditations with a prayer (about 1 minute). You do not have to use the standard prayer. Invoke God's presence.
2. Chanting (or reading a paragraph or two to put the mind in the frame of devotion)
3. Meditation Techniques
4. Practice of Stillness
5. Practice of Devotion
Some devotees start with a prayer; practice techniques and then devotion. After meditation techniques, we should sit in stillness. In the stillness you get absorbed and feel the presence of God and Gurus.
Sometimes when practicing Kriya, if the mind is disturbed, chant "Om Guru, Om Guru" for about 3-5 minutes. Stillness comes and the chanting is gone. Put yourself in Guruji's presence; visualize various pictures of Guruji (Swamiji thinks of the one of Guruji with the puppy in his pocket).
Imagine Guruji in your heart. Before Christmas, bring in Jesus Christ; before Janmashtami, bring in Bhagavan Krishna.
Then you feel what meditation is all about. That stillness comes with a sense of joy.
It is not blank mind, but we are experiencing that joy.
Then practice devotion and prayer and talk to God.
Pick up another chant if you wish.
What did you do in your meditation?
Devotee said, "I was communing with God".
What did you tell God?
"I didn't tell anything to God, I was listening"
Then, what did God tell you?
"He did not tell anything either, He was also listening"
During communion where neither God nor devotee needs to talk.
I am communing with my Higher Self. It is not talking – that can happen only in stillness. That is why the techniques are to be treated as vehicles when we start meditating. We are aware we are joyful, that is stillness.
If you have 60 minutes of meditation,
the last 15 minutes must be for stillness.
A person had to attend a meeting in another City. He was in a hurry and he got into a taxi and told the driver "Please go as fast as you can". Then he pulled out his papers and started doing his work. After a while he looked up and asked the driver "Where are you going? The driver answered "I am going as fast as I can, according to your instructions, You did not say where to". Going fast in the wrong direction, doesn't get us to our goal!
Rushing through the techniques – 10 mins for all the techniques and prayer for others. You miss the point! You try to go as fast as you can, but where to?
If you practice Hong Sau for 10 minutes, do not immediately jump into Om – enjoy the stillness for 2-5 mins; after Om enjoy the stillness for 2-5 mins; after Maha Mudra enjoy the stillness for 2-5 mins; after Kriya enjoy the stillness for 2-5 mins; after Jyoti Mudra enjoy the stillness for longer.
Practice 2-5 mins of
after each technique.
It is not difficult for me to sit for meditation, but it is difficult for me to get up from meditation.
REGULARITY and STILLNESS
We live in a world where we are always looking for results. At work, if you do not deliver the results, you are out, and we bring that into meditation.
One Saint said "Do not be like an ordinary soldier who asks for wages at the end of each day, but be like a noble officer, who works with dignity, knowing that at the end of the month, the salary which will take care of his needs will be deposited in the bank.
Do you want to be an ordinary soldier, or a noble Officer?
Subconsciously when we sit for meditation we put out our hand "Where is my wage? I have meditated for an hour; I want peace of mind, I want to feel inner joy; or find a solution to my problem (that is my wage).
Let's meditate, knowing that the reward is being credited into our astral bank accounts, and will come to our rescue at a more appropriate time. I was in great difficulty and Guruji sent the help. That comes from your astral bank. Do not think the reward is being denied, it is being credited into your astral bank account.
In our Ashram, we have long meditation on Thursdays. A devotee came straight from work with no time for rest. Thursday after Thursday, he stuck with the discipline. After some time he found Friday morning meditations had become effortlessly sweeter and deeper. Because of putting in the effort for 3.5 hours, he goes to bed with the thought of God. Thursday evening was the effort, Friday morning is easy.
Sometimes reward comes with delay. After Sunday service, you could feel peace and joy on Monday.
I consider this entire life is Thursday evening meditation. I will go on putting in my effort, after my long sleep and I will get up in my next incarnation, a little closer to God and it will not be that difficult.
We all travel this Thursday evening together, to see the better Friday morning.