Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
Meditation & Life, with Sw. Chinmayananda (Gurudev).
We are now exploring the writings of Gurudev on our focus subject of Meditation. The book is a thorough treatment of the subject and extends to over 170 pages of closely printed text. No attempt is intended, here, to present the text in its entirety. However, important paragraphs and quotes will be given, within a summary of each section. You are encouraged to use the links on sidebar to obtain a copy for yourselves from CM publications. Please remember that each of the posts under this title is part of a thought flow and it is important to go back and read the previous post in order to refresh and review the context.
Prepare for Meditation, cont'd.
It is not possible to express Love or devotions with one's sleeves rolled up and fists clenched. It is equally true that kneeling on the floor with hands folded and eyes raised that you cannot convey a sense of vengeance or hatred.
Posture counts for a lot in our activities and posture can give away lots of information about what is really going on within. Not only does your mental condition advertise its nature upon the physical body, but the position and condition of the physical body, to a large extent, determine and affect your mental attitude. This close connection between the two is what prompted the Rsis to advise a conducive posture for greatest meditational blessing. Not just any posture will work to our advantage in this activity.
The posture recommended is that you sit on a flat cushion or folded blanket with your maximum base firmly on the seat (aasana); the vertical column erect and perpendicular. There is no regulation for the legs, however it goes without saying that there ought to be minimum strain and this has proven, over time, to be that of sitting with legs crossed before the torso. In that position, blood flow is optimum. A bent or strained vertebral column interferes with the functioning of the nervous system and helps to disintegrate the process; hence the necessity for keeping the backbone straight to the base, but in its natural curve. From this, physical equilibrium will optimise, permitting optimal meditation. [AV-blog; recall that there was a page done on aasana early in this blog. Please review.]
Experienced Masters advise that the meditator next relax the body. As you settle into full aasana, it will be inevitable that tensions and twitchings will occur. Relaxation itself takes practice. It is effected through a process called thought massage. In this, one closes the eyes and sends the thoughts down the body, attending each and very muscle.
Starting with the neck, find the tense points and with the mind instruct the muscle to 'drop'! Then come down to the shoulders and again find the culprits and use the mind to release the muscles. Again, move down, now to the chest. Inspect the tensions there and drop them. Then on down to the belly region. Check in at the equivalent points on the back with the same focus. Now the hips, thighs and so on… right down to the toes. Don't forget the arms and fingers. Experience will show that relaxed arms can be most comfortably rested if the hands are laid in the lap, fingers lightly interlocked. When the body is fully relaxed it may fell that the body has become heavier; this is as it should be. In this position, it is as if you are hanging your overcoat up. The body now is merely the clothing of the inner being. Your attention is can now move away from the physical as you enter the meditation seat proper.
The strength of meditation does not depend upon the kind of seat you use. Once you have learned the art of meditation, you will be able to enter the state no matter where you are. Until that time of falling naturally into the meditative state, however, following the set procedure and posture is of importance in the training of the mind and the body. Ideally, for the beginner, there will also be an external point of focus such as a murti of one's ishta-devataa, or an OM symbol, or a cross; something which represents the Higher Spirit for this lesser spirit to centre upon.