December 10, 2012
I lead a weekly Facebook Meditation Chat, and am posting some of the chats here. Enjoy. Comment. Ask questions. Share your own experiences.
Greetings. Any questions or sharing from your meditations?
Just in case one is tuning in or checks in later, here is a little something worth noting... mantra japa. Repetition of a sacred sound formula is actually so easy that it can be done in most settings, and even when lots of other things are going on. That makes it practical, so accessible, but what is most wonderful is how it works. Like a beautifully cut diamond mantra japa has so many facets. It will affect your life in a number of ways on many levels and throughout all the dimensions of your being.
Hopefully you have found a mantra you enjoy and are using it regularly. My Gurudev would tell us that once you choose a mantra, if you don't take time to repeat your mantra during the day, no matter what else you did, you've wasted the day. More to come about some of the ways mantra japa benefits your life....
Mantra japa... once you begin to repeat your mantra regularly the way you perceive things changes. Your priorities shift because the mantra repetition keeps you connected with and aware of the Divine and progressing with your journey on your path to the fullness of your being. The anxieties that could carry away, though they might still raise their heads, just can't hold you as they di in the past. Those anxieties that used to carry you away lose their grip on you. This is one of the benefits of your mantra japa practice. As you repeat the mantra regularly the energy of your being shifts so that the people and places around you are vibrated with your new energy. It affects them. And your mental patterns shift into more positive, constructive, contented patterns. Since your thought patterns shape your life, you will find your whole world changing for the good... to support you on your path. You will also be naturally directed toward those things and people that resonate with you. There are so many other wonderful benefits to regular mantra japa, but maybe this will help you understand why Swami Satchidananda told us to never let any day pass without repeating our mantra.
Sharon: For a few years now I have periods of time when it is actually uncomfortable to meditate with my eyes closed...my mind is actually easier to quiet with my eyes open...with a downward gaze. Any idea why that is?
No, but I do know that there is no need to meditate with the eyes closed. Many traditions actually suggest that meditation is best when done with the eyes open, or half open. Each of us has some natural tendencies, and needs to become familiar with ourself, accepting ourselves as we are. Only then can we begin to move into our own fullness.
It is a mistake to try to do it like someone else. While it is ok to see what works for others and try that, it is important that we recognize that what works for someone else is exactly that - what works for them. We each need to find what works for us. Accept that and use it.
One very powerful meditation technique is Tradak - gazing. There are two types of Tradak, one for cleansing (where you keep the eyes focused trying to not even blink, and let the eyes water some), and one for meditating (which is a more relaxed gazing where you gaze steadily, but allow the eyes to blink. When using Tradak for meditation you gaze at the item for quite some time, and then shut the eyes and look to see it in the inner mind's vision. It may take a few times before you begin to see the inner image, but it will come. It initially appears in negative colors, but over time you will see it in positive. If you do Tradak on the same image (or statue, candle, etc.) day after day for quite some time, then that inner mental image will become ever available to you. The mind will have created a deep groove and the image will ever be present and help to hold you steady in your meditative state..
Sharon: Thank you. I love candle light meditation. I have had teachers instruct me to work through the uneasiness I feel with my eyes closed...that it is something I need to train my mind to do because I am holding on to a fear...a fear of stillness. I haven't had much luck.
Dear Sharon, though there might be some "fear of stillness," it is also possible that mental stillness can come for you without the body being so still. That is not rare at all, and completely ok. Walking meditations are just the thing for some folks. Another very wonderful practice (and one I have found just the things for periods of my life is patha, or recitation. With this meditation approach you become completely one pointed by focusing on reciting a scripture. As with most meditation techniques it is best to recite the same scripture everyday. With this, though it is important find a way to get the body settled and comfortable so that you can be steady with your recitation, you are still moving and turning pages and reading and chanting aloud - even offering incense and doing some movements along with some recitations. So you become very engaged using many of your senses - sight, sound, touch, mental attention, and heartfelt devotion. It is quite different from trying to have the body held without any movement, eyes closed, not saying anything (or even repeating the same thing as in mantra japa), etc. Yet, everything is all focused on the same objective.
A very wonderful, powerful, useful meditation technique.