Everyone projects attributes on God. E.g. loving, vengeful, etc. To realise God it is necessary to remove pre-conceived notions, projections etc. It is necessary to still our mind and look into our heart – to see that which IS. Meditation provides us a method of quietening the mind without crushing it, distancing our wishful fancies and seeing the Reality that is God.
Activity 1 :
Wear something comfortable.
- Find a quiet room at a quiet time. (Pre-Dawn is good).
- Find a sitting posture that you can hold for about half an hour or an hour. Have a little alarm clock with you which you can set for about half an hour to begin with.
- Close your eyes.
- Observe what happens.
In your first diary (The Thoughts Diary) make a record of all the things that you thought about and felt.
Then classify them.
Some are memories, of events, places etc that have already happened. These thoughts are your impressions of what has happened. Some memories are associated with emotions of pleasure or pain.
Some thoughts are plans. What you need to do next, when and how you’re going to do them. Some plans are associated with fear, tension or hope and anticipation. Sometimes your thoughts jump from one train to another, one thing reminds you of another and so on.
How long were you able to sit?
Activity 2 :
Repeat activity 1, but with one little difference.
After you close your eyes suggest to yourself that there is a divine light in your heart.
Do not imagine candles, lamps, the sun or any other form of light.
Just the one suggestion. Only once. Do not repeat this to yourself a thousand times. Do not concentrate on the light, only one simple, single suggestion that there is a divine light in your heart.
Now observe the condition of your heart with your eyes closed.
Thoughts may try to hijack your mind.
When you catch yourself thinking bring your attention back to the divine light in your heart. Then wait again. Meditation is a passive activity.
In the second diary (The experience diary) record what you experienced., not what you thought and definitely not what you imagined. Anything that you imagine or project or day dream is a mental activity that is not a part of this exercise.
If you get any good ideas that you would like to follow-up with later, please record it in your Thoughts Diary. Very often you will get brilliant ideas/insights when you meditate., but that is not the purpose or goal. Those are like interesting and useful by-products of a process that has another Real Goal.
What did you experience when you meditated on your heart with the suggestion that there was a divine light in it? Did you feel/experience pain, love, fear, nothing? Did you have trouble because your mind kept giving you an image of a physical heart pumping blood? Did you have visions of water, fire, animals, birds, flowers or anything else? Did you see any personality that you consider divine Krishna/Jesus/Buddha …anyone else? Whatever you see or feel write it down. If you feel/see nothing just write that down as well.
Your third diary is for your dreams. Your dreams may have people, objects, activities, colors, feelings… Record your dreams in as accurate and great detail as you can.
This time, before you practice meditation, suggest to yourself that the “Master” (Isa) of the Universe is transmitting love or divinity into your heart.
Repeat Activity 2.
Record your experiences.
Now Think about this : What would such a Master mean to you? Is there a Master? Would the Master be Male, Anthropic (human), Emotional, Intelligent, Knowledgeable, Vengeful, Punitive, Parent like, King Like? Would the Master dispense justice and reward the good? Would the Master help the weak and love the lonely? Would this Master govern the lives of people, animals, planets, galaxies and all the universes? Would this Master grant wishes? Could this Master be pleased, placated, annoyed? Create a bunch of questions about such a “Divine Being” and answer them. Do you like the idea of a Master?
Write what you feel and think. Do not quote philosophers – Eastern or Western. Write honestly, openly and from your heart. The key is what YOU feel, think and know to be true from your experience. If you can recognise the source of your views (mother, society, books.. mention that in your essay.)
This is a very important exercise.
This time, before you meditate, seek help from the Divine Master to reveal Itself.
“Only You can help me know You”.
Repeat Activity 3.
Record your experiences in a diary.
Compare the results of your experiences on each of the 4 days.
Here are some questions to think about and answer. Write down your answers.
- How much meditation time do you spend on memories and on plans?
- Are you able to hold the feeling of divinity in your heart?
- Does the condition continue even after you stop meditation?
- How are your interactions with other people?
- Do you think that there is Divinity in their hearts as well?
- How do you feel about animals?
- How do you feel when you look at the stars?
- Do you feel connected to the Universe?
- Do you feel connected with your Self?
What is this Self?
Is it your body?
Can you feel your body when you meditate? Does your back hurt? Does your heart feel light? Are you beginning to gain weight? Does your face glow? Can you feel your heart beat? Do you feel healthy and beautiful? What is your blood pressure like? Your appetite? Do you sleep well?
Is your Self your mind? What are your thoughts like? Are you able to think clearly? Is your brain foggy? Have you gotten any new insights or ideas? What do you think about other people? What do you think of their behaviour towards you and towards each other?
Is your Self your emotions? Are you angry, disturbed, calm, peaceful, in pain? Did you cry? Do you feel love, forgiveness? Do you feel loving towards other people? Would you like to withdraw? What do you think other people feel? Are they happy? In love? In despair? Angry? Evil? Loving? Helpful? Helpless? In control?
Is there a Self that is in your body but is not the body, has thoughts but is not the thoughts, has feelings but is not the feelings. Are you that Self? Does that Self have a purpose, a Goal, a destination? Is that Self in control?
Is there a bit of you in your car, your job, your house, your body and any of your other possessions? Do you feel pain when your car is dented, when your child cries, when your house is dirty or your body is ill? How much of you is there in your possessions, achievements etc? How much of you is there in other people? In your family, country, humanity, the earth, the universe?
Write all this down in your Thoughts Diary. Make a list of your attachments – all the things you care about.
Before you meditate, suggest to yourself, that you are detached from all the things you normally care about. The new job, car, school..etc all the things that you wish to get. The old successes, failures, friends, enemies, everything that has already happened, your past experiences. It doesn’t matter if other people get ahead of you etc.
Suggest to yourself that your focus on material gains, your attachment to your wishes is what is coming in the way of your realising God. Suggest to yourself that your wishes-generated activity dominates your life and that this is hindering/diverting/obstructing you in your search for God/Reality/Truth/Divinity.
“My wishes are distracting me from My Goal”.
Now repeat activity 4.
Record your experiences in your diary.
What do you think your Goal is? Is it to make ends meet? Is it to catch up with your neighbours? Is it to make more money? To survive? To achieve? To serve? To care for people? Things? Nature? To understand the mysteries of nature? To push the boundaries of science?
Write down your Goal or Goals.
Before you meditate, suggest to yourself that the only real goal of life is to Realize God, that your other wishes distract you from this goal and that only God can help you realize God. Suggest to yourself that divinity is being transmitted to your heart from God, that there is divinity in you.
Meditate on this divinity in you.
Record your experiences in your diary.
Now think about this :
Think about how you look. How do you look in different coloured lights? How do you look in the dark? How do you look when a bit of your skin peels off? How do you look in ultrasound, infra-red and x-rays. Does your appearance change, depending on the kind of energy that reflects off you? (red light, green light, no light, ultra sound, infra red etc).
What if you look under a microscope? Under an electron microscope? Does your appearance change with the scale at which you observe yourself? Below cell level, below electron level? At one level you would appear like an electromagnetic field. Lower? Below quarks? Imagine carefully how you might look to a being that senses only infra-red or only sound, to someone who is blind or color blind.
Are things as they seem? Are we attached to our scale and to the visible part of the light spectrum? Is our body like a submarine equipped with some energy detection mechanisms (sound, heat, light etc) for navigation? If so, then who is the occupant or the driver? What of the energies that the senses can’t detect? We have created many instruments that extend our senses by detecting other forms and ranges of energies and converting them to the light and sound that we can see. we have turned these instruments on ourselves and the world around us and gathered a wealth of information. Is there more?
In meditation you don’t extend your vision with a telescope, you close your eyes. You sit in a quiet room, you are not looking to external sounds, tastes, pressures or heat to tell you about the world. You are in fact resting your senses. What do you see when your eyes are closed?
Suggest to yourself that things are not quite as they seem. Suggest to your self that your resources for learning about the world are limited at best. Suggest to yourself that as you are within the universe., the universe is within you. Suggest to yourself that whatever is in you is in the universe and whatever is in the universe is in you.
Suggest to yourself that God/Master/Truth/Divinity is in you. That IT can be detected if you are quiet. Ignore your brain activity – thoughts and emotions as misleading/limited. Rely completely on IT to reveal itself to you.
Meditate as before.
Record your experience in your diary.
Group Activity : If you have any friends interested in meditation, meet with them. Meditate together. See if it feels different. Record your experience. Is it better to meditate alone or in a group? Is it better meditating with some people than others? What kind of people are better to meditate with? How do different people make you feel? Which people make you feel calm and at peace with yourself? In whose presence do you connect with your Self the best?
Write all this down. How do you make other people feel? Who feels best connected to their Self in your presence? Observe all this and write it down.
Benefits of Meditation.
Before we start talking about the benefits of meditation, we’ll review last week’s activity and also detail this week’s activity. You’ve been meditating for a week now.
- You understand that things may be other than what they seem to be.
- You understand that you have drawn your image of God from your culture.
- You understand that if there is a God, then you possibly need help from that God to help you understand God.
- You guess that it is possible to communicate with such a God through prayer (verbal, written, thought) and in your life you have had instances of God responding to your prayers.
- You also have probably noticed that in our general prayers we ask God for various things but never really to know God itself.
- You hope that meditation may reveal God to you, so that once and for all you know what all this is about and why.
Activity : Please meditate on the divine light in your heart every morning, as you learnt last week. Also meditate in the evenings for half an hour firmly determined that all manner of inner obstructions to your spiritual progress are leaving your heart. And making it clean so that it can reveal your inner divinity, in a way that you can recognise it. Make your heart clean and receptive to the Divine current that is being transmitted into your heart. Observe yourself during this entire period. During meditation and outside it. Also record any special dreams you may have.
What are they about? Do you think that your dreams are trying to tell you something? About your inner self? Are all of them related to daily events, wishes and frustrations? Or is there anything deeper?
Think about this :
What is a clean heart? Is it a light heart? Worry free? Hatred free? Tension Free? Like a child’s heart? Free of Jealousy? Anger? Is it a tolerant heart that accepts the naturalness of its emotions, thoughts, errors and flaws?
Here is some background information.., that you can verify on the internet.
The Physiological Effects of Meditation : Generally good. Meditation has some effects on your body – physiological effects. When meditation is practiced in the spiritual context, it is extremely good for health.
When it is practiced as a technique alone either in the context of psychotherapy or out of it, it has some good effects and some bad effects. In the Indian tradition, meditation is practiced under the guidance of a Guru, himself a self-realised soul who lives a well-regulated life. A true Indian seeker may spend considerable time in search of such a Guru.
Let us first list the physiological effects of meditation. Extensive research indicates the following.
- It has a positive on the left side of the brain and immune system.
- It reduces anxiety.
- Neuroscientists have found that meditators shift their brain activity to different areas of the cortex.
- Brain waves in the stress-prone right frontal cortex move to the calmer left frontal cortex. This mental shift decreases the negative effects of stress, mild depression and anxiety. There is also less activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear. This makes people calmer and happier.
- To explore exactly what part of the brain meditation acts on, researchers at Harvard Medical School used MRI technology on participants to monitor brain activity while they meditated. They found that it activates the sections of the brain in charge of the autonomic nervous system, which governs the functions in our bodies that we can’t control, such as digestion and blood pressure. These are also the functions that are often compromised by stress. It makes sense, then, that modulating these functions would help to ward off stress-related conditions such as heart disease, digestive problems and infertility.
- A Medical College of Georgia pilot study used meditation to help lower blood pressure in teens.
- It is facilitative of mental health because it brings about a higher level of self-acceptance and insight about oneself.
Meditation diminishes the “fight or flight” response of the sympathetic nervous system. Blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, metabolic rate and electrical skin conductance all diminish. For this reason, meditation is an effective relaxation technique and is sometimes recommended in the treatment of heart conditions.
Blood flow to the brain is increased during meditation. EEG studies show that brain waves become more COHERENT. Alertness is maintained and capacity for awareness actually increases. A “busy mind” becomes still and later concentration often benefits.
Here is a more exact way of stating the physiological effects of meditation., though it is harder to understand.
1. Indications of Deep Rest along with Wakeful, Ordered State of Brain Functioning.
2. Increased regularity and intensity of EEG alpha activity in frontal and central regions.
3. Episodes of rhythmical eeg theta activity in frontal region.
4. Experience of transcendental consciousness associated with high EEG coherence in the theta, alpha, and beta bands.
5. Changes in regional blood flow indicative of increased blood flow to the brain.
6. Increased concentration of salivary electrolytes and protein.
7. Decreased Metabolic Rate (Decreased Oxygen Consumption and Unchanged Respiratory Quotient, Decreased Carbon Dioxide Elimination).
8. Decreased minute ventilation. Normal arterial oxygen and carbon dioxide partial pressures. Decreased respiration rate. Increased ease of breathing: increased airway conductance. Episodes of spontaneous breath suspension (not followed by hyperventilation).
9. Decreased heart rate.
10. Increased basal skin resistance. Cessation of spontaneous skin resistance response.
11. Reduction in biochemical index of stress: decreased aterial lactate levels.
12. Decreased plasma cortisol levels. Small increase in plasma prolactin immediately following transcendental meditation.
13. Increased plasma phenylalanine levels.
14. Self-reported improvements in physical and mental health, and resistance to disease.
15. Maintenance of a relaxed style of physiological functioning outside of meditation: lower basal metabolic rate after meditation.
The Psychological Effects of Meditation : A Guide is needed.
From a psychophysiological perspective, meditation is the intentional self-regulation of attention, in the service of self-inquiry, in the here and now. Meditation is a highly alert and skillful state of mind because it requires one to remain psychologically present and `with’ whatever happens in and around one without adding to or subtracting from it in any way. The practice of meditation has positive short-term and long-term rewards, the main ones being a calm self-control, and what is called ‘the relaxation response’. (“These effects include a wakeful hypometabolic physiological state and a balance of the parasympathetic and sympathetic functions” : for those who understand words like this.) In Sanskrit there is a difference between Nidra (sleep) and YogaNidra (State in which there is a union between the mind and the self or God.)
Because of the psychological benefits, there are some modern experts who suggest marrying meditation to psychotherapy. Both allow the person to be present for the moment, open and nondefensive. In both meditation and psychotherapy, we are trying not to get caught up in internal preoccupation, but to be intimately present with what is happening here and now.
The common element with psychotherapy is the emphasis and goal of self-awareness, and the freeing of the individual from habitual patterns of thinking and feelings, paving the way for change. It differs from psychotherapy in that meditation is a completely private and silent exercise.
However meditation is not free from side-effects.
Meditation is contraindicated in people suffering mental illness such as psychosis, schizoid and schizotypal personality, dissociative states, hypochondrial and somatization disorders, as there is a risk that the patient will be distressed and overwhelmed by the experience of the symptoms during meditation.
Even some normal people have reported adverse effects due to meditation. These adverse effects were relaxation-induced anxiety and panic; paradoxical increases in tension; less motivation in life; boredom; pain; impaired reality testing; confusion and disorientation; feeling ‘spaced out'; depression; increased negativity; being more judgmental; and, ironically, feeling addicted to meditation.
Other adverse effects described are uncomfortable kinaesthetic sensations, mild dissociation, feelings of guilt and, via anxiety-provoking phenomena, psychosis-like symptoms, grandiosity, elation, destructive behaviour and suicidal feelings, feelings of defencelessness, which in turn produce unpleasant affective experiences, such as fear, anger, apprehension and despair. Sobbing and hidden memories and themes from the past, such as incest, rejection, and abandonment appeared in intense, vivid forms and challenged the subject’s previously constructed image of their past and themselves.
This is because greater awareness about oneself can be a double-edged sword. Some psychiatrists extend a caution about one of the ironies of meditating. “It could actually raise your level of anxiety if there are certain feelings you are not owning.” In other words, there’s nowhere to hide when you’re practicing “bare attention.” And this, for some people, is both the good and the bad news.
Meditation allows its practitioner to step out of conceptual limitations, a process which is considered to be the hallmark of insight and creativity, and the converse of neuroticism. The detachment from self experienced in meditation can be related to the split described by Freud between the experiencing ego and the observing ego. This capacity to rise above the self increases motivation, tolerance of guilt, and enhancing a sense of unity and centredness.
On the other hand, in order to reach this deeper stability, one has to become fundamentally destabilised, which requires preliminary strength and faith.
Webster’s dictionary defines meditation as an ‘act of spiritual contemplation’.
Meditation is an ancient technique that has recently been extracted from its spiritual framework, and applied to therapy for the enhancement of personal well-being. In extracting the technique from its theoretical and belief context, the meaning and effect of meditation is deprived of its essence–just as an interpretation, cognitive challenge, or a paradoxical injunction would not have the same impact/outcome when removed from its therapeutic context.
In Buddhist terms, the ultimate aim is the realisation that the self-ego is illusory, seems entirely irreconcilable with the goals of psychotherapy, which is, rather, to facilitate the development of a coherent ego. But both Buddhist thought and psychoanalytic object relations theory view human growth as a series of developmental stages. The ego is defined as an internalised image that is constructed out of experience with the object world and which appears to have the qualities of consistency, sameness and continuity.
According to object relations theory, the major cause of psychopathology is the inability to establish a cohesive integrated self. In contrast Buddhist psychology states that the deepest psychopathological problem is the protagonist of a self, the ‘clinging to personal existence’. But one has to be somebody before one can be nobody. Meditation may be most helpful to people who have achieved an adequate level of personality organisation.
Meditation can help both with getting in touch with oneself, and with letting go of the self, where there is excessive investment in the self.
Meditation encourages its practitioners to become aware of the fundamentally distorted aspects of an overly individualistic view of human experience.
The Indian Tradition requires you to Meditate under the guidance of a Guru, a Master in the field, Himself a Self-Realised Soul. This is like taking prescription medicines or going on a diet under a doctor’s care or like learning the violin or astrophysics in a good school.
The advantage of having a Guru :
A Guru who has done all this before you will make you commit your life to a moral framework. While all these wonderful changes are happening within you : it is important that you,
a) a) Continue to work for society and your family.
b) b) Live a truthful, moral life.
c) c) Live a disciplined, well-regulated life.
Otherwise you might go crazy or become irresponsible and cut off from society.
Do you think meditation is beneficial?
Do you think a spiritual-moral framework is necessary in meditation? In life?
Is there a spiritual-moral framework that is independent of time, space and culture?
3. Cleaning : Getting rid of complexes and negative tendencies.
Please continue with meditation practice and cleaning and recording it in your diaries.
Also please do every activity irrespective of what it is, thinking that it is the Divine that is doing it. Remember the Divine in all you do. Think of your self as an agent.
Think of the Divine, with Love.
Now Think about this :
How can we decide what is right and wrong? Based on our scriptures? Based on our social mores, culture, parental authority? Based on the consequences of our actions? Can we think through all the consequences of our actions? For all times to come? Based on what suits us? Is there a right and wrong?
Also think about this. When you see a movie trailer, you feel like seeing the movie. When you see your friend buying a car or eating an ice-cream, you want one too. Can you trace your actions back to the first cause? My son is studying to get into Cambridge because a friend I admired went to Stanford. I am working to be able to afford him that education. I am wearing glasses with a black square frame, because my favorite movie star wore one like this in my favorite movie. Can you do this? How far back can you go? Are there habits learned from friends, goals picked up from society?
What did you want when you go as far back as you can remember? Love? Attention? Food? Fun? Why? To make you feel good? When did you begin to notice what made you feel good and what made you feel bad? Do you work hard for what you believe will make you happy? When did you notice that different things make different people feel good? Can tastes be learned? What makes you truly happy? Has your environment anything to do with your nature?
Let’s talk about cleaning :
Hindu Indians believe that bathing in sacred rivers will purify them of their sins. Christians believe that confessing their sins to a holy man will absolve them of their sins. I understand that Christ fought a system where people could pay money and buy off their sins.
What are these sins? A sin is an awareness that you have done something wrong – against life, a social or religious code or humanity. This awareness of wrong-doing makes you feel guilty. You may anticipate retribution from man or God, or you may just feel terrible at the pain that you have caused someone else. People make mistakes. They want to atone for their errors and be forgiven. A ‘sin’ involves the concept of a right and wrong. A moral framework. Awareness that you have done something wrong makes you feel bad.
Some people try to punish themselves. To punish yourself is to punish all your loved ones as well and the Divine within you. Then what must be done?
We must change. We have to make amends for the mistakes we made and change the tendencies which led us to make those mistakes. (for e.g a tendency to overeat may make you fat. You must not only lose weight, but also lose your tendency to overeat. You must not only apologize for harsh words that you have said, but also lose your tendency to say hurtful things in future.)
How may be this be done?
Recognise your errors. Repent for them in your heart. Help to make amends. Resolve never to repeat them.
And every evening clean your heart. Imagine that all impurities, complexities and other impediments to your spiritual progress are leaving your heart in the form of smoke or vapour from the back of your heart. During cleaning don’t focus on your mistakes – focus on becoming clean. At the end of your cleaning imagine that a divine current is flowing into your heart.
Remember that not you but Divinity Itself acts through you, every act large or small. This will free you from the protagonist of a self, the ‘clinging to personal existence’. It will free you from guilt and grandeur.
Then remember that Divinity acts through others and everything else. This will free you from the bonds of vengeance and loyalty.
All you experience pleasure or pain is from Divinity. This will free you from a preference for any set of circumstances or events.
This detachment will give you a balanced calm that you need to meditate on something as subtle as the divine.
Let’s talk about meditation on a divine light in the heart :
As you practice turning your attention to your clean heart with just one simple suggestion that there is a divine light in it, your body and mind become regulated. At least for that hour you are not adding to your Want List, you are not strengthening your wants, you are not chasing your thoughts and increasing your To Do List.
For that hour you are peaceful and balanced, without ego or wishes. That is the perfect setting for God to reveal Itself to you. Because now you have no prejudices and predispositions. You are willing to see God as It is, and to not force God to accept a Form or Attributes as per your design.
A little theory :
Modern Scientific theories corroborate the Hindu scriptures in that the Universe is moving from the Avyaktha (undifferentiated energy state) to the Vyaktha (differentiated matter state)., and that it will revert from matter to energy. Hindu Scriptures say that this is a result of Divya Sankalpa or Divine Will. The Divine is seen as the Paramatma or the Ultimate Soul. Life forms are seen as Jeevatmas or the Living Souls. The manifest Universe is seen as the result of Divine Will. As chips of the old block, Jeevatmas, too are capable of Sankalpa or Will. Manava Sankalpa is the Will of man. It too creates little worlds of its own. As the universe may be dissolved by Divine Will, our creation may be dissolved by our Will. Our souls are cloaked by our creations. We have to use our Will to dissolve our creation so that we can sense the Divine Will and Divine Presence.
Cleaning is an attempt to direct our Sankalpa to dissolve our samskaras. Meditation is an attempt to sense the Divine. Spiritual Progress is the journey that attempts to unite the Jeevatma with Paramatma. That Union is called Yoga.
4. Experiencing the Divine
Please continue with meditation, cleaning and Divine Remembrance and recording it in your diaries. You may use a dream dictionary to interpret your dreams. There are a few freely available on the internet.
Love Without Attachment:
View your parents, teachers, elders, guests, nature, spouses, children animals, vehicles, instruments etc… as God. Your home and domestic life are an opportunity for you to practice love without attachment. To care for and serve others selflessly. This is the kind of love that you have to extend to the divine. Treat your Guru as a representative of the divine, as God. I think your Guru is the one who awakens the Divine dimension in your mind, trains and nourishes your mind to reveal God.
Your job provides you with an opportunity to practice focus in face of distractions, obstacles and politics. Meditation allows you to practice focusing on a single suggestion in the presence of all other distracting thoughts and feelings.
Character Changes : Courage, Strength, Honesty, Steadiness:
As you start trying to sense the divine presence within you, some changes come over you. You lose your ability to tell lies for example. Lying stresses you out physiologically as is well-known. Meditation has the exact opposite effect on you. You cannot do both. You also lose your motivation to lie. People lie out of desire, fear or habit. The more you are connected to the Divine and therefore to the rest of the Universe, the more you love it, the less the need to fear it. What is the chance that your left arm will beat up your right arm without any reason? Throughout history you have examples of saints who are not afraid of robbers, criminals or ghosts. They are neither malevolent nor are they susceptible to the malevolence. Fearlessness leads to steadiness.
Difference between Projections and Visions :
All of have daydreams. Daydreams are a result of wishful mental activity. Visions are a consequence of the mind becoming still. Projections are also from mental activity : like when you want to visualize, imagine or remember something. The difference between projections and visions is the difference between talking and listening. Visions are closer to your dreams.
Your brain can only interpret what it perceives in terms of what it knows : Light, sound, images, emotions. Most of us have trained our brains to respond to and process sensory inputs : sights, sounds, smells, words, touch etc…. And we respond to these with emotion, joy, anger, sadness etc.
For the first time when you close your eyes and ears and rest your mind from its plans and thoughts something new happens.
In Sanskrit there is a word called Antahkarana : inner ear. Listen and feel with that. When you sense divinity, your brain may throw up a picture of the God or saint that you associate with divinity. When you sense love, your body may respond with a tremendous sense of well-being. When you connect to the entire universe, your brain senses size and you feel you are growing very tall.
All the visions that you see when you are meditating and not thinking, are your brain’s interpretations of what you are sensing, in terms, of what you already know.
The entire goal of meditation and your spiritual practice is the Love that will be awakened in your heart for the Divine. This Love will bring the Divine to you.
You may express your love through rituals, music, service to humanity, environment or animals….All these actions put together without love, and you go nowhere. None of these with love, and God comes to you.
The Nature of Divinity :
You want to realize Divinity. The root of that word means ‘light’. Diva (day), Deva (god), Diya (lamp) are related words in Sanskrit.
Brahman is a Sanskrit word for God. It means “the great”. Vishnu means Omnipresent. Ishwara means Master or Lord. Hari means “the destroyer of troubles”. Hara “is the destroyer of the universe.” Antaryami means he who moves around internally (inside us), one meaning of Narayana is the internal dweller. Lakshmi is lustre, Sarada is giver of essence, Siva is good, Rama is delight, Mitra is friend, Viswatma is the soul of the universe, Viswanath is the Lord of the Universe, Shakthi is energy.
The Patanjali Yoga Sastra says that “When Reality is viewed from inside the Universe it looks like God”.
When we live rightly, and meditate on divine light, we have visions of fire, water, eagles, elephants, lotuses…. etc. These represent different stages of our progress. Sometimes we like a vision and keep recalling it or thinking about it again and again.
We have experiences. Of growing very tall, of merging with Guru or God, Of feeling whole instead of fragmented, of feeling powerful, of feeling light, of feeling divine, of well-being.
You may acquire some siddhis (small powers). Knowing what someone is going to say. Foreseeing events. Events adjusting themselves to reflect your internal thoughts. Speaking about things you know nothing about and those things happening. Understanding.
Then one fine day you experience God. My brain interpreted God as a colourless energy field. I have heard that others experience it differently. But I knew, when I had, as you will when you do. It is not something that I have been able to replicate for over a year now. But that day, that feeling of liberation, of everything being all right, of an ability to see things as they were, I can only describe very ineffectively.
It is possible to realize God, you will know when you do and it may be different from anything you ever imagined it would be. Like waiting quietly in a jungle for a long time and having a sudden view of a rare beautiful bird.
How do you know if you are progressing?
Constant Growth of lightness of mind and spirit is the surest test of spiritual progress. Every act appears to be a Divine Offering and you constantly think of God. A tendency which brings the mind to a perfectly self-contained state free from complexities and disturbances. Knowing the transitory nature of things. Realizing your own shortcomings and feeling truly repentant for them. Repulsion for worldly objects. The peaceful condition of the mind. Control of senses. Neither attraction nor repulsion for worldly objects. Fortitude : No feeling for insult, injury or appreciation. Faith. Self-settledness in the will of the Master without any thought besides. Suspension of thoughts, feelings, senses : feeling lost or drowned. Internally absorbed, but not drowned, like crossing the road safely, while thinking about something else. Absorbed in external work, not even aware that your heart is settled in the divine. An intuitional knowledge of science which the Guru removes to keep him undistracted. Entrusted with petty Godly work. Introducing required elements within his sphere and removing unwanted ones. Cleaning the atmosphere of all unwanted thoughts and ideas. Working in strict accordance with Nature, has no individuality or personal choice.
Will works in all important matters, eg great enterprises, wars etc Destructive and Constructive plans of nature. Highest power. Bestowed by Nature under extraordinary circumstances.
Meditation helps you regulate your mind and therefore your behaviour and your life, it helps you cultivate love, faith and detachment. It helps you suspend your ego and experience the divine.
See Also: The God Gene.
I hope all this works for you and that you find the right Guru. Good Luck.
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