Advanced Yoga Practices
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Lesson 86 -
Finding Your Meditation Routine (Audio)
AYP Plus Additions:
86.1 - Coordinating Meditation with Spiritual Study (Audio)
86.2 - Use of Mantra Japa to Calm the Mind During
86.3 - Doubling Up with Mantra Japa (Audio)
Deep Meditation Tips on Noise, Imagery and Daily Practice (Audio)
Question on Mala, Wearing the Sacred Beads (Audio)
Date: Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:22pm
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: I have just recently begun following your practices (went back to the
beginning). I have been involved with yoga and meditation for several years.
I wonder is it all right to continue to use background music and aromas to
enhance my meditation, or am I distracting from it? What about mala beads?
Also right now, I only seem to be able to get in about 10 minutes - how
important is it to meditate for the full 20 minutes every day?
A: Of course, it is not for me to upset your established comfortable
environment for meditation. If you are most comfortable with incense,
aromas, background music, or whatever, it is your choice. However, I do
suggest you carefully read all the lessons on meditation, including the
Q&As, for comments on external environmental things while meditating.
Remember, meditation is for going in. If we are vibrating with music or
other sensory inputs, this is not part of using the mantra, and there is the
chance that our attention will be divided. This can take away from our
attention settling naturally and deeply into pure bliss consciousness. Of
course, as pointed out in the lessons, it is possible to meditate easily in
airplanes, busy waiting rooms, or practically anywhere. So what is a little
background music? It may not hurt, but it is not part of the meditation
either, and it is something else besides thoughts that you will be easily
letting go as you favor the mantra. You decide what works best for you. You
are in charge.
Ten minutes is much better than no minutes, and ten minutes twice a day is
much better than twenty minutes only once a day. There is a natural cycle of
meditation and activity that is optimized by meditating twice a day. The
"twice" is at least as important as the length of meditation.
If you are smooth in activity after twenty minutes of meditation, then do
your best to build it into your daily schedule. You will accomplish so much
more inner purification if you can get in the habit. On the other hand, try
not to be erratic about it -- twenty minutes this time, ten minutes next
time, then fifteen... The more regular it is, the more like clockwork it is,
the better your nervous system will like it. Once the habit is in place, the
nervous system will practically meditate itself. You will close your eyes
and be in pure bliss consciousness immediately, and the peace and bliss of
that will stay with you throughout the day and night. Meditation habituates
our nervous system to be in pure bliss consciousness naturally. It really
does work like that. It takes regular daily practice over a long time. As
the obstructions are gradually removed, the experience of pure bliss
consciousness steadily rises. It is like watching a tree grow. I wish I
could say it is like watching a kudzu vine grow (much, much faster). Maybe
for a few advanced souls born with pure nervous systems it is.
Mala beads are for a different kind of approach to meditation, and to
pranayama as well. They are for counting. Malas were around long before
clocks, and the number of mantra repetitions and breathing cycles were
counted to have a measured approach, so as not to overdo or underdo
practices. This produces a small restriction, especially in meditation,
because it ties the mantra to an outer activity, ticking off the beads one
by one with the fingers. It becomes an unconscious habit, yet still we are
regulating the mantra with an outer activity. With the clock, we can let the
mantra (and the breath in pranayama) go naturally according to the unique
purification need of the nervous system. We have talked a lot about this
already. Using the clock is a flexible approach to measuring the amount of
inner practices. Of course, we will peek at the clock now and then, but in
time we find that our automatic inner clock is nearly as good as the outer
one. The outer clock then becomes an occasional confirmation of the inner
one. There is a lesson on this in the meditation Q&As called, "Watching
Malas may also have a sentimental value, a bhakti value, and that is an okay
reason for wearing them. Whatever stimulates your bhakti is good, as long as
you are not blasting off the planet in a kundalini overdose. A mala may be
part of your ishta (ideal) if it connects you with your chosen ideal. And
maybe your meditation and pranayama learned elsewhere are mala-based. That
is okay too. The mala has not been outdated, not going the way of the buggy
whip any time soon. It has been around for thousands of years. But keep in
mind, the mala is for measuring how much we do in practices. In these
lessons we use the clock for that. That's the difference.
I wish you the best on your journey homeward.
The guru is in you.
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